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Civilization V: India Guide

by: Simon Hill ; edited by: Michael Hartman ; updated: 4/17/2012 • Leave a comment

This guide is for anyone interested in leading India to victory in Civilization V. Find out what units, buildings and wonders to go for, and learn a winning strategy. This is your Civ V India guide.

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    Give Peace a Chance

    In the early versions of Civ it was very difficult to win the game without engaging in warfare. Over the years the number of possible victory conditions has grown. There have also been some major changes to the combat system and diplomacy. Playing Civ V with India now it is perfectly possible to win a victory through peaceful means. In fact you can win the game with just three cities (which will give you the Bollywood achievement). Find out how in this Civ V India guide.

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    Best Victory Conditions for India

    Bollywood Unlocked   Gandhi was one of the most famous leaders ever to grace the planet and his non-violent protests have colored our opinion of India. While other moments in history may not suggest an aversion to warfare, in Civ V India is best played as a peaceful nation. The most obvious approach to go for is a cultural victory but you could also aim for a diplomatic victory. We’ll focus on cultural here because that’s the victory you’ll need to get the Bollywood achievement (As Gandhi, win a cultural victory with three or fewer cities in your empire).

    Check out our Civilization V Cultural Victory Guide and Civilization V Diplomatic Victory Guide for tips on these victory conditions.

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    India’s Unique Advantages

    Civ 5 Early   Every nation in Civ V has specific advantages. For India you get double the unhappiness from number of cities but half the unhappiness from population size. This means you want few cities but they should be huge. You can easily end up with the same population and territory as a civilization with far more cities.

    The unique unit for India is the War Elephant which is basically an improved version of the chariot archer. It is very useful in the early stages of the game because you can attack from range and it also has double the puny melee strength of a chariot archer, although the movement is slightly reduced.

    The unique building for India is the Mughal Fort which is a vastly improved version of the Castle. You need to build these in every city. You’ll get +9 defense and +2 culture and once Flight is researched you’ll get gold too. You need to build Walls before you can build a Mughal Fort.

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    Civ V India Defensive Tips

    You’ll have an easier time if you play on an Archipelago or Continents map. It can be done on Pangaea but it will be tougher. The simple reason for this is attack from other nations. With few cities, and likely a small military, you’ll be perceived as weak and other nations will fancy taking a bite. You need to keep your military upgraded and it will be much easier to defend yourself if you have a small border. Consider using Great Generals to build Citadels on your border as they are a great way of defending narrow points of entry.

    The problem is your cash will be limited so you can’t match the larger forces of some of the other nations. Trying to score a win with India on a Pangaea map surrounded by nations like Germany, Japan, the US or China is not going to be fun. On the next page we’ll take a look at how diplomacy can help.

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    Civ V India Diplomacy and Trade

    If you are aiming to win the game with just three cities then you need to use your diplomatic wiles to maximum advantage. For a start you’ll probably have limited resources and luxuries so you’ll need to trade for what you don’t have. Make sure you build your cities on great spots, if you only have three then they all need to be powerhouses with good resources and luxuries. Remember that your city borders will expand a great deal so don’t build your cities too close together.

    The easiest way to pick up things you don’t have is to ally with City States. They’ll automatically give you whatever they have. For a cultural victory you’ll want to focus on the cultured City States because they’ll also offer a cultural bonus. If you can afford it I’d advise allying with any City State, especially those closest to you, because they’ll also give you military assistance. Military City States will even give you units. Pay attention to the requests that City States put out -- they are a cheap way of gaining favour (instead of having to buy it).

    It is also a great idea to make friends with other civilizations. Trade surplus resources and luxuries and form research agreements. Keep a close eye on their attitude towards you and try to avoid being pulled into a war.

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    Civ V India Buildings

    There are certain buildings you’ll want to make sure you get in each city:

    • Monument
    • Temple
    • Mughal Fort
    • Opera House
    • Museum
    • Broadcast Tower

    Civ 5 The Oracle   In terms of Wonders you ideally want the following:

    • Stonehenge
    • The Great Library
    • The Oracle
    • The Hagia Sophia
    • Chichen Itza
    • Taj Mahal
    • Sistine Chapel
    • Sydney Opera House
    • Cristo Redentor

    Make sure you build a Wonder in each city because the Freedom Constitution Social Policy doubles culture in all cities with a Wonder.

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    Civ V India Social Policies

    The most vital branches to go for if you aim to get a cultural victory are Piety and Freedom. Tradition is also handy for India because you’re likely to be small. Other than that I’d recommend Patronage for the bonuses you’ll get allying with City States. You may also want to go for Liberty, Order or Commerce depending on your circumstances.

    Remember you can hold the mouse over each policy to read what it does before deciding.

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    Winning Civ V as India

    As with every game of Civilization V a lot of your success will come down to luck. On the higher difficulty levels it will be especially difficult to avoid warfare and if you have aggressive and expansionist neighbors it may prove impossible. With the right defensive strategy you should be able to hold out and if the opportunity presents itself then go on the offensive and just raze any city you take. Showing some muscle can end wars more quickly.

    That’s it for the Civ V India guide. Good luck and post a comment to let us know how you get on.

Civ V Civilization Guides

Greek, Indian and Persian guides for Civilization V.
  1. Civilization V: Greek Guide
  2. Civilization V: Persia Guide
  3. Civilization V: India Guide