Civilization V Beginner’s Guide

You can play Sid Meier’s Civilization V in two different turn formats, the classic turn-based format, which you will experience during single-player games and the Simultaneous turn-based game which you will experience in multiplayer mode.

Turn-Based Games
A solo game of Civilization V is turn-based like it has always been, if you are new to Civilization series. It goes like you take a turn, move your units, set your diplomacy and then your opponent takes their turn and it goes on like that until somebody wins.

Simultaneous Turns Games
A multiplayer game is a “simultaneous turns game.” You and your opponents take their turns simultaneously. Everyone moves units, conducts diplomacy, maintains their cities all at the same time. When everyone has done everything they want to do, the turn ends and another begins.

Civilizations and Leaders
Each civilization in the game is unique. Every leader has a special “trait”, unique units, and unique buildings. These add up to unique advantages for Civilization which they can capitalize on, so choose your Civilization that suits your playing style.

Mastering a civilization’s strengths and exploiting your enemies’ weaknesses is what you need to do, its challenging, and also most rewarding.

All of the civilizations’ traits and unique units and buildings are displayed during game setup when you choose your civilization. You can also check them out in the Civilizations section of the Civilopedia in game.

Leader Traits
Each leader has a unique trait, which gives it some special advantage during a game. For example, Ramesses II of Egypt has the “Monument Builders” trait, which speeds Egypt’s construction of Wonders. Keep your leader’s traits in mind while playing the game, it can work to your advantage.

Unique Units
Each civilization possesses one or more “unique units,” each of which is a powerful replacement for a standard unit. Greece, for example, has the Companion Cavalry unit, which it gets instead of the Horseman unit. Greece also receives the mighty “Hoplite” in place of a Spearman. Which makes Greece a dangerous opponent in the early phase of the game.

On the other hand, Germany gets a Panzer instead of the standard Tank that other civilizations will receive. So if Germany survives Greece’s early advantage, it will then go on to become the most fierce opponent for the later part of the game.

Unique Buildings
Some civilizations also get Unique Buildings. These are like unique units in that they replace the standard buildings that other civilizations get. For example, Persia gets the Satrap’s Court in place of a Bank, giving a significant edge in happiness and in generating wealth. Siam gets a Wat instead of a University, which provides it with extra culture in addition to a big science boost.

You have a group of Advisors who will assist you with every aspect of the game. They’ll point out things that they believe are important, or that you might have forgotten about. You can turn them off if you like, but you may want to try playing with them for a while first.

You have four different Advisors. Each provides advice on a specific area of expertise:

Economic Advisor
The Economic Advisor provides advice on building and improving your cities and territory.

Military Advisor
The Military Advisor provides advice on combat and all things related to war.

Foreign Advisor
The Foreign Advisor advises you on exploration and your relations with city-states, and other civilizations.

Science Advisor
The Science Advisor gives you advice on science and technology, as well as information on game rules.

How to Contact An Advisor
During play, your Advisors will appear in “popups” when they have something they think you should know. You can also press the “Advisors” button in the upper right hand corner of the screen to reach the “Advisor Counsel” screen.

How to Turn Off the Advisors
You can determine how much assistance you get from the Advisors on the “Options” screen. You can set the advice level to Full, Minimal, or No Advice. If turned off, they won’t ever appear in popups, but you can still go to the “Advisor Counsel” screen to see what they’re thinking.

The Interface

The Main Screen
The Main Screen is where you’ll spend most of your time. Here you move your units,engage in combat, build cities etc.

The Main Map
This is where the action takes place. The Main Map displays the “known world” – the places you’ve explored, your cities, the terrain, resources and improvements around them, your units, and all neutral and foreign lands that are “visible” to you.

Navigating the Main Map
There are a number of ways that you can change your point of view on the

Main Map

Zoom In and Zoom Out
Use your mouse wheel or press [PageUp] or [PageDown] to zoom in and out.

Click on a space on the Main Map to center your view on that space.

Auto-Center Upon Unit Activation
When a unit becomes “active” during your turn the Main Map automatically centers upon that unit.

Manually Center Upon Active Unit
Click upon the active unit’s icon to center upon that unit.

Mini Map
Click on a space on the Mini Map to center the Main Map on that space.

Click and Drag
Click and drag anywhere on the map to manually scroll the map view around.

The Mini Map
The Mini Map is a much smaller representation of the world.

The Strategic View
Click on the “Strategic View” button to enter Strategic View mode. In this mode, the map and units are represented in a more simplified and less representational manner.

Fog of War
The world is a big place, and you don’t always know what’s going on everywhere.In Civilization V, until you explore the world, it’s hidden in the “fog of war.” The fog of war is represented by the white clouds that cover much of the world at the start of the game. As you move units around, the fog of war will go away, revealing more of the world.

Fog of War

Once you have uncovered the fog of war, it doesn’t come back. However, if a unit moves and you can no longer see a tile, you won’t know if anything is going on there.

The Three States of Knowledge

If a tile is currently visible to a unit or your territory, you can see its terrain, any improvements on it, if it’s within any borders, whether it’s part of a city, any unit which may occupy it, and so forth.

If you have uncovered the fog of war from a tile but cannot see it at the present moment, the tile is slightly darkened.You can still see the terrain in the tile, but you will not see any units in the tile. Basically, your information about that tile may be well out of date.

Fog of War
Tiles under the clouds of the fog of war are totally unknown to you. You don’t know what kind of terrain they are, who occupies them, or anything else. Explore!

What You Can See
You can always see everything within your borders, as well as one tile away from your borders. Most units can see everything within 2 tiles (except for tiles behind mountains and blocking tiles; see below).
Units on hills can see over blocked tiles. Certain promotions will extend a unit’s sight by 1 tile, and a number of mid- to late-game naval units have extended sight as well.

Civilization V Terrain
Mountains and Natural Wonders are impenetrable: they totally bar visibility of what’s beyond for everything (except for flying units).
Forests, mountains and hills are all “blocking” terrain. Units can see into such tiles, but they cannot see past them – unless they occupy a hill. Units on hills can see over blocking terrain into the tiles beyond.

Indirect Fire
Some ranged units are capable of “indirect fire,” which means that they can shoot at targets they can’t see, as long as another friendly unit can see them. For example, an Artillery unit can shoot over a hill at a target it can’t see if a friendly unit is atop that hill.

Game Info Screens
Civilization V contains the following information screens. They tell you lots of useful stuff about how well you’re doing. The screens are accessible from buttons on the Main Map, and via “shortcut keys.”


In Civilization V, the world is made up of hexagonally-shaped “tiles” (also occasionally referred to as hexes and spaces). These tiles come in a variety of “terrain-types” – desert, plains, grassland, hills and so forth – and many also include “features” like forests and jungle.

You can read the full Civilization V Terrain Guide through the link.

These elements help to determine the tile’s usefulness to a nearby city as well as how easy or difficult it is to move through the tile. A tile’s terrain and features may have important effects upon any combat occurring there.

Resources are sources of food, productivity, or culture, or they provide other special bonuses to a civilization. They appear in certain hexes. Some are visible at the start of the game; others require the acquisition of specific technologies before you can see them.

You can read the full Civilization V Resources Guide through the link.

Terrain Values

City Yield: This is how much food, gold or productivity a nearby city can get from an unimproved tile of that type.

Movement Cost: The cost, in movement points (MPs) to enter the tile type.

Combat Modifier: The change in attack or defense strength of a unit occupying that tile type.

Read and understood ? now go on and Read Civilization V Beginner’s Guide Part II.

You can check our Civilization V Guide Series for complete Civilization V strategy guides.

Source:CiV5 Manual