Civilization V

Civilization V
Sid Meier's Civilization V
Developer(s) Firaxis Games
Publisher(s) 2K Games
Designer(s) Jon Shafer
Series Civilization
Version PC (August 11, 2011; 2 months ago (2011-08-11))[1]

Mac (September 29, 2011; 38 days ago (2011-09-29))[2]

Platform(s) Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X[3]
Release date(s) Microsoft Windows[4]
  • NA September 21, 2010
  • EU September 24, 2010
Mac OS X
November 23, 2010[5]
Genre(s) Turn-based strategy, 4X
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer
Media/distribution DVD, download[7]
System requirements

Sid Meier's Civilization V (also known as Civilization 5 or Civ 5) is a turn-based strategy, 4X computer game developed by Firaxis, released on Microsoft Windows in September 2010[4] and on Mac OS X on November 23, 2010.[5] It is the latest game in the Civilization series.

In Civilization V, the player leads a civilization from prehistoric times into the future on a procedurally-generated map, achieving one of a number of different victory conditions through research, diplomacy, expansion, economic development, government and military conquest. The game is based on an entirely new game engine with hexagonal tiles instead of the square tiles of earlier games in the series.[9] Many elements from Civilization IV and its expansion packs have been removed or changed, such as religion and espionage. The combat system has been overhauled, removing stacking of military units and enabling cities to defend themselves by firing directly on nearby enemies.[10] In addition, the maps contain computer-controlled city-states as non-player characters that are available for trade, diplomacy and conquest. A civilization's borders also expand one tile at a time, favoring more productive tiles,[11] and roads now have a maintenance cost, making them much less common.[12]

The game features community, modding, and multiplayer elements.[9]



Civilization V is a turn-based strategy game, where each player represents the leader of a certain nation or ethnic group ("civilization") and must guide its growth over the course of thousands of years. It starts with the founding of a small primitive settlement and ends after achieving one of the victory conditions—or surviving until the number of game turns end, at which point the highest-scoring civilization, based on several factors, is declared the winner. During their turn, the player must manage units representing civilian and military forces: directing units to explore the world, found new cities, go into battle to take over other civilizations, control production in their cities to produce new units and buildings, improve land, handle diplomacy with other civilizations in the game, and finally direct the civilization's growth in technology, culture, food supply, and economics. Victory conditions can include taking over the entire world by force, convincing the other civilizations through diplomacy to acknowledge you as a leader, building the "Utopia Project" wonder by adopting social policies or winning the space race to build a colony ship to reach a nearby planet.

Computer controlled states

The artificial intelligence (AI) in Civilization V is designed to operate on four levels: the tactical AI controls individual units; the operational AI oversees the entire war front; the strategic AI manages the entire empire; and the grand strategic AI sets long-term goals and determines how to win the game. The four levels of AI complement each other to allow for complex and flexible AI behaviors.[10]

Each of the AI-controlled leaders has a unique personality, determined by a combination of 'flavors' on a ten-point scale; however, the values may differ slightly in each game.[10] There are 26 flavors, grouped into categories including growth, expansion, wide strategy, military preferences, recon, naval recon, naval growth, and development preferences.[13]


As in previous versions, cities remain the central pillar of Civilization gameplay. A city can be founded on a desired location by a settler unit, and the city will grow in population, produce units and buildings, and generate research and wealth.[14] The city will also develop culturally and expand its borders one tile at a time, which is critical in claiming territory and resources. The expansion process is automated and directed towards the city's needs, but it can be accelerated with gold.[10] Cities can use up to three tiles outwards, instead of two.[15]

City warfare has been revamped. Whereas cities in previous versions of Civ relied entirely on garrisoned units for defense, cities in Civ 5 now defend themselves, and can attack invading units with a ranged attack expanding two tiles outward. Cities have hitpoints that, if taken down to zero, will signal the city's defeat to invading forces, surviving an attack a fraction of a cities hitpoints recover automatically every turn. In addition, any melee unit loses hitpoints upon attacking a city. Hitpoints can be increased by garrisoning a unit in the city or building defensive structures.[15] Captured cities can be annexed, razed, or transformed into puppet states, each option having distinct advantages and disadvantages; for example, puppet states will provide resources and have lower unhappiness, but cannot be directly controlled.[16]

Units and combat

In this iteration of the series, tactical gameplay will be encouraged over numbers, with the introduction of new gameplay mechanisms. Most significantly, the square grid of the world map has been removed in favor of a hexagonal grid, a feature inspired by the 1994 game Panzer General, according to lead designer Jon Shafer.[17] In addition, each hexagonal tile, including city tiles, can accommodate only one military unit at a time, forcing armies to spread out over large areas instead of piling onto a single tile. This has the effect of moving most large battles outside of the cities, and forces increased realism on sieges, which are now most effective when surrounding the city tile.[10][16] Also, increased movement points, simpler transportation over water, ranged attacks, and swapping of adjacent units allows for more versatile maneuvering of units.[10][16][18] There is also a balance between ranged and melee units. Early ranged units can attack melee units without retribution, but melee units will outright destroy ranged units.

Units take longer to produce than in previous games from the series, making them more valuable. As they defeat enemy units, units may be either promoted for bonuses or forgo their promotion to be completely healed. Another departure from previous games is that units are no longer always destroyed if defeated in combat.[19]

Special "Great Person" units are still present in the game, providing special bonuses to the civilization that births them, with each named after a historic figure such as Albert Einstein or Leonardo da Vinci. Great people come in several varieties, and can be consumed to produce one of 3 effects; start a golden age, build a unique terrain improvement, or perform a unique special ability. For example; a Great General can create a 'Citadel' (an improved fort with the ability to inflict damage on nearby enemy units), or increase the combat strength of nearby friendly units (this is the only ability that does not require the consumption of the unit). Capturing a Great Person destroys it.


Compared to previous titles in the series, technology trading has been removed in favor of joint technological ventures. Two civilizations at peace can form a research agreement, which for an initial investment of gold provides both a certain amount of science so long as they remain at peace.[20] Prior to the PC version of the game, research agreements provided both parties with a random unknown technology after a set number of turns of uninterrupted peaceful relations. It is possible for a civilization to sign a research agreement for the sole purpose of getting an enemy to spend money which could be used for other purposes; AI civilizations are programmed to sometimes use this tactic before declaring war.[21] After the player discovers a new technology, a quote related to the technology is read by British actor Morgan Sheppard.[22]


City-states, a new feature to the series, are minor civilizations that can be interacted with. Unlike major powers, however, they only expand in territory and never establish new cities. In addition to outright conquest, major civilizations have the option to befriend city states, via bribery or services, for bonuses such as resources and units; these bonuses increase as players advance to new eras. There are three types of city-states, each with different personalities and bonuses: maritime, cultured, and militaristic. A city state has the potential to play a prominent role in diplomacy among larger civilizations, as well as make specific requests and grant rewards.[23]

Social policies

In a change to the culture system, in Civilization V players have the ability to "purchase" social policies at the expense of earned culture.[24] These social policies are made up of ten separate trees (some trees are mutually exclusive), and filling out five of the ten trees is a requirement to win a cultural victory. These policies replace the "Civics" government system of Civilization IV; the main difference is that the player had to switch out of old civics to adopt a new one, while social policies are cumulative bonuses. According to Jon Shafer, "With the policies system, we wanted to keep the feel of mixing and matching to construct one's government that was part of Civ IV, but we also wanted to instill a sense of forward momentum. Rather than having to switch out of one policy to adopt another, you build upon the policies already unlocked. The thought process we want to promote is 'What cool new effect do I want?' rather than the feeling of needing to perform detailed analysis to determine if switching is a good idea."[25]

Victory conditions

As in previous games, there are multiple ways to achieve victory in addition to military conquest. The player may focus on scientific research and become the first to assemble and launch a spaceship, winning a space race victory. Diplomatic victory requires support from other civilizations and city states in the United Nations. In the revamped culture system of Civilization V that consists of social policy "trees", the cultural victory involves filling out five of the ten "trees" and completing the Utopia project (reminiscent of the Ascent to Transcendence secret project in Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri).[16] World domination is of course an option, but the victory condition has been simplified compared to previous games in the series. Rather than completely destroying the other civilizations, the last player who controls their original capital wins by conquest.[26] You can also win by having the highest score at the year 2050 AD.

Civilizations and leaders

There are 18 civilizations available in the standard retail version of Civilization V. The player chooses a civilization and assumes the role of its leader, based on prominent historical figures. Each leader of a civilization has a unique unit, another unique unit, building, or improvement and a special ability.[27] The player is able to interact with the leaders of other civilizations via the diplomacy screen, which features — for the first time in the series — fully animated leaders that speak their native languages.[9][10] For instance, Augustus Caesar speaks in his native Latin and Montezuma speaks in his native Nahuatl. According to Émile Khordoc, who voiced Augustus Caesar, the voices for the leaders were recorded in early 2009, approximately one and a half years before the release of the game.[28]

List of Civilizations in Civilization V[27]
Civilization Leader Capital Unique Unit 1 Unique Unit 2 Unique Building Unique Ability
America Washington Washington Minuteman B17 Manifest Destiny
Arabia Harun al-Rashid Mecca Camel Archer Bazaar Trade Caravans
Aztec Montezuma Tenochtitlan Jaguar Floating Garden Sacrificial Captives
China Wu Zetian Beijing Chu-Ko-Nu Paper Maker Art of War
Egypt Ramesses II Thebes War Chariot Burial Tomb Monument Builders
England Elizabeth London Longbowman Ship of the Line Sun Never Sets
France Napoleon Paris Musketeer Foreign Legion Ancien Regime
Germany Bismarck Berlin Landsknecht Panzer Furor Teutonicus
Greece Alexander Athens Hoplite Companion Cavalry Hellenic League
India Gandhi Delhi War Elephant Mughal Fort Population Growth
Iroquois Hiawatha Onondaga Mohawk Warrior Longhouse The Great Warpath
Japan Oda Nobunaga Kyoto Samurai Zero Bushido
Ottoman Suleiman Istanbul Janissary Sipahi Barbary Corsairs
Persia Darius Persepolis Immortal Satrap's Court Achaemenid Legacy
Rome Augustus Rome Legion Ballista The Glory of Rome
Russia Catherine Moscow Cossack Krepost Siberian Riches
Siam Ramkhamhaeng Sukhotai Naresuan's Elephant Wat Father Governs Children
Songhai Askia Gao Mandekalu Cavalry Mud Pyramid Mosque River Warlord

Downloadable content

Besides the 18 civilizations available in the standard retail version, additional civilizations are available as downloadable content (DLC).[29][30] Babylonia under Nebuchadnezzar II was announced as a bonus civilization included in the Steam and Direct2Drive Digital Deluxe Editions,[29][31] and later offered for all on October 25, 2010.[32] Mongolia under Genghis Khan as well as a Mongolian themed scenario was offered as a free update on October 25, 2010.[32] Spain, under Isabella, and the Inca Empire, under Pachacuti, as well as a similarly themed scenario were offered as the first "Double Civilization and Scenario Pack" on December 16, 2010.[33] The "Civilization and Scenario Pack: Polynesia" was released on March 3, 2011 and adds the Polynesian Empire under Kamehameha I.[34] The "Civilization and Scenario Pack: Denmark" was released on May 3, 2011 and features the Danish civilization under Harald Bluetooth.[35] On August 11, 2011 the "Civilization and Scenario Pack: Korea" was released featuring the Korean civilization under Sejong the Great.[36]

On August 11, 2011 a "Wonders of the Ancient World Scenario Pack" was released adding three new ancient wonders--The Temple of Artemis, The Statue of Zeus, and The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus--as well as a scenario based around the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. This was the first time that new wonders were added as DLC.[36]

Additionally, several DLC map packs were offered as a pre-order bonus from various retailers: Steam, "Cradle of Civilization: Mesopotamia";, "Cradle of Civilization: Asia"; Gamestop and, "Cradle of Civilization: The Mediterranean"; and "Cradle of Civilization: The Americas." All four maps were later made available for purchase through Steam. Coinciding with the release of the "Civilization and Scenario Pack: Denmark" on May 3, 2011, an "Explorers: Map Pack" was released featuring map types inspired by real-world locations like the Amazon and Bering Strait.[35]

Downloadable Civilizations
Civilization Leader Capital Unique Unit 1 Unique Unit 2 Unique Building Unique Ability
Babylon Nebuchadnezzar II Babylon Bowman Walls of Babylon Ingenuity
Denmark Harald Bluetooth Copenhagen Berserker Norwegian Ski Infantry Viking Fury
Inca Pachacuti Cusco Slinger Terrace Farm[nb 1] Great Andean Road
Korea Sejong Seoul Hwacha Turtle Ship Scholars of the Jade Hall
Mongolia Genghis Khan Karakorum Keshik Khan Mongol Terror
Polynesia Kamehameha Honolulu Maori Warrior Moai[nb 1] Wayfinding
Spain Isabella Madrid Tercio Conquistador Seven Cities of Gold
  1. ^ a b The Inca Terrace Farm and Polynesian Moai are Unique Improvements constructed by worker units on the game map rather than buildings constructed within a city.


2K Games released Civilization V on 21 September 2010,[4] through retail and the Steam content delivery system. The Mac OS X version saw release on November 23, 2010.[5] In conjunction with its release, the State of Maryland, where Meier and Firaxis are based, named September 21, 2010 as "Sid Meier's Civilization V Day", in part due to Meier's success and for him "continuing a tradition of developing the talent and creativity of future generations".[37]

A special edition of Civilization V was also set for worldwide release on the same day as the standard edition. The package consists of a 176-page artbook, a "behind-the-scenes" DVD at Firaxis, 2-CD game soundtrack selections, and 5 metal figurines of in-game units, as well as the game itself.[38]

A demo became available on September 21, the same day as the North American full game release.[39] It is distributed via Steam.[7]


Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
Metacritic 90/100 (70 reviews)[40]
Review scores
Publication Score C[41]
Eurogamer 8/10 [42]
G4 5/5[43]
GameSpot 9.0/10 [44]
GameTrailers 9.4/10[45]
IGN 9.0/10[46]
PC Gamer US 93/100 [47]

Civilization V was met positively by critics, achieving a Metacritic score of 90/100 after 70 reviews.[40] gave it 9.4 out of 10.[48] G4TV gave it 5 out of 5, describing it as a "fantastic turn-based strategy game... In many ways... the best representation of the series and certainly the most accessible for new and old players alike", adding that the "diplomatic model is anemic" and describing the AI as "fairly average."[43] IGN gave the game an "Outstanding 9.0", saying "This is the first Civilization for PC that is worth just about every person’s time", but also criticizing the AI for being too aggressive and noting that players who played Civilization IV may miss the civics and religion features.[46] Gamespot praised the game's addictiveness, claiming it to be "yet another glistening example of turn-based bliss that will keep you up long past your bedtime".[44]

Some reviews were less positive, with the most common criticisms focusing on the game's artificial intelligence. says that the game features an "A.I. that can't play the game," and noted that the game has "some nice innovations that will make it hard to go back to Civilization IV. But in other ways, it's a disappointment that needs a lot more work."[49] EuroGamer gave the game an 8/10 despite their criticism that "[t]he AI in Civ V is still curiously terrible,"[50] while GameShark gave the game a B+ while stating that "[t]he computer opponents are ill equipped for the military side of things."[51]


As of 12 August 2011 (2011 -08-12); the Windows version of Civilization V has had regular patches since being released, which included major game play alterations, numerous crash fixes, and other changes.[1] The Apple Mac platform has received three patches: version released on December 16, 2010;[52] version released on April 19, 2011;[53] and version released on September 29, 2011.[2]


  1. ^ a b "Official 2K Civ5 Patch Notes". 2K Games Forums. 2011-07-06. Retrieved 2011-07-06. 
  2. ^ a b "Sid Meier's Civilization® V Mac Update Released". 2011-09-29. Retrieved 2011-09-30. 
  3. ^ "Aspyr Media to Publish Sid Meier’s Civilization V for Mac". Business Wire. 2010-10-19. Retrieved 2011-06-26. 
  4. ^ a b c "2K Games Conquers PCs with the Release of Sid Meier's Civilization V on September 21, 2010 in North America". 2K Games. 2010-06-11. Retrieved 2010-07-23. 
  5. ^ a b c 02 Nov. "Sid Meier's Civilization V Mac Arrives November 23". Retrieved 2011-06-26. 
  6. ^ "BBFC Civ 5 Rating". BBFC. 2010-08-10. Retrieved 2010-09-15. 
  7. ^ a b "Sid Meier's Civilization V on Steam (Full version and demo)". Valve Corporation. 2010. Retrieved 2010-02-22. 
  8. ^ a b "Civilization V System Requirements". 2010-08-05. Retrieved 2010-08-08. 
  9. ^ a b c "2K Games Announces Sid Meier’s Civilization V in Development at World Renowned Firaxis Games Studio". BusinessWire. 2010-02-18. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f g Butts, Steve (2010-03-08). "Civilization V Preview". IGN. Retrieved 2010-03-09. 
  11. ^ "Civilizaton V Preview: Small Changes, Big Differences". Kotaku. 
  12. ^ "Civilization V to eradicate road spaghetti?". Kotaku. 
  13. ^ [1].
  14. ^ Andrew Park (2010-03-10). "Civilization V Impressions — First Look". GameSpot. Retrieved 2010-07-22. 
  15. ^ a b "Civilization V Analyst — Cities". 
  16. ^ a b c d Tito, Greg (2010-06-16). "E3 2010: Civilization V Breathes New Life Into the Series". The Escapist. Retrieved 2010-07-21. 
  17. ^ Julian Murdoch and Jason Wilson (2010-04-30). "Civilization 5". Retrieved 2010-08-10. 
  18. ^ Charles Onyett (2010-06-15). "All About Civilization V". Retrieved 2010-07-22. 
  19. ^ 2KGames (2010-09-13). "Civilization V Gameplay Part 2". Retrieved 2010-07-22. 
  20. ^ "Civilization V Analyst: Civilizations". Retrieved 12 September 2010. 
  21. ^ Plomp, Robert. "Apolyton's Civ 5 Hands-on Preview".!. Retrieved 12 September 2010. 
  22. ^ Hardy, Nik (24 September 2010). "Review: Civilization V". Retrieved 24 September 2011. 
  23. ^ Staff, GameSpot (2010-06-15). "Civilization V Q&A--First E3 Details". GameSpot. Retrieved 2010-07-22. 
  24. ^ "Civilization V Review". MMGN. 22 June 2010. Retrieved 22 September 2010. 
  25. ^ "Civilization V Q&A--First E3 Details". Gamespot. 15 June 2010. Retrieved 12 September 2010. 
  26. ^ "Civilization V Analyst: Miscellaneous". Retrieved 12 September 2010. 
  27. ^ a b "Civilization V — CIVILIZATIONS". Retrieved 2010-07-22. 
  28. ^ "Latin — Civilization V". Retrieved 2011-06-26. 
  29. ^ a b "Buy Sid Meier's Civilization V Download". Direct2Drive. Retrieved 2011-06-26. 
  30. ^ "Civilization Fanatics' Forums — View Single Post — Preorders, DLC, and Bears oh my!". 2010-07-20. Retrieved 2011-06-26. 
  31. ^ "2K Games’ Sid Meier’s Civilization V Shipping with Steamworks: Steam exclusive digital deluxe edition and pre-order bonus item announced". BusinessWire. 2010-05-06. 
  32. ^ a b "Genghis Khan invades in Civilization V's Mongols Pack". NeoSeeker. 2010-10-18. Retrieved 2010-10-18. 
  33. ^ "Duke Nukem Forever Demo Goes Live Today | 2K Games". Retrieved 2011-06-26. 
  34. ^ "New Civilization V DLC announced". CVG. 
  35. ^ a b Tom Ivan. "PC News: 2 new Civilization V DLC packs land next week". Retrieved 2011-06-26. 
  36. ^ a b
  37. ^ Remo, Chris (2010-07-29). "Maryland Declares September 21 'Civilization V Day'". Gamasutra. Retrieved 2010-07-29. 
  38. ^ "Announcing Sid Meier's Civilization V Special Edition". 2010-07-09. Retrieved 2010-07-21. 
  39. ^ "Civilization V Playable Demo Release Date". 2010-08-27. Retrieved 2010-08-27. 
  40. ^ a b "Civilization V — PC". Metacritic. Retrieved 2010-10-11. 
  41. ^ "Civilization V Review". 1UP. 2010-09-22. Retrieved 2010-09-22. 
  42. ^ "Sid Meier's Civilization V". Eurogamer. 2010-09-21. Retrieved 2010-10-11. 
  43. ^ a b " Review". G4TV. 2010-09-17. Retrieved 2010-09-18. 
  44. ^ a b "Civilization V Review". GameSpot. 2010-09-22.;thumb;4&tag=stitialclk;gamespace. Retrieved 2010-09-24. 
  45. ^ " Video Review". 2010-09-17. Retrieved 2010-09-18. 
  46. ^ a b "Civilization V Review". IGN. 2010-09-20. Retrieved 2010-09-23. 
  47. ^ "Civilization V review". PC Gamer. 2010-09-20. Retrieved 2010-09-21. 
  48. ^ " Video Review". 2010-09-17. Retrieved 2010-09-18. 
  49. ^ "Civilization V Review". 2010-09-22. Retrieved 2010-10-17. 
  50. ^ "EuroGamer review". 2010-09-21. Retrieved 2010-10-18. 
  51. ^ "GameSharkreview". 2010-09-21. 
  52. ^ "Sid Meier's Civilization V Mac Update Released". 2010-12-16. Retrieved 2010-12-20. 
  53. ^ "Sid Meier's Civilization V Mac Updated". 2011-04-19. Retrieved 2011-04-19. 

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