Spoiler : It's pretty interesting to look back in time eight years and see how differently this game was looked at back then. That said, as a general disclaimer, all civs can pull off all the victories just fine, but the amount of civs that actually have a favored path are fewer than you think: Spoiler : Americans: 2% interest is pathetically weak, and does nothing to help towards economic. However, the Americans are the most powerful civ in the game because of their reduces unit rush price bonus let them expand more than anybody else, and more cities directly equals power in this game. There are THE strongest domination civ in the game because of the same bonus. Factories come so late and are so expensive they have no real impact on the game. but can help build the UN/World Bank faster than almost anybody but Rome/Mongolia. Arabs: Domination favored, and nothing else. Passing up immediate Fundy, free catapult tech, and super powered knights means you are flat out playing against type with the Arabs with any other victory. Aztecs: Domination favored, very strongly. Heal bonus and immediate gold for walk ins means your job is extremely easy in early warfare. +50% gold helps get milestones, but it increases your unit rush cost at the same time and doesn't help you build the world bank at all. Science from temples is a joke towards tech victory unless you get them free from Ark of the Covenant with a lot of cities in place already, as it's never worth it to build temples even as the Aztec. Chinese: Any victory is easy similar to the Americans, because of the power of their +1 pop bonus if you leverage it. Along with this however, they have the perfect storm of bonuses that make it easy to dominate the tech race: Free Writing opens up CoL faster for an earlier expansion phase, Free Literacy at 5 techs means you can still get the bonus even if you research 4 other unrelated techs before someone else finishes Literacy and it opens up Democracy faster for the tech phase, and then cheap libraries means they are actually cost efficient to build for once. The Chinese are hands down the most powerful techers in the game (shove over, Japan!) and are also very strong all around to go with it. Only the Americans outclass them overall. Egypt: Depends entirely on their starting wonder. Specifically, whether they get Colossus or Oracle. If Egypt starts with Colossus and at least 2 desert tiles in additional to whatever water they get, they get such a boost in tech they can snowball a tech lead, researching CoL and expanding faster, getting more cities to utilize more tiles faster, and desert tiles add more tech overall as well considering taking control of as much land as possible. If they get Oracle and there is not a civ that quickly gets Religion in the game (Arabs, Indians, or English), they can be a devastatingly powerful early game attacker for Domination wins. If you cannot get wither of these starting wonders or you get Oracle but it is immediately/quickly obsoleted by your opponents, Egypt is as lowly and generalist as Russia or France. English: Strongly domination favored, nothing else. England has the fastest Knight rush in the game, the naval support+extra naval combat is huge and very dangerous even to human opponents, but they have no real push towards any other victory. French: No favored victory. Seriously. The French are the weakest overall civ in the game and getting your first couple GP earlier isn't going to magically catapult you into Cultural Victory. Germans: Domination is the only thing going for Germany, and only with a VERY specific strategy of either spamming Warriors in a Barracks city, or spamming any cheap units out of a Barracks city with a settled GL and upgrading them through the ages. Other than that, the Germans are fairly weak and have no push towards other victory types (again 2% gold interest is nothing....) Greeks: Technology victory. A lot of this hinges on whether you can get the Colossus in Athens early with access to a lot of water, but the free Democracy from the start is about the only thing Greece has going for them before late game bonuses kick in to help supercharge your tech rate. The Chinese or Japanese can easily overtake you in the tech race before that point, and many civs can outright kill you before you do anything meaningful as pikes don't stop everything. The Greeks' bonuses conflict a lot with each other: They are hard to be aggressive with, which is a major strike against them (early aggression wins games more often than anything else) and their GP bonus is both too weak to help towards Cultural and directly counteracted by Democracy unless you are foolish and waste time building temples. Indians: Domination, utilizing their 5 tech Fundy to act sort of like the Arabs. Other than that, they have no special focus towards any other victory type. Similar to the Greeks and English, if they manage to hang around to the mid-late game they get way more powerful; in this case, the Indians can expand as well as the Americans can after getting 14 techs. It isn't as meaningful as being able to do it after 5 techs like America can, but it can allow a late game spike in your power. Japanese: Many think that the Japanese are strong tech civ. Well, China, Colossus Egypt and Greeks with a quick Colossus can all outstrip them easily early on, and China/Greece will overpower them later too. They are actually much more favored for Domination. Their growing bonus while teching is best in the earlier stages of the games in allowing them to secure Feudalism and Religion quickly, or to grow back while teching in the expansion phase, then use their powerful Knights to roll over the enemy before they can resist. Other than that they do fine as Technology victory seekers, but the aforementioned opponents generally do it better either due to a better late-game follow through (China, Greece) or a crazy head start (Colossus Egypt). Mongols: Well duh, Domination is about the only thing that is actually in their favor at all. Every game with the Mongols plays out differently due to the captured huts factor, but extra trade from captured cities+3 move horse units+mountains useful without a building means they excel in either taking their opponents early with fast keshiks taking cities that power them up, or after 14 techs by simply macroing an enemy to death with mass knights pumped out from several mountain cities. Other victories are harder for them in general, but they can build wonders a bit easier because of the mountain bonus as well in properly placed cities, and build the UN itself a little faster too, making them slightly better at cultural than baseline. Romans: Cultural. This is a no brainer. Half-cost wonders applies to them ALL, including the UN and World Bank, so it's very easy to just stack up like 10 wonders, settle all your GP you get, steal a couple more or take a few cities from the enemy with them settled, and then quickly build your UN before you can be stopped. They are also one of the civs that are just generally powerful, because of their CoL start and how early advantages snowball so much. Russians: nothing. Even more clearly than the French or Egypt, the Russians have no specific power towards any victory. This makes them a great "baseline" or "practice" civ to mess around with to see for yourself how little most civ bonuses matter, and how stupidly strong some few of them are (America....). The Russian are better than the French though, if only because their two immediate bonuses (local map, plains give as much food as grasslands) allow them more immediate settling options while France has a crappy cathedral and the weakest starting tech of civs that have one, Pottery. Spanish: also nothing. Spain is probably the strongest generalist civ in the game though if you don't count America (stupidly broken OP), China (Technology) or Rome (Cultural) as generalists. Extra exploration gold is a powerful effect because it can start snowballs rolling, starting Navigation means they can adopt a similar strategy to Japan by finding whales to settle on, and their Galleon fleets + naval combat bonus allow for a sick rush similar to domination civs using Fundy for more power. As discussed before, +50% gold doesn't actually make anything cheaper to rush, so it doesn't exactly help you build the World Bank quicker, only accumulate milestones a bit earlier. Zulu: Depending on how you look at it, only Domination or no favor towards any victory. Similar to the Germans, the Zulu are a one trick pony for domination: you use the Impi rush or you invalidate their advantage towards Dom at all. Overrun power is nice for barbs, but little else until the late game where you'll be pushing a tech advantage like Knights or Tanks and it won't even matter. I've already explained why +50% gold bonus doesn't exactly help Economic that much compared to having strong expansion or production options. In summary (ranked in order) Domination: America, Arabia, Aztec, English, Mongolia Technology: America, China, Greece <-> Japan, Egypt (wildcard) Cultural: Rome, America (note this probably the only point where America isn't the strongest!) Economic: America, Rome Any (strong): America, China, Rome, India <-> Spain Those not listed in a category don't stand out enough to really merit a spot. And if you're interested, the bottom of the barrel is something like: HGB Egypt > Russia > Mongols with few/bad barb huts > quickly-obsoleted Oracle Egypt > Stonehenge Egypt > France. France is so bad in this game it isn't funny, but they make a great baseline pick for practice reasons, or one to take for certain self-imposed challenges like "balanced focus only," single-city, no govt swaps, or idle 40 turns (all of which I've done successfully on Deity with them).