Sid Meier’s Civilization V



Sid Meier’s Civilization V is a 4X video game developed by Firaxis Games where each player will lead a civilization from prehistoric times into the future on a procedurally generated map of hexagonal tiles. Civilization V is not merely an expand-and-conquer game but also a game of diplomacy between nations, economic development through important historic eras, as well as scientific and cultural advancement of a Civilization. With these different victory conditions to consider, players can pick and steer their course of their Civilization towards what they feel is optimal for their Civilization’s playing style.

Game’s website:

Lens of Elemental Tetrad

Key Mechanics:

  • Worker and resource management
  • Exploration and expansion of territories
  • Tactical turn-based combat system
  • Economical, scientific and cultural development (similar to character development in standard RPG)
  • Trading system between players


Background Story:


Each player will take on a leader of a well-known civilization that existed either historically or presently and bring them from Ancient Era to the modern space and nuclear age by going through their own technology research period into order to advance onto the next era. Along the way, civilization will develop great people, such as artists, scientist and missionary that could help bring a civilization closer to a golden age and as civilization grows and thrives, they will encounter other civilization on the map presenting opportunities for diplomacy or conquest. 


  • High-End 3D graphics render of terrains and units during gameplay Sheep_on_hills_(Civ5)
  • Cut-scenes dialogues with world leaders are well animated and properly dialogue in their respective native language to provide that accurate and cohesive feelings of interacting with foreigners.2203461-5_10_2012_3_05_03_pm
  • Each civilization will have their own unique music soundtrack that is based of that nation’s culture to add to the mood of playing as that particular civilization  Soundtrack collection :



  • Adopts a game engine that uses hexagonal tiles
  • Uses graphic engine to render the high-end 3D objects and animations for the aesthetics
  • AI system to handle computer-controlled city states and world leaders to make the best decision of response with regards to how the player handles his civilization

Analysis of player experiences

Lens of Economy

The main mechanics behind Civilization V resolves around worker/resource management as well as trading to sustain the economy of each Civilization. All civilization will have the same sectors of economic growth mainly food, production, gold, science .etc. However the kind and quantity of resources that each civilization can produce via economic growth is dependent on the kind of terrain that the civilization is currently at.


Myself Friend
Strategy: Establish high food, production, gold and cultural yield Strategy: Establish high food, production, gold and scientific yield
Civilization Location: Near coastal lines, open fields, mountains Civilization Location: Mountainous, quarries, mines, hills
  • Build up to 6 workers to work on nearby tiles for resources
  • Set citizens, specialist on automatic as they try to sustain economic growth
  • Prioritise building farm, trading posts, fishing ports, trading ports, boats, museums, theatre
  • Trading of unused resources for higher demand resources.
  • Build up to 5 workers to work on nearby tiles for resources
  • Micromanage citizens, specialist internally to maximise economic growth
  • Prioritise quarries, mines, trading posts, universities, schools, laboratory
  • Territorial conquest of nearby areas for strategic resource

Economy essentially is about proper allocation and management of resources and Civilization V has done an accurate job of highlighting the difference that each nation’s economic growth strategies will have due to the geological situation of each nations.  Some civilizations can attempt to do trading with other nations for more resources while other may have to resort to hostile takeover of land to acquire the resources that they currently lack.

Lens of Meaningful choices

Civilization V has its own social policies tree, akin to a character skill development tree in standard RPGs, providing players with meaningful choices to make as social policies adopted are personalized for each civilization and will have a different long-term impact on the civilization.


Myself Friend
Strategy: Diplomatic Victory Strategy: Military Victory
Social policies taken:

  • Patronage; for befriending and allying with city states
  • Aesthetic; for spreading culture and tourism to other nations
  • Freedom; increase influence for every trade route with each city-state, tourism boost from cities with broadcast tower
Social policies taken:

  • Honour; for military might
  • Rationalism; for science and technology superiority in military upgrades
  • Autocracy; for military support and growth

Each policy has their own advantages but the entire cause of the game is not long enough to adopt all of the policies provided. It is up to a player to best plan up their most optimal path taken with the given number of turns and live with the decisions made. Because of the nature of having various victory conditions, there is no dominant strategy when it comes to policies. Each combination of policy will still be able to provide some kind of victory that will be unique to its own case and that is what makes the policy segment of the game meaningful and impactful for the players.

Lens of Competition vs Cooperation

As player encounters other civilizations, they are often presented with opportunities for diplomacy or conquest. The decisions made often depends on the situation that each nation is currently under and will change over the course of the game as players alternate between competition and cooperation with nations.


Myself Friend
  • Send spies to other nations to pose as diplomats and rigging their elections
  • Accepted a research agreement with 3 nations at different point of time in the game
  • Signed defensive pact, accept embassy and opened borders with other nations
  • Establish International trade routes with all the nations
  • Go with war because ally is under attack
  • Send spies to other nations to steal their technologies
  • Demanded strategic resources from nearby nations. Demand refused. Territorial conquest to take over strategic resources
  • Embargo trade with certain city states and enemy nations
  • Ally with city states before going war with other nations.
  • Plunder other trade routes

From the experience that both my friend and I went through, it is difficult to determine if some actions are actually pure cooperative or competitive. Some actions are cooperative with some players at the level of being competitive towards other players while some competitive actions can actually result in cooperative results if it is in line with another player’s objective. Regardless of the case, the constant tension between competition and cooperation is evident in Civilization V and the player has the choice to decide to take either stance or a mix of both stances.

Lens of Fairness

Civilization V is an asymmetrical game because each nation that a player starts with has a unique ability and a special unit/building that only they can build.

Myself Friend
England – Elizabeth2000px-Civilization-V_elizabeth_scene Ethiopia – Haile Selassie HaileSelassie-620x
  • Sun Never Sets – +2 Naval unit Movement and +1 Extra Spy when introduced in the Renaissance
  • Longbowman (Crossbowman) – Range +1, which is a huge advantage
  • Ship of the Line (Frigate) – +7 Ranged Strength (35), +5 Defense (30), +1 Sight – a big bonus with the native Movement of English Ships.
  • Spirit of Adwa – +20% Combat Bonus to all Units when fighting a Civ with more Cities than Ethiopia.
  • Mehal Sefari (Rifleman) – Costs 200 vs 225 for a Rifleman. Starts with Drill I. Gets a +30% Combat Bonus while fighting from inside the Capital, which diminishes in power as it gets a few hexes away.
  • Stele (Monument) – Gives +2 Faith in addition to the regular +2 Culture of a Monument.


There is definitely a great degree of discrepancy between the starting abilities/boost that some nations get to gain. While it will translate to a huge advantage to a particular mechanics of the game, each other nation will also generate a different advantage to other aspects of the game. Rather than balancing out all these advantages across, the developer of civilization decided to offer different victory conditions to cater to the differences of nation’s abilities. In doing so, there is some fairness within each individual nations as to how they can complete the game victoriously, but if the game is considered as a whole, there is still a large discrepancy between nation’s ability/boost.


Civilization V is an extremely long and comprehensive games that opens up lots of flexibility for the players. From the observation of the game through the same lens, both players took on different approach and strategies with respect to the same aspect of the game (Ie. economy). This can be largely explained through the lens of meaningful choices and fairness, in which the game offers different options for different nations due to their innate abilities and units/buildings that each civilization needs to best made a plan around it to optimize it for victory. The developers have done a well job in creating a unique realistic experience of ruling a nation for each individual player.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.