This post does well in Google, but the game has been patched many times and the first expansion (Gods & Kings) and now the second expansion (Brave New World) have been released. I jotted down my final thoughts on Civ V vanilla and some refinements to my basic strategy post expansions.
I took a couple week’s break from Civ V, but I recently completed my most successful game according to the scoring system. I’ve been making notes and this is the tech progression I followed.
First it doesn’t matter what you research, I generally choose tech that allows me to exploit the resources around me. My build order is generally a warrior or a monument first depending on the closeness of the enemy and any barbarians. I usually build a worker then a settler and settle my second city before starting on a wonder. I’ve come to really like Stonehenge, but the Oracle is pretty cool. I also occasionally build the Colossus or even the Great Wall. The one I target though is Stone Hedge for the big culture boost.
Before following this tech tree you probably want to research Mining, Animal Husbandry, and Calendar so you can build mines, ranches, and plantations.
- Writing lets you sign research pacts and leads to building some city improvements you will need.
- Construction is a must for the ability to build coliseums which keep your people happy.
- Iron Working Steel is the key military technology, but rushing towards it is counter productive. In order to exploit Steel you need lots of iron, so find it or acquire it early, the more the better. If you can’t find iron, you won’t be able to take fortified cities without a huge effort.
- Wheel is necessary as by now you probably have a couple cities, researching this lets you connect them with roads.
- Currency because cash is King in Civ V. You can use it do so much, this tech lets you build the marketplace and increases your income by 25% in cities where you build them.
- Steel if you don’t have lots of iron, you aren’t going to rule the world, at least not until further on in the tech tree. The Long Swordsman is the best unit in the game for a long time. It is significantly better than the opposition’s other non-unique options. Civilizations with a unique Long Swordsman may be something to investigate further as this is the best chance to have a technical advantage over your enemy until the arrival of Riflemen and Infantry.
- Navigation is the other key military technology. I’ve played Civ forever and I used to target Astronomy so I could build the Caravel and explore the world. However in Civ V it is worth pressing on if you have lots of iron so you can build Frigates which are necessary to launch an invasion of another continent. An armada of Frigates can sail up to a city and bombard it allowing a lesser army to take it once weakened. Without enough iron this tactic won’t work and at higher difficulty levels is tough to pull off.
- Banking because cash is still King, this allows you to build banks and make more money in your cities.
- Acoustics is a personal favourite as it allows for the construction of the Sistine Chapel which increases culture production by 33% in every city.
- Chemistry is the final key military technology, it allows you to build cannon which don’t require iron, but are necessary to take down the toughest cities. They are also good at defending cities, they are more powerful than Frigates so their arrival on the battlefield is a big advantage to those who have cannons over those who do not.
Once you’ve researched all this you should have a pretty good idea if you’re still in the game with a chance to win. I’m generally a peaceful builder who likes to have a strong culture. However without a sufficiently strong and numerous army, the AI will pick on you even if they are ‘Friendly’. Thus it is necessary to prioritize certain military technologies and the acquisition of iron. After iron the next most important resource is coal so you can build factories. However it is possible to win the game militarily before that, a cultural victory is unlikely and a space or diplomatic victory is impossible without almost completing the entire tech tree.
Military is probably the easiest way to win, but the scoring system, which hasn’t been completely revealed or reversed engineered seems to reward large advance civilizations rather than quick victories. My highest scores are on easier levels too which seems the opposite of how Civ used to be scored. I think it is easiest to win diplomatically if you can hang on that long and buy enough friends among the minor powers. Winning the Space Race or a Cultural Victory takes a long time and a lot of work.