Civilization 5 Tutorial: Diplomacy, War and Government Guide for New Players

Civilization 5 Tutorial: Diplomacy, War and Government Guide for New Players
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What’s So Important About Diplomacy?

One of the key aspects of success in Civilization V is diplomacy. The thought of arranging trade deals and announcing friendships might not sound as impressive as declaring war on a rival, but diplomacy, like combat and building yoru cities up with improvements, plays a vital part in the game.

For instance diplomacy offers the opportunity to make friends with rival civilizations and city-states, as well as a chance of improving your popularity and standing, while awareness of combat and special units is just as important as having knowledge of the available city improvements and what benefits these can bring…

Diplomacy, Choosing Friends

Civilization V sees the formal introduction of city states, single-city rivals that can be used as a useful bonus. For instance making contact with as many of these states as possible is a useful tactic early on – at some point one should make a request for raiding barbarians to be vanquished, and by succeeding in this request your civilization will be looked upon favourably. City states require a regular tribute to maintain friendship, although this outlay can yield benefits such as extra units, particularly when waging war against a mutual enemy.

Meanwhile the traditional diplomacy aspect of Civilization is vital to understand – initial meetings with rival empires will require genial pleasantries, but how you deal with them thereafter depends on whether you’re planning to annihilate all opposition or a diplomatic victory. However rival civilizations represent a good means of making money, trading both resources and technology to improve your gold and your standing.

War and Specialist Units

Civilization 5 Tutorial: Diplomacy, War and Government Guide for New Players

This might mean steering clear of conflict early in the game if your civilization isn’t likely to develop its special unit until later on, so some expansion into unclaimed territories and consolidation might be required until you reach your civilization’s optimum time.

Different stages of the game require a different approach – early on, in order to destroy an enemy city you should use fast horse-based units to pillage the tiles around the target city while employing a catapult and archers to wear the city down.

While unit stacking isn’t possible – thereby limiting the force of your attack, the presence of a Great General unit (created based on certain criteria) will improve your forces considerably. When engaging in combat, placing your mouse over the target square will display a summary of how likely the attack will be to succeed. Unit types all have different strengths and weaknesses, so choosing the right units for combat in different scenarios is important.

Governing and City Improvements

Civilization 5 Tutorial: Diplomacy, War and Government Guide for New Players

Finally, take care when choosing city improvements to build. These can be used to great effect, but early in the game certain buildings should take preference. For instance you should build a Granary if you want to expand quickly and generate a high population, while a Marketplace is needed for the generation of Gold.

Civilization V sees a new approach to governance: Ten Social Policies are available, each a mini tree in its own right. These social policies offer a choice between Tradition and Order, Liberty and Autocracy, Honor and Freedom, Piety and Rationalism, Patronage and Commerce, and you can only choose one each of these pairs. Achieving all of the aspects of your 5 chosen Social Policies unlocks the Utopia Project which can be built in order to win by Cultural Victory.

The latest Civilization game is the biggest and most immersive version yet – with the information in this tutorial you should be ready to start playing and discovering the multi-layered strategic challenges that the game offers!


All references and screenshots are from Civilization V.

This post is part of the series: Civilization 5 for Beginners

Tutorials for new players to Civilization 5

  1. Civilization 5 Strategy Guide: New Players
  2. Diplomacy, War and Government in Civilization 5
  3. Civilization V Tutorial: Victory Conditions