I am having a difficult time understanding how to effectively use the Venetian Civilization .

At first glance, the Venice Civilization seems significantly weaker than other civs: with the primary reason being that they CANNOT build/buy settlers.

In place of the settler and Great Merchant, Venice uses the Merchant of Venice.

Merchant of Venice


  1. Perform a Trade mission
  2. Puppet City-States
    • Able to purchase in puppet city-state
    • Gives control over puppet city-state army

This means the only way to expand my empire is to:

  • Use the Merchant of Venice to "buyout" other city-states
  • Use my military to conquer other civs and/or city-states (NOTE: cannot annex)

Although I may feel inclined to use military force, it seems almost counterproductive, since I cannot annex cities. Being able to take control of puppeted armies and buying units/buildings in puppeted cities has its perks but I feel Venice is too weak of a civilization to last, especially on harder difficulties against aggressive, militaristic civilizations.

Am I missing something? I fail to see the real advantage of using Venice.

  • 2
    After trial and error, as well as the great answers provided below, Venice has since become my go-to civilization.
    – Dom
    Commented Oct 19, 2013 at 17:10

7 Answers 7


You're overlooking the main benefit of Venice! Extra Trade Routes!

Money does everything in Civ V. When you play as Venice, you use your faction bonuses + trade routes to generate egregious amounts of gold. The puppetted city-states will focus science for you, meaning all you have to do is generate scads of gold to buy whatever army you need.

Ally all the city-states so that your opponents can't reap their ally benefits. Get in all the research agreements you can. And buy all the swordsdudes you need to crush your enemies into a pulp!

  • 3
    By late-game, you'll get to reap 500+ GPT from trade routes! Spend the gold in puppet cities to build up your military. You'll feel the pain from weak Science output though. Commented Jul 23, 2013 at 5:22
  • 3
    Trade Routes will help with your weak science (as long as your neighbors have Tech you don't), and research agreements with your copious amounts of gold should cover the rest. Commented Jul 23, 2013 at 17:40
  • I am playing on Immortal and what you've said about trade routes is spot-on! However, I want to point out, it is not not uncommon for the computer to "play dirty". I was "friendly" with 6/10 civs and 3 civs (2 of which were my "friends") backstabbed me and declared war all at once. They ruined my trade routes, crippling my gold per turn. That being said, make sure to save up some money & maintain relations with city-states. With the extra cash, you can bribe other civs to go to war as well or buy trade route units to get your economy up and running again! Cheers!
    – Dom
    Commented Jul 24, 2013 at 19:57
  • I think you can use Spy to steal technology though.=D
    – Mark
    Commented Aug 1, 2013 at 3:37
  • 1
    Venice is unique in being able to buy units in puppet states. One more reason all that gold is useful.
    – Nelson
    Commented Aug 5, 2013 at 19:02

I played a prince game with Venice. It's really painful to go to war, 'cause they plunder your trade routes and takes more money to have them back. Since you have only one fully controlled city, getting social policies is easy, so you need to build your culture.

The trick is to have enough money via trade routes to buy alliances with city states in order to get a diplomatic win. Use the Merchant of Venice with city states that are strong allies of your main competitors, so they lose the votes in the World Congress.

I even bought a city state that was two cities 'cause captured another one in a current war, so I got a 2x1.

Playing with Venice is really fun, but if you don't build up enough military to defend from military leaders you will have bad time.

  • I completely agree! I played as Venice on Emperor & Immortal and Diplomatic win was definitely the way to go!
    – Dom
    Commented Aug 14, 2013 at 15:00
  • Also, Venice's focus towards money makes it more forgiving with any miscalculations you make-such as having a weak military-you can just buy a stronger one! Commented Apr 21, 2015 at 23:00

Personally I find that using as many trade routes as possible to ship food between cities is hugely advantageous rather than using them for money. On my last Venice game by the end I had just 5 cities (all bought city states) and each was over 30 population and still growing at around 3-6 turns per pop point. Consider that the Hanging Gardens wonder is worth 6 food to your capital but an early cargo ship is worth at least that.

Getting more cities also increases growth exponentially. With 3 cities, each has two food trade routes into it, but with 4 cities, each city now has three trade routes in. Combining trade routes will filled out tradition is so overpowered. Boosting pop will boost science well ahead of your rivals and you should still have enough money to buy buildings and influence should you wish to.


You mentioned it: Merchant of Venice. The merchant allows you to have control of a great merchant and a settler. This combo makes the Venetians a strong nation economically but as you said once again their military is awful. The Venetians relied on their merchants back in the 1500's to build their empire. You must do the same.


In King you can do culture victory far before Diplomatic. Also, somehow, I always manage to get huge amounts of science each time.

Last time my friend had a 15 cities "flat" Japanese Empire and realized I was at 160% of his culture already (and just needed to bust 2 more civs on culture to win) and declared war on me... I played a little "Hiroshima & Nagasaki" with him, blockaded this entire coast from the armada I had out of my trade routes protection and got to buy a full new battleship/destroyer each turn anywhere I wanted.

That, as my capital pumped more and more nuclear arsenal, to keep that fella in place.

11 turns later, I won (even before the internet).


I'm not that great at the game, but when I get +1000 gold per turn late game, I'm pretty sure that it's a good civ. When you notice that you have 20,000 gold in the bank and there are no buildings to spend it on, you can get a massive army and destroy any country you want. I personally try to rush colossus and great lighthouse with just having as many units as I need to survive. Then when late game shows up and you have 20 some trade routes, each giving you 30-40 gold, you can pretty much just buy everything from your 7 or so city states. The civilization is really weak early because you cannot use production for units other than in your capital, where I try to pump out wonders and trade routes as much as possible. The social policy trees that I like to go down are tradition at the start to get growth, and then go into exploration for all the amazing benefits that gives, and commerce for the boost in gold and happiness. You can go down patronage or rationalism afterwards but I think the extra science is better because you will be having allied city states flowing out your ass with all the money you make so you don't need any help with that. Science on the other hand you desperately need so it's better to take. Many wonders arent even a problem getting either because you don't need buildings of each kind in all cities but just in the capital, so for example national college, circus maximus, oxford, and east empire compony are all really easy to monopolize on. This civilization is basically if you can live through the early game and get the required wonders, you will win diplomatically.


I got Venice once when playing on a large peninsula-ed Pangaea map on Prince. I loved it. I was making so much money, that I allied all of the cultural city-states, which I used to go Patronage, which boosted my science and happiness, and made it easier to ally more city states. Eventually I had them all and was still rich as hell. And my science was so high that I out-teched all the other Civs. I was also careful where my trade routes went, keeping in mind war. Eventually, goaded by other Civs, I went into all-out warfare. My tech was so high, and I had so much happiness (somewhere between 70-90), that I ended up taking about 2/5ths of the continent before running low on happiness. (I wasn't razing at the time) My biggest competitor was my (by late game) neighbor China, who was a warmonger, but had stayed friends most of the game. After she saw me steamroll a couple other Civs, though, she moved into Afraid status. Anyway, I was thinking of starting to raze to go for a Dom win when suddenly I got Diplomatic from all the city-state allies, and game over.

One of the easiest wins ever, and I began to feel respect for the Venetian Civ. It's kind nice sometimes just having one city to work on, while the others take care of themselves.

  • 2
    That's what YOU did. It still doesn't explain how this civ's better than others. Commented Apr 15, 2014 at 1:31

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