Random Asides

5 Tips to Win Civilization V

While the Men’s Rights Activists are continuing their brave activism in the comments of last week’s YouTube video, I thought we could all enjoy a change of pace this week. In today’s video, I share my wisdom as the world’s greatest Civilization V player*. Enjoy!


If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I’ve been playing a lot of the video game Civilization V.

For those who aren’t familiar, Civilization is a turn-based strategy game where the point is to build up your empire so that it’s the most diplomatic, the most cultural, most scientific, or the most dominating civilization in the game.

Since acquiring Civilization V a couple of months ago, I have become the greatest Civ player on the face of the Earth. I tweeted about a month ago that yes I did win a game on the emperor difficulty level the first time I tried and a lot of people were mildly impressed with this fact and asked for tips on how to play Civilization. So, finally this is my answer.

I hope that these help. These are my top 5 tips on how to win at Civilization V.

Tip #1: Always play for a domination victory. Yeah I know, there are loads of different ways to win: you can shoot a rocket to Alpha Centauri! You can win by UN vote. You can build the “Utopia Project” whatever the hell that is, but all of those are stupid, loser ways to win. The only true way to win is to obliterate every other civilization, feasting upon the tears of your dying enemies.

Tip #2. Declare war on the very first civilization you meet, as soon as you meet them. Don’t let them feed you any bullshit about wanting peace…they’re lying to you. You’ve probably heard that advice about if you go to prison you should stab the first person they meet. This is basically the same advice – declaring war on the first rube you run across will tell the other civilizations in the game to back the fuck off.

Tip #3. Utilize religion to your benefit. Build a shrine early to establish a pantheon, and befriend religious city-states so that you can build up enough faith to get a Great Prophet quickly and establish a religion. Here’s why: you can name your religion anything you want, like “Your Butt.” Then, when city states start quests to get your religion, a notification will pop up saying, “Singapore wants Your Butt.”

This is awesome and hilarious.

Other options for religion names are, “Poop,” “Scientology,” and “Death Cult 666.”

Tip #4. Don’t forget to play the psychological game. When you capture a city, rename it to something similar to the original city name but slightly insulting. For instance:

New Dork

This is degrading to your opponent and will give you the psychological edge.

If you can’t think of a funny insulting name for a city, just burn it to the ground.

And finally, tip #5: Giant Death Robots, Giant Death Robots, Giant Death Robots. I really can’t overemphasize how awesome it is to unleash a fleet of Giant Death Robots upon your primitive, unsuspecting opponents. Build as many as you can. Preferably the ratio should be something like 2 Giant Death Robots for every 1 citizen in your civilization. This will also help in case your citizens get angry and rebel. The French Revolution would have been over in 30 seconds if Marie Antoinette had a couple dozen Giant Death Robots.

So those are my tips. If you play Civilization, please give my tips a try and let me know if they work for you. Or if you have tips, I would love to hear them. Please leave a comment below. Thanks for watching!

*According to my cats

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca is a writer, speaker, YouTube personality, and unrepentant science nerd. In addition to founding and continuing to run Skepchick, she hosts Quiz-o-Tron, a monthly science-themed quiz show and podcast that pits comedians against nerds. There is an asteroid named in her honor. Twitter @rebeccawatson Mastodon mstdn.social/@rebeccawatson Instagram @actuallyrebeccawatson TikTok @actuallyrebeccawatson YouTube @rebeccawatson BlueSky @rebeccawatson.bsky.social

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  1. If you like Civ V, I hugely recommend that you pick up Civ IV on Steam the next time it’s on sale (which is often). IMHO, it’s a better game and provides much more of a challenge in single-player games.

    1. CivIV is more in depth than CivV, that’s true but I don’t think it’s as much fun, which, surely, is the first duty of a game. Nonetheless, give it a go Rebecca, you may be able to up the challenge for yourself.

    2. Civ IV is okay, but everytime I play it I get thrown by the racism and sexism in the portrayal of the different civilizations. I think Civ V is better in that respect, by a long shot.

    3. Brave New World adds back some of the complexity, although it looks like Corruption, Pollution and localized Unhappiness are gone forever. I for one still miss upgrading your palace.

  2. There is a chance that I’ve missed something of equal if not greater achievement. I would like to state that you Rebecca Watson have officially rocked harder this year compared to the previous year.

  3. I am tempted to try these tips to see just how quickly I would lose.

    Except for the bit about founding a religion quickly. That’s spot on.

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