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I'm used to playing earlier versions of Civ. Playing Civ 5 and despite having an active iron mine, which is connected to my cities/trade network by roads, I'm told that I can't build any unit which requires iron, although I do already have one legion. Do you literally have to have an iron mine for EVERY SINGLE unit which requires iron?

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Do you literally have to have an iron mine for EVERY SINGLE unit which requires iron?

Basically, yes. That's how Civ 5 handles strategic resources.

In Civ 5, strategic resources work like a population cap: The amount of resources dictates how many of a unit you can have at any time. You'll get the resource back once the unit that needs it dies, or changes into a unit that doesn't need the resource.

If you need more resources but don't have any more in your territory, then you can get them from friendly/allied City States, or through trade. If you end up needing more of a strategic resource than you have access to (e.g. by losing territory, losing a City State, or when a trade ends), then any military unit that uses the resource will be subjected to a large combat penalty until you no longer need more of the resource than you have.

Note that if you receive troops from friendly/allied City States, those will also use up your resources.

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  • You can also get more resources by discovering more tiles that have them and building mines at those locations.
    – TylerH
    May 4, 2020 at 22:31
  • Be warned that with strategic resources the city-state must have the technology to reveal the resource or you will not get the resource in your trade network when you ally them. With Iron this is practically never an issue, but it very often is a problem with Coal, Aluminum, and Uranium. It can create confusion when the human player can see the Aluminum but the city-state can't. When in doubt, check the tile yields of the improved tile: if the city-state can see the strategic resource, it will have an extra hammer than any other ordinary mine.
    – causaSui
    Jun 4, 2020 at 19:26
  • Also worth mentioning that a single Iron mine usually gives you more than one copy of Iron (in my experience, it's usually either 2 or 6 Iron, though that might be different on some map types).
    – DLosc
    Dec 13, 2022 at 23:35

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