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Managing Cities in Civilization 5

by: Christian Cawley ; edited by: Michael Hartman ; updated: 4/17/2012 • Leave a comment

There is more to Civilization 5 city management than just building random projects - you need to have a strategy!

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    Build for the Future! Guide to Civilization 5 City Management

    One of the most overlooked aspects of Civilization 5 is city management, the art of ensuring that the people remain happy while the civilization is developed with bonus-generating city improvements and managing resources.

    For instance, many people miss out on building a granary, despite the popular boost that this improvement offers, while others ignore a barracks despite it delivering a choice of experience upgrades to the units produced there.

    With city improvements timed at the right moment you can also take advantage of golden ages, thereby delivering a massive productivity boost for your civilization!

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    Civilization 5 City Management – the Basics

    The Civilization 5 cCity screen   Launching straight into a game of Civilization 5 the first thing you should do is use your first city to build a military unit, a Worker, and a Settler. After this you can start working on city improvements (unless you have hit upon a poor starting point, in which case you should build a granary which will improve your food yield), with the Granary,Library and Marketplace your key opening builds.

    This much remains the same from the earlier releases of Civilization, and similarly you need to keep on top of which city improvements you make and when. For instance moving to a university or bank after building a Library and Marketplace should be done as soon as these technologies are available if you are to yield the benefits of increased scientific and economic output.

    It is also worth keeping your border cities focusing on military and defensive units. Ensure that you have Barracks and City Walls built in these cities, and use Worker units to construct forts on suitable tiles.

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    Managing the City Focus

    Guide to Civilization 5 Citizen management   Along with selecting these basic city improvements as a starting point – something you should plan to do early across as many cities as possible for the most efficient empire – you can focus the growth of your cities in a particular direction via the city screen.

    By expanding the Citizen Management menu in the upper-right corner of the city screen you can select from a Default Focus as well as force the city to concentrate on Food, Gold, Science, Culture, Great Persons and Production. These all have their advantages and disadvantages and can be used to good effect in various circumstances.

    The focus of production on these types of resources can have a negative impact on others, however, so choose carefully. Note that if you adjust things too much and end up with undesirable changes you can put the governor back in charge by reselecting the Default Focus and clicking on the City Center tile to reassign your workforce.

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    Benefits from Special People and Wonders

    Guide to Civilization 5 City Management   Whether you intend to focus on Great People and Wonders at the city production level or if you are just happy for them to come along when the prequisite levels are met, you can get great benefits from them and city wonders.

    Great People are born when a certain city reaches a certain score for production of that type of person. For instance, a Great Merchant will have a greater chance of being created in a city with a specialist merchant. This can be controlled via the Specialist Buildings section on the right-side of the city screen, and by default this is automatic. You can override this using the Manual Specialist Control tick box, however, although this is rarely required.

    When Great People are born they deliver useful bonuses to your civilization – for instance a Great Merchant can be used to curry favour with a city state as well as create the Custom House improvement which has a huge gold output.

    Meanwhile the ultimate city improvement is the Wonder, which can have a huge effect on your culture, economy and science output. The cost of this is a huge investment in production resources, so choosing your Wonder wisely is important.

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    All references and screenshots from Civilization V