Is there a way for me to select which tile my city expands to? In the example below, I would like to expand to the gold tile in the north east, but it looks like the city will take the highlighted tile in the south west.

example of bad culture spot

In this case, I also can't buy the gold tile, I assume that is because it is out of my city's range. What must I do in order to secure the gold tile in this example?

  • I'm pretty sure I don't own it. I own the dear just south of it, and if you look closely, you can see the white border of my land. Commented Oct 19, 2015 at 17:06
  • Ah, my mistake. It's been a while since I played Civilization V. I thought the gold icon indicated that the hex below it had the resource, not the hex to the right of it.
    – user86571
    Commented Oct 19, 2015 at 17:44
  • @RossRidge It's a little hard to see, but the resource icons have a little arrow on them that gives them sort of a speech bubble shape, which points to the tile that has the resource in question. I think they can switch which side of the hex they're on under certain circumstances, though I don't remember off the top of my head. Commented Oct 19, 2015 at 20:01

2 Answers 2


You can only purchase tiles that are directly workable by your city, which means only tiles that are within 3 tiles of your city. City cultural expansion can move beyond those tiles, but occurs randomly. You cannot direct it.

If you really want that gold tile, you can plant another city on or near it, or you can use a Great General to construct a Citadel within one hex of it. (That's assuming Gods & Kings or Brave New World. Use a Great Artist's Culture Bomb in vanilla.)

  • Not the only option. Could culture bomb the area. I also haven't played in a couple years, so I suppose I could be wrong... Commented Oct 19, 2015 at 17:13
  • I want to say it is available in vanilla. I bought Gods & Kings and BNW, but I'm fairly certain I was able to culture bomb beforehand. There are a lot of features in G&K and BWN I didn't use too often. Commented Oct 19, 2015 at 17:20

As Jason said, you can't really direct the cultural expansion. It is not exactly random however. I haven't looked directly at the algorithm, but from my experience

  • It will prioritize tiles which have resources over those that don't
  • It will prioritize workable tiles over those that aren't (out of range, mountains/snow, etc)
  • It will prioritize tiles with higher food/production/etc. values over lower.

You can't directly snag that tile, but if you have enough spare gold, you can influence it to try and select that tile for cultural expansion, essentially by buying up the ones it would select. In your case, if you bought up the 2 remaining deer and the salt, you probably have a decent shot at the gold getting selected. Your city is small enough that it might decide you have enough workable land headroom that it'll go for the resource. You might have to go as far as buying up all the other tiles, barring the tundra and maybe the marsh.

Failing that, grabbing at least the existing resources would both give your city a decent start at growth, and give you a head start to the culture growth finally reaching it. It doesn't look like there's a rival (at least not in the field of that screenshot) so you might have time, if you're not hurting for the happiness or a city-state quest.

  • Thanks, that does give me a good strategy for this game. If you look to the right of the screenshot, you'll see the edge of rival civ in green. His city is closer to the gold than mine, hence the urgency in my question. Commented Oct 19, 2015 at 20:33
  • Cultural expansion won't expand into out-of-range tiles until the city is fully expanded within range. If you want to speed up natural cultural expansion into the gold tile you'd have to buy every available tile within your city (prohibitively expensive!) and the eventual natural cultural expansion would probably select the gold next.
    – Samthere
    Commented Oct 20, 2015 at 13:07
  • @Samthere -_- well, this doesn't look good for me then. Commented Oct 20, 2015 at 14:34
  • @kevlarjacket The best way to secure the gold is probably to build a city on the river. Either go as far as you can from your first city while still in range of the gold (the tile we can only see half of), or one closer. If the gold is within range of your opponent's city and you can't afford to buy 3 tiles straight to the gold, perhaps forget the river and go straight for the gold, or just look for other gold in the area and take your opponent's city later :D
    – Samthere
    Commented Oct 20, 2015 at 15:49

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