Sid Meiers Civilization 5 allows you to start from a single settler and build a powerful empire from the ground up. There are five paths to victory including science, conquest, time, cultural, and diplomatic. Although this guide is focused on winning a Civ 5 cultural victory, many of these steps can also be taken for a game with any civilization and victory type.
The very first thing you must do is select a civilization, the one chosen for this guide to a cultural victory is the Aztecs. Read more below for a complete set of tips, tricks, and steps necessary for an easy victory.
Consider the Civilization’s Bonuses:
Sacrificial Captives – The Aztecs gain culture for every enemy unit killed, combine this with the social policy that also provides culture for each downed unit for an even better culture boost per kill.
Jaguar – A military unit that replaces the default Warrior. This unit is available from the beginning of the game and can heal some HP after killing an enemy unit, this survival bonus will help you to get the most out of the Sacrificial Captives bonus early on.
Floating Gardens – This is an improvement for any city built next to a River or Lake that provides food (2 + 15% of city’s total) and 1 production in addition to adding +2 food to each Lake tile that the city works. This one is not a huge bonus for a cultural victory, but the additional food to lake tiles and production this gives is helpful to any victory type.
Steps to Victory :
1. Choose a starting location near a river if possible. This will provide you with more gold per turn, faster population growth, and prepare your city for the future Floating Garden that will be built later. Building on a hill will provide more defense in case the city is becomes under attack.
2. What To Do During Turn 1 :
- Build a monument before anything else. This goes for almost any future city too. The monument will provide 2 culture per turn, so it is better to prioritize them to maximize culture output.
- Be bold with your initial jaguar. It heals whenever it kills so you can be daring with the early barbarians for an early culture rush. Do not forget there is an extra bonus for fighting on jungle and forest tiles as well as a speed bonus. Camping barbarian camps are efficient for culture farming. At the same time you should not let your jaguars die, having an army of upgraded jaguars will be a huge boost to the survivability of your army later in the game because of that same healing bonus.
- Research Pottery, the research that leads to the Writing technology.
Production in Cities:
Building the right city buildings as soon as a city is created will provide the right foundation for a prosperous and happy city, start with a monument. If the city is destined to make military units, create a barracks (and any other military buildings you can), otherwise build a library (then any culture buildings, followed by economy boosting buildings). Cities in danger of attack (from players and AIs, barbarians should not be attempting to take your city when the proper defense is present. Always add the available culture buildings as you research them.
- A garrisoned military ranged unit for each city, as well as at least one pair of military units to defend the tile improvements and workers from barbarians.
- At least two pairs military units actively seeking out and destroying and/or camping barbarian camps surrounding your empire (as more military units are built add to this army for added protection and coverage). This is the most important part of your military as it will be providing a good amount of culture if used properly.
- A naval military unit for each city on the coast, and a pair of ships to serve as a mini navy sent out to explore the seas (as more naval ships are built add to this navy, especially if there are many coastal cities and/or marine resources in your empire. If there is a lot of water area on the map, killing barbarian ships can become an extremely helpful and easy bonus to culture.
After researching Drama and Poetry, technologies should be chosen along the more cultural focused branches. It is almost impossible to give an exact order in which technologies should be researched in, as it is subject to the situations that are different in every specific game. A general guideline for the culture research branch is : Drama and Poetry << Theology << Education << Acoustics << Architecture << Archaeology << Electricity << Radio << Plastics
- Send jaguars out with at least one military unit partner for barbarian hunting and camping, this will reduce the chance of your unit losing especially combined with the Discipline social policy which provides a 15% combat bonus to melee units with another military unit (does not have to be melee) adjacent to it. Ranged units like archers are recommended. Keep military units around your cities borders as well to pick off barbarians looking to pillage your improvements for some easy culture. Continue to upgrade military units to be as advanced as the current technology allows, starting with jaguars.
- It is important to stay on top of building any new culture buildings that may have been researched in each city. Artist slots should be filled in cities if possible as Great Artists is the key to winning through a cultural victory. As soon as one is created, build it’s special building on a tile that will be worked constantly throughout the game, probably one in your capital city, or any city that is specialized to become a ‘super culture hotspot’.
Gaining More Culture : Social Policies
Essential Social Policies:
Recommended 5 branches to unlock for a cultural victory :
- Honor (army effectiveness bonuses)
- Tradition (food and population based bonuses)
- Piety (faith and culture bonuses)
- Freedom (Great Person and Specialist bonuses)
- Autocracy (more army and conquest bonuses)
- After unlocking all 5 branches, begin building the Utopian Project in one of your production heavy cities… once complete, victory is yours!