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Cultural Victory Guide

Discussion in 'Civ5 - Strategy & Tips' started by Neuro, Sep 28, 2010.

  1. Neuro

    Neuro Warlord

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    Building the Utopia Project isn't the flashiest way to win, but it can be quite a challenge. Since you have to focus your empire, you lose out on a lot of the military side of the game, but if you're looking for something different give this a try. I recently finished a 1-city Cultural Victory on Emperor with Ghandi using this technique.

    First, there's two ways to win via culture. One is to focus on 1-3 cities, the other is to go France and cheese the game by building up a lot of culture then selling your cities off. Personally, I find that to be almost exploiting the game, but that's me. I'll talk about the true method of Culture Victory, the small empire approach.

    First, you want to pick your civ. The best civs for Culture are:

    India (especially for the single-city approach)
    Siam (city states make up for not expanding)
    Egypt (Building Wonders is a key part of Cultural Vic)
    Greece (again, for City States)

    I don't rank Aztecs or France as cultural victory civs. They strike me more as geared for using their culture for rapid expansion and conquest rather than as a road to victory. Really, though, any civ can do the Culture vic, it's just easier with those four.

    If you want to maximize your chances of success, play on an archipelago map. Your biggest danger is in the first fifty turns when you are trying to grab the key early wonders and don't have time to pump out defensive units.

    You'll need five complete policies, and four of them are no-brainers. Tradition, Piety, Patronage, and Freedom all have excellent cultural policies in them. For your fifth, it's a matter of choice. I went with Commerce just because I wanted the extra gold, but you can go any of the others (except rationalism), it'll be late in the game and you'll just be filling in the blanks.


    Starting out: You'll be trying to get Stonehenge and the Oracle first off, so you should go straight for Calender with your research. Your first build should be a scout, followed by a monument. Don't bother with a worker, better to buy one with gold. Grab up all the ruins you can, find out where your neighbors are, etc. Once you have your monument built, you should have Calender finished and you can start building Stonehenge and start researching Writing->Philosophy. If you finish Stonehenge before you get Philosophy, start on the Great Library then down-queue it for Oracle when you get Philosophy.

    Your first policies should be Tradition then Aristocracy for the wonder bonus. If you get a third policy pop up before you have Philosophy finished, hold off on it. Once Philo finishes, put that social policy into Piety, and start filling in things like mining and animal husbandry, while you finish the Great Library. When GL finishes, you can take Theology (or Civil Service, if you managed to get Trapping by then) as your free tech, pushing you into the Medieval Era, far ahead of everyone else, and unlocking Patronage.

    Your first policies should be: Tradition->Aristocracy, Piety->Mandate of Heaven, then Patronage->Aesthetics->Philanthropy, assuming the city-states around you are cultural and/or maritime. Militaristic city states aren't nearly as worthwhile to befriend, especially since they keep wanting you to kill other city-states.

    Once you have Theology, I recommend building Angkor Wat. Since you won't be expanding via lots of settlers, this is a great way to push out your borders. Save your Engineers for quick-building the Sistine Chapel when it arrives, as you want to push for Acoustics with your Great Scientists.

    Now, I did this with one city, but I also used Ghandi. For other civs, it might be better to go with 3 cities, so you can get more luxury items. I wouldn't build any till you get philosophy done, and even then I might wait until you have patronage unlocked.

    From here, it's all downhill. Once you get Acoustics, you are into the Renaissance and can pick up the most important policies in the Freedom branch: Constitution and Free Speech. You should be able to roll on through to victory now, as long as your neighbors don't decide to stab you in the back.

    The keys to a culture victory are simple; keep it under three cities, focus on the important wonders, and stay out of armed conflicts. If you are attacked, the main AI strat is to bring in ranged units to weaken you, then finish you off with melee. If you get attacked, try and get a catapult or treb on your city and focus on killing their ranged units. They won't send in the ground forces unless it's they have 2-3 units and you are weakened.


    I think I'll try a 3-city Egypt Culture Victory now and see if it works better than 1-city Ghandi.
     
  2. bhavv

    bhavv Glorious World Dictator

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    Babylon > Egypt for Wonder spamming if you have them.

    The +20% production bonus is nothing compared to getting the wonder techs 20-30+ turns faster than the AI using the fast Great Scientists.

    I also disagree with your policy choices. Your first two should be Tradition and Aristocracy. After that you should save up all your policies including the one from oracle until you can unlock freedom and get free speech (costs 3 policies). After that I take the top two in Patronage and start pumping gold into city states, and the top two in Piety and start building Colloseums and Circus wherever I can.

    Even with taking freedom early, and allying 3-4 cultural city states, unlocking 5 full trees still isnt easy. I would also suggest only taking which policies you abosolutely need, and saving as many as you can until after you have built the Cristo Redentor.
     
  3. Delgar

    Delgar Warlord

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    I have just managed to win a cultural victory in 1993 using Siam. I went the small empire route; in fact, just 2 cities. I allied with 5 cultural city states, and in the earlier part of the game the main bulk of the culture was coming from these city states. Side note: it’s kind of weird that you can get much more culture out of a single city-state (18 per turn) than you can with a wonder. It just seems to me that wonders might be giving out too little culture? Anyway, allying with the cultural city states really tipped the game in my favor, culturally speaking. Military wise though, I was pretty much fending off attacks from my AI neighbors; first Russia, then Japan, took turns to take potshots at me. Japan grew extremely powerful and destroyed the Ottomans and the Persians and took big chunks out of Russia. Then it turned its attentions to me. Fortunately the AI isn’t very good at warfare so I managed to hold Japan off using Naresuan’s elephant and cannons against Japanese infantry and artillery. I also had to first defend (and not very successfully) 3 city states from Japan, and after Japan conquered them, I had to liberate them. The city states gifted me about 4-5 great people over the course of the game; that, and the great people generated in my capital plus the great generals generated from centuries of warfare with Japan gave me several golden ages.

    When I completed all 5 social policy trees and started building the Utopia project, I baulked at first because it would take 40 turns! Luckily I had saved up a couple of great people, the subsequent golden ages meant that the build time was reduced to something like 25-30 turns.

    I don’t know about playing on archipelago map though. Wouldn’t that lower your chances of meeting more city states? Imho the cultural city states are really the key. If you don't have any cultural city states in your game you might as well give up on the idea of a cultural victory...unless you go the "large empire with lots of puppeted cities" route.
     
  4. Aichwood

    Aichwood Chieftain

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    Smaller archipelago maps can usually be mostly explored before you're able to cross ocean tiles, so you should be meeting City States pretty quickly. Also, you just need a harbor and no roads, thus saving yourself a bit of money.

    -Matt
     
  5. saraid

    saraid Chieftain

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    Autocracy is also out because the Freedom tree is better. Your options for a 5th are Liberty, Honor, Order, and Commerce. I think Order is the best since you get a culture boost from the unhappiness drop, some extra defensive strength, and +5 production.

    I actually did a 1-city Egypt CV the other night on Prince difficulty. I was watching time run out as Catherine wiped out capital after capital... but I had become friends with her during the beginning of the game and wasn't a threat, so I snuck in my Utopia Project (Egypt trait + Aristocracy + Production focus + Golden Age = 10 turns) while she was busy stalemating Japan.

    My sense (I haven't played as Gandhi yet) is that the India trait + Mandate from Heaven is not as good as the ability to spam Wonders. I might try India tonight.
     
  6. KroninW

    KroninW Chieftain

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    I finished a Small map, King difficulty cultural victory as Napoleon last night in about 1962 or so.

    My initial plan was 3 cities, but one of my allied city states (maritime) wanted me to kill a militaristic one early on. I figured that was worth doing to get the long time ally status with them from that influence, so I ended up going with 4 cities, using the 4th to build culture and as a production center for units.

    I didn't discover any cultural city states until after astronomy, they were all on the other continent and there were 3 of them. The siamese took them over shortly after they polished off Ghandi and I had donated a bunch of gold to get them to be allies, so that really hurt.

    I built Stonehenge first (key to the whole thing really), and the oracle early. I didn't bother with the whole saving up of policies.

    I built a temple in each of my cities as soon as I could, and set the cities to "focus culture" unless I was building a wonder in which case I would set "focus production". Occasionally the game wouldn't quite set the tiles up appropriately, so I had to muck with the tiles to get the optimum output while still growing my culture. Because I set it to run culture, I popped 10 great artists (including 2 from louvre) throughout the game. I built landmarks all around my capital, which I also built Hermitage in. I also made sure I had a wonder in each of my 4 cities for the bonus culture from the freedom policy.

    It was about this time I decided I needed the culture from those 3 city states Siam had taken over, so I used my production city to make up a navy of 4 destroyers and 2 French foreign legions. I had spawned a great general early on (I always save one for unexpected wars, and golden age the rest) so i brought him across the sea with me and began trying to liberate the city states. I managed to get 2 of them back quickly (they were on single tile peninsulas with a hill as that single tile). I used my ships to bombard all the approaching units down and my foreign legions + generals were more than a match for the infantry + artillery that the AI kept sending against it (had the AI used the artillery properly I never could have done this).

    The cristo redenter is a must have beeline. I hadnt read through all the cultural techs so I didn't beeline for it until I noticed it after wasting time on 2 or 3 other techs.

    By the industrial era, I was beginning to be outteched by both Arabia (shared on my continent) and siam. My economy was BARELY able to support all the buildings for culture + city state influence + the small navy I had built up and sent to kill siam. I had two obsolete musketeers defending my entire 4 city territory. Had siam sent any sized force across the ocean to my mainland, I was toast. Same deal for arabia sharing my continent, but he was friendly with me the whole game (looks like he was going for space race, as he built apollo program 20 turns before I built utopia).

    As I look back on it, the key to the whole game for me was golden ages + manually moving between culture and production focuses within my cities as needed to make sure I got the really important stuff.

    I elected to go with Tradition, Liberty, Patronage, Piety, Freedom for my 5 trees. I finished Piety first, which I used to get the 2 main policies in Freedom in a single turn.

    Once I had liberated the 3 city states on the other continent, I was generating somewhere around 528 culture per turn, over 200 of which was coming from my capital of Paris due to the many landmarks around it + hermitage.

    To compound my concerns, I had 0 coal on my entire continent, but seoul did, so I had to protect them after liberating them so I could support a factory in the production city where I would build utopia. I had 0 access to aluminum for the entire game, siam controlled all 3 sources of it on the map.

    I had a lot of fun warring with Siam with a navy and trying to eek out this victory while behind in techs. I can't wait for some improve AI strategy with regards to war, as I think that would have made the game epic, but even with the limits of the AI, it was one of the most memorable civ games I've played in a long time simply due to liberating the city states and protecting them from siam afterwards(We were at war for some 200 years over these city states) while managing my own economy, cities production, happiness levels (I was actually losing 15-40 gold per turn when not in a golden age). Thankfully I got lucky with my golden ages by building Taj Mahal (22 turn golden age), spawned a golden age for another 15 within a few turns of that ending, and then used great generals and extra artists to make a few more. I didn't get any great scientists (probably due to not having any specialists in my libraries because I was working the temples instead).

    Switching my capital from culture to production + spamming golden ages with 2 great people + one gifted from a city state allowed me to build Utopia in 21 turns.

    Fantastic experience, and definitely more challenging than a domination victory is currently.

    Kronin
     
  7. KroninW

    KroninW Chieftain

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    Double post due to forum timeout. Sorry!

    Kronin
     
  8. Neuro

    Neuro Warlord

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    Whether or not to buy some Patronage is a judgement call based on the city-states around you. However, Piety and Mandate of Heaven are both well worth taking the instant you can, especially if you're playing with just one city.

    With one city, your first 6 social policies cost 25, 45, 90, 160, 245, and 335. Also, you'll have a free one from the Oracle, so that's your first seven. The first five are always going to be full price, regardless of whether you wait for Freedom or get Piety. So the savings you are looking at is on the 5th and 6th Policy. You're saving 25% on the combined cost of 580, which comes to 145 Culture. Mandate of Heaven will net you FAR more culture that you save, especially if you are cranking out 8+ excess happiness for the 50-60 turns it takes you to get to renaissance.
     
  9. Feyd Rautha

    Feyd Rautha Prince

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    Should be interesting to try this with the HoF gauntlet.
     
  10. bhavv

    bhavv Glorious World Dictator

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    The HoF gauntlet chose Arabia as the Civ to use for a cultural victory, which is beyond pointless.

    To make best use of Arabia, you need to build a lot of cities, and libery really helps them a lot (can end up with +1 gold per trade route, and +1 culture, poduction and :) per city).

    For a culture win, you normally want far fewer cities, hence Arabia are going to be useless for this. The only Civ that is suited to attempting a culture win with a large empire is France.
     
  11. mzprox

    mzprox Prince

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    I had culture victory with Arabia, emperor diff, epic speed, by 1860 AD, in the end I got almost 800 culture/turn, 5 cities no cheesy tactic like gifting away cities. Along the way I accidentaly won a diplo victory.. i had to reload to awoid that :)
     
  12. Tiphereth

    Tiphereth Chieftain

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    I'm sorry, I'm a new player of Civ V, and I just can't understand how, in Immortal, you can grab all the first wonders ? I tried, and before I built Stonehenge, an IA has already finished the Great Library. (And sometimes I can't even build Stonehenge.) So, these two plus Oracle ? I can't see how to do that. O_o

    More of that, you can do that without a worker early in the game (300 golds is a huge price in the beginning). How can you do that ? :eek:

    (My english is pretty poor, so sorry for that. ^^)
     
  13. Saxif

    Saxif Chieftain

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    They might have gone chop tastic, but without tech trading keeping up with AI techs is gonna be tough ...

    Sax.
     
  14. eewallace

    eewallace King

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    I just got a cultural victory as Gandhi with 3 cities, on prince level, winning in 1978. (Hurrah for Bollywood!) I took the same 5 policy trees as Kronin. I was hampered by lack of marble, but still got most of the important wonders. I used alot of diplomacy to keep various other nearby civs fighting among themselves or with city-states (lol, I really love getting military units from an allied city-state and giving them to another city-state to use in a war against another civ). With only 3 cities and a nice selection of bonus resources to trade away, I had plenty of gold for quick-building as needed. All in all, a very satisfying game. But I suspect I might have been wiped out by an aggressive military power that I couldn't buy off if I had played it on a higher level.
     
  15. spyroware

    spyroware Chieftain

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    The marble thing turns up all the time in these forums, but I did my testing and it didn't give me any wonder production bonus. I didn't find any mention of it in the civilopedia either.. so really what's about it
     
  16. Trickster7135

    Trickster7135 Prince

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    Russia is also an excellent choice for a cultural victory, as the Krepost (barrack) will double the rate your culture will gobble up land around you, while Siberian Resources will double whatever small quantities of iron or horses you have, allowing you to field a decent military even with only a few cities.

    Also, there's no need to limit yourself to three or less cities. I've found 5 or 6 cities ideal for a cultural victory, as it allows a strong military and enough resources that even very large empires won't dominate you if they attack you. It helps if two or three of those cities are capitals you took early in the game. :D
     
  17. vontos

    vontos Chieftain

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    My fastest cultural on King was with Askia--1888. Didn't build the GL or Stonehenge. I went with honor first (then the other obvious ones--piety, patronage, freedom, order) and made every city I came across a puppet.

    I made a lot of mistakes in getting to that score too. I only created one settler and built that city in a spot with terrible production. I also didn't really think ahead to beeline to the sistene chapel and cristo redentor.

    I don't remember everything I did exactly; I just want to point out that other civs and other strategies than the expected ones can get a good cultural victory time.
     
  18. budweiser

    budweiser King of the Beers

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    I just got a cultural victory on King with Rome. It took me until 2040. I started by killing 2 AI on my continent and then just building culture. I ended up with 5 cities, used Honor Tradition, Piety, Freedom and Patronage.
     
  19. tonedog

    tonedog Chieftain

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    how are you guys managing to do this with 5 cities? each extra city you own increases SP by 30%

    so you mean your creating puppets or actualy building or annexing another four cities?
     
  20. budweiser

    budweiser King of the Beers

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    In my case, I started with Rome and just went to Legions and Ballista with that. I took out China, keeping 2 cities. I probalbly puppeted them to start. Then I took out Arabia, keeping only the cap. I dont remember at this point if I raised anything.

    I eventually anexed those 3 extra so I could control what they built. My continent had 1 more good city spot which I decided I needed so I built a second pure Roman city later in game.

    But, overall 5 cities was a lot for what I was trying to do. It took almost all 500 turns to accomplish. I'm not saying you cant have more, but right now I'm not sure how you would do it.
     

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