ContentsExpanding and Improving Your Capital City
Citizen Allocation Focus
Improvements and Labor
Maintaining Happiness: Long-term solutions, Short-term Fixes
Creating Great People
Utilizing Great People
Balancing Production Between Multiple Cities
Mass Production Strategies
Quick Production Strategies
Connecting Cities: Transportation Infrastructure and Trade Routes
Your Capital is the lynchpin of your civilization. The laws of chronology dictate that it will likely be your largest metropolis throughout the game, producing more Units, Culture, Gold and Research than your other Cities. Many of your Wonders will likely reside there.
The location of a Capital is largely luck of the draw. The game drops you in a more-or-less suitable location. You may or may not have access to Coast or Rivers, though you will always have at least some Resources and tillable land nearby. It is essential to found your first City as soon as possible, even if that means the location is less than ideal. A good Capital site should have decent Food Supplies, enough Production for early Units and access to some Luxury Resources.
The Luxury Resource proximity is
important because your Civilization's Happiness
depends largely on them. Access to a
variety of Luxuries early in the game is essential to success. The more
Resources you can reach, the quicker you hit your first Golden
Age, a vital boon to your productivity and cash reserves.
Regardless of what the game recommends, build a Worker first. While Scouts are a great way to establish early-game contact with other Civilizations, it will be some time before your neighbors have anything worth offering you. Your capital is pretty good at defending itself, so use your complimentary Warrior as a proxy Scout across unobtrusive Terrain. While your City is creating the Worker, send your Warrior in search of Ruins. Also be on the look out for City-States, as first contact with each yields a gift of Gold.
Keep an eye on the surrounding Terrain as you choose your early Technology. If you are going to need to clear Forest, Jungle or Marsh, prioritize Mining, Bronze Working and Masonry. Then develop appropriate Technologies to Improve the Luxury and Strategic Resources in your area.
The moment your Worker is finished, start Improving your land with Farms. Build Trading Posts when you are able, and construct Plantations and Quarries the second they become available. You'll need the Happiness they generate. Camps should come next, then Pastures, then Roads to your other Cities, and then Lumber Mills.
If you have the Population support, burn your Great People to build their respective Improvements in the early and mid-game. The value of a Great Person Improvement increases for every turn it is in play. A Landmark built and worked on turn 100 will generate 1200 Culture by the end of the game, while one built and worked on turn 150 will only generate 1000.
Every time a new Technology reveals a Resource (Horses, Iron, Uranium, etc.) drop everything and Improve it. Not only will you gain access to new Units, but you'll also gain powerful trade fodder with other nations.
The Tradition Social tree benefits your Capital's early game growth, and is a safe Policy selection in the Ancient Era.
Don't outrun your Happiness in your rush to grow! Keep a positive Happiness index in the first Turns, even if it means you have to pace your Capital's expansion a little. You'll grow larger in the long run if you keep everybody at least remotely pleased.
Notwithstanding interruptions and specific plans, follow these general rules when possible:
- Make sure you have one Worker per City. If you lose a Worker to Barbarians or attack, build a new one immediately.
- Build a Settler in your Capital immediately after your first Worker. Get your second City off the ground ASAP.
- Build a new Military Unit next, or Barbarians will likely sap your Improvements and ruin your early game.
- Develop a Monument, a Granary and a Barracks as your first Buildings. Build another Unit after you finish your Barracks. Depending on your game plan, you might want to build a Wonder in your Capital around this time.
- Keep an eye on your Gold production early on. Trading Posts and a short road to your second City will help.
- Build a Library and a Temple as Happiness allows, and a Circus to counter Unhappiness.
- If you have access to Food producing River or Coastal Buildings, construct them early.
- Build a Workshop when it becomes available. It makes your other Buildings cheaper.
- Monitor your Research, Gold and Happiness, and build a University, Market and Colosseum accordingly. Build another Unit around the time you work on these structures.
- Intersperse Wonders every now and then as you see fit, but don't build every Wonder in your Capital. Keep the Buildings coming to advance your key indexes.
- Throughout the ages, continue staggering Buildings that develop Food, Research, Gold, Culture and Happiness. Build a Unit every now and then. If you plan to fight a lot, develop the Military Academy and Armory...the bonuses they give your Units are significant.
- Buildings that help with Great People are really important for your Capital. They seem dull, but the earlier you get Great People, the more powerful their Improvements are.
Your second City should be built geographically close to your first, on a site with access to Food, Production and Luxury Resources. Ideally, it will have access to Resources your Capital can't develop, thus allowing rapid increase of Happiness. Also keep an eye out for Strategic Resources like Horses and Iron, as most of the powerful early-game Units require one or the other.
Escort your Settler with a Military Unit. Nothing sucks more than having your first new City aborted by Barbarians before it is even founded.
If you have a spare Worker, send him with the Settler and begin building Improvements immediately after the City is founded. If you have no spare Workers, build one in the new City immediately. If you have the Gold, buy the Worker.
Since new Cities create some Unhappiness, develop their Luxury Resources first, even if this requires buying a tile or two.
Follow roughly the same early development cycle as your Capital. Create a Settler fairly early, though not until you've created a a Military Unit and a Granary.
Link your two Cities with a road after
developing a few tiles. The Road will generate a Trade Route and grant
a nice Gold bonus.
Your third City should come soon after the second. Ideally, all Cities should have at least six empty tiles between them, but don't fret too much over this early game. The computer recommendations on where to build are usually pretty good.
After starting your third City, your
colonization approach will be based on your Victory strategy. Most
Victory Conditions call for unfettered colonialism, but the Policy
Victory is different. More on this in Part II.
Why build what you can conquer? A captured City simultaneously reduces a rival's strength and increases yours.
While City-States can become genuine allies, the other great empires are all potential rivals on the path to victory. Like Highlander, in the end there can be only one. Acquiring enemy Cities through conquest usually takes several Units working together. This means large expense and ample time for preparation.
When a City is taken, it generates Unhappiness and will continue to do so until a Courthouse is built there. The Courthouse must be Produced. It can not be bought with Gold. If you capture a City following the discovery of Mathematics, start a Courthouse there immediately. If you have not yet discovered Mathematics, allocate Citizens to Luxuries nearby and make a Technological beeline to Mathematics. Build or buy a Circus or Colosseum in every City possible and hang on for a big hit to your Happiness.
Once the Courthouse is built, everything changes. You should begin work to grow the City, creating Food-generating Buildings and then following the standard plan for developing colonies.
The tactics required to reduce a
foreign City are discussed in the Modern
After a City is captured, you are given the option to make it a Puppet of your empire. Puppets are an enticing alternative to the chaos generated by conquered Cities. They create much less Unhappiness than an Occupied City and do not increase the Culture cost of new Policies. On the other hand, they are AI controlled, and you have no ability to direct their construction of Buildings, Units and Wonders. You can build Trade Routes to them and Improve the territory around them, although you cannot use Gold to purchase Tiles for them, nor can you delegate Citizens to work certain Tiles. They generate Research and Gold as normal.
It is sometimes a good idea to create Puppets mid-war, when you don't have time to deal with Unhappiness. It's also an option if you don't have Courthouses available or want to keep Policy costs down. The loss of a City still hurts your opponent, and you still gain Gold and Research to feed your empire. The territory around Puppets remains yours, so your Units still heal more quickly there and you eventually gain access to Improved Resources nearby.
You can annex a Puppet at any time,
making it a full-fledged part o your empire, although this process can
not be reversed.
While Research, Food, Happiness, Culture and Golden Age Progress are prominently displayed by default on your main screen, Production is not. It can be easy to forget that you have some direct control over how quickly your Cities develop Units, Buildings and Wonders. Clicking on a City reveals a map detailing the potential yield of all Tiles nearby. The AI gives you a fairly balanced approach to Production, but there will be times when you will want to reallocate your Citizenry to build more quickly.
Do not overlook the potential raw production value of new Tiles when purchasing real-estate with Gold. It is easy to become myopic, considering only Strategic and Luxury Resources and forgetting the importance of the little orange hammers that drive your empire. Likewise, do not overlook excellent Buildings like the Workshop, the Forge and the sublime Factory.
Also remember that Production is part
raw materials, part Population. Growth in a City usually increases
Production by opening access to new Tiles, so keep growing!
Every City screen contains a group of menus for allocating your Citizens to focus on certain Production priorities. A City can be set via menu to a general, balanced approach, or can be toggled to focus on creating Food, Production, Gold, Science, Culture or Great People.
Some Building allow the transformation of Citizens into Specialists. The four type of Specialists are Artists, Merchants, Scientists and Engineers. Each Specialist assigned to a Building grants bonuses to the City beyond the regular benefit of the Building. Specialists also speed the production of Great People. Specialists can be assigned automatically or manually from within the City menu.
Early in the game, the AI handles
Specialists with reasonable efficiency. Later in the game you may wish
to manually reassign Specialists. Remember that Specialists do not work
Tiles, so carefully monitor the output Cities which use them them.
No matter how many Improvements you build, they don't do a bit of good until someone is working them. When you finish a Plantation, Quarry, or Trading Post, check to make sure Citizens are assigned to it.
If you have more Improvements than
available Citizens, prioritize Food supply and build your population,
the gradually allocate your people to work vacant Improvements.
Your cities expand geographically along
with population. Resources on the edge of a City's sphere of influence
can take a long time to reach through natural growth. You have the
option to purchase such Tiles with Gold. While this does not increase
the number of people in your City, it does allow you faster access to
work and Improve specific Tiles which helps you reap the benefits of
Strategic and Luxury Resources more quickly. Buying Tiles can also be
used to head off the growth of nearby rival Cities, although this can
anger other Leaders.
Food + Happiness = Citizens.
It's a simple equation, but implementing it can be a real headache.
Some Cities don't want to grow. They seem mired by stagnation, cursed by the gods with an apathetic populace with no interest in being fruitful and multiplying. Remember, though, that Civ 5 is a secular reality. There are no gods, there is only math. Golden Rule Number 1 applies.
The lowly Farm is perhaps your greatest
tool against a moribund population. If you build Farms and assign every
available Citizen to work them, and if your empire is happy while you
do so, then your City will grow. Your Production will suck for a while
and your Research will go down the pipe, but eventually your City will
grow and things will get better. Also don't overlook buying
Food-producing Buildings with Gold as a means of combating slow growth.
Another way to foster growth is to meet a City's demands. Occasionally, Cities will demand specific Luxuries. Gaining access to these will foster We Love the King Day, which accelerates Citizen growth in these Cities.
There are four ways to gain access to these new Luxuries:
- Find them, build a City near them, and Improve them.
- Trade for them with other empires
- Buy friendship with City-States that have access to them.
- Take them from your neighbors through conquest.
Generally speaking, all four options
are worth the trouble. The growth and the +5 Happiness bonus from a new
Luxury are almost always welcome additions to your power base.
People love to complain. The Citizens of your empire are a fickle, unappreciative lot. They don't know how good they have it. You have to keep reminding them.
Long-term, maintaining Happiness through your Cities is about pacing. While Citizen growth is always good, every Citizen adds his or her own little bit of discontent to the equation of your economy. You should be Building or Improving a new source of Happiness every few turns as a matter of course. Every fourth or fifth Building or Wonder in every City should address Happiness either directly (through Bonuses) or indirectly (by speeding access to Happiness-generating Policies or Luxuries).
Keep a special eye on Happiness during conquest. If taking a City will move your Happiness into the red, make it a Puppet.
If you find yourself in a short-term Happiness crisis, consider these steps:
- Use Gold to buy a Happiness-generating Building
- Try opening new trade with every other Civilization for new Luxuries. In a true crisis, overpay with Gold or even Open Borders.
- Check to make sure all Improvements are being worked.
- Blow up a Great Person and start a Golden Age. Use the period of prosperity to deal with the Happiness problem.
There will be times that civilization-wide unhappiness borders on the disastrous. A badly-going war, Barbarian ravages or other misfortunes can drive you into a deep hole. In these desperate times, consider the following radical steps:
- Trade away a problematic, Unhappy City to a friendly civilization. You'll get something in return and reduce your Unhappiness. If you do this, make sure you're not losing access to a Luxury, or compensate for the loss by including new Luxuries in the trade.
- Deliberately limit your growth for a time. Go to war and raze enemy Cities. Pillage Trading Posts for Gold and buy Happiness-generating Buildings. It's a pain but it works sometimes.
- Pound you head against the keyboard and reset.
Great People are gradually generated by Cities and accelerated by the application of Specialists. The more Artists you have working in Buildings, the quicker you will create a Great Artist. Great People's rate of Production is also heavily modified by Wonders, (as noted in Section 1), by the the Policies Great General, Educated Elite, Democracy, and by the Gardens Building.
Great Generals are produced through
accumulated XP. Some nation-specific Units like Companion Cavalry
accelerate the rate of Great General creation, as does the
Leader Wu Zetain.
The rules using for Great People are simple. Early in the game, burn them to build Improvements. Mid-to-late game, blow them up to get free or cheaper Technologies, Wonders, and Golden Ages depending on your present need.
The Great General is an exception. Keep him around unless you really need a Golden Age. You never know when you'll require his expertise on the battlefield.
If you hoard and combine Great People with the benefits of some Wonders and Policies, it's possible to create a very long perpetual Golden Age. While not necessarily the most efficient use of your Great People, it's a lot of fun to spend forty turns raking in Gold and Production.
To create a Golden Age chain, start with Darius I. Open the Tradition tree immediately and grab Warrior Code and Military Tradition to create a free Great General and double your XP. Fight everyone you can get away with killing to create more Great Generals. Prioritize Great People production and develop the Piety and Rationalism Trees. You'll lose some of the benefits of one and the other tree in this, but for our purposes that's okay. Open the path to Reformation and unlock Rationalism by entering the Renaissance Era but develop neither. Also grab the Chichen Itza. Build the Louvre, Brandenburg Gate and/or Porcelain Tower if possible, as each of these grant you free Great People.
When you're ready for the chain, build the Taj Mahal. Creating it will inaugurate a Golden Age. Because of Darius and the Chichen Itza, your Golden Ages last longer. As soon as a Golden Age expires, hit Reformation, wait out that Golden Age, and activate Rationalism. After this, start burning Great People one at a time to keep the Age going. Odds are another Great Person will be born during the interim...feed him to the fire as well. If you didn't have time to develop the Louvre, Brandenburg Gate or Porcelain Tower, do so during the Golden Age and keep sacrificing the Great People they give you.
It's a lot of fun.
Every City is a microcosm of your empire, with the same Indexes playing out on a smaller scale. It's easy to forget that the Cities are part of a greater machine and, addressed together, can be tuned to even great efficiency.
Build war Cities with Military
Academies and Forges to create the Units your empire needs. Develop
Cultural centers with a Hermitage, Landmarks and every Cultural
Building available clustered together. Do the same for your National
College, prioritizing Research buildings nearby. While you must always
keep Food working at a City by City level, you can optimize many
Indexes nation-wide by specializing your Cities in ways complimentary
to one another.
There are times when you want several complimentary Units to be available around the same time. Aircraft Carriers aren't mush use without Fighters, and Artillery unsupported by Infantry are usually toast.
Timing your production carefully can
save several turns of idleness for your military Units. When you need
to create a complimentary fighting force of different Units, create the
most expensive Unit type in your most Productive Cities and your less
expensive Units in less Productive ones. This ensures that they'll all
be ready around the same time, which keeps you from wasting valuable
turns tapping the space bar when you could be wringing the life from
the bodies of your hated foes.
There are two good ways to rush Production:
- Spend Gold
- Save a Great Engineer for a rainy day
Gold exists largely as an inefficient but blessed way to get your hands on something you didn’t know you needed. It is sort of the white-out of Civilization 5, covering up for your mistakes. Spending with Gold can also be planned ahead for purposes such as providing a nearby Worker for a new City or building a quick Atomic Bomb.
Gold can be used to Purchase any one Unit or Building immediately, even if a City is currently Producing another Building.
You can also use a Great Engineer to
rush Production. Do not waste these guys...their benefits are huge, and
they should be reserved for large, essential projects.
Connecting any City you control to your Capital via Roads or Railroads creates a Trade Route, generating Gold into perpetuity. Roads within your are a great value because they allow rapid Unit movement and garner cash.
Roads to nowhere get expensive. Roads cost Gold to maintain, so without the benefit of a Trade Route a Road can become a financial albatross around an empire's neck. For this reason Roads to your Cities should be interlaced and chained with the Capital. The same rules apply for the more-efficient Railroads.