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Civilization 5: Economics


  • Civilization 5: Economics


    Strategic Resources
    Luxury Resources
    Golden Age Progress
    Great People
    Your Leader

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    By Turn 400, you may look like this guy.


    Citizens are the lifeblood of your kingdom. The number of citizens in your kingdom effects your ability to Work Terrain, that in turn generates Food, Production, Gold, Research, and Culture.

    Citizens grow in proportion to the available Food supply. The more Food you have available, the faster Citizens grow.

    Citizens and Happiness are symbiotic. The larger the number of Citizens you control, the more difficult Happiness is to maintain. Conversely, when your empire is unhappy, your growth rate is severely reduced. *

    In addition to the effects of Food and Happiness, the Hanging Gardens Wonder grants every City a free Citizen. Discovered Ruins sometimes grant free Citizens to the Capital City. When a City enters We Love the King day, population growth speeds up.


    Food is the fuel of the population. The more Food you have available, the quicker your Citizens increase in number. Food is available through many types of Terrain, Improvements, a number of Buildings, one Policy, Bonus Resources, a Strategic Resource, and trade with Maritime City-States.

    Worked Terrain That Generates Food:

    • Coast
    • Flood Plains
    • Forest
    • Grasslands
    • Jungle
    • Lakes
    • Oasis
    • Ocean
    • Plains
    • Tundra

    Improvements That Generate Food:

    • Farm

    Buildings That Generate Food:

    • Floating Gardens
    • Granary
    • Hospital
    • Lighthouse
    • Water Mill

    Bonus Resources That Generate Food:

    • Bananas
    • Cattle
    • Deer
    • Fish
    • Sheep
    • Wheat

    Strategic Resources That Generate Food:

    • Whales

    Policies That Generate Food:

    • Civil Society
    • Collective Rule
    • Landed Elite
    • Tradition

    City-States That Generate Food:

    • Maritime


    Production is the ability of a City to produce Units, Buildings, and Wonders. The higher your Production, the faster you can build things. Production is heavily influenced by Worked Terrain, Improvements, a number of Buildings and Wonders, Strategic Resources, and some Policies.

    Worked Terrain That Generates Production:

    • Hill
    • Plains
    • Forest
    • All Natural Wonders

    Improvements That Generate Production:

    • Lumber Mill
    • Manufactory
    • Mine

    Buildings That Generate Production:

    • Arsenal
    • Factory
    • Forge
    • Harbor
    • Hydroplant
    • Longhouse
    • Medical Lab
    • Nuclear Plant
    • Seaport
    • Solar Plant
    • Spaceship Factory
    • Stable
    • Windmill
    • Workshop

    Wonders That Generate Production:

    • Ironworks
    • Statue of Liberty

    Strategic Resources That Generate Production:

    • Aluminum
    • Coal
    • Horses
    • Iron
    • Oil
    • Uranium

    Polices That Generate Production:

    • Aristocracy
    • Communism
    • Merchant Navy
    • Order
    • Republic


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    Isn't it nice when dead people leave loose change lying about?

    Gold is vital. Without it you cannot maintain Military Units, that in turn means that your civilization becomes a tempting target for opportunistic rivals. Gold is likewise necessary to maintain Buildings and Improvements.

    Gold is also instrumental in bribing City-States, that are a good source of Strategic Resources, Luxury Resources, Food, Units and Culture. Gold is the quickest way to build a Unit or Building in an emergency. Gold can be employed in Research Agreements to speed up technical development. Gold can purchase specific map Tiles to increase your territory.

    Gold can be acquired in many ways: through Worked Terrain, some Buildings and Wonders, Improvements and Luxury Resources, and certain Policies.* Trade routes from connecting Roads or Harbors with Cities also creates Gold. Gold can also be generated through interactions with others, such as destroying a Barbarian Camp, achieving first contact with a City-State and pillaging an opponent's Improvements.

    Worked Terrain That Generates Gold:

    • Coast
    • Lakes
    • Oasis
    • Ocean
    • Rivers
    • All Natural Wonders

    Improvements That Generate Gold:

    • Customs House
    • Road (via Trade Routes)
    • Trading Post

    Buildings That Generate Gold:

    • Bank
    • Bazaar
    • Paper Maker
    • Harbor (via Trade Route)
    • Market
    • Mint
    • Mughai Fort
    • Paper Maker
    • Satrap's Court
    • Stock Exchange

    Wonders That Generate Gold:

    • Big Ben
    • Colossus
    • Machu Pichu
    • Pentagon

    Luxury Resources That Produce Gold:

    • Cotton
    • Dyes
    • Furs
    • Gems (slightly more valuable)
    • Gold
    • Incense
    • Ivory
    • Marble
    • Pearls
    • Silk
    • Silver
    • Spices
    • Sugar
    • Whales (slightly less valuable, but also produce Food)
    • Wine

    Policies That Produce Gold

    • Autocracy
    • Commerce
    • Mercantilism
    • Militarism
    • Monarchy
    • Professional Army
    • Socialism
    • Trade Unions


    Scientific Research represents the efforts of your people to develop new Technology. Research is largely based on Population and supplemented by the effects of the Academy Improvement, Buildings, Wonders and Policies.

    Improvements That Generate Research:

    • Academy

    Buildings That Generate Research:

    • Library
    • Observatory
    • Paper Maker
    • Public School
    • Research Lab
    • University
    • Wat

    Wonders That Generate Research:

    • Great Library (generates no Research but grants a free Technology)
    • National College
    • Oxford University (generates no Research but grants a free Technology)

    Policies That Generate Research:

    • Free Thought
    • Scholasticism
    • Scientific Revolution (generates no Research but grants two free Technologies)
    • Secularism
    • Sovereignty


    Culture advances Policy. The more Culture Points you have, the quicker you can create new Policies. Culture is generated by some the Landmark Improvement, Buildings, Wonders, Policies, and relationships with some City-States.

    Improvements That Generate Culture:

    • Landmark

    Buildings That Generate Culture:

    • Broadcast Tower
    • Burial Tomb
    • Krepost
    • Monastery
    • Monument
    • Mud Pyramid Mosque
    • Mughai Fort
    • Museum
    • Opera House
    • Temple
    • Wat

    Wonders That Generate Culture:

    • All non-Program, non-Project Wonders produce Culture. Angar Wat, Christor Redentor, Sistene Chapel, Stonehenge and Hermitage are particularly beneficial to Cultural development. The Oracle and Sydney Opera House introduce a free Social Policy.

    Policies That Generate Culture:

    • Constitution
    • Free Speech
    • Mandate of Heaven
    • Piety (does not generate Policy, but grants 2 free Policies)
    • Representation

    City-States That Generate Culture:

    • Civilized

    Bonus Resources:

    Bonus Resources yield Food. They can be Improved to provide access to other Luxury or Strategic Resources.

    Strategic Resources

    Strategic Resources are prerequisites for creating certain Units. They are found on map Tiles and can be accessed by workers from nearby cities. They can also be acquired by trade agreements with other civilizations. Strategic Resources yield Production.

    To fully access the benefits of Strategic Resources, they should be Improved.

    Luxury Resources

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    Gems are an especially valuable Lxury Resource. Mine them at your first opportunity.

    Luxury Resources provide Gold, and when Improved they increase Happiness by +5. This effect does not stack: two Improved sources of Ivory still yield only +5 Happiness civilization-wide, although surplus Resources can be traded to other civilizations for new Luxuries.* Cities will often demand specific Luxury Resources. Meeting their demands will increase Growth in those cities via We Love the King Day.


    Happiness measures the contentedness of your Citizens. The happier your civilization is, the quicker your population grows and the more quickly you reach Golden Ages. Happiness can lapse into negative values, that stunts the growth of your civilization and subtracts from your Golden Age Progress.

    Because Happiness is so closely tied to Citizen growth, it is one of the most important variables to manage.

    Happiness is increased by access to improved Luxury Resources, some Buildings and Wonders, discovering Natural Wonders, and some Policies.

    Improvements that Generate Happiness:

    While no improvements directly create Happiness, building a Plantation, Mine, Quarry or Camp on a previously undeveloped type of Luxury Resource will produce a great deal of Happiness.

    Buildings That Generate Happiness:
    • Burial Tomb
    • Circus
    • Colosseum
    • Courthouse
    • Satrap's Court
    • Stadium
    • Theatre

    Wonders That Generate Happiness:

    • Eiffel Tower
    • Hanging Gardens
    • Notre Dame

    Policies That Generate Happiness:

    • Cultural Diplomacy
    • Freedom
    • Humanism
    • Legalism
    • Meritocracy
    • Military Caste
    • Piety
    • Planned Economy
    • Police State
    • Protectionism
    • Theocracy

    Golden Age Progress

    Golden Age Progress measures how close your civilization is to beginning its next Golden Age. Golden Age Progress is influenced by Happiness, and decreases whenever Happiness is negative. *

    When Golden Age progress reaches a certain threshold, a Golden Age begins. The length of the golden Age in turns varies depending on the trigger, but usually lasts from 3-10 turns. During Golden Ages, the Gold and Production of your civilization will increase significantly.

    Golden Ages can also be triggered by sacrificing Great People, and by some Policies. Some Wonders also modify Golden Ages.

    Wonders Generating Golden Age Progress:
    • Chichen Itza (increases length of Golden Ages)
    • Taj Mahal (grants a free Golden Age)

    Policies Generating Golden Age Progress:

    • Organized Religion
    • Rationalism (free Golden Age)
    • Reformation (free Golden Age)


    Units are mobile extensions of your empire's power. Most Units are military, with attack and defense capabilities used to reduce other Units, sack Improvements and destroy Cities.

    Units gain experience from combat and from some Buildings . When enough experience is acquired, the Unit is promoted and gains new abilities.

    Some Policies grant additional bonuses to Military Units. There are discussed in Social Policies.

    Military Units are discussed in detail in the Military Strategy section.

    Non-military Units include Settlers, that are used to found new Cities, Workers, who build Improvements, Work Boats, that improve ocean Resources, and Great People.

    Great People

    Great People are special non-combat Units with powerful abilities. Great People are produced by population, and their creation expedited by assigning Citizens to become Specialists. The Great General is an exception. He is generated by the combined XP earned by all your military Units.

    All Wonders outside National Wonders, Projects and Programs increase the rate of production for Great People. The Hagia Sophia accelerates the creation of Great People. National Epic also speeds the building of Great People. The Brandenburg Gate provides a Free General. The Louvre produces two Great Artists. The Porcelain Tower produces a Great Scientist.

    The Social Policy Warrior Code provides a free Great General. Democracy greatly increases the birth rate of Great People. Educated Elite causes Allied City-States to grant you free Great People.

    There are five types of Great People:
    • A Great Artist can be sacrificed to build the Landmark Improvement, that grants a large bonus every turn to Culture. The great Artist can also be sacrificed as a “Culture Bomb” that adds the Tile he occupies and all surrounding Tiles to your territory, regardless of owner.
    • A Great Engineer can be sacrificed to build the Manufactory, that provides large Production bonuses. He can also be sacrificed to instantaneously complete any building project in a City, including Wonders. This ability does not effect Spaceship Construction or The Utopia Project.
    • A Great Merchant can be sacrificed to build a Custom House Improvement, that generates large amounts of Gold. A Great Merchant can also be sacrificed on a special Trade Mission to a City-State, that yields Gold and Influence.
    • A Great Scientist can be sacrificed to build an Academy Improvement, that produces large amounts of Research. A Great Scientist can also be sacrificed for a single free Technology of choice among any available along the player's current Tech Tree progress.
    • A Great General provides significant combat bonuses to all Units within 2 hexes. This ability is consistent and passive, and requires no activation on the player's part.* He may be sacrificed to build a Citadel Improvement, a super-fortress of tremendous defensive power.
    Any Great Person may be sacrificed to initiate a Golden Age.

    Your Leader

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    If you can't pronounce Ramkhamhaeng, rename him something more memorable.

    Each civilization's leader provides a special power that changes they way the game works.
    • Alexander (Greece): Coming from the culturally fragmented Greek Peninsula, Alexander is a master of dealing with City-States. His Influence with City-States degrades at half the normal rate and recovers at twice the normal rate. He can pass through City-State borders with impunity. On the right map he is a good choice for a Cultural Victory.
    • Askia (Songhai): Askia is a master of plunder. When he loots a City or Barbarian Camp, he collects triple gold. A great option for marauders, and very useful in the early game in particular.
    • Augustus Caesar (Rome): If Caesar has constructed a Building in his Capital, duplicate Buildings in other Cities cost much less Production to build. Caesar is well suited for sprawling empires.
    • Bismark (Germany): When Bismark defeats Barbarians inside an encampment, he has a 50% chance of causing them to defect. A lucky player (or one who doesn’t mind saving and reloading a lot) can turn this into a terrific early-game advantage. Defection also grants a little extra Gold.
    • Catherine (Russia): Cathy gets +1 Production from Worked Strategic Resources, and double quantity from Improved Horses, Iron and Uranium. The first ability is a good early game boost, and the second provides great trade fodder in all stages of the game.
    • Darius I (Persia):* Darius enjoys long Golden Ages, that carefully manipulated can lead to more effective Golden Age chaining, resulting in spectacular periods of Production. Darius' Units also get faster and tougher during Golden Ages.
    • Elizabeth I (England): The Sun Never Sets on the British Empire, apparently because the speed of their vessels outpaces the Earth's rotation. If you like boats, then rule the court of the Virgin Queen. All English Naval Units are significantly faster than those of rival powers. *
    • Ghandi (India): Ok, here's the deal. Ghandi makes empires with too many Cities MORE unhappy, but he makes unhappiness from the base number of Citizens in Cities much lower. Don't build many Cities with Ghandi, but grow the ones you have to the hilt.
    • Harun al-Rashid (Arabia): Mr. Trade Routes. Create as many Roads and Harbors as you can, because all grant extra Gold. Also, al-Rashid gets double Oil from each improved Oil Resource. *
    • Hiawatha (Iroquois): Your go-to guy when the world map resembles the Moon of Endor. Hiawatha's Units move through Forest and Jungle at Road speed, and Forest and Jungle tiles count as roads for trade routes. The Iroquois rock at exploration. *
    • Montezuma (Aztec): Montezuma's special power appeals to the Hannibal Lecter inside us all. He grants you Culture every time you kill somebody. Each Unit you eliminate yields a significant Culture bonus, that is especially useful in the early game.
    • Napoleon (France): Napoleon's Cities each produce extra Culture until the discovery of Steam Power. If you build a lot of Cities quickly, this really adds up.
    • Oda Nobunaga (Japan): Ganbate! Oda Nobunaga's Units don't lose combat strength from taking casualties, that means one standing Spearman still punches as hard as ten. The best leader for conducting war, bar none.* *
    • Ramesses (Egypt): Every civilization needs a Wonder, and Ramesses builds them cheap. A good choice for all strategies.
    • Ramkhamhaeng (Siam): You don't have to be able to pronounce his name to appreciate his advantages. Ramkhamhaeng harvests the fruits of City-State gifts better than any other leader. He's a good choice for civilizations with a Cultural focus.
    • Suleiman (Ottoman): Don't like pirates? Convert them to your side and take their Gold. Suleiman requires a player to adopt a strong maritime strategy, many coastal Cities and an interest in ruling the waves. While his ability seems weak, free ships are quite handy, as Naval Units are generally expensive and inconvenient to produce.
    • Washington (America): Ol' George does a good job of hiding his teeth, but not much hides from him. American ground Units can all see an extra space, a huge scouting advantage useful for finding Ruins, Barbarians, Natural Wonders and rival Units. The reduced cost of Tiles is less of a big deal but not completely useless.
    • Wu Zetain: Great Generals appear more frequently in Wu's empire and enjoy increased bonuses. This has two advantages: better bonuses for well-organized armies, and more access to on-demand Golden Ages.
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