Civilization III: Frequently Asked Questions


This FAQ seeks to provide answers for a variety of questions related to Civilization 3. It contains information for basic issues such as setup and simple strategies, yet also answers deeper issues like corruption, culture, and more. The goal of this is to become a resource where players of all skill levels can find answers to questions they might have, and hopefully learn something new.

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If you have a question, post in the “Quick Answers” thread in the General Discussions forum.

Table of Contents


  1. Introduction
  2. Installation and Setup
  3. Basic Questions
  4. Empire Management
  5. City Management
  6. Warfare
  7. Diplomacy
  8. Strategy
  9. Play the World Expansion Pack
  10. Conquests Expansion Pack
  11. Multiplayer
  12. Creation and Customization
  13. Miscellaneous Questions
  14. Helpful Utilities
  15. Civilization Community
  16. Credits

Installation and Setup Questions

What versions of Civilization 3 are there?

There are 3 different games: Regular Civilization 3 without Expansions (referred to as “Vanilla”), the Play the World (PTW) expansion pack, which added new civilizations, artwork, and multiplayer, and the latest Conquests (C3C) expansion pack, which added more civilizations, scenarios, maps, and enhanced multiplayer. There are also collections of games: Civilization 3 Gold is Play the World and Civ3 together. Civilization 3 Complete is all 3 of the games.

Throughout the article you may see the following: Conquests, Play the World, and Vanilla — these refer to the different versions of the game, as some rules have changed and are different. If you use the Black theme, the Play the World’s color may not appear well, so I suggest you use another style. All others work fine.

What game should I buy?

It all depends on what you currently have. If you don’t have any Civ3 game, Civilization 3 Complete is best because it includes all the content. If you have Vanilla Civ3, Conquests is best, as it includes all PTW files as well!

Do I need to patch my game?

For starters, a patch is an update to the game released after the game to fix bugs and other problems. To check your game’s patch level, load Civ3 and check the bottom left of your screen (Vanilla Civ3 might say 1.29f — indicating it has the latest patch). If you have Civilization 3 Complete, the game is already patched to the fullest (version 1.22 for Conquests). If your game doesn’t have the most recent patch (1.29f for Vanilla, 1.27f for Play the World, 1.22 for Conquests), you can download them here. Save to your desktop and run them.

How can I get the game to run in a higher resolution?

By default, the game runs in a 1024×768 resolution. To get it to run in a higher resolution, navigate to your Civilization 3 folder (default: C:/Program Files/Infogrames Interactive/Civilization 3/ — if you have PTW or C3C, go to that folder inside your Civ3 one), and open your .ini file (named Civilization3.ini for Vanilla, ptw.ini for Play the World, and conquests.ini for Conquests). Add a line at the bottom that says: KeepRes=1 . Now, when you load your game, it’ll use your computer’s default resolution.

When I try to install, I get a error.

This error usually means a dirty disk. Try cleaning your disk, and retrying the install.

For other technical-related questions, visit our Tech Support Forum, and the Tech Support FAQ.

Basic Questions

How long is a game of Civilization 3?

The standard game length is 540 turns, though it can be modded (up to 1000 turns). You can still play more turns after 2050 AD, as many as you want, but it won’t keep score, nor will you be able to win another victory condition. (You won’t be able to launch a spaceship, for example, past 2050 AD). It is split up into 4 ‘ages’, Ancient, Medieval, Industrial, and Modern, roughly equal in length.

How do I win?

There are 6 standard victory conditions:

Domination: 66% of the land AND population
Conquest: defeat all other civilizations
Diplomatic: be elected Secretary General of the United Nations
Space Ship: build all 10 required spaceship parts
Histographic: have the highest score at the end of the game
Cultural: have either 20,000 culture in one city, or 100,000 culture across your empireIn Conquests, the Cultural victory nationwide was changed to 60,000 for a Tiny map, 80,000 for Small, 100,000 for Standard, 130,000 for Large, and 160,000 for Huge.

How exactly do I build my spaceship?

First, you need to build the Apollo Program (requires the technology Space Flight). Then, by researching various techs in the Modern Age, you will be able to build the various parts (for example, SS Engine, SS Thrusters, etc.) in your cities, provided you have the required resources for each part. Once you are done, hit F10, and it will take you to the Space Ship screen. You can then hit “Launch” and watch the movie. :)

How does the United Nations (UN) work?

Any civilization is able to build the UN once it discovers Fission (Modern Age). After it is built in a city, you can choose to have elections for Secretary General. Each civilization gets 1 vote, and can vote for one of the candidates. At maximum, there can be three candidates: the civilization that builds the UN is always a candidate, and then if civilization(s) have 25% of the land OR population, they will also be eligible. If there are no civilizations with 25% land or population, then the civilization with the highest score becomes the second candidate. If a civilization gains a majority of the votes in the election, they become Secretary General and win a diplomatic victory! If not, the election is inconclusive. The choice for the founder of the UN to have elections comes around every 11 turns – and it is up to them to hold a vote (sometimes you might want to not have a vote, for example, so that an AI doesn’t win a diplomatic victory!)

What types of difficulty levels are there?

There are 6 difficulty levels in Vanilla and Play the World, and 8 in Conquests. They are: Chieftain, Warlord, Regent, Monarch, Emperor, (Demigod), Deity, (Sid). The parenthesized ones are Conquests-only. At Warlord and Chieftain, you’ll have a weaker AI that is penalized (it takes them longer than you to build things, research techs, etc.). At Regent, the AI and you don’t have any advantages nor disadvantages. Above Regent, the AI starts to get some bonuses, like extra units at the beginning of the game, faster production and research, lower corruption, etc. For a detailed list of what bonuses/penalties the AIs gets, see this question.

How can I delete saved games? Can I organize them?

Your saved games are stored in your Civilization 3 folder, in the subfolder called Saves (C:/Program Files/Infogrames Interactive/Civilization 3/Saves/ — add a /Conquests/ or /Civ3PTW/ before the Saves folder if you have an expansion pack). If you navigate there in Windows Explorer, you can delete files as you normally do – right click, and select “Delete”. You can also click and drag to delete them.

Another cool feature is the ability to have folders. Right click, and select New -> Folder, and give it a name. That way, you can have folders for, say, games that you have completed.

Can I take screenshots in Civ3?

Yes, you can. For people that don’t know, a screenshot is pretty much a picture of your screen. Before you load Civ3, open a photo program, even MS Paint. Then, in game, just press “Print Scrn” (to the right of F12), and a screenshot will be copied to the clipboard. Hold Alt and Tab and open Paint – then, go Edit -> Paste, and you’ll see your screenshot. You can continue to take as many screenshots as you’d like. :)

What are ‘traits’?

Traits are characteristics assigned to civilizations – each civilization has two (for example, America is Industrious and Expansionist). They give civilizations a bit of uniqueness, and they also give small bonuses. Traits also determine which two technologies a civilization starts with (2 traits, 1 technology for each, so 2 starting techs). There are 8 traits; here is a list of them:

Industrious: Industrious civilizations start with Masonry. Workers complete improvements faster (100% faster in Vanilla and Play the World. 50% faster in Conquests.) Also, all cities get an extra shield in the city center upon becoming a Metropolis (Size 13 < ), unless they were founded on a tile that produced at least 1 shield, in which case they get it at Size 7.

Commercial: Start with Alphabet. City centers get an extra commerce upon becoming a City, and another at becoming a Metropolis. The OCN (Optimal City Number) is increased 25% for Commercial civilizations.

Religious: Start with Ceremonial Burial. Religious buildings (Temples, Cathedrals) are all half price. Also, anarchy between government switches only lasts 1 turn in Vanilla and Play the World, and only 2 turns in Conquests.

Expansionist: Start with Pottery. They also start the game with a scout (a 2 movement unit, but cannot attack/defend), and can build scouts, unlike non-EXP civilizations. Expansionist civilizations do not get barbarians from goody huts, and have higher chances of getting better results form them.

Militaristic: Start with Warrior Code (or the Wheel). Militaristic buildings like Barracks, Walls, Harbors, etc. are all half cost. Unit promotions to higher levels are twice as likely as non-MIL civilizations.

Scientific: Start with Bronze Working. Scientific buildings (Libraries, Universities, Research Labs) are half price. Upon entering a new age, they receive a free technology (one of the starting technologies for that age). In Conquests, they also have a better chance of spawning Scientific Great Leaders.

Agricultural: Only available in Conquests. Start with Pottery. Provides one bonus food in the city square in all governments except Despotism. In Despotism, the bonus food only appears if the city is by fresh water (river or water body less than 22 squares). Half-price Aqueduct, Hospital, Solar plant, and Hydro plant. Irrigated desert produce 2 food instead of 1.

Seafaring: Only available in Conquests. Start with Alphabet. Cities on the coast of salt water gain one extra commerce in the city square. Naval units have 1 extra movement. Less chance of sinking in sea/ocean. Half price harbor, commercial dock, offshore platform.

To see which civilizations have which traits, visit this page.

What is a Golden Age (GA)?

A golden age a 20-turn period of increased production and commerce for a civilization. Each tile that produces at least 1 commerce/production will produce an extra commerce/production, respectively. A civilization can only have 1 in a game. There are 2 ways to start one: by winning a battle with your Unique Unit (see next question), or by building a Great Wonder or combination of Great Wonders with your civilization’s traits (e.g. Since the Chinese are MIL/IND, if they build the Great Wall, which is MIL/IND, they will spark a Golden Age). The bonuses from a Golden Age, however, are still subject to the Despotism tile penalty.

What are Unique Units (UUs)?

Unique units are units that are only available to a specific civilization, and they usually were important in that country’s history. For example, Japan builds Samurai. Unique units replace another unit (the Samurai replaces the Knight — Japan can’t build Knights, only Samurai), but also have extra bonuses. For example, the Samurai has an extra defense point than a Knight. When they win a battle, if a civilizaiton hasn’t had its Golden Age, they will begin one.

What are other options when creating the game, such as Culturally Linked Starts, Preserve Random Seed, Regicide, and others?

Culturally Linked Starting Locations means that civilizations in the same ‘culture group’ (e.g. the European group includes Britain, France, Germany, etc.) tend to start near each other in a game. Preserve Random Seed means that the randomly generated number for something such as a battle or anarchy calculation will be stored in the game so that you cannot save your game and reload continuously to get a favored outcome. This is used in most Single Player games, especially competitions. Respawn AIs means that when an AI is killed off, if there is a 5×5 plot of land not in a civilization’s cultural borders, they will respawn there as a new civilization with only one city. A civilization can respawn forever as long as there is a 5×5 piece of territory.

The remaining options (Regicide, Elimination, Mass Regicide, Victory Point Scoring, Capture the Princess, and Reverse Capture the Flag) are mainly for Multiplayer. In Regicide, you have a “King” unit (1 attack, 1 defense, 2 movement). If another civilization kills it, you are eliminated. In Mass Regicide, you have 7 Kings. In Elimination, if you lose a city, you are eliminated (or you can specifiy a number of cities by selecting “Game Limits” on the Player selection screen). With VP scoring, you gain points for things like cities conquered, units defeated and techs researched, and you have to gain a certain amount (again, specifiable in that screen). Also, in certain scenarios like WWII: Pacific, you gain points for units that control an obelisk, representing a victory point location. There is a myriad of ways VP Scoring is used. Capture the Princess is where each civ has an unmoveable Princess unit in their capital — if another civ captures it and brings it to their capital, they get a point and gold bonus. Another princess is then replaced in the former capital. Reverse Capture the Flag is where you bring a unit to a certain location.

What is Accelerated Production?

This is a setting intended for Multiplayer games, as it speeds up the game – half the turns, double the growth, research, half build costs, etc. It speeds up the game tremendously, though it is a bit unbalanced (workers still improve terrain that the normal terrain).

How do resources work?

There are 3 types of resources – strategic (needed to build units/buildings), luxury (make citizens happy), and bonus (give extra food/shields/commerce). If you connect any resource (except bonus ones) to your cities, you can then ‘use’ that resource. For luxury resources, each of the 8 luxuries you bring into your cities will make your citizens happier. With strategic resources, if you connect a resource to your cities, you can then build units that require it. For example, if you hook up Iron, you can then build Swordsmen. There is no limit as to how many units you can build off of a resource. They deplete/reappear randomly across the globe over time.

What types of bonuses/disadvantages does the AI receive?

The AI get a variety of bonuses and disadvantages depending on difficulty level. On Chieftain, the cost factor (basically a cost modifier; default is 1) is 2 for the AI – meaning everything takes twice as long to do, from researching a tech, to building a worker. However, on Emperor, the cost factor is .8, and the AI gets a reduced anarchy time! Here’s a table with the major information – for more, see this thread.

Chieftain: AI Cost Factor: 2; 4 free citizens born content for human; attack bonus of 800% vs. barbarians;

Warlord: AI Cost Factor: 1.2; 3 free citizens born content for human; attack bonus of 400% vs. barbarians;

Regent: AI Cost Factor: 1; 2 free citizens born content for human; attack bonus of 200% vs. barbarians;

Monarch: AI Cost Factor: .9; 2 free defensive and 1 offensive units for AI at start of game; 4 extra units supported (and 1 per city); max 4 turn anarchy; 2 free citizens content for human; attack bonus of 100% vs. barbs;

Emperor: AI Cost Factor: .8; 4 free defensive and 1 offensive units for AI; 8 extra units supported (and 2 per city); max 3 turn anarchy; 1 free citizen content for human; attack bonus of 50% vs. barbs;

Demigod (Deity in Vanilla and Play the World): AI Cost Factor: .7; 6 free defensive and 3 offensive units for AI; 12 extra unit supported (and 3 per city); max 2 turn anarchy; 1 free citizen content for human; attack bonus of 25% vs. barbs;

Deity (in Conquests): AI Cost Factor: .6; 8 free defensive and 4 offensive units for AI; 16 extra units supported (and 4 per city); 1 free citizen content for human; attack bonus of 0% vs. barbs;

Sid: AI Cost Factor: .4; 12 free defensive and 6 offensive units; 24 extra units supported (and 8 per city); 1 free citizen content for human; attack bonus of 0% vs. barbs;

Notice: Offensive and defensive units for AI means best units known at the start of the game – e.g. civs that start with Bronze Working will get Spearmen for defensive units. Civs that start with Warrior Code start will get Archers for offensive units. If those techs aren’t known, they just get Warriors.

You are also encouraged to visit the Civilization 3 Info Center, containing a list of Civilizations, Units, and other assorted Civilization-related information.

Empire Management Questions

How do governments work? How do I switch governments?

Each civilization in a game has a type of government – the default is Despotism. There are 8 governments: Despotism, Republic, Monarchy, Democracy, Communism, Anarchy (lack of a government), and in Conquests, Fedualism and Fascism. There are various rewards/drawbacks of the governments – you have to chose the best one. For exmaple, a government like Monarchy has very high unit support (you pay less gold for unit upkeep) and you can station units in your cities to keep the citizens happy (called Military Police, or MP). In Republic, it has low unit support and no MP allowed – but it gives a commerce bonus to your cities. Governments also affect corruption – Democracy has low corruption, but has high War Weariness (your citizens do not like war). Choosing a government is all about weighing your options. For a detailed guide of governments, check out this Conquests PDF.

Upon discovering a technology that enables a new government, you can opt to have a revolution. If you do, you go through a period of anarchy (see next question). To revolt into a new government, hit F1 to go to the Domestic Advisor and select the button that has your current government’s name (e.g. “Despotism”).

What is anarchy? Is there anyway to make it shorter?

Anarchy is the time spent between governments, aka a “revolution” period. When you change governments, you enter anarchy – in anarchy, your cities don’t produce any shields, and you can’t research. You can’t hurry production, but your cities will grow! It is essentially mimicing chaos. For Religious civilizations, anarchy only lasts 1 turn in Vanilla and Play the World, and 2 turns in Conquests. For non-Religious civilizations, the formula is: 1 (2 for Conquests) + random number between 1-4 + number between 0-3 depending on size of your empire. The calculation is pretty much based on luck and the size of your civilization – if you revolt when it is smaller (earlier in the game), it is more likely to be shorter, but not necessarily.

What is my trade network?

A civilization’s trade network is its connection of cities to each other via road (most common), harbors (over water), and airports (through the air). All cities connected to a trade network share the same resources; for example, if you have 1 source of Iron connected via road to a nearby city, and that city is connected to your other five towns, all 6 of your towns will be able to use that Iron! This way, one resource can be used in all of your cities nationwide. Also, connecting your cities to the trade network and your capital will also reduce corruption.

I’m losing a lot of money! How can I starting gaining money?

There are a couple of ways where you can lose money. On the F1 Domestic Advisor screen, you can see a breakdown of where you are losing your money (as well as where you are raking in the cash). Here’s a description of what those lines mean:

Science: This is pretty straightforward. It’s how much gold is being converted into beakers for science research. The higher your science slider is (the slider to the right with the beaker), the more money you will spend on science instead of earning in gold. This is an easy way of earning more gold – turn down the slider and sacrifice some science for gold, if you are losing lots of gold. Also, when you only have 1 turn left to research a tech, try turning the science slider down – sometimes you can still get the tech in 1 turn, while earning extra gold.

Entertainment: This represents another slider – the luxury tax slider (below the science slider). It represents how much gold is being turned into “happy faces”, or entertainment to turn your citizens in cities happy to prevent riots (a riot happens when >50% of the citizens in a city are unhappy). This you usually can’t turn down without having some repurcussions in your cities.

Corruption: This shows how much money is being lost to corruption. Every city doesn’t utilize every commerce it earns – some is just, literally, ‘lost’, as in you can’t use it. This is usually higher the larger your empire is, as there will be more corruption. For ways to lower this, see this question.

Maintenance: This is how much gold you are paying to maintain city improvements. For example, if you have 5 cities, and each has a temple (1 gold in upkeep per temple), you will pay 5 gpt in upkeep. This can add up quickly with a large empire, and it is hard to stop; you have to watch what you build and make sure it is necessary.

Unit Costs: This shows how much money is being paid to maintain units that aren’t supported by your government. Different governments have different limits, and how much you pay in upkeep. For example, if you go over the limit in Monarchy, you pay 1gpt per unit extra. Republic is 2gpt. Feudalism is 3gpt! Make sure you don’t go too high over the limit for this, as it can add up quickly. It helps to disband old units or units in your core away from borders of other civs. For more, see this question.

To Other Civs: This is pretty simple – it is how much gold per turn you are giving to other civilizations in diplomacy (e.g. If you trade 10gpt to a civilization for a technology, “-10” will appear in this column. Similarly, there is one on the positive side of things for money you are receiving.

Here are some good ways to earn some money besides the one mentioned above: try building marketplaces, banks, and stock exchanges – they increase gold by 50%. Roads are also the key. Every tile with a road produces an extra commerce. The governments Republic and Democracy all have a trade bonus so that for every tile that produces one commerce, you’ll get an extra. That is one reason Republic is considered the best government. Lowering corruption is an effective way of earning money too.

How many units should I ideally have?

This is hard to determine – it is usually case by case. However, there are some guidelines: once you’ve expanded, it’s best to just station most of your units on the border cities – after all, they have to take those cities before they can get to your core! This is especially true for railroads, when you can move units anywhere in one turn. The number of ideal units also depends on your goverment. Some governments, for example, have decent unit support (units you don’t have to pay maintanence for); e.g. Monarchy has 2 units/town, 4 units/city, 8 units/metropolis. With Monarchy, you can afford to have more units stationed in your cities. However, in Republic in Conquests, you get very little unit support – and each unit past the limit costs 2 gpt to maintain! Those costs can add up very quickly, so in this case it is best to keep a smaller, more updated army. Don’t be afraid to go over the limit however, provided you make up for it in gold somewhere else. If you have a specific game in question, don’t hesitate to post on the forums with your save and people will be there, eager to help!

If I irrigate grassland, it only produces 2 food instead of 3! Why does it do this?

This is called the Despotism tile penalty. In Despotism, the standard government, all tiles that produce 3 or more food/shields/commerce will produce one less. That’s why grassland (2 food), when irrigated (+1 food) in Despotism, will only produce 2 food (2 + 1 – 1 = 2). That’s why it is best to mine grassland, unless it is bonus food (for example a cow will produce 4 food irrigated in Despotism) or you are about to switch governments. This rule also applies to things like mined hills – instead of getting 3 shields (1 base + 2 from the mine), you only get (3 – 1 = 2), 2.

What is mobilization?

Mobilization is a special state you can place your nation in. It is aimed for civilizations fighting many wars that need a significant boost in their military production. Here’s how it works: once you research Nationalism, you have the option to go into Mobilization (change it on the F1 Domestic Screen, from “Normal” to “Mobilization”). In Mobilization, you can only build military units (infantry, cavalry, tanks, etc.) and military improvements (barracks, civil defense, etc.) – the option to build things like a Temple don’t even appear. However, each tile that produces at least 1 shield will produce an extra (sort of like a Golden Age, but not for commerce). While you get a boost militarily, your infrastructure and cultural improvements will be a bit lacking. All culture per turn from your city is halved as well (a temple that normally produces 2 culture/turn only produces 1).

While you can start Mobilization at any time, it only ends with a declaration of war/a treaty for peace. That is, there are two scenarios: one, you enter Mobilization in peacetime, and you build up your army pre-war – then, when you declare war, you’ll be back to normal and will be able to build things as normal. Or two, you can be normal up until war, when you enter Mobilization to build units/military-related things until the war ends and peace is signed. Note: you don’t have to enter Mobilization to fight in a war! It is just an option that is there if you think it will benefit you!

What is corruption? How does it work and how can I deal with it?

Corruption is the loss of commerce (gold brought into your city) and shields (this is called “waste”) in a city. It is a very complicated subject, for one because it depends on which game your a playing. However, we’ll start with some basics – while some of the following applies for Vanilla and Play the World, it is written for Conquests: corruption can never exceed 95% in a city. There are also two factors in corruption: rank corruption (the rank of the city when all cities are ranked by distance from the capital – e.g. the number of cities closer to the Palace that it), and distance (the distance from the city to the nearby Palace or Forbidden Palace). For a more descriptive analysis, I refer you to the links at the end of this question.

There are a few ways to combat corruption. One is by building corruption-reducing improvements (Courthouses and Police Stations – they decrease the distance corruption and lower the maximum amount of corruption), and another is by connecting the city to your capital. Corruption is also affected by your difficulty level (the higher the level, the higher the corruption), and whether or not your are a Commerical civilization. Changing your government to one with lower corruption also works well, as does building the Forbidden Palace (see next question). Also, in Conquests, you can use the Policeman specialist to ‘uncorrupt’ one corrupted commerce and shield.

For a more in depth study, see these great threads by alexman: for Vanilla and Play the World and for Conquests.

What does the Forbidden Palace do? How many can I build?

The Forbidden Palace is a Small Wonder (each civilization can build one, and only one, FP), which helps to lower corruption in that city and nearby cities. Here’s how it works (in Conquests): in distance corruption calculations, it acts as a second Palace, thereby lessening the distance corruption for cities that aren’t too close to your real Palace. However, it has no effect on rank corruption. It is buildable at any time in the game, provided you have half the number of “Optimal Cities” (see this question) for that map size. If the city you built it in gets razed, you can rebuild the FP elsewhere, as long as you still meet the OCN requirement.

What map sizes are there? How are they different?

There are 5 standard map types: Tiny (60×60), Small (80×80), Standard (100×100), Large (130×130), and Huge (160×160) – their sizes are in parentheses. Of course, the larger the map, the longer the game will take to play, as there will be more civilizations, more cities, more units, more everything! Other than that, there aren’t many differences between them – the settings like distance between civilizations at the start of the game are all proportionate to the size of the map, so it is pretty even throughout the maps. The only major change is the increase of the Optimal City Number as the map size increases.

What is the “Optimal City Number”? How is it used?
The optimal city number is a figure that has two main purposes, and differs on different map sizes. The first use of it is for the check to see if you can build the Forbidden Palace – if you have a number of cities greater than or equal to half the OCN, you can construct the FP. The second purpose of the OCN is for corruption. If a player’s number of cities exceeds that number, corruption will increase dramatically in subsequent cities. This can be modified by things such as having the commercial trait, your government, if you have built the FP, and others. The OCN for map sizes are as follows:

Tiny: 14
Small: 17
Standard: 20
Large: 28
Huge: 36

What is the difference between Great Wonders and Small Wonders?

Both types of wonders give benefits to the civilization(s) that build them – the only difference is who can build them. Great Wonders can only be built once, by one civilization, and only they get the benefit of that wonder. If that wonder is razed, no other civilization can ever build it again; it is lost forever. However, Small Wonders can be built by each civilization – so every civilization can get the benefit of that wonder if they build it. For example, the Apollo Program is a Small Wonder, and can be built by each civilization, as it is needed to win the Space Race, although, say, the Sistine Chapel is a Great Wonder, and can only be constructed by a single civilization.

What is research time affected by? Is there any way to research faster?

First off, here is the research cost formula for a tech: Research Cost = [MM * [10*COST * (1 – N/[CL*1.75])]/(CF * 10)] – Research done so far

To see exactly what all the variables stand for, I refer you to this thread explaining it in depth. However, here is a short listing of how tech cost can vary: the size of your map (you’ll also have more cities and more commerce however, so it evens out partially), the number of civilizations that already know the technology, the number of civs in the game, the cost of the tech (Ancient Age techs cost a lot less beakers to research than Modern Age ones), and for the AI, what level the game is on (the higher the difficulty level, the less time it takes to research (cost factor)). Also, techs are very expensive to buy or research when no one knows them, or only 1 or 2 civs do – these are called monopolies. When you try to buy a technology from an AI and they’re the only one that has it, it is hard to get. However, this also works in your favor too; humans like to research techs the AIs don’t know and then sell them for widely known techs.

To research faster, there’s a few ways: generate more beakers (roads increase commerce), turn up the science slider (hit F1), build libraries/universities/research labs, and research a tech no one knows and trade it for a couple of techs everyone but you knows (called a ‘2fer’ or ‘xfer’ (2 for 1)). Also, check out this Tech Calculator.

What are Scientific Great Leaders (SGLs)?

Scientific Great Leaders are units that might appear when you are the first to research a technology (and they are only found in Conquests). They have the ability to rush anything in a city (improvement, wonder, unit) and can also start an “Age of Science” (though it is bugged, and it doesn’t work, so don’t use your SGL for this!) The chances of a Scientific civilization to get a SGL upon researching a tech is 5% – for non-Scientific civilizations it is 3%. SGLs can be unbalancing to the game because of their strength and pure luck, but if you do play with them on and receive one, be sure to use it wisely!

City Management

What is We Love the King Day (WLTKD)?

We Love the King Day symbolizes that the citizens in a certain city are happy, and thus, that city has lower waste (less shields lost to corruption). You can tell as city is in WLTKD because there will be what look like fireworks exploding over the city. The criteria for WLTKD are as follows: a city, which must have at least 6 citizens, cannot have any unhappy/resisting citizens, and at least half the citizens must be happy. The city cannot also be starving (less than 2 food produced per citizen). If all the above is met, your city will enter WLTKD! There is no limit on how many cities can celebrate this, and it lasts until the city doesn’t meet the aforementioned requirements.

What is Civil Disorder?

Civil disorder is when your city stops producing any commerce and shields – it essentially stops all production in that city, although it will still grow. It occurs whenever your city has more unhappy citizens than happy. The city will riot (as seen on the map, where black smoke rises from the city) until you get more citizens happy / not unhappy by getting more luxuries, raising the luxury slider, hiring an entertainer specialist, or anything else to boost happiness.

How do luxury resources and marketplaces affect my city?

There are 8 luxury resources in the game (Spices, Dyes, Silks, Ivory, Gems, Furs, Wines, Incense). For each luxury resource connected to your cities, you’ll make one citizen happy. So if you have 5 of the 8 luxuries (either domestically or imported from other countries), your cities will get 5 happy citizens. If you have a city with 5 citizens, all will be happy. Marketplaces act as a modifier to this luxury happy citizen bonus. For the first two luxuries you have, you’ll just get the standard 1 happy citizen per each. For the 3rd and 4th you have, you get 2 happy faces each. For the 5th and 6th, you get 3 each. For the 7th and 8th, you get 4 each. This way, if you have all 8 luxuries and a marketplace in your city, you’ll get an amazing 20 happy faces!

Why doesn’t my city grow beyond size 6 and size 12?

Sometimes a city, even when it has a surplus of food, won’t grow past size 6; this is because it needs an aqueduct. An aqueduct is a city improvement available with Construction that you can build in any city that doesn’t have fresh water (a river or lake) next to the city. Otherwise, the city won’t grow past size 6. Likewise, all cities, regardless of whether or not they have an aqueduct or fresh water, need a Hospital (available with Sanitation) to grow past size 12.

Why can’t I build a wonder in a city?

There are a number of reasons why you might not be able to, but you only need one to prevent you from building the wonder! If a wonder’s name appears gray in your production queue, look over these reasons. First off, you can only build a wonder in one city. Also, you can’t rush a wonder by sacrificing population (Despotism, Communism, Fascism), by rushing it with gold (other governments), or by forest chops. So, if you have done this on another item (say a Bank), and you try to switch from building a Bank to a wonder, it won’t let you because you hurried production. Also, some wonders (Great and Small) require things before you build them (e.g. SDI Defense requires 5 SAM Batteries built in your cities; Wall Street requires 5 Stock Exchanges). Other wonders require access to fresh water, while some require sea water (like the Colossus).

What do the numbers on the map screen next to my city mean?

There are 3 numbers next to a city’s name on the map screen. The first, which is a number inside of a colored box to the left of the city, indicates the city’s population (all cities start at 1). The second, directly below the city graphic, is the name of the city, and the number of turns until it grows one population level. The last, below the growth indicator, is what the city is currently producing (e.g. an Archer), and how many turns until it is completed.

What do the little icons beside my cities on the map mean?

There are 3 of them – and each stands for a different improvement. The sword stands for a barracks, the anchor represents a harbor, and the plane means the city has an airport. The latter two are visible on all AI cities if they have them because they are important to see if you can trade with a certain civilization.

What are specialists and how do they work?

Specialists are a type of citizen that, while they don’t work a tile and bring in food/shields/commerce, provide other benefits to the city. There are 5 specialists, and here are their descriptions (also, check out this article):

Entertainer: The entertainer provides 1 happy face to the city.
Taxman: The taxman provides 2 gold per turn (only 1 in Vanilla and Play the World).
Scientist: The scientist provides 3 beakers per turn (only 1 in Vanilla and Play the World).
Police Office (only in Conquests): The police officer reduces corruption in the city by 1 shield and 1 commerce.
Civil Engineer (only in Conquests): The civil engineer provides 2 shields per turn (on limited things – only improvements and wonders).

How do forest chops affect my cities?

All forests produce 1 food and 2 shields – but they also can be chopped down. When you chop them down, 10 shields will be added to the current thing being built in the nearest city (provided it isn’t a wonder). However, a tile can only be chopped once to get the 10 shield bonus (so planting and chopping forests over and over again won’t work), but you can plant forests on tiles that aren’t forested and then chop them to get 10 shields. To view a diagram indicating where a forest chop will go if two cities are equodistant from the forest, see this image (see what value the forest is for each city – it goes to the lower value city).

What is my production queue?

If you select your current build in a city screen (middle right), it’ll bring up a menu where you can select what to build currently. However, the production or build queue allows you slot items to be built in succession, making it so you don’t have to select what to build next all the time. At the top of that menu, you’ll see empty slots with numbers adjecent to them. Here’s how you can use the queue:

Shift-Click – Adds to production queue.
Shift-Del – Removes all items from the queue.
Click-Del – Removes the item clicked.

What is the city governor? Is it good?

The city governor is sort of like an automated human to control decisions in your cities. You can enable it for one city, no cities, or all of your cities – it’s up to you. The general consensus among regular civilization players is that it isn’t that effective, for the simple reason that it isn’t as smart as a human. There are more technical reasons as well, but we’ll leave it at that for now. However, if you do want to use it, here’s what it can do for you: create a build queue for you (select things to build), prevent riots when your city has a majority of unhappy people, assign laborers to tiles when your city grows, and ’emphasize’ food/production/commerce in your city (e.g. It might work the tiles that will give the most production, or food, etc.)

How do factories and coal/solar/hydro/nuclear plants work?

Factories and the other power plants all give a boost in production to the cities they are built in. In order to build any other power plants, you first need to have a factory built (it gives a 50% boost in your base production). Then, if you have the required technology, you can build one of the power plants (not all 3). They too will give a 50% boost in your base production (before the factory’s bonus); nuclear power plants, however, give a 100% boost (although they can meltdown during civil disorder). Later, you’ll also be able to build a Manufacturing Plant, which gives another 50% bonus on top of a factory and a power plant.

When do my cultural borders for a city expand?

You can tell how many turns until your city’s borders expand by looking in the top right of your city screen. It’ll also show you how much culture you have, how much culture per turn generated from improvements/wonders, and how much culture you need until expansion. The levels for cultural expansion are multiples of 10: it starts at 10, then 100, then 1,000, then 10,000 (you don’t get to 100,000, because you’ll win a cultural victory at 20,000).

If my city grows or builds something, will the shields or food carryover to the next build/population level?

No – there is no shield or food carryover for cities, just like there is no beaker carryover when researching a technology. If you have extra shields being produced then are needed, they’ll just go to waste. This is where micromanagement enters the game. It’s completely optional, but if you pay close attention to the details, it does help. For example, if you are building an archer (20 shields), and already have 17 shields, but produce 5 shields per turn, you’re going to waste 2 shields. However, if you can reconfigure the citizens’ tiles for that city so that you still get 3 shields per turn, but you gain an extra food per turn or more commerce, do so! All these shields/food/commerce you’ll save add up in the long run. There’s nothing bad that comes out of this; by watching your cities’ growth and production carefully, your civilization will become more effective.


What do the green/yellow/red bars next to my unit mean?

The bars indicate what level your unit is at (each individual bar is called a “hit point”). If you have 2 hit points (only drafted units have 2 HPs), it is a conscript unit, 3 hit points is a regular, 4 hit points is a veteran, and 5 hit points is elite. The colors of the bar indicate its health (green = healthy, yellow = wounded, red = near death). All units produced in cities without barracks are regulars. If the city does have a barracks, they are veterans. Units can gain experience (e.g. gain 1 HP and go up a level, for example from regular to veteran) if they win a battle, as there is a certain chance a unit will be promoted to a new level each time they do. For exact statistics, see the next post.

What are the chances my unit will be promoted to a higher level?

The probability your unit will be promoted after it wins a battle depends on 3 things: what level it is currently at, whether you are Militaristic or not (double the probability), and whether your battle was fought against barbarians (half the probability). Don’t forget the luck factor involved.

Non-Militaristic Civilization vs. Other Civilizations:
Conscript to Regular: 1 in 2
Regular to Veteran: 1 in 4
Veteran to Elite: 1 in 8Non-Militaristic Civilization vs. Barbarians:
Conscript to Regular: 1 in 4
Regular to Veteran: 1 in 8
Veteran to Elite: 1 in 16

Militaristic Civilization vs. Other Civilizations:
Conscript to Regular: 1 in 1
Regular to Veteran: 1 in 2
Veteran to Elite: 1 in 4

Militaristic Civilization vs. Barbarians:
Conscript to Regular: 1 in 2
Regular to Veteran: 1 in 4
Veteran to Elite: 1 in 8

If a victorious unit does not get promoted, it will always be promoted if it survives any other battle in the same turn. This is one reason why units with Blitz (the ability to attack multiple times in a turn, such as a Tank) are more likely to be promoted.

What are Military Great Leaders (MGLs)?

Military Great Leaders are leaders spawned by an Elite unit in a battle. They can do 2 things for you: build an Army (a group of units fighting together) or rush an improvement or wonder. In Conquests the rushing ability is limited to Small Wonders, but in Vanilla or Play the World it can rush a Great Wonder.

According to Sir Pleb’s studies, you will get a leader for every 16 battles won by an Elite unit on average (a 1 in 16 chance). Building the Heroic Epic improves the odds to 1 in 12. To build the Heroic Epic, you must have won one battle with an Army. For more, see this article.

How do I build an Army?

Once an Elite unit spawns a MGL, you can take that MGL to a city. Once in the city, two new action buttons appear. One builds an army, the other rushes an improvement (the latter button will not appear if the city’s build queue is set to a unit.) When you hit the “Build Army” button, the MGL disappears from the game, and is replaced by a flag bearer. This is the Army, but it’s empty. You need to load units into the Army, by moving up to 3 units to the city with the Army (if you have the Pentagon, 4 units), and clicking the “Load” button . It is the same button used to load units into boats. The units in this army will fight seperately – one will fight until it’s health gets low, and then another will take its spot, etc. An Army will have a high amount of Hit Points, allowing it to survive many battles.

There are some differences between armies in Vanilla or Play the World and Conquests. In Conquests, an Army will get an additional movement point above the movement point of the slowest unit in the Army. An army of Knights (usually 2 movement) will have 3 movement points. Armies in Conquests can also pillage without using up any movement points.

For more info about Armies, and what they can and cannot do, as well as the technicalities, see this article.

What are the Pentagon and the Military Academy, and what do they do?

The Pentagon is a Small Wonder (buildable by every civilization), that allows them to load 4 units instead of 3 into an Army. The Military Academy is also a Small Wonder, and it lets civilizations build the Army unit in the one city that the Military Academy was built in, as normal units that cost 400 shields. Both of these Small Wonders require a victorious Army before they can be built.

What is the attack value of my Armies in battle? Is it the same as a normal unit?

The following formula and notices are for Conquests, but here is how your Army’s attack value is calculated:

Attack Value = A+(TA/N)

A is the attack value of the unit currently fighting for the army, TA is the value of all the Army’s unit’s attack values, and N is 6 (it is 4 if you built the Military Academy). All attack values that have decimals are rounded down, and for its defensive value, just replace the attack with defense values.

How long does it take for my units to heal?

The length of time it takes for a unit to fully heal depends on where the unit currently is. For starters, a unit can’t start to heal unless it hasn’t moved this turn – so if you move a unit into a barracks and then fortify it, it won’t heal until next turn. However, if you have fortified your unit with all movement points left, here are the times for healing: if it is in a city with a barracks, it will heal completely in one turn. If the unit is in a city, but it has no barracks, it will heal 2 Hit Points per turn; if it is just outside in your territory, it will heal 1 HP per turn. Unless you have built the Battlefield Medicine (a Small Wonder), you cannot heal units in enemy territory – once you have, you can heal units at the rate of 1 HP per turn.

What are “bombardment” units and how do they work?

Some land, air, and naval units have the “bombard” feature. Bombard is the ability to potentially damage (in some cases kill, if it is an air unit in Conquests) a unit from another tile – that is, you don’t actually move and attack the unit on the same tile like you do with other units. Instead, they stay on their current tile and bombard the enemy tile; not every bombard will be successful. For example, a catapult does less damage than an artillery. There are other factors for bombard units like rate of fire (how many HPs it can take off maximum), bombard range (the number of tiles away it can bombard), and bombard strength. With a bombard unit, you click the button labeled “Bombard”, and then a red grid will appear. All tiles within this grid are within your unit’s bombard range – and the chances for a successful bombard do not depend on distance. Bombard units can also attack cities (destroying improvements/population) and land tiles (destroying terrain improvements like roads, railroads, mines, etc.)

How do air units work? What are the different “missions” they can do?

Air units work in a different way than land or naval units in Civ3, as well as the way they worked in Civ2. In Civ3, an air unit has to be ‘stationed’ in either a city or an aircraft carrier (or an airfield, which is a worker-made terrain improvement, in either Play the World or Conquests). From their base, they can conduct various missions, all which take up their movement for that turn. Before we go over the missions, here are the different stats used for air units: Operational Range (the range which the airplane can do a mission), Bombard Strength (literally the strength of their attack), Rate of Fire (the maximum number of Hit Points they can take off from a unit), as well as Defense Strength, in case an opposing air unit or land unit attacks them during their mission. In Conquests, air units also have the ability to be lethal – that is, they can kill the unit they are bombarding. In Vanilla and Play the World, air units cannot kill. Here is a list of their missions:

Bombing: A simple mission: the selected airplane attacks a unit, city, or tile improvement within its range, and if it is successful, destroys some of the unit’s HPs, the tile improvement, population in the city, or a city improvement.
Recon: With this mission, a plane will reveal a 5×5 tile grid of land within the operational range, and act as if those tiles are visible to the civilization for the full turn (e.g. You can see the enemy units move, workers working, etc.)
Re-base: This mission moves the selected air unit from its current base to a new city, aircraft carrier, or airfield (in Vanilla and Play the World, they have an unlimited rebase range – in Conquests, it is 3 times their operating range).
Precision Bombing: When a unit does a precision strike, the air unit will bombard the tile and target city improvements over anything else, followed by city population if there are no improvements left.
Air Superiority: This mission allows fighters and jet fighters to shoot down a plane trying to do a bombing/precision bombing mission, but not a recon or rebase mission. If selected, the fighter will ‘patrol’ a region around him equal to half his operational range (e.g. A Fighter will have a air superiority range of 3). If an airplane comes by on a bombing mission, there is a certain percentage it will attack it (50% for regular planes, only 5% for stealth planes). If it does attack it, there will be an air battle, in which either one or both planes will be damaged, and one might be shot down (this is where the planes’ attack and defense values enter). A plane can only engage another plane once per turn.

How do I upgrade old units? Does it cost money?

To upgrade an obsolete unit to a newer one (say a Spearman to a Pikeman), you first have to move it to a city with a barracks (that also has the required resources for the new unit). Then, assuming you have the sufficient gold funds, you can hit “U” and it will tell you how much it will cost, and then you can upgrade it. Alternately, you can upgrade all units of that same kind in cities with barracks across your empire by hitting “Shift-U”. The formula for the gold cost is: (difference in shields) * (3 for Conquests or 2 for Vanilla and Play the World). So using the Spearman to Pikeman example, it would be (30-20) * 3, or 30 gold per unit upgrade.

What is the army draft?

The draft is a way to create units quickly when you are running short of military (you need to have discovered Nationalism to draft units). Each turn, you can ‘draft’ a select number of units from cities across your nation. These units use up 1 population in a city, and the city you drafted them in has to have at least 6 population. However, because these aren’t trained units, they are Conscript units (only 2 HPs). The unit you draft depends on what technologies you have and what resources are available, but the units that will be drafted are the best possible ones at the time from this list: Riflemen, Infantry, or Mechanized Infantry. The number of units you can draft from a city in a turn is: 0 for Anarchy, 1 for Democracy and Republic, 2 for all others. To draft a unit, go into a city and click the green button that has a soldier on it on the city display (near the production queue). Also, be warned: drafting units causes unhappiness in the city they came from, and take note that you can only draft native citizens, so you can’t draft units from foreign cities you just conquered.

How do anti-aircraft units work?

In Conquests, there are 2 different land-based anti-aircraft units: Flak and Mobile SAM (Surface to Air Missiles. You can move them to any tile or city just like any regular unit, however, like some air units, they can attack air units that are bombarding the tile they are on. Unlike airplanes with air superiority, however, the chance to intercept an air unit with stealth and without stealth is the same – but this percentage depends on if there are other anti-aircraft units on the tile, and what type they are, and some other factors. For a more in depth analysis, see this thread.

What are a unit’s attack, defense, and movement values used for?

All land and ship units have the following values (air units are a bit different, so see the earlier aircraft question) for attack, defense, and movement. Movement is the easiest: this is the number of tiles the unit can move in a turn. Most early units can only move 1 tile. However, also be aware of the fact that some tiles ‘require’ multiple movement points. For example, if a unit has 2 movement, it can’t go over 2 hill tiles in a turn, because a hill tile uses up 2 movement per tile instead of the normal 1 – the unit can only go over 1 hill. Also, when on a road, a unit can travel three tiles, regardless of the underlying terrain. The attack and defense values are used for combat. Although it may appear that if an attacking unit’s attack strength is 2, and the defender has a defense of 2, the probability of either unit winning is 50%, this is not so. This is because there are a series of value modifiers that can affect both the attacker and defender. There are things to calculate in like the defenders terrain, hit points, if it is in a city or not, if it is a barbarian, and more. To see how these affect combat, see this thread – even though it was made for Vanilla, most of the info remains correct. Once you are familiar with the preceeding, there is a simple online calculator you can use here to calculate probability of winning a battle that includes modifiers. Alternatively, you can download this executable program so that you can run it offline. For a good read on introductory and advanced ‘warmongering’, take a look at this article.

What happens if I disband a unit?

If you disband a unit on any tile that is not a city, nothing happens: the unit just disappears. However, if the unit was stationed in a city, and you disband it, it creates some shields for that city’s current build. The number of shields added is 1/4 the shield cost of the unit, rounded down. For example, an archer (normally 20 shields) will produce 5 shields. Because of this, sometimes it is worth it to disband old units or costly units in a city where you badly need an improvement (say a temple in a newly conquered city with no culture). Also, you cannot get the shield bonus if you are building a wonder, but if it is a unit or improvement, it will work.

Why do some of my ships sink at sea? What is the probability of this?

There are some ships available in the Ancient and Middle Ages that have a chance to sink if they end their turns in sea or ocean tiles. For curraghs and galleys, two Ancient Age ships, they must end their turns in coast tiles, or they risk being ‘lost at sea’. For caravels, a Middle Age ship, they must end their turns in sea or coast tiles. If either of these boats end their turns in ocean tiles, or curraghs/galleys in sea tiles, they might sink. The percentage of a ship to sink at sea depends on whether the civilization is Seafaring or not. For Seafaring civilizations, the percentage is 25% that it will sink – for non-Seafaring, it is 50%. Once you research Astronomy in the Middle Ages, all ships (even old curraghs and galleys) will be able to end their turns at sea safely. Upon researching Navigation or Magnetism, every ship is safe to end their turns in any tile.


How do I build an embassy? Why should I?

To build an embassy with a civilization, which requires the technology Writing, hit Shift + E to bring up the espionage screen. Then, select the civilization you want to establish one in, and select “Build Embassy” (it will show you how much it costs). You can now tell you have an embassy with a civilization because there will be a yellow dot next to their leaderhead image on the F4 Foreign Advisor screen. When you build an embassy, you’ll finally be able to offer agreements with that civilizations (not the trading of goods, but rather, treaties and alliances), such as Military Alliances and Right of Passages. Unless you have an embassy, you cannot do things like that. Also, with an embassy, you can see what other civilizations they have met as well as what civilizations they are at war/peace with on the F4 Foreign Advisor screen. You can also undertake espionage missions such as investigating a city of theirs, or attempting to steal a technology (though you can also use spies, which are have better chances).

What are spies? What are the different espionage missions I can do?

Spies are not units in the game – that is, you don’t move them around on the map, nor can you ‘build’ them. However, spies become available when you build the Intelligence Agency (available with Communism), and once you do, you can ‘plant’ them in another civilization (in their capital city). They sort of just appear on paper, because there is not even a graphic for them on the map. To plant a spy once you have built the IA, hit Shift + E and go to the espionage screen. Then you can select the civilization you want to plant a spy in, pay the gold, and hope it works (the chances to plant a spy depend on your government, but it is around 50-60%). If it is not successful, the AI will become mad at you and might declare war – if it is, however, you now have a variety of ‘missions’ to carry out from that spy for that civilization only:

Investigate City: See the city screen of an enemy city (you can do this with just an embassy – no spy is required)
Steal Technology: Attempt to steal a technology that an AI has that you don’t have.
Steal World Map: Steal an AI’s world map (much like trading for it).
Steal Enemy Plans: You get to see the AI’s units, where they are located, what level they are at, etc. It’s like seeing your own units except that you can’t move them. It lasts for 1 turn (and the interturn).
Sabotage Production: Attempt to discard all shields invested by an AI in one city on a build (whether it is a wonder, improvement, unit, etc.).
Expose Enemy Spy: If you think an AI has a spy in your capital, you can use this and try to ‘expose’ them (remove that spy). If successful, it is removed. If they don’t have a spy, you always fail the mission and are caught.
Initiate Propoganda: Attempt to incite a rebellion in a foreign city and have them convert to your nation (much like when a city does a culture flip) – does not work against an AI with Democracy as their government.

There are 3 levels you can do a mission at: Immediately, Cautiously, or Safely – the more it costs, the more successful you are likely to be. There are also various modifiers in the missions – for more, see this article by Oystein.

What are the ways that trade can occur between civilizations?

There are three ways you can trade goods (specifically luxury or strategic resources – not things like world maps, right of passages, etc.) with an AI: by land, sea, or air. The land option requires you have a road path from your capital to the AI’s capital, whether it goes directly to them (e.g. you are neighbors), or it travels through another civilization (who you are both at peace with). However, a land route like this can also be pillaged if there is only one road between the two of you and an enemy unit pillages the tile, so it’s best to have multiple trade routes. Sea trade routes require each civilization trading to have a city with a harbor (and then that city connected to the capital city). Then, goods from the capital go to the harbor, which go to the AI’s harbor, then to their capital! You can only trade over coast at the beginning of the game, though, but you can later trade over sea tiles when you research Astronomy, and then all water tiles including ocean when you discover Magnetism or Navigation. The last way to trade goods involves airports (available after Flight) – then, you just have to each have a city with an airport connected to the capital city (or just have airports in the capital). The best part about this is that as long as you two have airports connected to the capitals, trade can occur!

I see a path from my capital to another AI’s capital! Why can’t I trade my goods with them?

There are numerous reasons why this could happen, and it is hard to find out why it is happening, but here is a list of a few. First, the roads in enemy territory leading to a civilization’s capital might have been pillaged, and your world map is out of date. Or, your roads or harbors might require the use of another civilization’s territory, whom your trading partner is at war with. For sea trade, if you can only trade over coastal tiles, a barbarian ship or enemy ship may be in the path way if there is only 1 ship route to another civilization. Regarding sea routes as well, you cannot trade over sea tiles until you have Astronomy, and not over ocean tiles until you have Magnetism or Navigation, so while there may be a route over the water, you might not have the technology to trade over it yet. Trade embargoes could also be a reason, whether you have a trade embargo you forgot about with someone else against them, or they might have an embargo against you. This is just a list of some reasons – they are many of them.

How does the trading of goods work?

First, you have to bring up the diplomacy screen with the preferred AI – there are two ways to do this. One, press Shift + D (if you have a worker active in Conquests, it is Shift + Control + D). Then, select from the list of AIs you have met the one you want to trade with. Alternatively, go to the F4 Foreign Advisor screen and double click on the leaderhead image of the civilization you want to trade with. Then, at the next screen, select the text that reads something like “Let’s propose a deal…” (it’s the top option). After that, you can start offering and trading goods! Your column of available items to trade is on the right; the AI’s is on the left. You can click your items to trade away, and click AI items you would like to receive, and then see if they’ll accept that. If not, you may have to offer more in exchange for what you want. You can also see what they’re willing to offer in exchange for something by hitting “What would you give?” (or something near that) on the bartering screen – or you can see what they want for one of their items by hitting “What would it take to give this away?” (or something close to that). All in all, the best way to find out how to trade goods is to experiment on that trade screen.

What are the different things I can trade?

Here is a list of what you can trade (for descriptions of some of these, see this question): Peace Treaties (if at war), Right of Passages, Military Alliances, Mutual Protection Pacts, Trade Embargoes, World Maps, Territory Maps, Luxury Resources, Strategic Resources, Lump Sum of Gold, Gold per Turn, Technologies, and Cities (as part of a peace deal only). As you can see, there is a variety of items and agreements which you can trade!

What does “Dyes (1 extra)” or something related to that mean?

When trading resources, the numbers in the parentheses indicate how many extra sources of that particular good you have to trade. This assumes you don’t want to trade out your last/only resource, of course. So if you have 3 wines in your territory, it will show up as “Wines (2 extra)”, and that is how you can know if you have extra ‘copies’ of the resource to trade to the AIs. It is possible to see “ResourceName (0 extra)” if you only have 1 of that particular resource, or you traded away the others.

Why are some resources grayed out?

If resources are grayed out, it means you don’t have a trade path to the civilization, whether you don’t have a road to the civilization or the road to the civilization was pillaged, or something else. There are a variety of ways this can happen – maybe you never had a trade route to them, maybe it got destroyed, or maybe it is just temporarily blocked (by, say, a barbarian galley). Please see this question for some possibilities.

Why can’t I sign a Right of Passage/Military Alliance/Embargo/etc.?

Many of these trade agreements between civilizations require a certain technology – and even if you have an embassy built, you still won’t be able to sign them until you have the prerequisite. Here is a list of what’s needed for them:

Right of Passage: Map Making
Military Alliance: Writing
Mutual Protection Pact: Nationalism
Trade Embargo: Nationalism

Why can’t I trade world maps/communications with other civilizations?

There are two technologies you have to research in order to trade these. In Conquests, you cannot trade World/Territory Maps until you research Navigation. For communications to other civilizations, you need Printing Press. In Vanilla and Play the World, the prerequisite for trading maps is Map Making, and for communications trading it is Writing. Once you have the necessary technology, like all tradeable goods, they will appear on your bartering table.

If I play a large or huge map, how can I get more than 8 civilizations to appear on the F4 Foreign Advisor screen?

Although large and huge maps have over 8 civilizations in them (12 and 16 respectively), the Foreign Advisor screen can only show 8 (including you). When you meet eight other civilizations or more, the first eight will show up on the Foreign Advisor screen, and the other will be in the drop down list called “More Civs” in the top left. To switch one old civilization on the screen with one that you don’t want, single click it, and then select the new civilization from the drop down menu, and they will now be switched. You can also Shift and Click on the advisor you want to switch, and select the new civilization from there.

How can I see what deals I currently have going with another AI?

There are two ways. The first is to initiate diplomacy with the civilization (double click their leaderhead on the F4 Foreign Advisor Screen), open the diplomacy table, and click “Active” at the bottom. Then you can see who is giving what to each other, and how many turns are left on the deals. Alternatively, you can go to the Foreign Advisor screen again, single click on a leaderhead, and select the “Active” tab to the right, and it will also show you the deals there. To end an active deal, you can just click on it, and not renegotiate the deal.

Why does the AI sometimes agree to trade me oil in exchange for very little?

Sometimes you can get very cheap deals for oil from the AI before it has any value. Because you can discover oil with Refining, you can initiate a trade with the AI for oil then. However, since there aren’t any units that use it until Combustion, the AI treats it as a useless resource (although it becomes a very important one) since it sees that there is no benefit for you at that time (assuming you haven’t researched Combustion). The AI is usually willing to sell it dirt cheap, and sometimes you can even demand it for you and they gladly give it away, because it has no value for them. Once you get Combustion and all the other techs giving units that require oil, the price goes way up!

The AIs don’t seem to have much gold per turn. Why is this?

On lower levels, at least early in the game, the AI usually has no extra gold per turn. This is because they aren’t too smart – they don’t build many roads, marketplaces, banks, and they usually don’t have much gold lump sum either. You have to wait until later on the in the game, when the AIs strengthen and develop more – even then, they might not have a lot. However, on higher levels, where they can build stuff quicker (either workers to build roads, or marketplaces for gold), the AIs usually have lots of gold, even early in the game. Sometimes late in the game if they have a lot of extra military units, they might not have a lot, but they’ll still usually have some – the ‘runaway AIs’, or the best AI in the game will usually have a ton of gold per turn, and it is not rare to offer them a few techs for 500+ gold per turn. It’s really hit or miss – it depends on the difficulty level you’re playing at, what year you are in, as well as who you are seeking gold per turn from.

Why won’t the AI accept my gold per turn or any other 20-turn deal?

If this happens, it means your reputation (seperate from your attitude, or how the other AIs view you (Polite, Furious, etc.)) is tarnished. To get your reputation to be tarnished, you need to have either: declared war on them when you had units in their territory (this includes ships), declared war on them when you had a 20-turn deal with them (e.g. You declared war when you were trading them Dyes), or somehow ended a 20-turn deal with them (whether the trade route between you and them was pillaged, or an AI captured your only city with the resource you were trading away, etc.). Basically, it boils down to: did you fufill all your per-turn agreements with the AI? If one of them was broken and it didn’t last the 20 turns, your reputation is broken. However, if the AI declares war on you when you have a 20-turn deal going on, it does not count as a broken reputation – it is only if you are the agressor. Once you have broken your reputation once, the AIs will never again for the game accept per-turn payments or deals from you, because they don’t trust you. Reputation is very important in Civ3, and if you lose it early on in the game, it makes life a lot harder! For more about reputation, see this article by microbe.

What is a ‘blockade’?

A blockade is a simple naval maneuver where one civilization’s ships surround an enemy city’s water tiles. Upon doing this, that city, if it had a harbor, now cannot trade out of that port. Blockades, while good in theory, aren’t too practical because they require a few ships per enemy city, and if the enemy has a lot of coastal cities, it is near impossible, plus your ships can be sunk. Even if you blockade their ports, there are still other ways for them to trade (by air or by having a road to another AI civilization with a port).


This section only gives a brief overview of commonly used tactics in Civilization 3 – for a complete list of strategy articles in various areas of the game, visit the War Academy.

How should I effectively manage my workers? What is the ideal number of workers?

Most advanced civilization players agree that the worker unit is the most important unit in the whole game, even though it has no attack/defense values. The ability to improve the terrain around your cities is key, and of course, the more workers you have, the faster your civilization will grow and the better off you will be. However, the number of workers you should ideally have can vary. Some say 1 worker per city is ok – although some go higher up, saying that 2 workers per city is crucial, especially in the early game. The more of a head start you can build in the early game, the easier the rest of the game is. No matter how many workers you have, it can’t hurt to have more. When managing your workers, it’s pretty necessary to control them manually, and not automate them. A human can always make better decisions than the computer. There are a couple rules of thumb: try to road every tile that your citizens are worker, so that you get the 1 commerce bonus roads bring. In Despotism, don’t irrigate grassland unless there is a bonus food resource. Until you have railroads, irrigate most plains and mine most grassland – this of course varies per city. For more on workers, see this this very detailed article on early game worker managment.

What is “REX” or “REXing”?

REX stands for Rapid Expansion. This is a strategy some people use in the beginning turns of a game: the goal is to basically expand as fast as possible, claiming as much territory as you can (as more territory usually equals more power), even at the expense of military and defense sometimes. This involves building a granary early on to promote growth, and then literally pumping out settlers and workers, with few military units for city defense. Once all land available has been taken up, then you can resume normal production of other units. This strategy works most of the time, although you should always be wary of the AI if they have any units lurking around!

What do the following terms mean: ICS, OCP, Tight, and Loose Placement?

All these terms relate to the density of your cities when it comes to city placement. Each city placement strategy is different and has its own benefits and disadvantages. Here’s an overview: ICS is Infinite City Sprawl, which means you try to pack in as many cities as you can, usually at the minimum 2 tiles apart (e.g. City – Tile – City – Tile – City). It’s mostly used in games with a goal of an early military victory or a culture victory (as more cities = more culture being produced). Corruption can get pretty high though. Tight placement means your cities are usually 3 tiles apart, so that, with roads, units can be moved from city to city in only one turn. This takes advantage of the fact that most cities won’t use more than 10-12 tiles until they build a Hospital, if they do at all. It’s used mostly at higher levels. Loose placement is like tight placement, except cities are around 4 tiles apart, to take advantage of more tiles per city. OCP is Optimal City Placement, where each city does not overlap with another – they use all 21 tiles for one city only. It’s best on lower levels where you can gain many cities this way, because, on higher levels, you won’t be able to fit in many cities this way. For more on OCP, see this article, and for more on city placement in general, see this article.

What is the most common early military strategy?

A popular military tactic to use early in the game is called the “swordsmen rush”, or “sword rush”. Because the best attacker in the Ancient Age is a swordsman with an attack of 3, and the best defender (spearman) only has 2 defense, many people choose to found a couple early cities, and quickly build barracks in them. Then, they will amass a sizeable force of swordsmen, and use that to declare war on their neighbors before they can build up their defense. Of course, this strategy require the civilization has access to Iron needed to build swordsmen, but if they do, this tactic can gain them a lot of early land and hurt the AI for the rest of the game. Variations of this strategy also include using just horsemen if you have no Iron, or a combination of swordsmen/horsemen/catapults for a more varied approach against the AI. Also, view this article that deals with this strategy too.

I keep reading about “settler factories”. What are they and how do I set them up?

A ‘settler factory’ is a city designed early in the game to produce only settlers, one every four turns (alternatively, it can do a worker every two turns). They help greatly in expansion as there is a constant stream of settlers, however, if you are not used to them, they can be somewhat hard to find, plan, and set up. Here are the basics: the city you plan on setting up a settler factory in must have some bonus food resources. If you aren’t Agricultural, 2 cows will work – if you are, you can make do with only 1 cow, but 2 works just fine as well. Combine this with a granary, and you only need 10 extra food to grow a population point. Because of the bonus food, if you reach the ‘golden’ 5 food per turn, you will grow every 2 turns. Thus, in 4 turns, you will make up for the fact that a settler uses up two population points to build. Then, all you have to do is just gain the required amount of shields. If you are at size 5, and have 7 shields per turn, you will gain 14 shields over 2 turns. When you grow, you’ll be at size 6 for 2 more turns until you get the 10 food needed, and by doing so, let’s say you gain 8 shields per turn, or 16 total. Fourteen plus sixteen is 30, or the number of shields a settler costs. Therefore, in 4 turns, you grew 2 population points, and you also collected 30 shields, enough to build a settler. The cycle can then repeat. One last thing: you don’t have to do this at size 5 to 6 or with those amount of shields per turn. For more, see this article as well as this one.

Play the World Expansion Pack

This section details the additions and changes in Play the World, Civilization III’s first expansion pack.

What civilizations did Play the World add?

Play the World added 8 new civilizations, using the 6 existing traits from Vanilla (UU stands for Unique Unit, and the 3 numbers stand for their Attack.Defense.Movement):

Celts: Militaristic and Religious (changed to Agricultural in Conquests), their UU is the Gallic Swordsman (replaces Swordsman) at 3.2.2

Mongols: Militaristic and Expansionist, their UU is the Keshik (replaces Knight) at 4.2.2 and treats hills/mountains as grassland for movement

Spanish: Religious and Commercial (changed to Seafaring in Conquests), their UU is the Conquistador (replaces Explorer) at 3.2.2 and all terrain as roads

Ottomans: Scientific and Industrious, their UU is the Sipahi (replaces Cavalry) at 8.3.3

Vikings: Militaristic and Expansionist (changed to Seafaring in Conquests), their UU is the Bezerk (replaces Longbowman) at 6.2.1 (7 attack in Conquests) and amphibious attack

Arabians: Religious and Expansionist, their UU is the Ansar Warrior (replaces Knight) at 4.2.3

Carthaginians: Militaristic and Religious (changed to Industrious and Seafaring in Conquests), their UU is the Numidian Mercenary (replaces Spearman) at 2.3.1

Koreans: Scientific and Commercial, their UU is the Hwach’a (replaces Cannon) and it has lethal bombard

Were there any units added as well?

There were just two additional units added in Play the World, besides the Unique Units and units for the game modes (Regicide’s kings and Capture the Princess’ princess). These were the Medieval Infantry (4.2.1), requiring Iron and Feudalism, that serves to extend the Swordsman’s lifespan, as in Vanilla it did not upgrade to anything. The second unit is the Guerilla (6.6.1), a resourceless unit that comes with Replaceable Parts, that is the modern version of the Medieval Infantry (they upgrade to Guerillas).

I read about people playing scenarios and modifications (mods) for Play the World! Did these come with the game?

On the Play the World CD, there were some included user-created scenarios and mods for Play the World and Vanilla, that were basically the same as the ones you could download from the forums here. Although some maps and scenarios were made for Vanilla only, you can still load them in Play the World, as the games are backwards-compatible. While there were some created content that came with Play the World, the majority of scenarios and mods people play they have downloaded here at the forums from the Creation and Customizationsection, as they have a wider variety of modifications that have been updated since the release of Play the World.

What are these new victory conditions?

These new victory conditions, mostly for Multiplayer, but also playable in Single Player, are Regicide, Mass Regicide, Elimination, Capture the Princess and Victory Point scoring. For more, see this previous question.

Some screenshots with Play the World have a lot of buttons I don’t have. How do I get them?

These ‘advanced buttons’ are new in Play the World, and for the most part, they deal with the automation of units and workers, with such buttons as “Road to”, “Build trade network”, and “Improve nearest city”. Another feature they provided is a button that allows you to rename units! To see these advanced buttons, you can go to your Preferences (Control + P) and turn on the “advanced buttons” option in the top right corner.

Did Play the World come with Multiplayer?

Yes, Play the World did ship with Multiplayer, unlike Vanilla! Multiplayer allows you to play a normal game of civilization, or even a scenario or mod, against other humans, and possibly AIs if you like. You can use all the features of Single Player, including all the civilizations and the game modes that were intended for MP. The only limitation is that only 8 civilizations, human and AI together, can play at once. After loading the game and selecting “Multiplayer” on the main menu, it takes you to the MP Lobby where you can talk with other people and join/host a game. There are 4 modes of multiplayer:

Internet: The most commonly used form of Multiplayer – after going to the Lobby, you can scan currently running games for one to join, or you can start your own.

LAN: This mode is like Internet except that you can setup the game over your LAN, if you have one, so that you can play a game with other friends on your network.

Hotseat: This style involves the use of one computer, playing turn-based style. One person plays his turn, then the next person plays his turn on that computer, then the next, etc. This works well if you only have 1 computer with Civilization, but a group of friends that want to play.

Play by Email (PBEM): Playing PBEM works in the following way: one person receives the save in their email box, loads it up into Civilization, plays their one turn, and then saves and sends it to the next person. While slow, it is a stable form of the game, and it is not too bad if you can get at least 1 turn a day in. Most people are either strong fans of it or think it to be useless.

You can also select “Direct IP” in the Lobby which will connect you to another computer via IP Address if you want to play a game with your friend without setting it up in the Lobby. There are two turns of game play, unlike Single Player. Turn based is the same as SP, where one civilization plays after another. The new one is Simultaneous Moves, where all civilizations move at the same time (warfare gets complex), and optionally, you can set a turn timer so that the turn ends no matter what after a certain length of time. For more, see the Multiplayerforum.

Conquests Expansion Pack

This section details the additions and changes in Conquests, Civilization III’s second and last expansion pack.

Do I have to buy Play the World before Conquests? How do I get that Play the World content?

No, you do not have to buy Play the World if you do not have it, as Conquests has all the content from Play the World, including the new civilizations and units. However, the one part of Play the World that is not on the Conquests CD is the extra ‘flavor’ units from Feudal Japan, Dinosaur, and WWII that are in Play the World’s ‘extras’ folder. Fortunately, though, you can download them legally here at CivFanatics in this thread as well as this one (the Feudal Japan ones are available from the Sengoku Conquest’s folder).

What are these “Conquests” I’ve heard are in this expansion?

Included on the Conquests expansion pack CD were 9 “Conquests”, or Firaxis-made scenarios, each representing a specific period in history. The nine of them are: Mesopotamia, Rise of Rome, Fall of Rome, Middle Ages, Mesoamerica, Age of Discovery, Sengoku, Napoleonic Europe, and WWII in the Pacific. Each Conquest has its own map, civilization, and units, and they all play out differently. Because they were made by Firaxis who programmed Civilization III, they are of a high quality and do not have many flaws. There is also a Conquest Hall of Fame, where you can keep track of your best wins for each of the 9 Conquests. They have proved popular in Succession Games and Single Player, and for the most part, they are shorter than a regular game of Civilization, allowing you to enjoy a scenario with a unique flavor.

Did Conquests also add new civilizations?

Yes, there were 8 new civilizations, however, due to the way the game was coded, only 7 can be represented in the game (a total of 31 civilizations) – the last, the Swiss, have to be modded in by the user at the expense of another civilization. The new civilizations are:

Mayans: Agricultural and Industrious, their UU is the Javelin Thrower (replaces Archer) at 2.2.1, and it can also enslave enemy units into slaves (a one third chance each victorious battle)

Incans: Agricultural and Expansionist, their UU is the Chasqui Scout (replaces Scout) at 1.1.2, and it treats hills/mountains as grassland

Byzantines: Seafaring and Religious, their UU is the Dromon (replaces Galley) at 2.1.2, and it has lethal sea bombard

Sumerians: Agricultural and Scientific, their UU is the Enkidu Warrior (replaces Warrior and Spearman) at 1.2.1

Portuguese: Expansionist and Seafaring, their UU is the Carrack (replaces Caravel) at 2.2.4

Dutch: Agricultural and Seafaring, their UU is the Swiss Mercenary (replaces Pikeman) at 1.4.1

Hittites: Commercial and Expansionist, their UU is the Three-Man Chariot (replaces Chariot), at 2.1.2

The Swiss’ traits as well as their unique unit’s stats are up to you, as they are not in the game; you add them yourself, so you can give them whatever abilities you want.

Were there any other new units added as well?

Besides the 8 unique units and various scenario units, including ones like Fire Cannons and Light Tanks, there were a few additional units included in Conquests. These are the Flak and Mobile SAM units (land units that have the ability to shoot down planes), TOW Infantry (a resourceless Modern Age defender), Cruisers and Curraghs (naval units), a Modern Paratrooper, as well as two units produced from Great Wonders, the Crusader and the Ancient Cavalry.

I’ve read about two new traits – what are they?

Conquests added two new traits: Agricultural and Seafaring. These were added to eliminate a lot of overlap between civilization traits if they had just used the original six – however, this also caused a good deal of reshuffling of traits among Vanilla and Play the World civilizations. For more on the benefits of the Agricultural and Seafaring traits, see this previous questionabout this issue.

Are there any rule or gameplay changes in Conquests?

There were some minor rule changes and gameplay tweaks introduced in Conquests. Here is a brief overview of them, but for more, see this thread: defensive bombard (if a unit, like an archer, has this, it will attempt to take off one hit point from the attacking unit, like a bombard unit), lethal land and sea bombard (air units like bombers can now totally kill units in an air strike), craters (if a bombard attack is successful in destroying everyone on that tile, a crater will appear, and it has to be cleared before it can be worked), barricades (an upgraded fortress, built on a tile, and it provides 100% bonus to defense as well as uses up all of a unit’s movement points), two new terrain types (marsh (just 1 food) and volcano (just 3 production, and you can’t improve it), four new resources (tobacco, sugar, oasis, tropical fruit – all bonus resources), bonus technologies (Philosphy now grants a free technology if researched first), and more. See the mentioned thread for more rule changes.

What are these unit-producing wonders I’ve seen?

Conquests also was the addition of a new feature: wonders that produce units. There are two wonders in the regular game, the Statue of Zeus (requires Ivory and Mathematics) and the Knights Templar (requires Chivalry). Every 5 turns, for as long as the wonders haven’t been obsoleted by a technology, produce a unit, an Ancient Cavalry (3.3.2 and +1 hit point) and Crusader (5.2.1), respectively. While you still have to pay upkeep on these units, they will appear every 5th turn in the city where the wonder was built. Because you do not have to build these units, these wonders are a good investment if you are not one to build many units, or if you are planning a military conquest – either way, they are useful. If you do not plan on using the units, you can also disband the units in a city for shields.

Did Multiplayer get changed in any way?

While Multiplayer was still included in Conquests from Play the World, not much was changed, apart from some technical fixes. For more on how Multiplayer works, see the Multiplayer section.


Do all versions of Civilization III have Multiplayer? Are they compatible?

No – only Play the World and Conquests have Multiplayer. Even so, the two versions cannot play each other, that is, games must be Conquests-Conquests or Play the World-Play the World; no mixing allowed. Also, without each game, the patch level of all the players must be the same. As almost all MP games use the latest patch, it is best to download it, and you can get them here.

How does playing a game over the Internet work?

An internet game involves multiple humans, each with their own computer with Civilization, connecting to a game setup in the lobby. After one person selects Host Game from the lobby (and possibly password protects it if you want to play a game with certain players), other people (up to 8 people total) can join. Then, it takes you to a game setup screen where you can choose civilizations and the world setup. Once the game has launched, the humans, and any AIs in the game, are playing a game of Civilization against each other. The game continues until it is either saved or someone wins, and the turns progress either in turn based or simultaneous mode.

How do I play a game over a LAN?

Playing a game over a LAN is the same as the Internet, except that you can only play against other computers hooked up to the network. Otherwise, it is the same, and you can still have AIs, do diplomacy, and chat.

How does Play by Email (PBEM) work?

Play by Email is a very unique style of Multiplayer. It involves up to 8 people playing a game of Civilization literally 1 turn at a time. After having one person set up a game, a player will take their turn, then save the game, send it via email (out of game as Civilization has no in game function for this) to the next player, and then they load the save in Civilization. While slow, it is still Civilization and all the strategy of the game is there. As long as players take their turn promptly, and there aren’t too many people in the game, it doesn’t last forever. This is also the style used for many inter-site competitions.

What is Hotseat?

Hotseat is the form of Multiplayer that involves the use of just one computer – perfect if you have a bunch of people, and only one computer that Civilization is installed on. After setting one up with a maximum of 8 people (humans and AIs), one player will take his turn, then it will be someone else’s turn, then another person’s, and it continues in this cycle until someone wins (or you save the game). Because of the way this mode works, you can only play in turn based mode, not simultaneous moves, as only 1 person/civilization is moving at a time. Also, it is a good idea to set a password for each civilization in case someone accidentally goes into another person’s turn.

How does Simultaneous Moves and Turn Based mode work?

Multiplayer has two modes of play. The first, just like Single Player, is the turn based mode, where one civilization takes their turn after another. While this is probably the most fair, it does take a long time, which is why most Multiplayer players stick to the other method, simultaneous moves (or “si-moves”). With this latter mode, all civilizations take their turns at the same time, quickly speeding up the game, especially if you have a lot of civilizaitons. It works for most MP games, however, one of its downsides is the problem of “double moves”, or having a unit move at the end of one turn and then the start of another turn, allowing it to move two tiles in a short amount of time. At any rate, both styles have turn timers which allow you to set a speed for how long the turn will last (based on a calculation of how many units and cities there are). While there are two modes of turn play, the game still remains the same.

What is the “Direct IP” button for?

The Direct IP button allows you to connect right to a friend’s computer if you know their IP address and don’t want to bother having to coordinate hosting a game, joining it, etc. By clicking this button, you can quickly enter their IP and go right to the game setup screen. It allows you to bypass password protecting your game so no one else joins and other unnecessary tasks.

Can you set up a “team game” or a “2 on 2”?

Unfortunately, no, you can’t, at least not so the game recognizes. The closest you can come is having to create a scenario file in which you have a locked alliance between certain civilizations, but that can get a bit annoying. However, this doesn’t prevent you from creating a 2v2 or any other team game amongst you all, but the game won’t really see that is what is going on.

What exactly is the lobby for?

The lobby is basically the setup room for all the Internet games – it’s where they all start. From here, you can set up a game, join a game, search for games based on type, and chat with other Multiplayer fanatics. It is the starting place for all things Multiplayer on the Internet.

How does diplomacy in Multiplayer take place?

The one major different in Multiplayer diplomacy is that you cannot see what the other human has (but you can for AIs). Other than that, diplomacy in the ‘real time’ modes, Internet and LAN, are just like normal Civilization where you can each put things on your side of the bargaining table. However, in PBEM and Hotseat, it uses a method that can sometimes take a couple turns to complete – the side that engages diplomacy can first offer something on their side of the table, and then they ‘send’ the deal to the other civilization. When they play their turn, they’ll get the updated trade table, where they can add stuff to their side and change what is being negotiated. Then, when each side has agreed on the deal, both must click the “Agree” button in order for the trade to become reality!

How do I chat in Multiplayer?

To chat, just press the “~” key to the left of the key for the number 1 on the keyboard. It will then bring up a box to enter your message. You can use { } for bold text and [ ] for italics.

I have a problem or a question about Multiplayer. Who can I ask?

You can post your question or technical problem in the Multiplayer forum, as well as giving this technical problem FAQ a read.

Where can I find people to set up an Internet or Play by Email game?

If you want to set up a game with other Multiplayer fanatics, check out the Multiplayer forum for Internet games, as well as the Play by Email forum for PBEM games. There are usually always people to play a game with. Alternatively, you could just go straight to the Multiplayer Lobby and join an ongoing game.

Sometimes in the lobby I see a game that says “Ladder ONLY”! What does this mean?

The Ladder is a group of Civilization players that play regularly and keep track of all the games played, as well as various statistics. It is a great idea, however, this means that some games in the lobby are just for players in the Ladder – if you are in the ladder, though, it’s open to you if you want. If you are interested in joining the ladder (as it is free and sign up is easy) as well as learning more about it, you can visit it here.

Creation and Customization

This section is only intended to be an introduction to modifying Civilization III. For more, see the Creation and Customization forum and feel free to ask questions there.

What are the different types of modifications and created content I can download?

There’s a variety of material up for download. This includes user-made maps, scenarios, unit graphics, graphic modpacks (the interface), and regular modpacks (e.g. new units, rule changes, etc., but played on a random map, unlike a scenario). In the modpack forums for example, you could download something as simple as a new resource graphic to something as complete as a finished mod that adds hundreds of units and technologies! You don’t have to worry about what game of Civilization III you have, as things like graphic changes work in any version – it’s only scenarios and maps that are backwards-compatible and don’t work if it is, say, a Conquests scenario and you just have Vanilla. There are always scenario and maps for each game.

How do I install a scenario/map/modpack?

First things first: download the content you want (it is probably a zipped file). Upon opening the zip, you’ll most likely see a folder and/or a scenario file. A map will just be a scenario file, as there are no custom units/content. A scenario and mod will have both, since there is new graphics and such along with a scenario file to load the mod/scenario from. Now, you have to extract these folders and files to your Civilization III scenario folder, where all custom material goes. This folder is located in C:/Program Files/Infogrames Interactive/Civilization 3/Scenarios/ (if you have PTW or C3C, go to that folder inside your Civ3 one before Scenarios). Once you have dragged the folder and editor file to this scenarios folder, you can run Civilization III and load your scenario, map, or mod.

Once I’ve downloaded and installed a mod, how do I run it from inside the game?

Loading a scenario, mod, or map from inside Civilization is easy. Once at the main menu screen, just click the button that says “Load Scenario” for Vanilla and Play the World or “Civ-Content” for Conquests, and select your mod’s scenario file. There will also be a description of the file provided. Continue to the next screen – if is a scenario or map, you’ll just have to choose a civilization and then it’ll load. If it is a mod, you have to choose your map settings as well as your player settings. After this, you’ll be playing your game!

What is this “editor”? Do I have it?

The editor is a program included with each version of Civilization III (Vanilla, Play the World, Conquests each have their own) that allows users to make basic changes or complex scenarios and mods – while it does have its limitations, it is pretty flexible and open-ended. To open the editor, first navigate to your Civilization III folder (default: C:/Program Files/Infogrames Interactive/Civilization 3/ — if you have PTW or C3C, go to that folder inside your Civ3 one). Then, double click to open the editor (if you have Vanilla, it is named Civ3Edit, for Play the World, Civ3XEdit, and for Conquests, Civ3ConquestsEdit). Once it is open, you will see various buttons and menus allowing you to add terrain, resources, units, generate maps, etc. While it’s best to learn about the editor by experimenting around, here are some basics you can do: make rule modifications (see the next question), create a map by “painting” tiles and resources onto the default all-ocean map, and generate random maps with different world settings. If you have more questions about the uses of the editor, it’s advisable to see the Creation and Customization forum.

What are the file extensions for the different games’ editor files?

Each Civilization III game has a different extension for their scenario file. For Vanilla, it is .bic, for Play the World, the extension is .bix, and for Conquests, it is .biq. As mentioned earlier, the editors are backwards-compatible only, meaning they can open earlier games’ files, but not newer ones (for example, the Play the World editor can open by .bix and .bic files).

How can I make simple rule changes to the game?

Once you have opened the editor, from the menu at the top, select “Scenario” and then “Custom Rules”. Hit yes to the warning that displays, and then you can modify the rules by selecting “Edit” and “Edit Rules”. From there, you’ll see various tabs on different sections of the game, from units’ stats, to wonders’ benefits, to how many moves you can make on roads. After you are done, just save the scenario file in your scenario folder, and you can play it in the game. There is one warning, however: if you try to add something like a unit, civilization, or wonder without the proper graphics and updating of text files, the game will crash, so it is best to stick to modifying already created ones at least in the beginning.

Is it possible to change the rules for every game I play via “New Game” rather than loading a scenario?

Yes, you can change the default rules for the games created by selecting “New Game”, although in most cases it is best just to leave rule changes as mods in your Scenarios folder. Each game uses a standard scenario file for the rules used in default games. By opening this file in your main game folder (named civ3mod.bic for Vanilla, civ3X.bix for Play the World, and conquests.biq for Conquests) with the editor, you can modify the rules in this scenario file. The changes you make the default rule file used in the game will be represented whenever you generate a map in-game, so it is a good idea to backup this file before you make changes.

What are some recommended mods?

While there have been many modscreated, there are a few that stand out because of their gameplay, complexity, creativity, and graphics. Here are the ones generally agreed upon as some of the best (for Conquests):

Warhammer (a fantasy-related mod)
Rise and Rule (a mod that adds lots of new units/techs/everything)
The Ancient Mediterranean (a mod set back in ancient times on a Mediterranean map)
Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire (a mod about the world of the Roman Empire)
Rhye’s of Civilization (a mod aimed at making a realistic and historically correct world map game)

There are many others that are wonderful that were not listed, so we encourage you to visit the completed mods forum (as well as the scenario forum).

How do you create or edit a map in the editor?

Upon opening the editor, all you’ll see is just a blank, blue map – it is all ocean. If you want to edit this map, or any other map someone else made, you are going to be using the horizontal bar. There are the following buttons after the zoom in/out ones: turn the grid on or off, edit terrain (you select the terrain type), edit resources, edit overlays (rivers, roads, etc.), and edit the fog of war (if you want some terrain to have to be discovered). All these buttons are easy to use; you can start with the terrain button, and say you select grassland – then you can click on tiles on the map and it will place grassland there. To change the number of tiles being affected by your clicking, you can select a bigger square (the buttons to the right) – there is 1×1, 3×3, 5×5, and 7×7. Now, going back to the buttons that are grayed out (the create city and create unit butotns). These are grayed out because it in order to place a unit or city, it has to have a nationality, so you have to set the “active player”, or who these things will belong to. You can click the shield button, and then choose a civilization from the third checkbox (the shortcut for this menu is SPACEBAR). Now you will be able to place cities/units (to edit them once they have been placed, for example, a city’s name, just right click it and select properties). The scenario properties button allows you to edit information about the scenario (the name, description, # of civs, etc), and the globe button allows you to generate random maps, if you want to work off a random map rather than creating one from scratch. That’s all there is to it!

Can I play on a world map? Are there any world maps out there?

Yes, you can – and while there are two world maps included on the Vanilla CD, these are necessarily the best you can find. There are some incredible map makers here on this forum that have created very realistic world maps. Bewarned, however, that many of them are beyond Huge (e.g. bigger than 160×160), though there are some below this. To check them out, I suggest you visit the user-created maps forum and search for world maps for your game. However, there are some maps that are generally agreed upon as very well done, and here is a short list of them (all of them are for Conquests):

el_mencey’s 362×325 map
TETurkhan’s 362×362 map
Rhye’s 180×180 map
Plexus’ editing of Marla Singer’s 256×256 map (as she did not make a Conquests version)

Miscellaneous Questions

What do radar towers/outposts/airfields do?

These three terrain buildings were added in Play the World, and they each can be created by a worker in neutral or your territory by clicking their respective button. If you use a worker to build one of them, the worker will ‘get killed during construction’ (e.g. he disappears from the game), and then you will now have your building. They are created instantly, and do not require any maintenance or anything. Radar towers provide a 25% boost to your units that attack and defend within 2 tiles of a radar tower. Outposts provide line of sight and eliminate fog of war from surrounding tiles (their range is 2 for flat land, 3 for hills, 4 for mountains). An airfield allows planes to rebase there and conduct missions as well as letting paratroopers do an air drop without having to build a city with an airport on that tile.

What is global warming?

Global warming in Civilization III is when the ‘world’ heats up due to an increase in pollution-producing buildings (such as factories) and the use of nuclear weapons. The current state of the world is represented by a sun figure in the information box in the lower right of the screen – once that sun appears (in the Industrial Age), it means global warming has started. Global warming has the power to change tiles, for example, every few turns some grassland tiles might turn into plains, and plains into desert. If global warming is very strong (the sun is burning red), lots of tiles will change a turn – coast tiles can even dry up!

What is a map’s “seed number”?

The seed number for a map is like it’s identification number – each map has a different one. The game uses this seed along with the map settings you chose to create a random map, and because of the number of digits in each seed, it is highly unlikely you (or anyone else) will ever play the same map twice! For example, in Conquests, where you can enter a seed (a string of numbers or letters) in the World Selection screen, if you entered the same seed twice and had the same settings for the game, you would get the same world. The seed number can also be used to play on the same world twice if you want to try another map again, or if someone tells you a really fun map and its seed number. You can also use this utility to extract the game seed as well as game settings from a saved game.

How does pollution work?

Pollution, which can be created either as a result of buildings (like factories) or too much population crowding, is represented by orange splotches on the map in a tile. For each population point you have above 12, you will get 1 pollution ‘point’, and buildings will give different amounts of pollution as well. You can see how much pollution you have in a city by going to the city screen, and in the bottom left looking in the box labeled “Pollution”. The more you have, the more chances there is that pollution will occur in one of the city’s 21 tiles each turn. Also, you can limit population pollution by building Mass Transit (which caps population pollution at 1) and building pollution by constructing Recycling Center (which limits building pollution to 1).

What is the probability my city will flip via culture to another AI and vice versa?

“Culture flipping” is when a city leaves their civilization to join another because their cultural borders are being encroached by another civilization’s. The probability of a culture flip depends on other factors too, such as distance to respective capitals, units, foreign citizens, total culture, and others. The formula is: P=[(F+T)*Cc*H*(Cte/Cty) – G]/D, where P = probability that it will flip this turn, F = # foreignors, with resistors counting double, T = # working tiles under foreign control (out of the max of 21, no matter what the cultural boundaries are atm), Cc = 2 if foreign civ has more local culture than you, 1 otherwise, H = .5 for WLTKD, 2 for disorder, 1 otherwise, Cte = Total culture of the foreign civ, Cty = Total culture of your civ, G = # garrison units, D = factor based on relative distance to capitals. As you can see, it is quite a complex formula, but luckily there are utilities out there to calculate it! CivAssist II, the Flip Calc, “Babylon II Flip Calc”, and this HTML Flip Calc all get the job done!

What are the maximum and minimum research times?

These values, which you can set in the editor, determine the minimum and minimum amount of turns it takes you to research a technology. For all three games, the minimum research length is 4 turns. In Vanilla and Play the World, the maximum is 40 turns. For Conquests, that was upped to 50 turns as the maximum.

What are the keyboard shortcuts for this game?

You can view a complete list of keyboard shortcuts here in the downloadable PDF file on the first page.

How is my score calculated?

The scoring formula in Civilization III is pretty simple. The actual formula is: (Territory + HappyCitizens*2 + ContentCitizens + Specialists) * Difficulty (Territory = # of tiles, Difficulty = 1 for Chieftain, 2 for Warlord, etc.). As you can see, there aren’t many factors that go into it, and basically you just want to get a ton of territory and population if you are going for a high score. While things like units and technologies don’t figure into the formula directly, they do affect it, as usually, the more units you have, the more territory you can gain, which will increase your score. There is also a bonus you get at the end if you win before 2050 AD, which is: (2050 – FinishYear) * Difficulty.

Why can’t my leader build an army?

For each army, you must have 4 cities – that is, if you want to have 4 armies, you need at least 16 cities. If you move a leader to a city and you do not see the Build Army button, check to make sure you have enough cities, factoring in cities needed for already existing armies as well.

What do the colors of my city’s population number mean?

A city’s population number on the main screen can be 1 of 3 colors: red, white, or yellow. These indicate the current state of the city’s growth – if it is red, the city is losing food and citizens are starving. If it stays red long enough, the city will lose population points. If the number is yellow, it indicates there is no growth, or the city is not able to grow (e.g. it is size 12 and has no Hospital) any farther. A white number means the city is growing, and, after a few turns when the food storage is full, the city will grow.

What do the numbers in the lower right information box like “1.9.0” mean?

These 3 numbers indicate the levels of your Science and Luxury Tax sliders on the F1 Domestic Advisor screen. From left to right, they represent what percentages are going to Taxes (e.g. not to Science or Luxury Tax), Science, and Luxury Tax (so it is Taxes.Science.LuxuryTax). Remember that for each “1” in these numbers, it represents 10% out of your budget of 100%.

What do acronyms like “MGL” and “TGL” mean?

There are a lot of acronyms used for Civilization III, and some, like TGL, can have multiple meanings (The Great Library, The Great Lighthouse). For an explination of many Civilization-related and regular acronyms, see this page.

How do I upload a saved game or screenshot?

To upload a saved game or file, see these instructions (with pictures). If it is a picture, you can either use the attachment system (just hit the “Manage Attachments” button on the Post Reply page) or you can use a site like ImageShack.

Helpful Utilities

What are “utilities” for Civilization III? What do they do? Are they free?

Utilities are downloadable programs (not made by Firaxis, but rather by Civilization enthusiasts) that run either while you play Civilization or when Civilization is not open, and they provide you with extra information, “micromanagement” tips, and trade opportunities, to name a few. Although these utilities are not made by Firaxis, they still are very complete, and some update as you play your game via autosaves, allowing you to see current information. They also save you time, as, like CivAssist II, one utility that is quite popular, they show what each civilization has available to trade and what you can trade them, saving you the struggle of checking their diplomacy table in game every turn. Also, some check to see if any of your cities will riot in the upcoming turn, and they warn you that the city will do so unless you switch around the citizens. All of them are free, and they are a great way not only to be more careful and improve your game, but also to have more fun and spend less time doing repetitive actions.

Do they work for just a certain game or patch?

No, most of the utilties work for any game of Civilization III, and any patch level.

What are some recommended utilities?

There are many utilities out there available for download, but there are some that are very popular and unique. Here are a few of the best utilities, along with a short description of their features:

CivAssist II – CivAssist II is one of the best utilities out there due to its wide array of information, clear presentation, and good interface. It runs in the background while running Civilization, and if you turn the alert box on, each turn it will warn you of cities about to riot, nearby enemy units, wasted production, available trades, deals about to end, and more. The actual program itself has tabs for a variety of things such as Military, Technologies, and your Cities. An amazing feature, if not the best, is the ability to view the world map, see your cities, terrain, and units in CivAssist II – all without having to open Civilization!

CRpSuite – among the programs in this suite of utilities are CRpStats, that provides a great deal of statistics and numbers from in game, CRpViewer, allowing you to view a replay of your game and even compare it to another saved game, as well as CRpRings, to help plan out city locations for settlers. However, the most popular program in the suite is CRpMapStat. Originally created to see how many tiles there were until Domination victory would be reached, it has evolved tremendously, into a utility to displays detailed citizen info, trade opportunities, territory calculations, cultural expansions, and resource locators.

MapFinder – designed for the CivFanatics Hall of Fame players, this utility generates maps automatically while you have Civilization open and you aren’t at the computer (for example, sleeping). The best part about this utility, however, is that you can set rules for maps you want to keep. If you wanted a map with 3 cows in the starting location, the MapFinder will generate maps with your preferred world and player settings until it finds the number of maps you want with, in this case, 3 cows. This makes finding a playable map a lot easier if you have specific requirements in mind.

Civ3MultiTool – the ultimate saved-game utility, this allows you to do virtually anything to the save, including add units to cities, change a player’s cities, give a civilization technologies, and more. With Civ3MultiTool, you can also export the map your are playing on as an editor file so you can play on it later.

For more utilities, visit the Utility Programs forum.

Civilization Community

This section overviews various competitions, games, and ways to play Civilization out of the regular Single Play and Multiplayer styles.

What is the Game of the Month (GOTM)? Can I play?

The Game of the Month is a single player competition here at CivFanatics aimed. Once per month (the 1st of every month for Conquests, the 15th for Vanilla/Play the World), the GOTM staff release a saved game to their website. Anyone that wants to can download this save, play it out, and then submit it when they are done, win or lose. The goal of the GOTM is to see the different styles of play and outcomes of games, and by having everyone play the same exact game, it puts everyone on an equal starting ground. There are a few spoilers, or threads where people can share their progress up to a certain date, for each game that allow you to compare and contrast games as well as post how you’re doing so far. The GOTM also uses the latest patch for each game. For more, check out the Game of the Month forum.

What are Succession Games (SGs)?

Succession Games are casual single player games of Civilization played with multiple people (usually 5 or 6). They acquired their name because, after creating the game, the players play in succession. For example, after posting a thread in the Succession Game forum and having a few people sign up, the game begins, and one person sets up the game, plays the first turns (usually 20), and then posts the save. The next person picks up that save and plays it (usually for 10 turns from here on out), posts it, and the cycle continues until they win or lose. In a SG, you are also required to keep a log of your turns so that the others who aren’t playing the save know what went on. To see examples, look at old SG threads, but it’s usually something like: “Turn 0, 4000 BC: Founded Paris on starting tile, starting production of a warrior, worker moved onto river grassland”. A SG is a great way to learn the game of Civilization as well as improve your game, as you are only responsible for 10 turns and you can always get feedback and comments from others. For more, see the Succession Game forum.

What is the Hall of Fame (HoF) at CivFanatics?

The Hall of Fame here at CivFanatics is a way for people to have their best games ranked among other high-scoring games. After finishing a game, you can submit it, and every few weeks, when there are updates made, as long as the game was in the Top 10 of a category (something as simple as Deity games, or a table for Small map size Space Race games on Regent), you will see it listed. The Hall of Fame has sections for the Top 10 scoring games of every difficulty level, but then you can break it down and narrow your field to include one of the 5 map sizes or one of the victory conditions including score. Because of the variety of tables they have, there are many that don’t even have 10 games, so if you submit a game that will fit there, it will be placed in the Hall of Fame no matter what! There are a lot of tactics that Hall of Famers use in their HoF games when trying to get high scores that most people don’t use in normal games, which is why a lot of their games are incredible. For more on HoF strategies and how the Hall of Fame works, see the Hall of Fame forum.

What is the Multi-Team Demogame (MTDG)?

The Multi-Team Demogame (short for Game of Democracy) is a semi-relaxed Multiplayer competition here at CivFanatics between 4 teams of humans played via Play by Email. Each team has their own private forum where they discuss how to run their civilization and all the decisions that come with it (this is where the “Democracy” part of the game comes in). Every team decides themselves how to run their team – some just have 1 turnplayer who gathers the citizens’ thoughts and then plays the turn; others have positions that include a President and Military Advisor, sort of mimicking the 6 advisors in Civilization III. Because the game is played between humans, there are complex wars, alliances, and diplomacy. This game has no obligations and some prefer just to sign up for one team and watch the action from there. Others get very involved in it, and either way works. If you are interested in more, see the Multi-Team Demogame forum.


Lt. ‘Killer’ M, Sirp, and Turner for creation of the original Civ3 FAQ
Ginger_Ale for the new Civ3 FAQ and info on sinking changes and city placement
Arathorn for Conquests changes, additions, and general information
alexman’s for his info on corruption
mydisease for his research cost formula
Theoden for his article on armies in Conquests
BomberEscort for his Anti-Aircraft Formula
microbe for his article on trading reputation
Bamspeedy for the article on Optimal City Placement, metropolises, and settler factories
RFHolloway for additional settler factory info
Bede for his article on specialists
SirPleb for his info on scoring calculations
BillChin for swordsmen and horsemen rush article
scoutsout for his Warmongering 101 article
Turner and scoutsout for their advice…
…and countless others who have made this possible. Thank you!

The FAQ was last updated: May 7th, 2006