What Are The Best Civ 5 Settings For Playing Civ5 On Multiplayer?

AI Difficulty Level Differences and Advanced Game Setup Options Explained

Game Settings are used to customize your Civ 5 experience. Simply select Set Up Game and you”ll be ready to choose a Civ, map type, the size of the map, difficulty, and game pace. There is also Advanced Setup, where the game may be customized to your liking. You can use these settings to give yourself an advantage or handicap. The following will explain many of the game”s settings and how they can impact your gameplay – even potential means of exploiting them to win at a difficulty you”re not yet ready for. First, we”ll talk about Difficulty levels as it is the single largest factor in how Civ 5″s gameplay will go. Second, I”ll describe all the Advanced Setup Gameplay Settings and what they do to the map.

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Difficulty in BNW – AI Bonuses on Prince, King, Emperor, Immortal & Deity


Selecting a Difficulty: Differences in AI Bonuses Below

The table below lists the differences in difficulty for both the player and AI, and the bonuses the AI will receive on Prince through Immortal/Deity difficulty. All of this information can be found in Install Folder /Assets /DLC /Expansion2 /Gameplay /XML /GameInfo /CIV5HandicapInfos.xml. I will cover only the most relevant settings from this file. Price is the “Normal” difficulty, and at any point below that the Player will receive bonuses while the AI has penalties. Prince puts everyone on an even playing field. Settler, Chieftain, and Warlord greatly affect how easy the game is, as the AI will be stunted in growth both in how long it takes to acquire techs, buildings/units, and social policies. The lowest settings are for learning the game. Reading my Strategy Guide should be enough to help you win on Settler/Chieftain/Warlord and proceed to Prince, so I”m skipping those difficulties here. This is for comparison beyond those difficulties. Once you can win a game on King difficulty, you are winning without handicaps and in fact passing the AI despite its advantages. Because of the cumulative effect of AI starting techs, units, and general bonuses, difficulty increases somewhat exponentially each level past Prince. The AI does not get smarter, it only gets cheaper costs and more Happiness, which allows it to grow and produce buildings/units quickly the higher you raise the difficulty:

Civ 5 Difficulty: Player and AI Settings
Setting Prince King Emperor Immortal Deity
AI Extra Start Units1 1 Warrior 1 Warrior, 1 Scout 2 Warriors, Scout, Worker 2 Warriors, Scout, 2 Worker, Settler
AI Starting Tech2 Pottery + Animal Hus., Mining +Archery +The Wheel
Barbarian Bonus – You 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% Barbarian Bonus – AI 60% 60% 60% 60% 60%
Happiness Start – You 9 9 9 9 9
Happiness Start – AI 15 15 15 15 15
AI Policy Cost %3 75% 75% 75% 75% 75%
AI Research Cost %3 85% 85% 85% 85% 85%
AI Unhappiness from Cities/Pop4 90% 90% 90% 90% 90%
AI Unhappiness %4 100% 100% 90% 85% 75%
AI Food to Grow %5 100% 90% 80% 70% 55%
AI Building Cost %6 100% 85% 75% 60% 50%
AI Building Upkeep %7 100% 85% 80% 65% 50%
AI Unit Build %6 100% 85% 80% 65% 50%
AI Unit Upkeep Cost %7 85% 80% 75% 65% 50%
AI Unit Upgrade Cost %8 50% 45% 40% 35% 30%
AI Free Unit XP9 10 10 30 30
AI Bonus Combat XP %9 25% 50% 100%

1 – The AI begins with extra Units starting on King Difficulty. Normally, all players begin with a Warrior and Settler. The starting Worker on Immortal is significant, but not as powerful as the additional Worker and Settler on Deity Difficulty.2 – On King, the AI begins starting with extra Techs, which is why it gets harder to produce Wonders like The Great Library. They get each Tech listed, plus those in previous columns. Deity AI begin with Pottery, Animal Husbandry, Mining, Archery, and The Wheel.3 – AI Policy and Tech Costs are cheaper, which helps them afford those Policies despite their tendency to spam Cities.4 – The AI, by default, always has 90% of the Player”s Unhappiness from Cities and Population. Cities generate 3 Unhappiness + 1 Per Population normally. The AI gets this cut by 10%, then multiplied by their Difficulty-based Unhappiness Modifier to reduce it further. I believe this means a Deity-level AI would have ~67.5% Unhappiness compared a Human as a result (I”m multiplying 90% by 75%). This, combined with their starting Happiness of 15, is how the AI can spam so many Cities while continuing to remain in the positive.5 – AI Cities take less Food to grow – the base amount reduced by this percentage.6 – Buildings and Units cost fewer Hammers to the AI, meaning it will not take as much Production to build them. This does NOT include Wonders, however. The way the AI beats you to Wonders is the combined effect of lower tech costs and free Techs, essentially giving them a head start.7 – Buildings and Units require less Upkeep as well. This is how the AI can have massive amounts of Gold at times. We are lucky they do not all seek Diplomatic Victory, or they”d probably be able to get it every time.8 – Units cost the AI less to Upgrade to a more advanced Unit.9 – I believe that AI Units start with 2 Promotions from the get-go, without a Barracks. The Bonus Combat XP% comes from AIFreeXPPercent in the XML file, meaning Units do not take as much Combat to get Upgraded. I am not 100% certain of this, but it would make sense as the AI needs it to help it have powerful Units, since it is incapable of planning good Promotion-selection.

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From this table, it”s easy to see that the single biggest leap in difficulty is from Immortal to Deity. Each level is significantly more difficult to achieve Victory on because of increasing AI bonuses and the cumulative effect of them all. I recommend players avoid playing below Prince once they know the game mechanics. Those Happiness bonuses from Settler, Chieftain, and Warlord can harm your play as you”ll form bad habits and need to adjust later on. Also, the AI”s production of Wonders and Units is slowed substantially so you will not have a realistic view of how the game is paced. Start on Warlord and work until you win nearly every time, unless you find lower difficulties relaxing or prefer the game to be exceptionally easy. When you can win a game nearly 100% of the time on a given difficulty, try moving up and you”re likely to scrape by, then manage to improve your play further! I started on Prince and moved my way up to Immortal, just by breaking bad habits, learning mechanics, and taking time to consider my next move.

Civ 5 Game Setting Explanations


Civ 5 Game Settings found under Advanced Setup

In order to get more control over the game, click Advanced Setup at the bottom of the Setup Menu. Here, you”ll find over a dozen different settings that can allow you to customize your game. You are also able to use the City-State slider at the top to determine how many City-States will be in the game. Civs may be added to the game by selecting Add AI Player. You are able to delete them next to the “Team” setting (as you may set two or more Teams against one another). You may leave Civilizations to random or select for particular Civs to be in the game. In general, it is best to leave most of these settings to default, unless you want to experience something particular – such as a hilly world with many Jungles (young planet, heavy rainfall for example) Here are the Regular and Advanced Game Options and what they mean:

World Options

Map Type Continents, Pangaea, Archipelago, Fractal, and Earth are the Map Types for completing the Steam Achievement to Win on all Standard Map Types. Click Additional Map Types to find Maps you”ve purchased with DLC. Gods and Kings and Brave New World both include some unique Map Types, while others are unlocked with separate DLC. Picking a Map suitable to your Civ, for example Arborea with the Iroquois or Pangaea with a Civ that has powerful early Unique Units (like the Zulu or Huns) will let you play to the Civs” strengths.

Map Size Map Sizes vary greatly. More Civs and City-States produce a greater challenge, and you will need to expand to a number of Cities appropriate for the Map Size. You are able to adjust the number of Civs and CS in-game by making changes under Advanced Setup, as stated before. Tweak this to make more/less land available to each Civ in the game.

Here”s a comparison of the map sizes:

Duel Map – 40×24 (960 Hexes), 2 Players, 4 City-States, 2 Religions, 2 Natural Wonders.Tiny Map – 56×36 (2016 Hexes), 4 Players, 8 City-States, 3 Religions, 3 Natural WondersSmall Map – 66×42 (2772 Hexes), 6 Players, 12 City-States, 4 Religions, 3 Natural WondersStandard Map – 80×52 (4160 Hexes), 8 Players, 16 City-States, 5 Religions, 4 Natural WondersLarge Map – 104×64 (6656 Hexes), 10 Players, 20 City-States, 6 Religions, 6 Natural WondersHuge Map – 128×80 (10240 Hexes), 12 Players, 24 City-States, 7 Religions, 7 Natural Wonders

On Large and Huge Maps, the additional Policy Cost per Expansion City is reduced from +10% to +7.5% and +5%, respectively. Instead of +5% per City, Large Maps raise Tech Costs by 3.75% and Huge 2.5%. Unhappiness from number of Cities is reduced by 20% for Large and 40% for Huge. That means instead of 3 Unhappiness per City, you will get 2.4 and 1.8. This is to help keep things in line with normal costs, as you typically require more Cities to stay competitive on bigger maps.

Game Pace Game Pace will scale Tech/Production/Policy costs appropriately based on the Pacing you select. Quick is 40% less compared to Standard, lasting 300 Turns. Standard lasts 500 Turns. Epic is 50% more with 750 Turns, and Marathon costs are tripled with 1500 Turns.

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Game Era Selecting an Era other than Ancient is known as Advanced Start. Starting in, for example, the Renaissance Era will give you several Renaissance Units, a few Settlers and Workers, so that you are able to quickly found Cities and get them developed. Cities will start with a number of Buildings appropriate for the Era. You will have researched every Tech up to that Era and get several free Policies. On Prince Difficulty, you and the AI receive the same amount of Units/Buildings. On higher Difficulties, the AI receives more than you do. Use this when you”d like to try something different – starting with a 4-Pop Capital in the Industrial Era is an unique opportunity as you will have access to all buildings and may attempt different Victory conditions quickly. You will need to get Science Output up quickly in order to research new Techs, as the first techs will take dozens of Turns.

World Age World Age affects how many hills and mountains the World will have. An older World will have undergone more Erosion, while a younger World will have more hills due to less erosion. Civs that do well on Hills will benefit greatly from this game Setting. Cities are likely to have more Production and less Population as a result. If you want more open terrain, chose 5 billion years” age for your World Age.

Temperature This setting affects how hot/cold it is in the World. Temperate strikes a balance between the two, while you may make it colder to have more Snow/Tundra in the World and hotter to produce more Deserts.

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Rainfall Higher levels of Rainfall will transform the land, making more Forests into Jungle Tiles and Grassland into Marshes (think Rain forest) and lower will make fewer grassland tiles with more Deserts and plains. Since Resources spawn on only certain Terrain types, this Setting can change the availability of Resources in the game indirectly.

Sea Level The higher the Sea level, the less land will be above the Ocean. You can reduce or increase the percentage of tiles that are land/sea using this setting. It may be favorable for certain conditions, such as if you would like to play an Archipelago-style map with a bit more land so that Cities are able to grow a bit more, or have greater access to Strategic Resources.

Resources – Abundant/Sparse vs Legendary Start Legendary Start will give more resources at each player”s starting location, without affecting the total amount in the world. It does make managing Happiness much easier in the early-game and allows for faster expansion. Cities will grow quickly and produce much more Gold/Production with this setting. This does not mean you will have more Unique luxuries nearby, merely more of what you might have spawned with the normal setting. Strategic Balance ensures all Leaders will have access to Strategic Resources (Horses, Iron, Oil) from their starting locations.

Abundant Resources will increase the amount of Strategic Resources gained from any given tile by 30-40%, without altering whether or not those are within starting locations – finding one +5 source of Iron made to be +8 may be enough to arm your entire Military with Swords, for example. Abundant/Sparse Resource Settings also increase/decrease the amount of Luxuries and Bonus (Food) Resources found in the world by 35-40%. Overall, the best setting for ensuring you have more Resources is Abundant instead of Legendary Start. Legendary Start will not increase the amount of resources total in the world, just clump them closer to Capitals. I did not know myself that Legendary Start failed to increase total luxuries – that discovery was made by a user on reddit who did some testing with the Civ 5 World Builder. Follow this link to see his results.

Victory Types You may enable/disable different Victory Conditions here. For example, you may want to disable Science Victories so that players have to either win World Leader or Dominate through Warfare or Culture. This will not greatly alter AI behavior, but will stop them from winning in a certain way. Turning of Time Victory will allow games to go beyond the 500-turn limit, which can be helpful for Domination or Cultural Victories. If it”s taking 500 Turns to win Scientifically, you may want to work on your strategy and get Population and Research higher in your Cities.

Advanced Game Options

Max Turns This setting is off by default. It stops you from being able to play beyond Turn 500, whether Time Victory is on or not. With Max Turns off and Time Victory on, you can continue to play past 2050. Max Turns is equal to 330 for Quick, 500 for Standard, 750 for Epic, and 1500 for Marathon.

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Allow Policy Saving Allows you to wait before selecting a Social Policy or Ideological Tenet. Free Policies must be taken as they come. Use this if you prefer to save up Policies – for example, you”ve finished Tradition or Liberty and want to save Policies until the Renaissance to put them into Rationalism.

Allow Promotion Saving Allows you to skip selecting a Promotion when a Unit is first produced or when it gains a level through combat. Normally, the game forces you to choose unless you Upgrade the Unit. Allowing Promotion saving can give you some tactical advantages – for example you have 2 Promotions saved and could immediately place them into Drill to get a Rough Terrain Combat Bonus when the need arises. You could also save the ability to instantly heal the Unit.

Complete Kills With this game setting enabled, you must completely remove a Civilization”s Units for them to be removed from the game. In many cases, a Civ still has a Military or Civilian Units left after losing their last City. This gives them a chance to take it back.

Disable Start Bias Use this if you do not like the Start Bias of a Civ you”re playing. For example, Korea has a Coastal Start Bias. Enabling this option would allow them to start on Random terrain, as with all other leaders in the game.

New Random Seed When reloading the game, Ancient Ruins (Goody Huts) and certain Combat outcomes are already determined. If you like to save scrape and try for a better outcome, enable New Random Seed to see different outcomes with each game load.

No Ancient Ruins Disables Ancient Ruins, and thus the benefits they provide. This reduces the need for scouting promptly in the early game, and may allow you to delay doing so for a time. You should still seek out City-States, know where your opponents are, and find new lands for your Settlers to Expand toward.

No Barbarians Disables Barbarians. This makes the game easier on higher difficulties, as the player”s bonus against Barbarians diminishes while the AI”s increases. Use this Setting if you want to avoid needing Military Units to escort your Settlers. Know that you”re sort of shooting yourself in the foot with this option – eliminating Barbarian Encampments is a great way to earn favor with City-States and secure early Friendships/Alliances.

No City Razing Does exactly as it says. Normally, Civ 5 will not allow you to Raze Capitals. With this on, nothing can be Razed. This means when you capture a City you will need to either Puppet or Annex it – Cities can be sold to other Players, but Razing is a part of Warmongering that is very helpful. You want to eliminate badly-placed Cities rather than keep them and selling them to another Civ may lead to Land Covetry.

No Espionage Disables the Espionage System introduced in Gods and Kings and included in Brave New World.

One-City Challenge You will be unable to build Settlers or Puppet/Annex Cities. This is easiest with a Civ like Venice or Babylon who can get by with a lone City. Completing a One-City Challenge is a Steam Achievement, so I recommend you try it at least once!

Quick Combat Disables Combat Animations, speeding up Turns. When in a big war, it can help with the monotony of watching each single attack. Use this when you have got a little tired of watching the battles, or want to avoid those situations where a Bomber circles a Submarine 30x before returning to its home City. This may be enabled/disabled any time through the options menu while in-game. I like to leave it on for the early portion, and turn it off later on.

Quick Movement Disables Movement Animations. This greatly speeds up turn times, just because you will not have to see the shuffling of units for all City-State Allies and units within your Unit/City”s sight radius. Again, it may be enabled/disabled at will through game options, even in an existing game.

Raging Barbarians Greatly increases the spawn rate of Barbarians from Encampments. Does not affect the number of Encampments in the game. Civs like the Aztec thrive under these circumstances, as will any Civ that adopts Honor and farms Barbarians. There is a Mod on the Steam Workshop to remove the cap on Experience from Barbarians, allowing you to proceed past 2 Promotions. This can be incredibly overpowered, as you will be able to get Range/Logistics upgrades for your Ranged Units and gutstomp the AI so long as you farm Barbs.

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Random Personalities Every Leader in the game has a Personality defined through XML settings. This will make them unpredictable – you may run into a Shaka that is peaceful and prefers Cultural Victory. The possibilities are endless. Use this to mix up the game, such that you do not know how any particular AI will behave.

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