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Civilization V Domination Victory Guide

by: Simon Hill ; edited by: Michael Hartman ; updated: 3/13/2013
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The most common way to win Civilization has always been military conquest. In Civ 5 a domination victory is easier to achieve than ever before. Find out what civilizations, wonders, policies, buildings and general strategy you should pursue for that military win.

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    Editor's Note: This article was originally published in 2010 and has not been updated since that time. We have placed the article in our archive.

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    Crush the Enemy

    In the old versions of Civilization you had to conquer the entire world in order to get a domination victory. This would generally result in a pretty tedious end game where you were polishing off your already broken opponents. It also meant the inevitable prospect of turning on your allies. In Civilization V the rules have changed and all you need to do to win a domination victory is be the last civilization to hold on to your original capital city. Sounds easy huh? Well it can still prove to be a pretty tough prospect especially with the new combat rules to get used to. If you play clever a domination victory is easy to achieve, let’s take a closer look at how to do it.

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    Best Civilizations for a Domination Victory

    • Civ 5 Persia   America
    • France
    • Germany
    • Japan
    • Persia
    • Russia

    It’s tough to narrow it down for a domination victory because there are loads of viable options, you could easily add Songhai, China, Greece, Rome and the Ottomans to the list. This highlights one of the flaws with Civilization 5 and indeed every Civ before it – even if you intend to go for a different victory you’ll often find yourself sucked into a situation where domination makes the most sense. The main reason for this is the fact that the AI is very aggressive and fighting a defensive war is pointless.

    America gets +1 sight for all land units and has the special units - Minuteman and B17. France has the Musketeer and the Foreign Legion. Germany has a 50% chance of converting defeated barbarians and they get the Landsknecht and the Panzer. Thanks to Bushido Japan’s units remain at maximum strength even when damaged and they have the Samurai and the Zero. Persia get 50% longer Golden Ages and during a Golden Age their units get +1 move and +10% offensive bonus, they also have the Immortal unit. Russia has the Krepost which increases XP for land units and the Cossack unit.

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    Best Wonders for a Domination Victory

    • The Great Library
    • Himeji Castle
    • The Forbidden Palace
    • The Great Wall
    • Brandenburg Gate
    • The Kremlin
    • Pentagon

    There are no real essential wonders for a domination victory but a lot of these options will really help. The Great Wall, Himeji Castle and The Kremlin will make it very tough for anyone to invade you. The Pentagon is great for reducing costs (50% less to upgrade units). It is also worth putting some effort into science so things like The Great Library are very handy for developing new tech.

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    Best Policies for a Domination Victory

    • Honor
    • Rationalism
    • Autocracy
    • Order
    • Commerce

    The first obvious choice is Honor which allows you to increase the strength of your military, improve experience and reduce the unhappiness and cost associated with war.

    Rationalism and Commerce offer a big boost to science and economics respectively. Neither is directly military but they certainly help support a military civilization.

    Autocracy boosts the strength of your units, reduces unhappiness and costs and allows you to double your strategic resources. With Order you can get an attack bonus in friendly territory, reduce costs and unhappiness and increase production.

    Obviously the big two for any serious military force are Honor and Autocracy.

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    Best Buildings for Domination Victory

    • Walls
    • Barracks
    • Armory
    • Castle
    • Military Academy
    • Arsenal
    • Military Base

    These are the directly military buildings and they offer defensive bonuses and the ability to build more experienced troops. If you are going on a big offensive then the defensive options will actually be limited in terms of usefulness, you only really want them in places you think will be attacked. The prime directive is to make sure your capital is impenetrable.

    A big military force and even military buildings are very expensive so make sure you have a sound economy as a basis. You’ll also need to take into account the punishing effect of unhappiness on your civilization if you conquer too many cities. This can be combated by constructing buildings that increase happiness and by making many of your conquests puppets instead of annexing them.

    Another driving force behind a good military is technological advancement so you can’t ignore science.

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    General Strategy for a Domination Victory

    Civ 5 City Firing   The domination victory in Civ 5 feeds into everything and that’s why you’ll often find it the easiest kind of victory to aim for, even if you started out aiming for something else. You need a good economy, good research and a happy population to wage war.

    Hitting out at the closest civilizations to you at the beginning of a game can work well. If you can crush an opponent before they have time to develop then do it. Remember to go to war on your terms, you don’t want to fight fair, you want to go to war the turn after you build a new military unit that your opponent doesn’t have and start by grabbing their workers and any settlers you can see to paralyse their growth.

    A combination of ranged units and melee units is best and keep a general nearby because he’ll give you an attack bonus (he can also be stacked on the same square as a military unit). Remember that you can’t take cities with ranged attacks so you’ll always have to follow up by marching in.

    Alliances with City States can provide a great pretext for war because other people will often attack them. If you make sure to befriend military City States they’ll even give you military units as gifts.

    In order to win you only actually need to take the capital cities so target them specifically. The chances are you’ll take a few others too but don’t be afraid to raze them or create puppets. If your empire gets too big the effect on happiness can be devastating.

    Hope this guide helps you to crush your opponents. If you have anything to add post a comment.

This article has been placed in our ARCHIVE.

Civilization V: Guide to Victory

This guide will show you how to win Civilization 5. We explain the best approach for each victory condition and suggest strategies that will pay off. You'll find the best civilizations, wonders, buildings, policies and general strategies for any kind of Civ 5 victory here.
  1. How to Win Civilization 5
  2. Civilization V Cultural Victory Guide
  3. Civilization V Diplomatic Victory Guide
  4. Civilization V Scientific Victory Guide
  5. Civilization V Domination Victory Guide


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