It’s literally been almost 2 years since I made a guide on this site. My goodness …and to think that was the thing that got me blogging in the first place! This one was inspired by a friend whom I’ve been playing multiplayer with quite a bit lately. Added to this was the fact that the Civ boards out there are strangely sparse on newbie friendly guides. Here, I want to demystify the most basic concepts in game in the hopes of giving players greater insight on how to formulate strategies. Civ Fanatics, as always, has excellent advanced information for the veteran Civ player.
So there’s some basic concepts that one should understand when new to Civ. These concepts are introduced through gameplay, but they can still often seem mysterious to the newbie eye and impossible to tie into a big picture.
How To Win
Depending on the custom settings you chose for your game, there are five ways to win:
- Culture: Produced by cities, buildings, and wonders.
- Science: Produced by cities, buildings, and wonders.
- Domination: Destroy all civilizations on the map.
- Diplomatic: United Nations votes you as the leader
This is where everything that counts in any civilization is staged. Clicking on any of your cities will make the following screen appear as an overlay:
Complicated screen at first glance, this has most of the information you need to execute your strategies. This is where you can build city improvements, manage citizens, and buy parcels of land to expand your borders.
The City Stats Panel
- Food: Citizens eat food. After collecting a certain amount of food, a new citizen is born.
- Production: This is how efficient your citizens are at building. The more production produced, the faster buildings can be built.
- Gold: With this sparkly stuff, you can buy buildings, units, pay bills, and use it to trade with other civilizations.
- Science: Science is used for researching new technologies. The more science produced, the faster techs can be discovered.
- Culture: This expands city borders. Culture is also used to unlock social policies. The more culture produced, the faster policies can be unlocked.
Balancing these stats will help your city develop more efficiently. As there are four ways to win any given game, a player will focus their stat production based on that. For example, players wanting to achieve a Domination Victory will want high amounts of gold. One seeking a Culture Victory will want to produce lots of culture. There are DOZENS of ways to play and win Civilization. Experiment with things that help you adapt your own style.
The number of citizens in a city is important. Citizens work all those tiles you see, the hexagonal parcels. You can turn on/off the option to see the tile yields. I usually keep them on so I can have that information at a glance.
There are 2 tiles pictured here, both with their yields displayed. One tile has a green citizen icon over it (the right). This means that one of your citizens is working that tile, which means you’re receiving the full benefit of +4 food and +2 gold. The other tile is grayed out, showing that no citizen is working the tile. Nothing is being earned there.
The more citizens in a city, the more tiles that can be worked simultaneously. This will increase overall production of everything.
Finally, at the bottom of the stats panel is an icon that tracks city border growth.
The City Management Panel
This panel displays all the ways in which citizens can be managed. The very top panel has some automated options for managing citizens. In my experience, it’s a pretty decent tool on it’s own but should always be moderated by human judgement, lest you starve your city to death.
The Default Focus is a general mix of producing everything but at the same time producing nothing in particular. This means it’s inefficient. Food focus will force all your citizens to work on the highest yield food tiles. Same for Production, Gold, Science, and Culture. The Great Person (GP) Focus generally won’t be viable for cities until a little later in the game, when the player has options to construct buildings that grant GP slots.
Note that the player can also turn Growth off. This will only halt population growth, not border growth and it won’t do it 100% of the time. The AI will simply attempt to avoid growth.
The second panel shows that city’s progress with producing a Great Person. Below that, the third panel allows the player to manage Specialists. Specialists are citizens that work within the buildings the city builds. For example, in the city represented in the image, there are five buildings there which I built over the course of a game. I can select citizens to work in the Library and Public School. They’re represented by the blue icons, though the color of the icon is based on what’s being produced (science, culture, gold, etc.). The other buildings in the image don’t have citizens working in them.
Having specialists work in buildings produces extra stuff for you. This is based on the building type. So here, my specialists are producing *extra* science and GP points .**
Citizen management is the cornerstone of any winning strategy. As you can see, there’s a lot of activities that citizens can perform and their actions have all the impact on the development of your city. There’s plenty of room to experiment with different strategies and with all the options available to you city specialization is easy, if not all that straightforward.
** – This is in addition to other bonuses buildings grant automatically. If a building says “+4 culture” and has a specialist slot, placing a citizen there will produce +3 additional culture, for a total of +7 culture from that building.
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