Civ 5 Tier List: Everything You Need to Know

Sid Meier’s Civilization V is the fourth Civilization game in the series, developed by Firaxis Games and released in 2010 for PC. The game leads players as they build a civilization of their own through prehistoric times to the future.

The goal of the game is to achieve one of the victory conditions using research, exploration, expansion, economic development, diplomacy, government, and military conquest. The game uses a procedurally generated map that is based on hexagonal tiles.

Gameplay and Victory

Civ V is a turn-based strategy game, where each player represents either a nation or an ethnic group, and they must help guide their civilization into the future. Each player starts with a small settlement and either achieve a victory condition or survives until the number of game turns end.

The highest-scoring civilization then takes over the population, land, technological advancements, and cultural development. During each player’s turn, the player manages both their civilians and military units, instructing them to do various tasks in order to grow the civilization and ensure its survival.

There are multiple victory conditions that a player can meet, and which one they strive for ultimately will depend on their goals for the civilization. The victory tracts are dominations, science, cultural, diplomatic, and time.

  • Domination- In order for players to achieve a victory through domination, they must be in possession of their original capital. If players are playing the Brave New World expansion, they must be in control of all opposing players’ original capitals as well.
  • Science- To achieve a science victory, players must be the first to build and launch a spaceship.
  • Cultural- For a cultural victory, players must be the first to fill out five trees of social policies and complete the Utopia Project.
  • Diplomatic- In order to achieve a diplomatic victory, players must achieve the winning vote in the United Nations by allying with other city-states or returning captured cities to defeated AI players.
  • Time- The time victory is basically running out the clock and hoping no one else achieves a different victory. You can disable this victory if you would like. The score is based on gold in a player’s treasury, players, resources, tiles within players’ border, cities in players empire, people in the empire, social policies, technologies present in the empire, future technology present, constructed wonders, and the players ranking within the empire.

Tier Rankings

Sid Meier's Civilization V

Each tier is ranked SD. S being the highest and D being the lowest. The higher the tier, the easier it is to play a civ as a beginner. As players become experienced with gameplay and situations, they will find the lower-tier players to be a greater challenge.

  • S tier focuses on the most well-rounded civilizations. These civs have the best strength and can be adapted to every situation. They are capable of completing every victory condition, but their strengths ultimately are within their own victory focus.
  • A tier focuses on civilizations that are strong and advantageous but not quite as versatile as those in the S tier. They don’t quite have as strong starts, but they can overcome bad situations with some careful planning and considerations. This is especially true in early gameplay.
  • B tier focuses on civilizations that create an even playing ground against opponents and AI. These civilizations aren’t as advantageous as others, but overall they are still solid choices within the game.
  • C tier focuses on civilizations that tend to force players into a specific way of playing the game. These civilizations have focuses that are very narrow and they excel at their victory track while struggling or failing with the others.
  • D tier focuses on civilizations that need a strong plan and strategically executed choices. They come with bonuses that have a minimal game impact and are overall lacking.
  • F tier focuses on the civilizations that offer little in the way of value for specific victory paths. Due to this nature, they are a major challenge to win, and new players will struggle greatly.

S Tier

Sid Meier's Civilization V

Name Leader Unique Unite Unique Building Bonuses
Poland Casimir III Winged Hussar Ducal Stable Solidarity
Mayans Pacal Attatilist Pyramid The Long Count
Arabian People Harun al-Rashid Carmel Archer Bazaar Trade Caravans
Persian People Darius I Immortal Satraps Court Achaemenid Legacy
Korea Sejong Hwach’a Turtle Ship Scholars of the Jade Hall
Babylon Nebuchadenzzar II Bowan Walls of Babylon Ingenuity

A Tier

Sid Meier's Civilization V

Name Leader Unique Unite Unique Building Bonuses
The Zulu Shaka Impi Ikanda Iklwa
Greece Alexander Companion Cavalry Hoplite Hellenic League
Songhai Askia Mandekalu Cavalry Mud Pyramid Mosque River Warlord
America Washington B17 Minutemen Manifest Destiny
Mongolia Ghenhis Khan Keshik & Khan AT  
Germany Bismarck Landskencht Panzer Hanse Mongol Terror
China Wu Zetian Chu-Ko-Nu Paper Maker Art of War
England Elizabeth Longbowman & Ship of the Line AT Sun Never Sets
The Inca Pachacuti Slinger Terrace farm Great Andean Road
The Huns Attila Horse Archer & Battering Ram AT Scourge of God
Sweden Gustavus Adolphus Hakkapeliitta & Carolean AT Nobel Prize

B Tier

Sid Meier's Civilization V

Name Leader Unique Unit Unique Building Bonuses
The Aztecs Montezuma Jaguar Floating Gardens Sacrificial Captives
Brazil Pedro II Square Brazilwood Camp Carnival
Russia Catherine Cossack Krepost Siberian Riches
Spain Isabella Tercio Conquer Seven Cities of Gold
Denmark Harald Bluetooth Berserker & Norwegian Ski Infantry AT Viking Fury
Siam Ramkhamhaeng Naresuan’s Elephant Wat Father Governs Children
Egypt Ramesses II War Chariot Burial Tomb Monument Builders
The Shoshone Pocatello Pathfinder & Comanche Riders AT Great Expense
Polynesia Kamehameha Maori Warrior Moai Wayfinding

C Tier

Sid Meier's Civilization V

Name Leader Unique Unit Unique Trait Bonuses
The Netherlands William Sea Beggar Polder Dutch East & India Company
Ethiopia Haile Selssie Mehal Sefari Stele Spirit of Adwa
The Celts Boudicca Pictish Warrior Ceilidh Hall Druidic Lore
Japan Oda Nobunga Samurai & Zero AT Bushido

D Tier

Sid Meier's Civilization V

Name Leader Unique Unit Unique Building Bonuses
Iroquois Hiawatha Mohwak Warrior Longhouse The Great Warpath
Venice Enrico Dandolo Merchant of Venice & Great Galleass AT Serenissima
India Gandhi War Elephant Mughal Fort Population Growth
Byzantium Theodora Cataphract & Dromon AT Patriarchate of Constaniople
France Napoleon Foreign Legion AT Ancien Regime
Portugal Mari I Ship Feitoria Mare Clausum
Carthage Dido African Forest Elephant & Phoenician Heritage AT Phoenician Heritage
Indonesia Gajah Mada Kris Swordsman Candi Spice Islanders


Question: Can I run Civ V? What are the system requirements?

Answer: Civ V can run on both Windows and Mac operating systems.

Minimum Windows System Requirements:

• Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo 1.8 GHZ or AMD Athlon X2 64 2.0 GHZ
• Ram: 2GB Ram
• Graphics: 256 MB ATI HD2600 XT or better, 256 MB nVidia 7900 GS or better, or Core i3 or better-integrated graphics card.
• Hard Drive: 8GB of free space
• Recommended Windows System Requirements:
• Processor: 1.8 GHz Quad Core CPU
• Ram: 4 GB RAM
• Graphics: 512 MB ATI 4800 series or better, 512 MB Nvidia 9800 series or better
• Hard Drive: 8GB of free space

Minimum Mac OS X Requirements:

• Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo (Dual-Core) CPU Speed: 2.4 GHz
• Memory: 2 GB RAM
• Hard Disk Space: 8 GB
• Video Card (ATI): Radeon HD 2600
• Video Card (NVidia): Geforce 8600
• Video Card (Intel): HD 4000
• Video Memory (VRam): 256MB

Recommended Mac System Requirements:

• Processor: Intel Quad-Core
• Memory: 4GB
• CPU Speed: 2.4 GHz
• Video RAM: 1GB

Civ V has been out for over ten years, so it’s pretty safe to say it will run easily on most computers produced within the last few years. However, you may encounter issues running it with current operating systems.

Question: Will Civ V run on Windows 10?

Answer: Civ V came out in 2010 when Windows Vista and 7 were the most popular operating systems used. Currently, we’ve migrated to Windows 10, which is a different environment than Windows 7. Running games made for older operating systems can sometimes result in crashes or the game refusing to start.

If you run into these problems when launching Civ V, you will need to change the game’s compatibility settings. Compatibility mode enables a program to run on Windows 10 with the settings for Windows 7 or Vista.

Follow these steps to run Civ V in compatibility mode:

• First, locate the folder your game is stored in. The default folder is c: \ program files (x86) \ steam \ steamapps \ common \ <game name> .
• Right-click on the game file and navigate to the compatibility tab.
• Click on the checkmark box asking you to run the program in compatibility mode and select Windows 7 from the drop-down menu.
• Click apply, okay and then launch the game. It will now run with windows 7 settings.

Question: Is Civ V better than Civ VI?

Answer: The answer to this question will always be subjective and dependent on what you, as the viewer, value in a game. With that said, Civ VI is currently beating CIV V numbers and has finally surpassed its predecessor on Steam’s most-played games list. However, this wasn’t always the case.

Civ V had a reigning hold as the better Civ game until 2019, thanks to the mix of new gameplay and added expansion content. While new content almost always surpasses old, eventually Civ V had so many new and improved features compared to its predecessor Civ IV that players couldn’t help but hold onto its gameplay.

Civ VI has tweaked the gameplay and added features that bring a lot more life into the game. With its own added content, the game has developed into a favorite, but Civ V will always have a special place in the hearts of fans.

Final Thoughts

Civilization is a loved game series, and CIV V adds a new layer of depth and fun into the game. Each CIV has its own advantages and disadvantages, preferred climate, and culture. Based on the civilizations present in both the past and present of our own world, CIV V offers a unique take on what it’s like to watch a civilization grow from a village to a reigning empire.

The game also features modding and community elements allowing players to really make it their own. CIV V has received a number of positive reviews from Metacritic, GameRankings, G4TV, and IGN.

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