Pin Me

Are You Prepared to Cheat to Win at Civilization 5?

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

Why would you want to cheat at one of the greatest games ever, a piece of entertainment software that has has many thousands of development hours put into it? Probably because the AI keeps beating you...

  • slide 1 of 6

    Why Would You Want to Cheat?

    Combat in Civilization V   It is very rare to find a game that really draws you in and gives you a great gaming experience that you’re still talking about the next day, but Civilization V is such a game. Like earlier versions in the series, the game puts you in charge of a tribe in 4000 BC, and charges you with the task of guiding the tribe to greatness, through the building of cities, managing resources, researching technologies and diplomacy.

    Civilization V offers an unparalleled gaming experience, one that you won’t find anywhere else.

    So why on earth are you looking for Civ V cheats? Well, perhaps you have been soundly beaten by choosing too high a difficulty level, or you want an instant fix to a problem you are facing. Perhaps your poor diplomatic skills are leading to worldwide nuclear war, or you’re just not “getting" the game.

    If you really must cheat at Civilization V, then the following methods are available; but be warned, they can seriously spoil your enjoyment of a superb game…

  • slide 2 of 6

    Play at Easy Level

    Lower difficulty levels offer more bonuses in Civ V   Probably the most obvious solution to any difficulty issues in Civilization V is to play at the easiest level. As well as keeping things simple in terms of trade and diplomacy (you won’t have to deal with any sudden betrayals from your friends, and if you do they won’t send much of an army after you) the lowest difficulty level, Settler, features various in-game tutorials and hints.

    The full list of levels is as follows:

    • Settler
    • Chieftain
    • Warlord
    • Prince
    • King
    • Emperor
    • Immortal
    • Deity

    Prince level is considered the “middle ground", a level playing field where both the player and the NPCs are on exactly the same page with no advantages; lower levels offer bonuses for happiness and maintenance costs and Barbarians are less bothersome. Note that in levels above Prince, the AI controlled civs get bonuses while you don’t, as well as additional starting units and techs.

    You may find through regular play that certain types of victory - such as the Cultural victory - are easier to achieve at some levels than others; however, if you do opt for a cheat mode, this building this level of experience will not be possible...

  • slide 3 of 6

    Reveal the Map via the Config File

    Another way of cheating at Civilization V is to gain a massive advantage through the map. This cheat is like having an aerial map of the world listing iron and coal mines, gold deposits and uranium sites back in 4000 BC, and while it doesn’t involve any serious cheating it should still be considered a massive advantage!

    To use this cheat, you will need to edit the config file, found in C:\Users\[username]\Documents\My Games\Sid Meier's Civilization 5.

    Config File Cheats for Civ V   Open config.ini in Notepad and look for the DebugPanel entry, which you can quickly find using CTRL+F and searching for the phrase. You should find it listed a few lines down the page, and you will need to update the entry from

    DebugPanel = 0


    DebugPanel = 1

    Once you have done this and saved the config.ini file, launch Civilization V and with your current game loaded tap ` (tilde, found beneath the Esc key on most keyboards) then select Reveal All. By enabling the in-game debug console, you have unlocked several functions, including the ability to view the complete map!

  • slide 4 of 6

    Use Your Own Map

    Create your own map in Civilization V   Thanks to the Civilization V SDK, it is now possible to create and edit your own maps using the WorldBuilder tool.

    So how exactly will this help anyone trying get an unfair advantage in Civilization V?

    Whether you’re playing against the computer or online with other gamers, using a map that you have devised gives you the sort of advantage that you suspect the computer has. For instance, you can specify the start positions of rival tribes, and potentially give yourself access to more resources. You might also adjust things so that your opponents have a lower difficulty setting that you, but this will only have any effect in single player games.

    Ultimately, this isn’t a great way of cheating, but using the WorldBuilder tool and the Civilization V SDK is great fun, enabling you to engage in some easy modding. Our series on using the SDK and WorldBuilder map editor and scenario creation tool explains this in more detail.

  • slide 5 of 6

    Using the Civilization V Trainer

    If none of these options are suitable and you simply have to be completely in control of Civilization V, then you will need to use the trainer tool provided by a Hungarian Civ fan, available from his home page at

    Different versions are available for the Civilization V demo and various releases, as well as whether you are running the game in DirectX 9 or DirectX 11, and with the trainer downloaded to your PC all you need to do is run the civ5 trainer.exe file and then run the game. With the trainer running in the background you will then be able to take advantage of various cheats, such as pressing CTRL+1 to get 9999999 Gold, or ALT+1 for Instant building production.

    Obviously this is the most extreme option; ideal for newcomers, overuse can spoil your enjoyment of a brilliant game.

  • slide 6 of 6


    Author's own experiences.

    Sid Meier's Civilization V,

    Screenshots provided by author.