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How many cities do I need for each victory condition? Do I only need a lot of cities if I am going for a military victory?

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I suggest looking into these question / answer; it's not the same question you've asked, but the answer, as many as possible (or 5-ish for culture), is relevant. –  Raven Dreamer Apr 13 '11 at 22:07
    
    

2 Answers 2

While technically you don't need to have a lot of cities, most victory conditions will get easier if you have a sizable empire. This doesn't mean you have to build as many cities as you can fit, but it does mean that you should try to have as many or more cities as your opponents.

The major exception is Cultural. Because the cost of social policies increases based on the number of cities you have, this victory actually gets harder if you control more than 3 or 4 cities. The key here is that puppeted cities do not increase social policy cost, but they do contribute to culture points, so you want to have as many puppeted cities as possible.

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Victory by Score:

As many as you can (as your cities population gives you points), I'm in doubt that you can win with 1 city.

Diplomatic Victory:

I could be wrong, but the more - the better, you will have more diplomatic points, but with one city you could win also.

Scientific Victory:

The more - the better (as your cities population gives you research points), but with one city you could win also (if you keep your opponent in the 'ancient' state);

Domination Victory:

There are options:

  1. in the simplest (easiest) case you need to keep amount of cities that is equal to quantity of civilizations in game;
  2. if some civilizations captured capitals of other nations you don't need to retake them under your control, so in this case you need to have 2 cities only: your capital, and capital of any other civilization that kept own capital till the very end of the game;

Cultural Victory:

1 is enough if you gain required amount of culture points, but some strategies will work better if you have 3 (probably more cities).

Hope that helps.

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More cities does not necessarily mean more population; in any case winning with a single city, or with just 2 cities for the domination victory, is very difficult in my experience. –  Oak Apr 14 '11 at 5:12
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RE Diplomatic Victory: having more cities doesn't give you more votes. You get +1 vote for building the UN, +1 from each allied City State, +1 from each City State you've liberated (but not +2 if you're also still allied with them) and +1 from each Civilisation who you've revived by liberating their capital. –  DMA57361 Apr 14 '11 at 8:15

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