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Complete Guide to Happiness

Discussion in 'Civ5 - War Academy' started by WeaselSlapper, Aug 15, 2011.

  1. WeaselSlapper

    WeaselSlapper New Member

    Mar 16, 2009
    Complete Guide to Happiness
    All Happiness and Unhappiness Explained

    The status bar with happiness indicator (smiley 4) and golden age bucket (124/1210)
    with its hover breakdown of happiness and unhappiness sources

    Happiness is a measure of your citizens' contentment. In Civilization V, the happiness system is used as a primary growth and expansion limiter. The empire's happiness level is displayed on the status line at the top of the screen, with a varying face icon as a general barometer with either a green number indicating overall happiness or red unhappiness. Understanding sources of happiness and unhappiness is critical to advanced play, as maintaining a happy empire is unsurprisingly beneficial.

    [set_anchor=2][h3]Effects of Happiness Level[/h3][/set_anchor]

    There are four different possible states for happiness: Happy, Unhappy, Very Unhappy and Revolt.

    • :c5happy: Happy
      0 or greater happiness. Everything behaves as normal.
    • :c5unhappy: Unhappy
      1 to 9 unhappiness. All positive growth modifiers are eliminated and replaced with a -75% excess food modifier. A city producing 4 excess food will be reduced to 1.
    • :c5angry: Very Unhappy
      10 to 19 unhappiness. Growth in all cities is stopped, settlers may neither settle nor be built, all cities gain a -50% production penalty, all units receive a -33% combat penalty.
    • :c5angry: Revolt[float=right][​IMG]
      Rebels appearing due to revolt happiness level
      20 or greater unhappiness. In addition to all the ill effects of Very Unhappy, rebels appear every few turns. Rebels consist of three barbarian units that spawn in a group and will cause mischief as barbarians are wont to do.

    Additionally, positive amounts of happiness are accumulated toward creating a Golden Age. Excess unhappiness is counted against any previous progress. This accumulation occurs only when not already in a golden age. The amount of excess happiness needed to create a golden age on standard speed starts at 500, and increases by 250 for each previous happiness golden age that has occurred and 1 percent per extra city founded. When in a golden age, every tile in the empire that produces at least one gold produces an additional gold, and cities gain a 20% production bonus.

    [set_anchor=3][h3]Sources of Unhappiness[/h3][/set_anchor]

    There are two sources of unhappiness: cities and citizens. In a standard game, each city produces 3 unhappiness and each citizen produces 1 unhappiness. Occupied cities (annexed without a courthouse) produce 5 unhappiness with each citizen producing 1.34. Large and huge maps have an 80% and 60% per city modifier, and the lowest three difficulties have a 40%, 60% and 75% modifier for both cities and citizens.

    [set_anchor=4][h3]Sources of Happiness[/h3][/set_anchor]

    Happiness can be gained and unhappiness reduced through a variety of means. Percentage unhappiness reductions are generally multiplied together, so for example each specialist in a democratic monarchic Delhi will produce only 0.125 unhappiness (0.5 * 0.5 * 0.5).


    Starting Happiness
    • Settler: +15 happiness
    • Chieftain and Warlord: +12 happiness
    • Prince and above: +9 happiness
    Luxury Resources[float=right][​IMG][/float]

    +4 happiness each (+5 on settler and chieftain difficulty). There are 15 possible luxuries on standard size and larger maps, whereas some get excluded on smaller maps:
    • Cotton
    • Dyes
    • Furs
    • Gems
    • Gold
    • Incense
    • Ivory
    • Marble
    • Pearls
    • Silk
    • Silver
    • Spices
    • Sugar
    • Whales
    • Wine
    Natural Wonders[float=right][​IMG][/float]

    +1 happiness for each Natural Wonder found. Additionally the following two natural wonders provide happiness for being within the empire's borders:
    • Old Faithful +3 happiness
    • The Fountain of Youth +10 happiness

    • Circus Maximus (National Wonder): +5 happiness
    • Eiffel Tower: +5 happiness and +1 happiness for every 2 Social Policies
    • Notre Dame: +10 happiness
    • Forbidden Palace: -10% unhappiness for citizens in non-occupied cities
    • Taj Mahal: +4 happiness (local)
    • Chichen Itza: +4 happiness (local)

    Social Policies[float=right][​IMG]
    Unhappiness breakdown for Delhi with
    Monarchy, Democracy, and Population Growth
    1 city (3 * 2.0 = 6) +
    10 regular citizens (10 * 0.5 * 0.5 = 2.5) +
    5 specialists (5 * 0.5 * 0.5 * 0.5 = .625)
    = 9.125, which gets rounded down to 9​

    • Tradition
      Aristocracy +1 happiness for every 10 citizens in a city.
      Monarchy -50% unhappiness for citizens in the capital.
    • Liberty
      Meritocracy +1 happiness for each city you own connected to the capital (ie trade route) and -5% unhappiness from citizens in non-occupied cities.
    • Honor
      Military Caste +1 happiness for each city with a garrison.
      Professional Army +1 happiness for each defensive building, specifically walls, castle, arsenal and military base.
    • Piety
      Organized Religion +1 happiness from culture buildings, specifically monument, temple and monastery (which requires improved incense or wine around the city).
    • Patronage
      Cultural Diplomacy happiness from gifted luxuries increased by 50% (+2 per gift)
    • Commerce
      Protectionism +1 happiness from each Luxury resource.
    • Rationalism
      Humanism +1 happiness from select science buildings, specifically university, public school and observatory (which requires city to be adjacent to a mountain).
    • Freedom
      Democracy -50% unhappiness per specialist population.
    • Order
      Opener +1 happiness per city.
    • Autocracy
      Police State +3 happiness per Courthouse (which can only be built in an annexed city).

    Unique Abilities

    • India - Population Growth: 50% happiness from citizens, and 200% unhappiness from cities.


    The happiness provided by standard buildings cannot exceed the base unhappiness the citizens in a city produce. This happiness is referred to as local. For example, a city with population 4 with a colosseum and circus will produce no additional happiness by building a stone works or theatre. Because only the base unhappiness is considered, if all four citizens are assigned as specialists under democracy or if the leader is Gandhi, the 50% reduction will cause the citizens to only produce 2 unhappiness but the buildings will still produce their +4 happiness. The +4 happiness from both Chichen Itza and the Taj Mahal fall under the local restriction as well.

    • Colosseum: +2 happiness
    • Theatre: +3 happiness
    • Stadium: +4 happiness
    • Stone works: +1 happiness - Requires Stone or Marble and city not built on a plains tile
    • Circus: +2 happiness - Requires Horse or Ivory
    • Courthouse: removes occupied status from an annexed city reducing per population happiness and occupied city penalty - there is a longstanding bug which additionally makes courthouses permanently remove the standard per city penalty.
    • Burial Tomb: +2 happiness - Unique Building for Egypt; replaces temple
    • Satrap's Court: +2 happiness - Unique Building for Persia; replaces bank

    Thus through local buildings a city can typically combat the unhappiness from 9 citizens base, with an additional 1 population if stone works is available and an additional 2 if a circus is available, for a max of 12 local happiness. Egypt and Persia each have another 2 local happiness possible for a max of 14. All other unhappiness must be covered through other (global) means.

    [set_anchor=8][h3]General Empire Management[/h3][/set_anchor]

    In any empire maintaining happiness involves balancing happiness gains against population and city unhappiness, with the goal of maximizing citizen efficiency. Given the multiplier advantages present in established cities, it's generally advantageous to only plant new cities when positive happiness can be maintained or easily restored. To this end, city placement is a key factor; planting a city in the middle of a snowfield and growing it to the point of empire unhappiness is wasteful compared to letting established cities with useable tiles grow. To cover the base city + one citizen unhappiness, a new city needs only be planted near a new luxury. Planting cities near stone or marble allows for the highly efficient stone works to be built, and planting near horses allows for the efficient circus to be built. Aside from proper city placement, occasionally the best way to avoid unhappiness is to avoid growth; a city may be working an optimal amount of tiles, and a new citizen there may not be worth causing a growth hit in other cities.

    In addition to happiness gained through luxuries and proper city placement, social policies choices to provide happiness are a prime consideration. The optimal choices vary significantly with empire and play style, and are covered below.

    [set_anchor=9][h3]Managing a tall (a few cities with a high populations) empire[/h3][/set_anchor]

    Managing a tall empire requires aiming for raw happiness boosts and large per citizen reductions. Tall empires benefit from a limited number of raw city unhappiness hits, but also are not improved much by per city boosts. In addition, tall empires will generally have a lower total population and city unhappiness than a wide counterpart, and thus gain relatively more happiness via wonders such as Notre Dame.

    Key social policy choices are:
    • Monarchy
      A tall empire usually involves a national college start in the capital, and thus each population in the capital will produce more science than elsewhere. Monarchy makes growing your capital even more efficient, with its massive 50% reduction to unhappiness there. If one third of your population is in the capital, this reduces your total unhappiness from citizens by one sixth.
    • Democracy
      Each city in a tall empire should have specialist slots filled, so this will generally net 2 to 3 happiness per city. It also has the benefit of allowing for controlled happiness boosting via assigning more specialists, including unemployed citizens if necessary. The 50% happiness gets rounded down on a per city basis, so an odd number of specialists will maximize happiness gained: 1-2 specialists add +1 happiness, 3-4 add +2, etc.
    • Cultural Diplomacy
      If gaining four unique luxuries from city states, this can net a sizable +8 happiness boost. This policy has a large number of prerequisites, but can be worthwhile for city state focused games.
    • Humanism
      In a non cultural game, rationalism is a strong choice for tall empires. Universities and public schools will generally be built regardless, so this policy will can be a readily available 2 happiness per city.

    [set_anchor=10]Managing a wide (many cities with low population) empire[/set_anchor]

    Wide empires need to cover the raw city 3 unhappiness for up to an infinite number of cities, and generally do this through per city social policy boosts. Raw happiness boosts provide less of a relative benefit. To continue sprawling, some cities may be best stuck avoiding growth at small sizes. Additionally, with their overall large populations wide empires may see a large benefit from completing the forbidden palace for -10% population unhappiness.

    Key social policy choices are:
    • Meritocracy
      The liberty tree is a strong choice for a wide empire for many reasons, and maintaining a trade network should be standard operating procedure, so this nets 1 happiness per extra city in addition to the 1 happiness per 20 total population reduction.
    • Organized Religion
      Two deep in the piety tree, this turns monuments and temples both into efficient happiness producers, netting 2 happiness per city.
    • Order
      While this is only one happiness per city, the benefits for a wide empire through the rest of the order tree make it a decent choice.

    [set_anchor=11]Managing a puppet (a few owned cities with many puppets) empire[/set_anchor]

    With two maritime allies, a high production stagnated size 4 puppet
    [/float]A puppet empire is a type of wide empire, lacking the benefit of direct control. The same social policies as a wide empire apply with the addition of these:

    • Military Caste
      Given that puppets are gained through conquest, going through the honor tree is less burdensome than in a normal game. Military caste can provide 1 happiness per city for the low price of having an archer or scout built that can be garrisoned in the city.
    • Professional Army
      Puppets have a strong preference for building defensive buildings. While these are generally inefficient purely for happiness purposes, the fact that puppets will be building them anyway make this policy a decent choice that can eventually provide up to four happiness per city.
    • Democracy
      Puppets will generally assign specialists to markets and banks when able, so this can provide 1-2 happiness per puppet.

    Managing Puppet Size
    Since puppet growth can't be controlled directly and puppets should never be grown at the expense of controlled cities, puppet growth should be controlled indirectly via exploiting tile improvements and the puppet governor's gold focus.

    • Pillage farms before taking the city.
      If workers are going to be unable to improve tiles around the city for a while, growth can be hamstrung by pillaging farms.
    • Decide how many tiles the puppet should work.
      As puppets will put some priority into building colosseums and circuses when able, keeping a puppet at size one is generally suboptimal. Figure out how many tiles the puppet should work and set up the gold tiles provide such that they can grow into however many tiles. For example, with two maritime allies a size four puppet needs to work tiles for +4 food tiles, and thus one riverside farm will be enough to sustain working 3 hill trading posts or luxury mines.
    • Build trading posts.
      The primary mode of controlling which tiles a puppet will work is building trading posts. A puppet will work raw food tiles over raw production tiles and thus continue to grow, however putting a trading post on a hill will shift the focus to that tile, reducing growth.
    • Build other riverside improvements.
      Aside from trading posts and luxury improvements, occasionally a riverside tiles natural +1 gold can be capitalized upon for other improvements, such as a pasture on a riverside cow or a mine on a riverside hill. Pay attention to the governor's worked tiles in the city viewing screen to make sure these improvements are getting used.

    Managing Puppet Production

    Puppet production choices are based somewhat on the general state of an empire; if unhappy, puppets will choose to build happiness buildings. This can be controlled via micro using democracy and/or military caste. If the empire will briefly be falling into unhappiness anyway, temporarily forcing unhappiness (by removing garrisons or specialists) the turn before a puppet will complete a building can result in the puppet choosing to build a colosseum or theatre.

    [set_anchor=12][h3]Recovering from Unhappiness[/h3][/set_anchor][float=right][​IMG][/float]

    A major consideration when conquering is how to handle all the unhappiness newly conquered cities bring. The quick options for gaining a quick happiness boost are as follows:

    • Acquire more luxuries. Buy an alliance with a city state containing a unique luxury, or trade with another civilization.
    • Sell/Gift cities to the AI. On higher difficulties the AI will normally have the gold to buy cities, and will pay a hefty price for cities near their borders. Even if no gold can be gained, getting out of the very unhappy penalties can make this a bargain.
    • Buy/build happiness buildings. In a pinch happiness buildings can be rush bought. They are generally more expensive than acquiring a new luxury would be, however the bonus is permanent. Generally focus should be placed upon building the low production happiness buildings while buying the more expensive ones; with two cities where only one contains a colosseum, it is generally more efficient to build another colosseum and buy a theatre than the other way around.
    • Rush build a wonder. Requires having a great engineer available, but Notre Dame or the Forbidden Palace can each provide significant happiness boosts.
    • Reduce population in existing cities. Although it's preferable to have previously avoided growth where necessary, starving an unimportant citizen can occasionally be helpful. In an annexed city, one citizen can be starved per turn using the raze feature followed by stopping when the target population is reached.
    • Raze Cities. This will permanently remove the city, and is an excellent choice for poor location cities gained in war. There are caveats to consider:
      • Only captured cities may be razed.
      • The number of turns it takes to raze is equal to the population at time of razing.
      • To raze a city it must first be annexed, causing +2 city unhappiness and +34% local citizen unhappiness until it is gone.
      • If the city is razed directly upon capture it does not contribute to social policy cost increases.
      • If razing multiple puppets, raze one at a time to avoid extra social policy cost increases.
      • Razing kills 1 population per turn, increasing happiness by at least one per turn.
      • One building can be sold per turn from a city being razed.

    Tips for picking cities to dump
    When deciding which cities to Sell/Gift/Raze here are a few tips for picking which cities to keep; cities that don't meet any of these criteria are probably good choices for getting rid of:
    • Check the city view to see what buildings have been constructed; the city may already have happiness buildings and not be a major contributor to unhappiness.
    • A highly developed city may be more valuable than immediately getting out of unhappiness.
    • Keep cities with new luxury resources.
    • Keep cities with Wonders.
    • Keep cities that are strategically located

    Patch version of this article:
  2. vexing

    vexing knows

    Dec 24, 2010
    Image uploads.

    Attached Files:

  3. joncnunn

    joncnunn Senior Java Wizard Staff Member Moderator

    Mar 17, 2008
    Well done,
    It's missing a couple of things:

    Courthouses : The court house eliminates the city portion of unhappiness in the city; making the city even better than one your built even without Police State

    Democracy: A lot more complex than that. These are actually calculated on a per city basis with rounding before combining back together.
    What it really means is:
    A. The first specialist in every city improves happiness.
    B. The second specialist in a given city will have no affect whatsoever.
    C. The 3rd specialist in a given city will generally improve happiness. (Exception if you have Monarchy and are in the capital, in which case due to interactions with the Monarchy policy, it won't and you'll need a few more specialists.)

    Also, I think an unemployed citizen counts as a specialist for Democracy.
  4. vexing

    vexing knows

    Dec 24, 2010
    courthouse is listed under buildings,
    that democracy information is under "managing an empire"
  5. Ellye

    Ellye New Member

    May 13, 2008
    I have a question about happiness:
    On high difficulties, how much extra happiness does the AI have?

    Is it just the default of Chieftain, or is it more? How much?
  6. vexing

    vexing knows

    Dec 24, 2010
    handicaps are deserving of their own article,
    AIs have the chieftain happiness difficulty bonuses of 60% of normal, +3 starting, and +1 per luxury,
    in addition at the levels above prince they have 90%, 85%, 75%, and 60% of base that gets multiplied: at deity they run at 36% of normal unhappiness.
  7. aaronlk

    aaronlk New Member

    Dec 11, 2005
    "The 50% happiness gets rounded down on a per city basis, so an odd number of specialists will maximize happiness gained: 1-2 specialists add +1 happiness, 3-4 add +2, etc."

    It gets rounded up.
  8. Erindill

    Erindill New Member

    Oct 28, 2011
    :confused:I am sure I have read some contradictory advice somewhere on this site and am hoping - as an expert on happiness you can help. Is it useful to build happiness buildings (non multiplier effect ones) in more than one city? I read somewhere, and now I can't find it, that there is no point building more than one theatre, circus etc as the +2 (or whatever) adds to the total happiness of your empire and is not cumulative from haveing multiple circuses/theatres etc. please help.
  9. Camikaze

    Camikaze Administrator Staff Member Administrator GOTM Staff

    Dec 27, 2008
    No, they provide happiness for each building. So building a circus in one city will give you +2 :c5happiness:, and building one in another city will give you an additional +2 :c5happiness:. Likewise, the population of each city contributes to unhappiness.
  10. weregamer

    weregamer Gandhi of the Mongols

    Sep 6, 2006
    San Jose, CA
    It's possible somebody got confused, because as noted in the main article there are cases where building a circus, theatre, etc. will have no effect on happiness - that is when the city is smaller than the total "local" happiness buildings present. They may have watched their happiness number not change when a circus was completed and not realized the real mechanic.
  11. Monthar

    Monthar Active Member

    Mar 28, 2004
    Elmendorf, Tx
    The bold part is wrong. Annexing the city is what removes the per city unhappiness penalty from that city. I just tested this. Prior to annexing I had 45 unhappiness from number of cities. After annexing I only had 42 unhappiness from number of cities. Then I bought a courthouse and still had 42 unhappiness from number of cities. The courthouse itself worked exactly as it was supposed.
  12. vexing

    vexing knows

    Dec 24, 2010
    refer to the first screenshot, you will notice under unhappiness "5 from number of :c5occupied: occupied cities"
    this is what happens with one annexed city as it should.
    when the annexed city gains a courthouse, the occupied city penalty is removed and the normal per city penalty is not regained.

    this is easy to view - upon annexing a puppet, happiness drops by 2 + floor(population / 3), eg a two pop city drops happiness by two, as the per city penalty goes from normal 3 to occupied 5 and the per population goes from 2 to 2.666 which gets floored back to 2.

    upon gaining a courthouse, happiness increases by 5 + floor(population/3), eg a two pop annexed city gaining a courthouse increases happiness by 5. the per occupied city penalty is correctly removed but not transferred back to the normal city penalty side.
  13. enter`name`here

    enter`name`here New Member

    Oct 8, 2004
    if courthouses remove the city unhappiness,and it is difficult to manage puppet growth,is there really ever a point to puppeting cities?
  14. MadDjinn

    MadDjinn Well-Known Member

    Jan 28, 2011

    They're great for TP spam >> Gold production.

    plus extra science and culture. They're really bad at producing happiness buildings, unless you're unhappy.

    Plus, they let you keep land+culture borders as is, thereby keeping everything without the problems of actually working them.

    annexing/courthouse gives you control, but also has a 5 gpt expense while also raising culture costs and Golden Age happiness targets. On top of that, you have a higher cost for national wonders (plus needing to have this city build the specific building).
  15. Dux Malleus

    Dux Malleus New Member

    Dec 7, 2011
    There are other strategic concerns as well.

    As MadDjinn pointed out, puppetted cities still count towards your territory. If you happen to gain control of your opponent's city that supplies any important strategic resource, that resource transfers over to you. Puppetting the right city can immediately deny Uranium to an opponent, and as long as the city remains standing and in your control that doesn't change.

    Going for a domination victory adds another aspect. Air units fighting on large landmasses require a base city and on larger maps may need to "city-hop" without taking the time or resources to fully annex or 'raze-and-replace' cities in newly conquered territory.
  16. NukeAJS

    NukeAJS Member

    Jul 28, 2008
    Military Caste gets mentioned but Oligarchy doesn't get mentioned. The two synergize really well because it means +1:), +2:culture:, and a unit you don't have to pay upkeep for. I know this article is about happiness, not gold, but putting a unit in every city to gain the +1:) +2:culture: from Military Caste can possibly be economically unfeasible, especially if you want to use military caste in the classical era while capturing lots of cities. If it's economically unfeasible, you can't implement the policy in the first place. Basically a waste of a policy.

    Furthermore, If you compare a garrisoned city in a civilization with Military Caste to a coliseum, the coliseum provides twice the amount of happiness for the same upkeep in the classical era. As upkeep per unit gets more and more expensive as the eras go by, it becomes more and more inefficient to place units in cities strictly for happiness (with a +2:culture: kicker). Oligarchy, on the other hand, removes the largest negative of applying Military Caste. As a bonus, city attacks are stronger due to Oligarchy. Normally this is negligible unless you get ambushed, but having a large army and many enemies due to the army's size + diplomatic penalties from declaring war on other civ's friends makes the chances of ambush higher than having moderate army size and a less aggressive foreign policy.

    Also, even if an economy is healthy, Oligarchy can make Military Caste even more attractive and the gold saved can buy courthouses/happiness buildings or even more units.

    Lastly, there's a diplomatic boost/penalty to using Military Caste. If you're putting units in all your cities, this can seriously deter other civs into declaring war on you due to a large army. Sometimes it will even make some civilizations fear you. On the flip side, it can cause an arms-race as other civs try to keep up (which can be a good thing -- it means they're not improving their cities). Also, some civs won't like you for having such a large army -- Mongolia is a shining example -- and you'll get denounced.
  17. Veneke

    Veneke Member

    Sep 13, 2007
    Fair points about Oligarchy, but I really don't think that buffing Military Caste is worth the social policy pick. The extra gold saved won't compare to the extra happiness from something like Organized Religion. Given that it's comparatively easier to come by gold that it is to come by happiness prioritizing gold doesn't make much sense. You also have to bear in mind that unless you can provide for the unit upkeep anyway that unit is going to be stuck inside that city (or only allowed out so long as the treasury can maintain the deficit).

    It's also a little unfair to compare Military Caste (a social policy) to a colosseum (a building). The two aren't really comparable in the sense that they're not competing with each other. It isn't a case of Military Caste or Colosseums, it's a case of Military Caste or a different social policy and Colosseums or a different building.

    The question is whether or not buffing Military Caste is better than Military Caste with an independent social policy. However, if you're going for the Tradition finisher with Military Caste then yes, you do have a point. There's a nice synergy there that will save you a bit of gold.
  18. Weklim

    Weklim New Member

    Oct 14, 2009
    I am confused about the whole local happiness from buildings thing. I know that the happiness generated from certain buildings, specifically the Colosseum line, can't exceed the total population. But does this include walls, castles, etc from professional army or universities, observatories, etc from humanism? For example would a city with a population of 4 and the obvious SPs "produce" more than 4 happiness from buildings if it had the entire colosseum line and all the defensive buildings and humanist buildings?

    There would of course be no benefit from the Stadium but wouldn't everything else add to the empire's total happiness?
  19. weregamer

    weregamer Gandhi of the Mongols

    Sep 6, 2006
    San Jose, CA
    This is also a burning question for me (though obviously not quite burning enough to stop conquering the world/travelling to AC/awing the world/paying off the world long enough to do the experiment). Stating it more simply, for buildings that give happiness because of a social policy is the happiness "local" or "global"?
  20. Weklim

    Weklim New Member

    Oct 14, 2009
    I did some quick tests and I've found them to be global. At least in the case for the buildings I tested (walls, castle), so I'm going to assume other buildings like this are global as well. In short my city of 4 population was producing 7 happiness from buildings.

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