by: Christian Cawley
; edited by: Michael Hartman
; updated: 4/17/2012
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New to Civilization V and looking for help? The first part of our tutorial for the latest version of the legendary strategy game is a good place to start...
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Get Started with a Civilization 5 Tutorial
Your first time playing Sid Meier’s Civilization 5 can be daunting – there’s the task of resource management, tech research, deciding what to build and where to explore, not to mention dealing with city states and early diplomacy with other civilizations.
In previous versions of the game it was possible to gain an early foothold with creation of settler units and rapid expansion, but now new elements exist which change this. A hard way to find this out is to throw yourself into the new game - a much less humiliating way is to follow the suggestions in a Civilization 5 tutorial such as this.
You see, playing Civilization 5 for the first time requires more than just a bit of settling and tech research, although those are two good places to begin…
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Exploring New Lands
It is vital to take a look around your initial city – Civilization 5 uses a “fog" that prevents landscapes, features, resources and other civilizations from being discovered until those map tiles are entered into. Note also that once a portion of the map has been left, if it remains ignored it will become darker – there is no way you can know what is happening within the map square unless you are able to send a regular scout to it.
Whether you use Scouts to explore or take advantage of some early Warrior units, finding nearby city states, ruins and interesting landscapes can all be beneficial to your civilization’s development throughout the game.
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Guide to Settling in Civilization 5
Finding the right areas to settle and build new cities is just as vital in Civilization 5 as in previous versions. Exploring will help you to find suitable sites, and with the creation of a new Settler unit (which in the early stages you should create in all cities once the population reaches 2) you should spot some useful map overlays indicating suggested locations for building new cities.
As a rule of thumb, you should be building close to at least one resource, preferably two. There are obvious benefits to building a coastal city, although note that there are also some drawbacks, such as being more open to attack.
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Making the Right Improvements
Since Civilization II the Worker units have been used to make improvements on your terrain, and while there is an automated option for this your civilization will gain more benefits if you micro-manage these units.
In automated mode, Worker units will just wander the map building roads, chopping down forests, replanting forests and basically acting randomly. This isn’t in your best interests, particularly early on when you want new cities to be able to benefit from the nearby resources. As such you should target these resource squares for improvement. When using the Worker units a small menu of available improvements will be displayed for you to choose from, along with a recommended choice.
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Chasing the Tech Tree
All Civilization 5 empires have specialist units and unique abilities available to them, and the best means of taking advantage of these is to study the tech tree and follow the path to success.
For instance if your civilization has its own version of the Spearman unit (such as Persia’s Immortal) then you should focus on developing all of the prerequisites for bronze working. Additionally you should aim to expand as much as possible and build cities near bronze deposits.
The tech tree covers all research you can perform from the ancient era all the way through to future technology; there are many techs and advantages that can be gained by planning ahead – but be flexible, just in case war comes to you before you’re ready...