Playing Civilization V, Part 3

Victory Types

This is a good time to discuss the Victory types in Civ 5. We have talked about choosing appropriate strategies and that mostly has to do with what kind of Victory you are aiming for. Now you can change the objective as the game goes on, so if you realize you can’t win your original Victory type, you can switch to another. But success is a lot easier if you make the right choices early on.

  • Domination – To win this, you must keep possession of your own original capital, and capture everyone else’s original capital. Original capital is the first city founded by each Empire. It can never be destroyed, but can be captured. Once the original capital city of an Empire is captured, another city will become the current capital, but capturing that does not count towards victory, and a current capital can be destroyed.
  • Science – To win this, build and launch a spaceship to Alpha Centauri. To build a spaceship requires technologies at the end of the Technology tree, but you don’t have to actually research every possible technology to do this. You build the parts in your various cities, and assemble them in your Capital. Once you have assembled all the parts, the spaceship will automatically launch and you win the game.
  • Cultural – This depends on your culture compared to the other Empires, and involves the Tourism mechanic. If you attract tourists from another Empire, your culture will become more dominant over theirs. There are 6 levels for your Empire vis-a-vis the others: Unknown, Exotic, Familiar, Popular, Influential, and Dominant. These are defined by the amount of tourism you receive from an Empire compared with their own production of Culture. If the tourism you receive is at least equal to their own Culture production, you are Influential. And to get Culture victory you have to be at least Influential with every other Empire still in the game. The basic source of tourism comes from Great Works of Art, and Artifacts. Great Works of Art are produced by Great Artists, and Artifacts are dug up by your Archeologists once you discover this. Your own Culture production both defends against tourism of other Empires (i.e. your own citizens would rather enjoy your culture than travel to other Empires), and helps to produce the Great Works of Art. This victory type and the Tourism Mechanic is one of the innovations in Civ 5 , and carries over and is developed further in Civ 6.
  • Diplomatic – To win this, you have to voted in as World Leader in the United Nations. You can gain votes in several ways. First, you can liberate the conquered capital of another Empire and return it to them. That will guarantee that they will vote for you in the United Nations. Or, and this is most common, you can ally with City-States and get their vote in the UN. Finally, if a City-State has been previously conquered by another Empire, you can liberate it and they will vote for you in the UN. Once the UN is achieved, votes take place every 20 turns, so if you fall short on one try, you can try to line up more votes for the next try, which usually means allying with a few more City-States.
  • Time – If no one has won by the above means, the Empire with the highest score when time runs out will win. In a Standard game, that is in 2050 AD, and is turn 500. But note that turn 500 is not a turn when you can make a play. Your last chance to actually do anything is turn 499.


Civilization V changed the game board from squares to hexes, which was the first big change. But another change makes terrain even more important in Civ V, and that is that you can only have one unit per tile. The giant death stacks of units that you could employ in Civ III and Civ IV are now gone. That means that any military campaign will mostly be fought on a variety of tiles. Most of this we will discuss later when we look at the military and how to fight wars, but knowing how terrain affects your units in terms of strength and mobility will be a big part of that. So first we need to know what the Terrain Types are. Of course, the other reason we need to know this is in terms of where to settle, where to farm, where to mine, and so on. And special resources are a modifier, but first we’ll look at the Terrain Types by themselves. They can be analyzed in terms of their Base Production, i.e., what they will produce without any improvements such as farms and mines, Movement Cost, i.e. how many movement points it takes to move into the Tile, and Defensive Bonus, i.e. how the strength of your units is modified if they are in combat.

  • Grassland – Base Production = 2 Food, Movement Cost = 1, and Defensive Bonus = -33%
  • Plains – Base Production = 1 Food and 1 Production, Movement Cost = 1, and Defensive Bonus = -33%
  • Desert – Base Production = Nothing, Movement Cost = 1, and Defensive Bonus = -33%
  • Ocean – Base Production = 1 Food and 1 Gold, Movement Cost = 1
  • Lake – Base Production = 2 Food and 1 Gold , Movement Cost = 1
  • Tundra – Base Production = 1 Food, Movement Cost = 1
  • Snow – Base Production = None, Movement Cost = 1, and Defensive Bonus = -33%

These basic Terrain Types can then be modified by Terrain Features, which can be stacked. For example, you could have a Plains tile with Hills and a Forest.

  • Hills – Base Production = 0 Food and 2 Production, Movement Cost = 2, and Defensive Bonus = +25%. Note that the Base Production for Hills will be 0 Food and 2 Production regardless of the underlying Terrain Type.
  • Forest – Base Production = 1 Food and 1 Production, Movement Cost = 2, and Defensive Bonus = +25%. Note that the Base Production for tiles with Forests will be 1 Food and 1 Production regardless of the underlying Terrain Type. But Forests can be cleared by Workers once Mining is discovered.
  • Jungle – Production effect = -1 Production, Movement Cost = 2, and Defensive Bonus = +25%. Jungles can be cleared by Workers once Bronze Working is discovered, and should be.
  • Mountain – Production = 0, Movement = impassable except for Air units, and for Carthaginian units once they have earned a Great General. Defensive Bonus = +25%
  • River – Rivers run along the borders of tiles. They add +1 Gold. Attacking across a river reduces your attack strength by 20%. Crossing a river will end movement for most units unless there is a road with a bridge.
  • Marsh – Production effect = -1 Food, Movement Cost = 2. Can be removed by workers once Masonry is discovered. If you have a Marsh tile in your city, have the workers remove the Marsh before you attempt to work the tile.
  • Coast – These are the water tiles with relatively shallow water along the coast of a land mass. They are lighter in color than deep ocean tiles. Coast tiles can be traveled on by early water units which cannot travel on the deeper ocean tiles. Coast tiles produce one gold each.
  • Flood plains – These tiles can be found sometimes along river banks. They produce 2 food, but can also produce disease outbreaks.
  • Oasis – Produce +3 Food and +1 Gold. These tiles cannot be improved other than to add roads and railroads.
  • Ice – At the top and bottom of the map are ice tiles representing the north and south poles. Airplanes can fly over these tiles, and submarines can go under them, but otherwise they are impassable
  • Fallout – Once nuclear weapons have been discovered, you can have tiles that are covered by fallout. This will reduce food by 3, production by 3, and gold by 3. Movement cost is 2. In practice this will mean the tile produces nothing. A Worker unit can clean this up, but it will take time. So until that happens, you should look for opportunities to move your citizen into some other occupation until it is cleaned up. And you have to clean it up before building or restoring any improvements.
  • Atoll – This tile type was added in a patch with the Polynesian DLC. It is an ocean tile that produces 1 Food and +1 Production. Movement cost is 1.

Admittedly, this is a lot of detail to take in, but there are a few basic rules you might want to keep in mind. First, you don’t want to settles cities where there are lots of Desert, Tundra, or Snow tiles. One or two Tundra tiles are OK if there are other positive features, like access to a luxury resource, but Desert and Snow tiles are completely useless. Again if there are lots of desirable tiles available, having one or two Desert or Snow is not problem, since in most cases you never will work all of the tiles in most cities. But look for the good tiles. Similarly, Mountain tiles are not generally useful, however if you are going for a Science victory they can be handy if you settle a city immediately adjacent to a mountain, since that will let you build an Observatory in the city. Observatories cost zero maintenance and add 50% to the science output of the city, making them very valuable. Mountains are also handy as barriers to keep away your enemies. Jungle tiles can also cause disease outbreaks, but clearing the jungle from the tile will put a stop to that. I will always clear away any jungle or Marsh tiles within my cities. Defensive bonuses are also important, but that is better covered when we get to warfare.

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