Civilization 5: 2019-08-08 campaign

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Main: Civilization 5

  • Setting: Gandhi, biggest, longest and most of everything.


  • Cost to gain first Social Policy: 70 Culture
  • Tradition: +3 Culture in capital and -25% cost of border expansion - Since you get it as your first tech, the +3 culture per turn ads up early on. It might not give any tangible benefit early on, but it will pay itself off nicely. After 400 turns, culture cost will be about 3000, and it will have payed itself off 1200 of them, if you would think that you could be 1 culture ahead in another tree if you hadn't picked this up first. Also, the reduced border expansion cost will help the capital reach good tiles a lot faster, specially so for the capital, due to having 4 cultures per turn. This will enable to reach forests faster for early production boosts. And in any case, the tradition tree is a must complete due to it completion reward being so powerful. If you abstain from opening with tradition, you will lose the entire early game worth of +3 culture. Also, the follow up tech, Oligarchy, is really powerful, saving 2 gold per city, scaling up as the game proceeded.
  • Cost to gain second Social Policy: ? Culture
  • Honor: +33% against barbarians, notification when they spawn & culture when you defeat barbarians - three really good bonuses for the early game, all rolled into one. Enables hunting down barbarian camps for experience, safety, map control and gold, and required in order to eventually reach Military Caste.
  • Cost to gain third Social Policy: 180 Culture
  • Liberty: +1 Culture per city - Not that great, but it's a stepping stone to get the free settler.
  • Cost to gain 4th Social Policy: 320 Culture
  • Republic: +1 Hammer per city, +5 hammers when constructing buildings - It's better than it might look, it's about 10% increased production.
  • Cost to gain 5th Social Policy: 515 Culture
  • Collective Rule (turn 123): Free settler, capital builds them at double speed.
  • Cost to gain 5th Social Policy: 765 Culture. Changed to 800 after 2nd city. Changed to 840 after 3rd city.

Build Order[edit]

Started with:

  • Warrior

Build order of the first city is:

  • Scout - Ancient Ruins hunter
  • Archer - Barbarian hunter
  • Archer - Barbarian hunter
  • Archer - Struggled with deciding between this and a settler. But the vast map and the requirements to declare early war in order to control the first neighbours should give a greater output than an early city. I hunt for a few more Workers, but the second city needs to get online soon so the workers have actual work to do.
  • Archer - There is still a lot of unimproved hexes in my capital, so a new city would just sit with unimproved hexes. It can wait. And maybe I'll get to Collective Rule before it gets urgent.
  • Monument - Chopped down a forest, so I'll go for a fast monument now that I'm rushing Culture in order to get more cities.
  • Scout - Second Scout to aid the Archers. Got a City State to give me food to the capital, and just as well to get a 5th citizen and two more soldiers than a new city. The new soldiers will get xp, kill barbs for culture, get camps for more cash to transform into culture through a city state and eventually I'll get a free settler, and get my capital to the point where it's hexes are developed enough to pump settlers at half price, and also have enough soldiers to secure them and steal workers to have their hexes improved. A Scout needs to start early in order to fight easy enemies for a long time in order to reach 6 upgrades, and having two of them is really nice. This is the last unit that can be built with one city of 4 citizens (9 Supply), considering I have already captured two Workers.
  • Warrior - 23 turn until the free settler. New citizen and supply in 8 turns. Need more than one single melee unit. Oh, damn, I forgot about great persons. Oh well, I can live with 10% lower production until I get my second city soon. Oh... i didnt get a new supply from the 5th citizen. Looks like I get one for every two citizen. So I'll have to live with -20% for about 15 turns. That amounts to about two turns worth of production from my only city. Sure. I'll get a lot of experience instead.
  • Granary - it's a great investment, allowing me to focus on mines. A 6th citizen would cost me 165 food, and have an upkeep of one happiness and two food, and get me... well, two food since there is lack of improved tiles. The granary costs 180 production, and one gold instead of one happiness, and net me +2 food, in a time when working on all my mines would result in negative 1 food. Working on the silver mines will also result in more gold. Also, it won't make the next citizen more expensive, the way the 6th citizen makes the 7th citizen more expensive. I do lose 1 research, but that wont matter when I get my settler production going.


The early scout allows for hastily collecting Ancient Ruins on the map. The scout can give a lot of output, for example, two tech and 50 Culture in less than 50 turns.

Going early Honor on a large map allows for the Archers to farm (Raging) Barbarians. They do so without receiving damage, so they quickly get to move to the next one as soon as they respawn and i get notified.

If you find a barbarian camp within 5-7 hexes of a City-State, let it be until they put out a quest to get rid of it.

Having great map presence allowed me to steal an early worker, further increasing the output of the early military units built.

After having stolen 2 workers from the same City State and declared war against your neighbour in order to steal a settler, in case there was a second civilisation that witnessed it, declare war on that civilisation as well immediately. Having witnessed the first declaration of war, they are probably going to be very distrusting off you, as well as them being close to you. So you are going to end up going to war against them anyway sooner or later. Better to make that war declaration right now before you have meet a third civilisation that can witness your second declaration of war.

Attack both of them and steal settlers, loot land and make sure they don't get to have a standing army. If you manage to get the opportunity to capture a city before a civilisation further away witnesses it, go for it. But if you meet a third one, don't make any further aggression, just keep up the war as is, don't capture cities, don't make peace, just keep getting experience and keep them down. Use your spotless reputation with the new 3rd civilisation to engage in trade, selling of unused luxuries for top gold (7 per turn), while surviving off what you get from allied City States that you pay 10 gold per turn to keep as allies.

My previous tactic was to save 1160 gold to buy my first settler. I now realise that it makes more sense to try to complete a quest from a cultural City-State in order to get to 55 Influence, and then pay 250 gold per 15 influence (early game) to get them to allied status. The influence diminish at a rate of 0.67 per turn, meaning 250 gold spent to keep an ally returns 22 turns of output at a rate of 6 culture per turn. (6*22)/250=0.53 culture per gold. That's a pretty good conversion rate for early culture. That translate to 612 culture for the 1160 gold i was planing to spend on the first settler. For that culture I can get all the way to Collective Rule, hopefully at the same time as the first settler would be ready anyway. With Tradition already achieved, I get 10 culture per turn, 11 as soon as I get Liberty.

By turn 45, I caught my first Worker from the Napoleon. Turn 62 I caught the second worker from a City-State.

Paring a Scout and an Archer works really well. The Scout can take the barbarian camp the same turn the Archer finishes it, eliminating the risk of somebody else stealing it. The Archer wont need to close in if the terrain is rough, allowing the Archer to move to the next target quicker. The Scout can body shield the Archer, and heal back faster than the Archer would. The Archer can soften targets so the Scout can engage and get XP with much less damage taken and lower risk of death.

After getting your continent under control, try to go with your scout close to an archer. When they find a neighbouring Scout, have them both attack the Scout to pin it down. Have then the Scout repeatedly attack it to gain XP while the Archer makes sure it doesn't heal up. Have a second Scout move to there and they can team up against the lone enemy Scout, while the Archer can leave to hunt barbarians. A city can also work instead of an archer.


Barbarians are a great source for early game experience, gold, quests from city states and actually making it useful to to build, pay upkeep and rank up a large army to eventually send down an enemy civilisation.


Quote: "Barb camps spawn randomly. They can spawn any place that is not currently visible by a unit or empire border (+1 space around border). They can spawn in areas where the fog has been removed." (source)

Assuming the above, you should kill all scouts from other civilisations, as they lower the area around you that could spawn a barbarian. The more unobserverd area there is close to your borders, the higher the chance a barbarian camp will spawn there.

External links:

Camps close to city states[edit]

If there is a camp close to a city state, and you got a unit close by with nothing better to do, just kill camp in hopes it will respawn shortly after somewhere else. If you have several targets, always select the one further away from City States, in order to give the City States some time to target them with a quest. If you find a withing 4 tiles of a City State, you are in heaven. Park an archer between the City State and the camp as to body block the City State from destroying the camp. Shot at the barbarian in the camp until it would die from the next shot. Then wait for the camp to spawn a new barbarian, and then shoot the barb in the camp. The newly spawned barb will move into the camp. There is a weak spot were an enemy scout could take the camp, so kill all enemy Scouts, except for them actively in battle with your own Scouts, being milked for XP. Each time you repeat this, you get 12 Influence with the City State, worth a bit more or less than 250 gold depending on the era. Pay the City State to get to Ally status, and you got a permanent Ally that generates Culture!


Production is the measure of all other worth in the game. Nothing is done without it. Circumstantially, happiness might be a limiting resource, but in most cases, handled correctly, it should not.

Expected return[edit]

The most basic building will serve as a baseline to build expectations for return on investment. I will avoid buildings with relative output, so the Granary is the optimal candidate.

It costs 180 production, costs 1 gold per turn in upkeep and allows for caravans to transport food, outputs 2 food per turn increased by another food per turn for each Wheat, Banana and Deer. I'll value the caravan enabling ability to 0.5 production per turn based on nothing special. Assuming the granary will be primarily be built in cities with a least 1 of Wheat, Banana or Deer, while other cities take on other priorities, it's reasonable to value the output of the Granary to 4 production per turn. Minus 1 gold per turn upkeep, we arrive at an output equivalent to 3.5 production per turn.

180 production building cost divided by the 3.5 production per turn gives an expected return of 1 production per turn for a production cost of about 50.

This baseline value will be called the "production per turn for production cost" or PPTFPC, and it's expected value is 1/50 or 2% to match a granary.


Food is assumed to be worth equal to a hammer, as most choices require you to choose between a hammer or a food in increase.


Gold is worth about half a production. Most improvements increase production of tiles by one at a time, while increasing gold by two at a time.

The best use of gold are, in no particular order:

  1. Buying happiness from city states
  2. Buying food from city states
  3. Upgrading military units
  4. Starting research agreements

Upgrading military units[edit]

Professional Army:

    • 220 -> 145
    • 280 -> 185


Science can be considered worth 1 gold, considering that you lose one science per negative gold generated per turn.


Religion has mainly two roles. To create happiness, directly, or indicretly through the second role: Generating culture. There are several other benefits two it, but none that justify the large cost associated with starting one.

Done properly, faith based buildings can contribute 4, 6 or even more culture per turn to a city before it reaches it's second citizen, greatly increasing border expansion rate. It will also increased Cultural Policy acquisition rate, in contrast to new city without religion doing the reverse.


Playing as wide Indian, Godes of Love is by far the most useful Pantheon alternative. It enables you to get from 4 citizen to 6 citizen without any need of infrastructure support, in effect increasing your early game sustainable city size with 50%. This bonus is applied to all your cities, in contrast to those that enhance certain hexes.

In fact, i would argue that happniess is the main goal of Culture, and it makes to sense to get a culture generating Pantheon when you can get the end result straight away. Also note that you will never get this happiness any other way.

It could be argued that Happniness is only worth 1 gold per turn, and other Pantheons have output that is worth more. However, the Happiness that is bought through City States is global in nature, and the happiness from this Pantheon is local. Lacking this local happiness would require global happiness to be used to compensate, in turn limitnig the amount of new cities you are able to establish. Each global happiness that is used to create a new city enables that city to generate a lot of local happiness. Using global happiness as local happiness disables this effect.

So even if happiness can be bought at a rate of 1 gold each, their supply is limited, and if the plan is to use a lot of it, its value goes indirectly up. In practice, I would value global happiness at least three times as high as local happiness, maybe up to five times, and lacking local forces you to use global, indirectly raising the value of local as well.

Founder Beliefs[edit]

Founder Beliefs
Good Ceremonial Burial +1 Happiness for every 2 Cities following this Religion This in effect lowers the global happiness that each indian city consumes on a huge map from 3.6 to 3.1. The effect is less noticable than a non-indian city would get, going from 1.8 to 1.3. But it still is a good choice, in effect giving you a free city for every 6 Indian cities you build (3 happiness for 6 cities, another half one for the 7th cities, resulting in 3.5 happiness). The new city will then be able to generate its own local happiness.

On my current game, my continent on a huge map can have 40 cities. That's 20 global happiness, translating into 6 more cities, and then 1 more. But only after having spread my religion to all of them.
Peace Loving +1 Happiness for every 8 Followers in non-enemy Foreign Cities. City-States count for this. I have 24 city states in the game, 6 of them close to me, 9 on my continent. Assuming 12 citizen in each of them, this would grant 1.5 happiness each, or 9 happiness from those 6 close to me. In effect, every two city states close to me would grant a free city.

I exterminate all civilizations on my continent as soon as I'm militarily and diplomatically able, and I'm not counting on spreading my religion onto civilizations on other continents.

So in effect, I would get 14.5 happiness from the 9 City States on my Continent, resulting in 4 or 5 more cities. And then only after I have spread my religion to them.
Tithe +1 Gold for every 4 Followers of this Religion This will give you about 3 gold per city state. In the early game, it costs about 10 gold per turn to ally a city state, so it means you get to ally every third city state for free, if all three follow your religion.

However, having a free city from every third city state is easily as powerfull, as that city can be custom built to provide the 10 gold per turn with 4 trading posts and 1 Market Place.

I managed to get almost no gold from my own cities, as they constantly where changing religion in order to build the newest faith based building that became available. But that problem will vanish by mid game, and you will be receiving 4 gold for each of your own cities, resulting in an alliance with basically every single City State you want.
Poor Church Property +2 Gold for each City following this Religion I find this to be too weak. Early game, you wont have faith to spare to spread your religion, as it all will go towards the first two Great Prophets and other priorities, and by the time you do, +16 Gold from 8 cities will be comparable to a single caravan trading route, or even from two luxuries you didnt get and didnt sell from a city you didnt have happiness to build.
This should be +3 in order to be competetive with Tith, giving more up till 12 Followers, less after that.
Initiation Rites +100 Gold when each City first converts to this Religion I assume this is trippled for Marathon speed. Even then, its too low to compare to even Church Property, being surpased in 150 turns. Even trying to evaluate its early game impact, we get that it would provide enough gold to buy a new Settler after having converted 4 cities to your religion. You would get that effect from the third Great Prophet... and by that time, it should be bearable to simply build a Settler.
+200 gold would make it tempting, receiving a huge lump of money for the early game, but nothing for the late game.

Note that you get this bonus even if it's not you that founded the religion, as long as you control the unit.
Interfaith Dialogue Gain Science when a Missionary spreads religion to Cities with another Religion. Not impactful on Diety.

Note that you get this bonus even if it's not you that founded the religion, as long as you control the unit.
Pilgrimage +2 Faith for each Foreign City following this Religion 12 Faith from 6 City-States. Heh. This should be at least +6 to be worth considering. You just spend a whole lot of faith on a Great Prophet, to get the religion, and now you need to spend even more to spread the religion to other city states... in order to eventually get back the faith you spent? Nah, maybe if it was +10 Faith for each foreign City.
World Church +1 Culture for every 5 followers of this Religion in other Civilizations So +2 Culture for each City State you manage to convert? Almost as poor as Pilgrimage, slightly better as it allows to exchange Faith into Culture, something that is better done anyway by producing Faith based buildings from other religions. Should be +1 Culture for every 3 or maybe even 2 followers.
Papal Primacy +15 to Influence Resting Point with City-States that follow this Religion I really wanted this to work. Combo it with Patronage in order to get free friendship with all city states following my religion. Thing is, if I really want the bonus from a City State, I want to be allied with that City state. And as soon as I'm allied, I'm paying to remain allied, and this ability is doing nothing. If this would half the rate of you lose influence after all other factors, that would be interesting.

Follower Beliefs[edit]

Follower Beliefs
Good, but not. Cathedrals, Mosques, etc. Shrines provide +1 Happiness in Cities with 3 Followers. They are all really great. But considering you get the benefit even if somebody else selects, let them. Then go get the religion and spread it, built it, and replace religion.
Holy Warriors Use Faith to purchase Pre-Industrial Land Units. This should specify Military, because you can't get Caravans, Workers, or Settlers from it. You need early faith for getting the religion going, and you have short window between that and industrialization. And you have to build faith based buildings and spreading and managing religion spread. So even if the core mechanic is strong, it has strong competition and is limited in time. Also, the majority of you military should be already created by the time you are done with the first wave of faith based buildings.

But. go get this religion from the other Civs and if your manage to get it, have one of your cities follow it and use THAT city to purchase the units! To quote: "Faith costs are about 2x the hammer value of a Unit, so 80 Faith buys an Archer - and that's quite easy to come by."
Good Asceticism Shrines provide +1 Happiness in Cities with 3 Followers. I know a lot of people recomend against this one. But considering i spend a lot of faith constructing faith based buildings from other religions, maingly because I'm too late to the party myself, I'm perfectly fine with a religion that enhances beyond that. In other words. If you have established a religion in a city and built a Pagoda there, that religions is no longer doing anything usefull. It's better to change to another religion that offers another building. What happens when a city has cycled through all religions that offer a building? You then want a religion that offer benefits based on what is presently in the city, not offering something that can be built. Thats when this shines, offering yet another happiness on top of everything else you have, translating into two more citizens with the Indians.
Religious Center Temples provide +2 Happiness in Cities with 5 Followers wow, twice as good as Asceticism! This will cary your city all the way to... well, high.
Feed the World Shrines and Temples provide +1 Food each in the City This will greatly increase city growth rate.... oh wait, I don't grow organically anymore. So okay. This allows a citizen to work on something else than food. So it should be treaded as "+2 hammers because you work on a mine instead of a farmed plains" or maybe as "-2 food, +2 culture and +3 Great people because you dont work on a 4 food farm". I'm not sure about the second alternative, but +2 hammers sounds solid. Anyway, it's very flexible, and that's a great plus.
Okay...ish Choral Music Temples provide +2 Culture in Cities with 5 Followers A solid +2 Culture to each of your own legion of cities once you are done adding all the other faith based buildings. But wait... on the other hand, wouldn't it be better to get 1 local happiness and then put one dude in the field getting four food, and having the other dude working inside the town producing culture and great people? That would require more of a setup, but would pay of a lot more in the long run.
bad Guruship +2 Production if the City has a Specialist Strictly worse than Feed the World.


Good Holy Order Missionaries and Inquisitors cost 30% less Faith Cheap Inquisitors are great, as each time you want to change religion, you need to either overwhelm the previous existing religion, or exterminate them. After jaming in two religions, the third and fourth one will have a hard time. When changing in new cities, your main religion will not have had any time to establish itself, so an Inquisitor from your main religion will clean the slate, and enable the third religion to be established with a single application. The fourth religion can be cheaply established if its your main religion with 50% discounted missionaries, when combined with the Piety tree.
Messiah Prophets 25% Stronger and earned with 25% less Faith Holy sites are great and pay back themselves after a while.
bad Itinerant Preachers Religion spreads to Cities 30% further away. Passive spreading is too slow to be effective, speacially on Marathon speed. Also, I don't want too high pressure removing secondary religions, as I get their Pantheon from the piety tree.


Charitable Missions Influence Boosts from Gold Gifts to City-States increased by 30%. A trading post would give two gold, 3 with a marketplace and a temple with maxed piety tree. Increase it to 3.9 with this.
Heathen Conversion Missionaries Convert adjacent Barbarian Units to this Civilization's Control Seems good early game. Use missionaries instead of military units to hunt barbarian camps. Gift them to City States for 5 influence each. 5 Influence is worth either 5/15/250=83 or 5/10/250=125 depending on if you get 15 or 10 influence from 250 gold. in effect increasing the output of a barbarian camp from 75 to either 200 or 158 for the purpose of gaining influence. If you are getting close to the point where the barbs start to spawn rarely, dont take the camp, but wait for the camp to spawn new units. If you opt to keep one of them, consider it as free production. Use it to fight barbs for xp, and then move in with the Missionary to end the battle before either unit dies. Upgrading units has cheap hammer/gold ratio, so its comparable to building the unit from scratch in cost. You can also catch boats with this. If you need cannon fodder due to an impending battle, have them fortify to soak damage while your experienced army does the damage.

I don't know if you can use this ability with a Missionary from a city with a religion you didnt start.
Jesuit Education May build Universities, Public Schools, and Research Labs with Faith. Impactful.

I don't know if you can use this ability if you didnt start the religion.
Sacred Sites All buildings purchased with Faith provide +2 Tourism each. I do get a lot of faith based buildings with my strategy.

I don't know if you can use this ability if you didnt start the religion.
To the Glory of God Use Faith to purchase any type of Great Person starting in the Industrial Era Should be redundant with top level culture output.

I don't know if you can use this ability if you didnt start the religion.


Happiness producing luxury can be sold to friendly civilisations for 7 gold per turn. This would put their selling price at less than 2 gold per happiness. If they are unhappy, the price of a luxury item giving 4 happiness can drop to 3 gold per turn or even less.

They can bought from Mercantile City States, 11 happiness if you are allied (3 direct + 1 common luxury item +1 special luxury item) at the cost of 0.5 to 6.7 influence per turn. 25 Influence can be bought during the early game for 500 gold, putting the price somewhere over 10 gold per turn. So above 10 gold per turn for 11 luxuries would put the buying price at 1 gold per happiness per turn.

The price of buying influence increases over time, but the means to obtain more gold increases also, as well as the means to obtain better gold per influence ratings. The number of Mercantile city states is limited. If you play your diplomacy right, you might be able to get luxury items from civilisations that you haven't angered at a reasonable price.

Based on this, i would say that happiness is worth about 1 gold, if handled correctly

Golden Age[edit]

Unused happiness will go towards triggering a golden age. The first one costs about 1500 gold. I have not evaluated their benefits.

Unused happiness should be avoided if you haven't decided that a golden age is worth the cost, as it would be gold spent on a item of unknown value, and even worth, increasing the cost of future golden ages.


Settlers cost 319 production on Marathon game speed.

Settler cost.png

From testing, each 4 food surplus is transformed into 1 production when building settlers, meaning that its very wasteful to build them in a city that has surplus food. Optimally, they should be built on a city that can alter between fast growth, low production mode and a no growth high production mode. Preferably a city close a river with a lot of hills nearby.

When built, the settler will require military upkeep, around 1 or 2 gold per turn during the first few eras.

With the Social Policy named Collective Rule, the capital get +50% production when producing a settler, so 14 production becomes 21. Production added through food does not get a bonus. In practice, it cuts down the build time and cost with a 1/3, so a 319 Settler can be considered to instead cost 213 hammers, a discount of about 208 hammers each. The policy also gives a free settler upon selection. So if you are planning to get two settlers, but instead choose to wait for that social policy and then get one and build one, you end up paying 213 hammers instead of 648, a reduction of 435 hammers. The policy in itself costs about the same number of resources in culture, if you got it early. As an extra bonus, you will get a free Great Person of your choice if you finish the tree of that Policy, something very unlikely to happen if you don't get the Collective Rule policy early, as it's value dramatically lowers during the mid game, partly due to greater production abilities, greater competition among Social Policies, greater need for happiness through Social Policies and the fact that if you plan to spam cities, you should start doing so early.


Cities provide the ability to grow and build independently from there on, enabling exponential growth.

For the cost of 319 production, comparable to the 360 cost of a Crossbowman, you get a new city that will consume 1.8 happiness per turn on a huge map, times two for being Gandhi, so 3.6 per turn. Using the previous calculations, that is equivalent to the maintenance cost of a soldier, 2 per turn, or twice that, 4 per turn, since we are Gandhi.

On top of that, the city will require roads to connect it to other cities. If we city spam, as i will, each city will require 3 roads. The roads have an initial construction cost of 11 worker turns, each turn costing 2 gold each (ignoring initial building cost of Worker and travel expenses), so we can add 33 hammers to the initial building cost of a city, increasing it from 319 to 352, closer to the 360 of the Crossbowman. The roads will also require maintenance per turn, increasing the upkeep cost from 4 gold per turn to 7 per turn.


Each citizen will be able to work a hex, producing 2-4 or more resources depending on how well the workers have been handled. For the sake of simplicity, we are going to assume that each worker produces 2 food/hammer on a unimproved hex. This assumption will be increased to 3, since workers should optimally foresee population growth and in advance prepare the required hexes. Improving a hex is a one-time cost, so that cost is most reasonably seen as part of the cost of acquiring a new worker. Improvements to a hex output based on buildings is reasonable categorised as the output of the building and not as increased worker efficiency.

Thus, we conclude that a worker produces 3 hammer/food, 1 science and 1.1 gold each, at a cost of 1 happiness and 2 food. The converted output of a citizen is then:

  • +3 (hammer/food)
  • +0.55 (1.1 gold, valued at half production)
  • +0.5 (1 science)
  • -2 (food)
  • -0.25 (1 happiness, valued at 1 gold each)

Equals: 1.8 production per turn. This value will increase as a result of technological and social progress.

Population Growth[edit]

  1. Having 1 citizen, it takes 45 food to produce the next citizen.
  2. 2: 72, and increase of 60%.
  3. 3: 99, and increase of 37.5%.
  4. 4: 132, 33%.
  5. 5: 165, 25%.
  6. 6: 198, 20%.
  7. 7: 231, 16.6%.
  8. 8: 267, 15.5%.
  9. 9: 303, 13.4%.

The cost can be mitigated by building the Aqueduct.

Note thata although each citizen becomes progresively more expensive, it's not obvious that it's better to have a cheap citizen in a new city.

  1. Having a new citizen in an existing city does not require the building cost and upkeep of an entirely new city.
  2. Several buildings base their output on the number of citizens (Library, Workshop). Not having invested in large cities causes those buildings to have too low PPTFPC.
  3. Large finish their production faster. Having one large city finishing a unit every third turn is preferable to having three small cities all finish their production on the ninth turn. This is specially true when it comes to Great Persons.

Value of a city[edit]


A city with 1 citizen with no road will cost 2 production (3.6 happiness, a bit less than 4 gold) in upkeep per turn, and output 1.25 production per turn (less than the full 1.8, since there is no road).


At two citizen, the city is not making a profit, the city costing 2 production per turn and its citizens outputting 2.5 production per turn (2*1.25, still no road).


At three citizen, its worth to build the road, as the three citizens will output more gold for connecting the city than the road costs in upkeep (3.3-3=0.3). We need to add the production cost of the citizen to the production cost of the city, but before we do that, we need to add the production cost of improving the hex the citizen is working to the production cost of the citizen. The hex cost about 20 worker turns, at about 2 gold per turn in upkeep, initial building cost of the Worker (captured?) and travel expenses not included. 40 gold is worth 20 production, so we add 20 production to the food production cost of each citizen. The city and citizen production cost is now 352 + (45+20+72+20) = 509, while city maintenance is 2 production per turn and citizen output is 1.8*3=5.4 production per turn. PPTFPC of (-2+5.4=3.4) / 509 = PPTFPC of 1 / 149.7 = 0.67%, a really bad return for the initial production investment, almost one third of the 2% of the granary.


At 4 citizen, the happiness bonus and penalty of Gandhi evens out, and the city will be producing (1.8*2=3.6)+(4/2=2)= 5.6 unhappiness. From there on, the city will produce unhappiness at half the standard rate. The PPTFPC is (-2+(4*1.8)=5.2) / (352+45+72+99+(4*20)=648) = 5.2 / 648 = 1 / 124.6 = 0.8%. This leads to the conclusion that even a 4 population city that is connected with 3 roads is not even half as effective as a granary in outputting production. Does that calculation really hold up to scrutiny?


As stated, we spent 319 production cost for the settler on Marathon game speed. 33 worker turns for building three roads, worker building cost and travel expenses ignored. At two gold per turn, that equals 66 gold, or 33 production, since gold is valued half of production. 319+33=352. Adding production cost of reaching 4 citizens (45+72+99) and we get 568. Add maintenance cost for a Worker improving 4 tiles, 20 turns each at 2 golds per turn, and we get 160 gold, worth 80 production, reaching 648 production cost.


  • 3.6 happiness, worth 3.6 gold, or 1.8 production
  • 2 happiness, worth 2 gold, or 1 production
  • 8 food, worth 8 production

for a total of upkeep cost of 10.8 production per turn.


  • 4.4 gold for connecting the city to the capital, worth 2.2 production
  • 4 science per turn, worth 2 production
  • 12 food/hammers, worth 12 production

for a total output of 16.2 production per turn.

Output - upkeep cost= 16.2 - 10.8 = 5.4 per turn.

And yes, an output of 5.4 per turn for an investment of 648 production cost is horribly bad when compared to a Granary. Yet still, why do we do it?

Mitigating factors:

  • You can only build one single Granary in the first city. After that, you can't directly improve production. At that point, even options with a PPTFPC of less than 2% become more valuable due to a lack of options.
  • Above argument is corroborated by the fact that buildings get lower PPTFPC as technology progress. The Windmill has a cost of 750 production, maintenance of 2 gold and outputs 2 hammers, and +10% if you are constructing a building (i value that as 2 hammers, maybe 3.) for a total PPTFPC of 4/750 = 0.5%. The Factory is about the same, costing 1080, 3 gold upkeep, out is 4 production + 10% and two engineering slots. The reason for this might be that adding multiplicative effects on top of each other would spiral out of hand really fast, so the game reins it in by making the return on profit lower the higher the tech level. Compare a University (480 production) and a Public School (900 production): The later has a lower output than the previous (objectively measured). The reasoning is probably that the player should have a stronger ability to create expensive buildings at that point, and that the schools (lower) bonus will be exponentially impact the existing buildings.
  • Creating a new city enables you to build a new granary, enabling you to again spend resources on buildings with high PPTFPC. If you consider a global production resource such as gold, you get to build a new Library (225 production cost) in the new city for a fraction of the cost of a University or a Public School. But to argue against that, most production is local and not global. True, but even then, you can build a cheap military unit in a new city while the older cities get to focus on higher tier buildings, making even higher tier buildings feasible in the long run.
  • If you want exponential growth, you need to expand exponentially. Else, you only get linear growth. And the ever decreasing PPTFPC will ensure that.
  • There actually ARE Global sources of production that can only be used a limited amounts of time per city. Most prominently Faith based buildings and the previously mentioned Gold.
  • A new city provides strategical advantages, such as occupying terrain, provide increased healing and protection for military units, act as base for caravans, give access to new oceans, and more.
  • By creating new city, you get new resources under your control. This can greatly increase the PPTFPC of a new city.
  • If you have excess happiness and not getting any good deals for them, meaning, not being able to sell them off for 4 gold per turn, there might not be any more attractive alternatives than building a city.
  • If your workers have no meaningful work to do on the current cities, then an argument can be made that having them do nothing would be wasteful. The option to sell the workers for cash might be dismissed as the selling cost being too low (51 gold=25.5 production), and reproducing them (210 production) in the future would result in an overall heavier loss than having the workers do nothing. Only not planing to do anything useful with the workers for 170 turns would justify selling them and rebuilding them. And not building any cities for 170 turns would result in a loss, coming from experience. So you can't sell the workers, and when they are done, they are providing no benefit for their upkeep. Using that argument and readjusting their upkeep to 0 to match the decision to not sell them even if they are not doing anything, writing off the upkeep cost as a loss, then the improvement cost of improving hexes can be ignored, reducing the cost of each new citizen by 20 production and reducing the 33 production cost of the roads. Of course, it's not that easy. This line of thinking might result in a favourable decision to build a new city if you have a lot of workers around, but should not be interpreted as a efficient planing to build new workers and then justify building new cities due to the newly created and unemployed workers.


At 5 citizen, The PPTFPC is (-2+(5*1.8)=7) / (352+45+72+99+132+(5*20)=800) = 7 / 800 = 1 / 114.3 = 0.87%.

The 3 size city had 0.67%, at 4 it was 0.8%. It is now at 0.87%.

Another way of looking at this is to think of the city as a base, while evaluating each individual citizen on their own merits. In that case, the 5th citizen has individually a PPTFPC of 1.8 / (132+20=152) = 1.18% That's a lot higher. If the city happens to have an existing Library or Market place, that value gets even higher, but it's tricky to decide if the extra output should be counted as belonging to the new citizen or to the building. In case you go for counting it as extra output for the citizen, then the cost of the building should be added to the production of of the citizen.

City growth strategies[edit]

Population growth: Newly built, push to 2[edit]

Have the city have access to two Freshwater farms. This is easily achieved if the city is built next to a city that already has them ready. Next, build 4 mines or other production heavy hexes. During this building period, don't bother with roads yet.

If there are no improved hexes for the newly built city, have the caravans prioritise cities that do have hexes waiting to be used.

The city will build a Shrine during this period.


A citizen that only produces 2 food/hammer is lowering their output from 1.8 to 0.8, slashing their PPTFPC in more than half. If you don't seem to find enough workers to prepare for the next hex, you need to capture or build more of them. If you have more than you know what to do with them, you need to build more cities. If you don't have enough happiness to build new cities, buy happiness by getting allied to a Mercantile City-State. If you lack the funds for that, either go hunt for barbarians, conquer cities to pillage and sell buildings while you burn them down or as a last resort, send a money caravan if you get about 10-15 gold per turn.

Having a proper balance of constantly increasing archers, workers and settlers is the key to have a great start.

Population growth: Rush to 4[edit]

Caravans become a very important part of growing small cities. Considering how low PPTFPC a small city has, it's profitable to have the city spend as little time as possible in those states. Fortunately, the game mechanics don't fight you on that aim, on the contrary, they make it such as providing extra food to a city results in a new citizen quicker the smaller the city is.

+4 Food on a newly started city is of great value, as it will quickly push it to 4 citizen, having the city able to reclaim the maintenance cost of roads leading to it (+1.1 gold per citizen), as well as increasing both production and research. Use this tactic to spam out as many cities as your luxury allows.

Having reached 4, population growth becomes a lot more expensive (45 vs 132). Pause growth and give the workers some time to improve the terrain. Let the citizen all work on mines or other heavy production hexes while the workers are connecting the city with roads and buildings more farms and mines for the next population jump.

Let cites that have reached 4 build:

  • Temple
  • Monument
  • Granary
  • Stone Works
  • Circus


The good thing about having 4 citizen is that having social policies such as Military Cast and a single happiness outputting faith-based building is enough to cover their entire happiness requirement. No need to build a Colosseum. Avoid that building as it has a horrible PPTFPC. It costs 300 production, costs 1 gold maintenance and outputs 2 happiness, worth 2 gold. That's a PPTFPC of 0.5/300 = 0.17%. The Circus is better at 225 production, no maintenance and 2 Happiness, for a PPTFPC of 1/225 = 0.45%.

Caravan Gold[edit]

Although its easy to get 5, 7 and even upwards 15 or 20 gold per turn from a caravan while they still supply only 4 food per turn, and that 16 gold is worth the same as 8 food objectively, the 4 food will be more efficient in increasing the output of your empire in the long run than the Gold has. Mainly because it cost a lot to more than 2 gold per hammer to buy a building or unit. But also, you can't buy new citizens, and new citizens are cheaper the smaller the city is. Each turn, a Caravan gets you 4 of the 45 or 72 food required to reach the 2nd or 3rd citizen. That's 8% and 5.5% per turn. But most of the time, it will only generate at best 15 of the 780 gold required to buy a Granary, 1.9% per turn.

Go for gold only if you are severely lacking in funds to cover the most efficient gold based expenses: Keeping a Mercantile or Maritime City-State as allies, or covering military unit maintenance and upgrades.

Focused growth[edit]

It much better value to have your caravan target a newly created city than to push a 4 size city to reach size 6 or 7.

Consider increasing in size as equivalent to building a unit/building. Have the production halt in order to finish "building" the citizen as fast as possible, and when having reached the desired goal, pause all growth in order to focus on producing other units/buildings. This requires enough Workers to improve both type of hexes. Having cities that overlap each other makes this a whole lot easier.

Having a city slowly climb to growth point is like building two units at the same time, and not having any benefit from either of them until they are both complete. The worst case scenario is reaching 90% to getting a new citizen, and then diverting everything to production in order to finish some crucial unit. That the equivalent of almost finishing a building, but then just before its finished, putting it on hold in order to build a unit. That's a PPTFPC of zero.

Population growth: Growing from 4 to 6[edit]

Once the terrain is improved and you have access to either more free Happiness from faith based buildings, a Circus, Goddess of Love or maybe Meritocracy, push for 6 citizens.

While doing so, the city should be able to all work on tiles that produce 3 or 4 food each, while being targeted by 1 or 2 caravans to ensure that the city reaches 6 citizens in as little growth time as possible and can then return to production.

Having reached 6, change all six to production mode and build:

  • Water Mill
  • Stable
  • Forge
  • Aqueduct

Population growth: Reaching 10[edit]

Reaching 10 is a major accomplishment, as it allows the activation of Aristocracy.

In order to do so, ensure that there is enough production hexes to support the higher population and that there Aqueduct is online. Then, aim 3 or even 4 caravans on it to get from 6 to 10 as soon as possible.

Having reached 10, change all 10 to production mode and build:

  • Library
  • Mint
  • Market (no specialist on it!)
  • Workshop


Worker stealing[edit]

Star early game by stealing two workers from the same city state. Don't make peace between the steals, and don't steal more than 2 of them. Steal the rest of them from a civilization. Kill all their troops, pillage a luxury, and stay a bit away from it in anticipation of the worker moving in to repair it.

Trading Posts[edit]

I have avoided building trading posts for my entire time playing Civilization, but wrting this article has changed my mind. The main reason was that I saw gold as inferior to both production and food, food being the superior one. Thus, Gold would only hamper the cities growth and eventually end up with a small city and some gold with low utility.

Having formalized the segmented growth strategy when you alternate between all growth and all production removed the first reservation. Having realized the value of paying City States to provide their benefits removed the second reservation.

A trading post is worth 2 gold. Thats equivalent to 1 production. When you city is focusing on production and not growth, you won't be noticeably hampered by going, for example, 17 hammers -> 15 hammers 4 gold.

With 10 gold per turn, you get to be permanently allied during the early game with a city state.

If you ally a Martime City State, they will provide 1 food per city. If you have 6 cities, and 4 of them have a single trading post, with a Marketplace, you get 2*1.25*4=10 gold per turn. The free food will replace the missing food from working a trading post in the 4 cities, while the other 2 cities get 1 free food each, while your capital gets another 2 free food on top. Also, you get access to all their luxury, as well as map control.

Having a single city with 4 Trading Posts and a Marketplace will allow you to ally a Mercantile City-State, regaining the 3 global happiness that the city costs in upkeep, and then more benefits on top for being allied.

Often when i pupet a city, I dont mind a citizen working inside the city in a marketplace. Comparing a Trading post with that, a citizen working inside a marketplace provides 2 gold and 3 Great Merchang points. He will need a second citizen working a 4 food tile to compensate. Having 2 trading posts on grassland or jungle provides the same 4 food, but 4 gold instead of 2. Not receiving the 3 Great Merchant points is a win in my view, as they only make Great Engineers more expensive.

Optimally, maybe there should be 2 to 4 trading post between 3 cities that are within 3 hexes of each other, combined with other tiles that generate production and food.

Note that gold gets a much higher duplication value from Social Policies, Marketplaces and Banks than production gets from Workshops and factories.

If you max out the Faith tree, you not only get another +25% on all gold in cities with temples, you get +3 gold and +3 culture on holy cites. Thats a lot better than a trading post. Previously, i was worried about hampering growth with them, but with this new insight, they do look great now. The +6 Faith they provide will help to have them pay back their own initial investment within 200 turns, and then add another 1 gold and 3 culture on top. The next great prophet will be more expensive, but by then you have the first holy site helping to pay back the cost of the next one. Build the sites early to have them pay back themselves, so you have 3-4 sites ready about the time you get around to maxing the holy tree. By that time, your cities should also be big enough to appreciate the +25% gold from temples.

City States[edit]

  • a City State that has your religion have their decrease 25% slower.
  • The religious bonus stacks with Patronage, decreasing another 25%, resulting in influence decreasing half as fast, from 0.67 per turn to 0.33 per turn.