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Introduction into the Civilization5 Technology Tree


  • Introduction into the Civilization5 Technology Tree

    Welcome to Civilization 5! Hope you enjoy the game.

    I created an overview of the initial parts of the technology tree to provide some orientation. Unlike in Civ4 there is only one starting technology, Agriculture, meaning every civ starts with it and only it, allowing workers to construct farms.

    The initial phase of the game sees a mix of technologies that allow your workers to improve your land accordingly and military ones for defense and/or offense. I will present those two branches separately. It is your choice when you plan on needing which combat units. Unless you have something good to do with those units, go for the non-military technologies first.

    Tile Improvements

    As a rule of thumb in the inital phase of the game you first want to hook resources that provide extra food (fish only receives a bonus on gold, not food with a fishing boat), then production, then happiness, then gold. Obviously those overlap often. In general you want to research the technologies you require to hook the resources in your empire quickly - delays regarding this should only happen for a good reason. A reason as rushing for a wonder (technology), getting Archery to harass an opponent early on etc.

    Don´t delay the connection of your resources and development of your land without a good reason when chosing research early on.
    Tile Improvement Technologies
    • Animal Husbandry: Pasture, Horse reveiled
    • Mining: Mines, Clearing Forest
    • Pottery + Calender: Granary, Plantation

    You get those in (basically) every game right away. Which when and eventual deviations depend on your land and game plan. Be careful about the luxury resources that require Calender. Sugar can be found on Marsh which requires Masonry to be cleared and a few other might be on jungle which needs Bronze Working.

    As for granaries - you will want them eventually, though in this very initial phase Pottery is likely only worth researching due to being on the road to Calender.
    • Wheel: Road, Water Mill

    In general you want to delay roads till you´ve hooked your resources. You hook cities in order to establish trade routes - untill you have at least two, rather three cities you don´t need them connected. What´s been said for quick granaries is true as well for Water Mill´s, especially since they would be the second granary.
    • Trapping (requires Animal Husbandry): Camp, Trading Post

    You can often delay researching Trapping for some time. You don´t build Trading Posts right away since you want to use your workers first to improve resources and potentially build a mine or grassland farm. You should only get this early if you have Deer, Fur and/or Ivory you need hooked quickly. I´d recommend hooking food before luxury resources since those mainly provide happiness and gold and produce 0-2 food not growing the city.
    • Masonry: Quarry, Clear Marsh

    If you want the happiness from the quarry on a Marble or from a sugar on Marsh, get Masonry. Otherwise this is one of those techs you can delay relatively easy for instance if you want to go for Iron Working quickly.
    • Sailing (requires Pottery): Fishing Boat

    If you got lots of sea resources, get Sailing. Try avoiding getting Pottery and Sailing (too) early in order to hook just one sea resource, better have at least two, rather three or more before you go for this early.

    Initial Military

    When you start getting units depends on what you want to achieve. If you want to rush, getting Archery or Wheel for archers and chariots quickly might be a way to go. If you just want to defend, Archery and Bronze Working relatively fast might be a way - you might even feel safe from attacks for whatever reason and not in attacking mood yourself and first get all the needed improvement techs before beginning to research for units.

    Initial Military Technologies
    • Archery: Archer
    • Wheel: Chariot
    • Horseback Riding: Horseman
    • Bronze Working: Spearman

    I won´t go into unit evaluation at this point. In short Archers can be used both for attacking and defending, chariots are weak in power, but very mobile and able to pull off an early harassment due to their high movement points, rushing for Horseman and quickly attacking an opponent with them seems like one of the more promising early rush strategies. Spearmen are mainly a counterunit to Mounted Units, otherwise a slightly stronger, but also more expensive Warrior.

    Tech Paths after Initial Buildup
    After you´ve established your first cities and improved land and/or did some initial fighting already, you will have to decide which path you want to pursuit now. While as usual in civ you are not bound to following one of the three tech orders I´ll descrive exactly, they are focused at achieving a specific goal.
    Path 1: Militaristic
    • Iron Working -> Metal Casting -> Steel, potentially Mathematics

    • Allows: Swordsman -> Longswordsman, reveils Iron, potentially catapults


    If you´re planning on attacking or being attacked by a near-by opponent at this point in the game, this can be the path to follow. It takes some time to get to Steel, which can be used to get cities going well and being ready - potentially having build a barracks for instance - once Swordsman and Longswordsman become available. If you feel like terrain and positioning towards your opponent allow for it, get catapults as well to support your Swords-/Longswordsman.
    Path 2: Continuing Buildup
    • Construction -> Currency -> Engineering

    • Allows (among other): Lumbermill, Colloseum, Markets, Bridges over Rivers


    If you decide on expanding and improving land further, basically starting a second expansion and "buildering" phase, you can go along this route. Especially if you have a good amount of Forests in your land, this can be rewarding since Lumbermills provide those with a significant production bonus, making them a production powerhouse in a Golden Age.

    Colloseums assist in controlling the unhappiness resulting from further expansion and Markets are there to help paying for the buildings in all those cities and generally in keeping income positive as the game progresses.
    Path 3: Technological
    • Writing -> Philosophy -> Civil Service

    • Leads to: Chivalry (Knights)

    • Allows: Library, Oracle, Irrigated Farms +1 food, Pikemen


    Another possibility is teching towards Civil Service. This is a path that can boost your technology output and support early Great People making.

    Libraries increase science for each population in the city they are build in. Increasing population works well with going for GPs since both require food surplus. Here the library helps as well allowing to work up to two Scientist Specialists. The additional food from irrigated farms with Civil Service again helps in boosting science and/or working more Specialists.

    This path eventually leads to Chivalry - it can be combined with Path 2, following a heavy early expansion phase towards five to six cities. Ignoring Path 1 and its technologies and instead going for a combination of Path 2 and Path 3 will result in a very good buildup and lots of attack possibilities from Medieval on with Knights for example. This works very well in SP Civ5 - we´ll see how much a human will want to and be able to disrupt here.

    Attached Files

    • rjwoer
      rjwoer commented
      Editing a comment
      I don't mean to be a stickler on top of the other stickler, but there are several points where "built" is misspelled as "build." Good guide though. Thanks for posting it!

    • jobe
      jobe commented
      Editing a comment
      Originally posted by rjwoer
      I don't mean to be a stickler on top of the other stickler, but there are several points where "built" is misspelled as "build." Good guide though. Thanks for posting it!
      Could you name a specific passage, I´m not sure which you mean?

    • rah
      rah commented
      Editing a comment
      potentially having build a barracks for instance
      Libraries increase science for each population in the city they are build in.
      are the only two I noticed.
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