Civilization V includes a total of 43 different civilizations. Each civilization has factors that are unique to that civilization. These unique qualities include abilities, units, improvements, and starting biases. All of these factors and a number of others were assessed before compiling this list.
Each of the best civilizations needed to be strong in their respective victory type, but also versatile. After years of Civilization V, top civilizations have both risen and fallen since the game’s launch. Below are the top five civilizations in the game and a brief explanation of each civilization’s advantages.
Most of the top-tier civilizations (civs) in Civ V are science civilizations. Another common quality shared by all of the top civilizations is either a bonus to food or a bonus to science. Babylon provides two key bonuses. The first is a free Great Scientist when the civilization discovers writing, which will occur quite early in the civ. The second is that Great Scientists are earned 50 percent faster in the civilization. These attributes mean that Babylon begins the civilization with essentially double the science of all the other civs. The starting bias for the civ is avoiding the Tundra, which is a great bias to have. The Tundra is probably the worst location to begin a civ. Additionally, the science bonuses will help players choose the wonders they want as well as the technology path they prefer.
In terms of defense, Babylon has the Bowman, which is resistant to melee and does more damage than the typical archer. Even better, Bowman are the same price as Archers. Babylon also has the Walls of Babylon, which provide +6 defense and a +100 hp bonus. Because of how cheap and powerful the walls are, Babylon is extremely easy to defend with a small investment. Players that choose Babylon will have an immediate science bonus, as well as great defensive attributes, which are important early in the civ.
Egypt has to be included in the list of god-tier civs. The developers knew that the complex engineering of the pyramids could not be ignored. The start bias of avoiding jungle and forest is good. Those dense areas are much more difficult to expand in. As a result, players will be able to scout faster and build quicker. Workers will improve faster as well. The starting bonus for Egypt is a 20 percent increase in wonder production, which is a huge boost to those long-term investments. In the long run, these production bonuses will win players games.
The civ’s military includes the War Chariot, which are even better than the Chariot Archer. These warriors have all of the bonuses of the Chariot Archer and they do not need horses. While there are a few better options, the War Chariot is a formidable military unit. Egypt also has the option to create a Burial Tomb to increase both happiness and faith by two. The Burial Tomb is a replacement for a temple but without the gold maintenance requirements. All of these attributes make Egypt one of the best civs in Civ V.
Korea is an interesting civilization, with a coastal start bias. What sets Korea apart from the majority of civs are the science bonuses. These bonuses include 2 additional science for all specialists and all Great Person tile improvements. Additionally, Korean civs receive a tech boost each time a scientific building/wonder is built in the capital. Players that can get their religion to an advanced level and plan profits will stack bonuses and improve advancement significantly. Once players get universities and secularism, the civ’s science will increase exponentially. Good players that get off to a fast start will crush other civs with Korea.
The other unique Korean attributes include the Hwach’a and Turtle Ship. The Hwach’a are extremely effective defensive units, especially for civs with roads. Players that have a significant number of Hwach’a can rest assured that the civ is defended well. Korea also has the Turtle Ship, which has 36 combat and 4 movement. These vessels are extraordinarily difficult to kill but are limited to shallow waters. Korea’s science bonuses and defense make the civ a top-tier option.
England is a top-tier offensive civ due to its Sun Never Sets Bonus. Elizabeth’s bonus provides +2 movement for all naval units and gives the civ an additional spy. Naval warfare in Civ V is usually decided by which civ makes the first move or attack. The added movement speed allows English civs to strike first and win battles in the water. Frigates have a base movement of 5, so the +2 bonus is impactful. Once gamers reach Renaissance, each civ will receive a spy. However, England will receive two. This means that players can use both a defensive and offensive spy while opposing civs have to choose what to do with their singular spy.
Despite the effectiveness of England’s bonuses, the civ’s other attributes move it into the top tier. England has the Longbowman, which replaces the crossbowman. The unit provides added range for use on both offense and defense. No other civ has a bonus to range before artillery, giving the Longbowman an advantage over other ranged attackers. Ship of the Line is another game-changing unit with 5 base movement, which is incredible for a large vessel. The ship costs the same as the Frigate, but has more combat, ranged combat, and speed. With the Longbowman and Ship of the Line, England is force to be reckoned with militarily.
While there are a few civs that come close, no civilization is better than Poland. The civilization has a plains bias, which will lead gamers to one of the best sets of tiles in the game. Salt spawns in the plains more frequently, and production is good near the plains rivers. Poland’s Solidarity bonus is impressive as well. Players receive a free Social Policy when advancing to the next era. Tradition or Liberty can be accomplished much faster than other players with the bonus. In Renaissance, the bonus will give gamers an immediate point in rationalism, which will jump-start the process of filling the various trees in the game. Players that choose Poland will have a number of advancement advantages over other civs.
Poland also includes two added attributes, Ducal Stable and Winged Hussar. The Polish Winged Hussar replaces the Lancer, and has the potential for five promotions. While the Winged Hussar is not as great as the other units in this article, the unit is still viable once promoted. The Ducal Stable replaces the standard stable but does not have a gold upkeep expense. The 15 percent XP boost for mounted units is crucial, as just having a barracks and a stable will allow civs to employ double promoted units.
If gamers have a barracks, stables, armory, and military academy, units will start with four upgrade abilities and three promotions. Players that have Alhambra can get up to four promotions. Charge is unlocked at promotion three and march is unlocked at promotion four. With these upgrades, players will be able to create a cohesive battle unit quickly and efficiently. With a wealth of social policies and the promotion bonuses of the Ducal Stable, Poland is the most difficult civ to conquer.