Best Social Policy Civ 5 Brave New World: Social Policy Info & Strategy Guides

Strategy Guides for Gods and Kings & Brave New World

Civ 5 Social Policies Guide
Tradition Liberty Honor Piety Patronage Aesthetics Commerce Exploration Rationalism

The Civilization 5 Social Policy screen with all Social Policies Adopted

About Social PoliciesSocial Policies are one of the primary means of customizing your Civ and sending it in a direction toward victory. Choosing good Policies in the right order will be a major factor in winning a game. This Guide to all Social Policies will give you extra information on every Policy in the game, while also providing the in-game description of each Policy”s bonus. Ideologies will get their own separate Guide, which will be finished as soon as possible to go along with this Guide.

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Social Policies are purchased with Culture. Each City has its own Cultural output that determines border expansion, which is added to the Empire”s total for acquiring new Policies. The Social Policy screen (pictured above) can be accessed with F5 and shows the number of turns to your next Policy. This can also be seen by hovering your mouse over Culture in the top bar on your screen. Each new City you found will increase Social Policy costs by 10%, so bear that in mind and ensure that Cities have cultural buildings like Monuments, Amphitheaters, and Opera Houses fit with Great Works and taking advantage of Theming Bonuses where possible.

Social Policies have prerequisities, and must be unlocked in a certain order through a simple tree layout. There are five Policies per tree, so a total of 45 may be chosen, not including Ideologies. Below is a list of all 9 Social Policy Trees in Civ 5, with general information on the bonuses of each along with links to detailed articles with tips to help you decide what choices are right for your Civ.

Adopting (taking one point) in a Social Policy will give you its starter bonus while also enabling you to build a specific Wonder. Adopting Ideologies also unlock one Wonder each, so there are 12 that have this requirement. You”ll require the appropriate Technology, as well. Some less-popular Social Policies like Honor, Liberty, Piety, and Exploration have Wonders that are easier to build than others, even in high-difficulty games because there are fewer competitors for those Wonders. Others, like Tradition”s Hanging Gardens, Commerce”s Big Ben, and Aesthetics” Uffizi, are harder to attain unless you focus on constructing them.

Four types of Social Policies (Tradition, Liberty, Honor, and Piety) are available at start, with Patronage and Aesthetics being available in the Classical era, Commerce and Exploration in Medieval, and Rationalism unlocking in the Renaissance. If you have a new Policy coming in 20 turns and want to choose a new tree that is locked because your Scientific progress is not in the right Era, you may sometimes push Science in that direction to advance an Era and ensure that your next Policy choice is available. Add up the turn times on any research you must do and focus your Cities on Science if necessary to ensure this happens as planned. This is wise so that you can avoid adopting a tree that you do not necessarily intend to finish, nor need the adoption bonus from.

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Civ 5 Social Policy List

TraditionAdopting Tradition enables building the Hanging Gardens Wonder.According to the game, Tradition is best for smaller empires, and this is true, at least at the start. It is a good Opening Social Policy to choose because it heavily boosts your Capital, and that is really all you have in the early-game. Here you”ll find bonuses to Wonder production, greater growth rates for both the Empire and Capital, along with direct boosts to the Capital”s Cultural, Gold, and Happiness outputs. Additionally, garrisoned Units can be maintenance-free when parked in your Cities, which will also benefit from higher ranged attack damage when defending themselves.

LibertyAdopting Liberty enables building the Pyramids Wonder.Liberty can allow a Civilization to expand, and quickly. This is most often chosen for Civs you intend to play wide, because the Capital gets a boost to settler production. Expansion also includes building up your lands with Tile Improvements and making City connections, which this tree also accomplishes. Otherwise, it has Policies to offset the unhappiness that comes with a large Empire and the raises in Social Policy costs that come with founding new Cities.

HonorAdopting Honor enables building the Statue of Zeus Wonder.Honor strengthens your Military. Here you”ll find an increase in Melee Unit production, a free Great General for early-game war and cheaper Unit upgrades. Your Cities will construct Barracks and other Military XP buildings faster, while making Units earn more XP from combat. To aid in keeping your empire happy, you”ll find a policy to give +1 Happiness and +2 Culture to each City that has a garrisoned unit. Adopting this by taking a single point will let you see new Barbarian encampments and gain culture from Barbarian kills. With Raging Barbarians, this can greatly accelerate the acquisition of new Social Policies.

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PietyAdopting Piety enables building the Great Mosque of Djenne Wonder.

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Piety is not a very popular choice for an opener, although it certainly can be used that way. In my opinion, this tree should follow at least a few points in Liberty or Tradition because the buildings and other bonuses you”ll receive won”t take effect until a little later in the game. It boosts Faith generation throughout the empire, makes a Temple give +25% Gold to its City, grants cheaper purchases with Faith, and allows your Civilization to select a Reformation Belief if you”ve Founded a Religion. Adopting all Policies gives a free Great Prophet to appear, and makes Holy Sites give +3 Culture.

PatronageUnlocks in the Classical Era. Adopting Patronage enables building the Forbidden Palace Wonder.Patronage affects your ability to befriend and Ally with City-States. You”ll have a higher resting point for non-Allies, which will help you become friends and Allies faster, while also getting more out of Gold Donations to them. Though City-state bonuses are great for every Civ, the reason most would choose this is to Ally with all City-States for a Diplomatic Victory. Aside from that, you”ll get a small Science boost (25% of what a CS produces), more Strategic Resources from CS Allies, and finishing it allows City-States to occasionally gift you free Great People.

AestheticsUnlocks in the Classical Era. Adopting Aesthetics enables building the Uffizi Wonder. The single most popular tree for attempting a Cultural Victory because of its affects on Tourism and Culture generation to get more Policies. You”ll find a free Great Artist, faster construction of Cultural Buildings, and merely Adopting this will give you a boost to the birth rate of Great Artists, Great Musicians, and Great Writers by 25%. Some might choose to adopt this just for that benefit, so that their Cultural output will be higher to adopt more Ideologies later in the game, even as a Warmonger they”re important.

CommerceUnlocks in the Medieval Era. Adopting Commerce enables building the Big Ben Wonder.After the changes in the 2013 Fall Patch, Commerce became one of my favorite Social Policies to choose. You are able to purchase cheap Landsknechts, which are like Pikemen, only specialized in looting Cities. There are boosts to Great Merchant generation and their trade missions, while your land trade routes will also generate more income. The reduction in road maintenance will greatly aid wide empires, but the best part is perhaps the +2 Happiness per luxury – you will get +6 per, which is a massive boost later in the game.

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ExplorationUnlocks in the Medieval Era. Adopting Exploration enables building the Louvre Wonder.Exploration”s finisher may be lackluster, in revealing hidden antiquity sites, but the rest is great if you have plenty of Coastal Cities. +3 Production is greatly helpful to a newly founded Coastal City, and you”ll be able to get Happiness out of your Lighthouses, Seaports, and Harbors – a major boost. The free Great Admiral may not seem like much, but the time these Social Policies are available is a time when Naval combat is becoming more important. Getting more of them will let you heal your fleet with one during a dangerous attack on a City, while keeping the Combat Bonuses by having a second around as they spawn 50% faster after you”ve taken that Policy. Those seeking a Cultural Victory should adopt this in order to build the Louvre, regardless of how many coastal Cities they have.

RationalismUnlocks in the Renaissance Era. Adopting Rationalism enables building the Porcelain Tower Wonder.Rationalism is the go-to for a Scientific Victory in Civ 5, though it comes later in the game. You should prepare for this by preserving Jungle tiles, building trading posts on them (and elsewhere) and having the Science Buildings necessary to take advantage of 25% faster Great Scientist production so that you can get a few more Academies while they can still make a difference. Later, Great Scientists get used for instant boosts to research to keep (or gain) a technological edge. One of the bonuses here, along with the Porcelain tower, both increase the Research gained from Research Agreements by 50% (100% total), so that is a centerpiece of this and the Trading posts will help. Most Civs will at least dip into this for a few Policies to keep them Scientifically competitive, particularly the right side of the tree.

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In ClosingThis should sum up the basics of Social Policies in Civ 5. Discuss good combinations of these or share other tips related to them using the Comments form below. It”s a great way to aid your fellow players, expanding the information to be found on the Guide and providing little details I may have omitted from the Guide.

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