The "Deity" difficulty level of Civilization V says that "the AI receives heavy advantages". In Civ IV this meant that the AI started with more units, 2 settlers, etc.

So my question is two-fold:

a) what bonuses does a "deity" level AI get in terms of units and resource production (hammers+cultures+food+gold+science etc)

b) any general suggestions as how to deal with the results of a? I know that you should generally try to expand as fast as possible and war with a neighbor sooner rather than later (before they can get a tech lead) to take advantage of their developed cities and remove their production.

  • I'm intersted to see whether anyone has actually achieved this yet. While the AI seems a bit weak at the moment, I've found Emperor to be challenging enough that I haven't tried going higher. Of course if you just want the achievement, you could probably use a Duel map as Montezuma and just hope for a quick rush.
    – bwarner
    Commented Sep 27, 2010 at 22:26
  • By 'hammers' you mean production, right?
    – user56
    Commented Oct 8, 2010 at 14:14
  • @Arda Xi, I do indeed. Civ 4's habits die hard. Commented Oct 8, 2010 at 14:43
  • Here's my take on it: By Luck. :-) Given the AIs advantage starting with a normal map config without any advanced tweaking will just let you win if you get an exceptionally good starting position. That's why I never bothered with Deity in Civ4 and will not in Civ5 :-P
    – Martin
    Commented Oct 21, 2010 at 19:38

12 Answers 12


Apparently there is a flawless strategy in civ5 and if you apply it correctly, winning on deity is rather easy. And you don't even have to make some special settings for the game. Just I have to warn that its much more fun if you discover it yourself rather than get it from internet, as in that way it kind of ruins your game experience as it did to me to some level.

The easiest way (as Irony Man correctly pointed out) is setting the map type to archipelago, as AI is totally hopeless on water. Just expand all the time, build some naval units to fend off any aggressive AIs, grab those resources, trade and develop. You should be able to get any kind of victory quite easily.

You can also use continents or Pangaea maps. You need to apply a flawless strategy to get a win on those. A strategy might be slightly different depending on which faction you are playing, but there are some basic rules which work for all of them. The specific faction strategy is to get the most of the special ability. That means if you are playing for English - build naval units, if you are playing for French - build a lot of small cities, if you are playing for Romans - build all that is needed in Rome, etc.

The most important bit is a good start. I would divide it into three phases:

  1. Settling. My winning initial build order is worker-settler-scout. Develop technologies needed to get those resources. Scout the land using your initial warrior and try to not be delayed by any spotted barbarians. Settle the land to grab the luxury resources asap, but don't go too far from your capital. Once you got a scout use it to discover map further and use your warrior to deal with barbarians near your cities. Get Liberty SP branch and Citizenship SP next. At this point you just build settlers, workers and monuments in all your cities. Forget about any early Wonders. If you met a militaristic CS you can steal a worker from them (they are useless). Declare a war, capture a worker and make peace all in the same turn. On the other hand its way too easy and some people call it an exploit, so I don't usually do that.
  2. Fighting. At some point you'll meet other civs. Be nice to them, but don't forget that they are your rivals and sadly due to a crazy inherent AI warmongering its almost impossible to make a good friend till the end of the game in Civ5. You might be able to settle 2 cities or maybe 5 cities (depending on the map) before you start rubbing your shoulders with other civs. Discover archery and build some 2-3 archers. Discover horseback riding and build some 2-3 horsemen. Don't bother about infantry. Once you have 5-6 units declare a war to your nearest neighbour. Try to get other civs as your allies in this war for now. Do not attack! Select a good defendable spot of land (might be a river valley or similar), preferably inside your borders for a friendly lands fighting bonus and faster healing and get them to come. Don't lose any of your units, if necessary retreat to heal. AI should send several waves of units and run out of them at some point. By that time you should have discovered mathematics and built a catapult or two. Now heal your army and go and get those AI cities. Raze them and leave a capital as a puppet (annex it then you have some spare happiness). Settle the land with your own settlers. Now do the same to the next neighbour...
  3. Developing. Constantly develop your cities, prioritize them. That means that some of your cities would be appointed to making money (if they have a lot of luxury resources nearby), some to making science (if they got jungle tiles), some to production (a lot of hills) to build wonders and units, some to make culture (none of the above advantages). You still need culture to adopt those all important policies even if you are not going for cultural victory. Dedicating city to some task means that you build that aspect enhancing building as soon as you have it available (markets, banks, stock exchanges for money cities, etc.) and you appoint specialists only to that same task. Still every city should have at least a monument, library, market and a coliseum. Make city-state allies. Preference is for not hostile ones with a luxury resource you don't have. After you make allies with several maritime CS's you can stop building farms and better build trade posts. Then make allies with cultural CS's. Forget about militaristic ones, unless they have a resource you so badly need.

Now if you still haven't lost your army at this point you should be doing rather well and can continue playing the way you like. Or if you want to be really effective and crush them all you can apply an ICS (infinite city sprawl) strategy. This strategy is genuine and it works perfectly, but honestly I don't like it myself at all, as it takes all the fun off the game. So if you enjoy Civ5 so far and want it to continue better close this post now, but if you want to further ruin your game experience read on..

The basics of ICS are explained elsewhere much better than I would be able to, so I'll just quote. Here's the theory behind Infinite City Sprawl, as written by alpaca in his Infinite Rome thread on Civfanatics:

The idea of an ICS strategy is to settle cities as close as possible to leverage the additional growth, production and commerce that small cities have over large ones. In Civ5, there are a number of game mechanics that lend themselves well to this kind of strategy. To wit:

1) Maritime city states. The bonus granted from maritime city states is per city. Each adds +2 food to the city tile at the start, increasing to +4 over the course of the game. Since every city benefits from this free food, a single maritime CS ally will allow you to set up two additional specialists in every in the later stages of the game. Obviously, the more cities the better, because each gets the bonus.

2) Happiness buildings. In Civ5, happiness is global... or is it? In fact, only the consumption of happiness is really global. The production is local. Each city can build happiness buildings, and the low-tier buildings are more efficient and more effective than the higher ones. If you have lots of small cities, each can have a Colosseum and a Circus where available, and some theatres. This actually rules out happiness as a long-term limiting factor and turns it into a growth-limiting factor because you need to set up these buildings in each new city.

3) Purchasing things with gold. Provided you have enough gold, you can buy buildings where and when you need them. Spamming trade posts is a typical strategy, and it's possibly even better in ICS. Just spam trade posts, make money, and buy the buildings you need. This is especially good for the more expensive buildings which have a better gold/hammer ratio.

4) Certain policies, like Communism and much of the Liberty tree, scale with the number of cities. So do some civilization abilities or buildings, like the one of Harun al-Rashid or the Chinese Paper Maker. For them, you also want as many cities as possible.

5) Research favors large empires because a tech will cost the same, no matter how many cities you have. Since having more cities usually means having more science, you will tech faster.

6) Trade route maintenance makes you want to put your cities as close together as possible. City tiles are free roads, after all.

There is a significant drawback to ICS which I won't hide from you: The speed of unlocking social policies. This is the only thing that is really better for small empires because, roughly, your average culture per city is what determines policy speed. Since there are sources of culture that don't scale with the number of cities, like wonders and cultural CS, you will be slower at unlocking these SPs, so make sure you only pick those which are most useful to you.

You can find some great comprehensive examples of how it is applied here: http://www.garath.net/Sullla/Civ5/liberteordre.html or here: http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=390302 and this one is very short and straight to the point: http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=388793

  • Thanks for the answer. Using an Archipelago+ICS strategy, I just got a diplomatic victory on Deity using Suleiman. Commented Dec 27, 2010 at 2:58
  • @Adi My God. How much time did it take you to learn the civ 5? Are you familiar with the series?
    – Mugen
    Commented Jan 10, 2011 at 15:27
  • 1
    There have been a few patches that have tried to cripple the ICS strategy. Is the ICS strategy still possible and practical? Commented Jul 2, 2013 at 2:02
  • 1
    With BNW and other patches, 3 of the 6 underpinnings of this strategy are much weaker: Maritime city states only give half the food, happiness buildings give less happiness, and research costs increase 5% per city. Is this strategy still viable? Commented Mar 23, 2014 at 18:44

Well, I found out two things:

  • You can get the difficulty based achievements in a team game. So get yourself on a nice pangaea, plop down 5 allies (set them to "team 1" in advanced settings) and then beat the lights out of the last poor civ. You get the win (and associated achievement) but this is sorta counterproductive if you're reading this question trying to become a better player, yaknow?

  • On Deity any AI player starts with: three warriors, two settlers, two workers, and a scout.(!)

  • 2
    Holy Cow, that's quite an advantage. Has anyone ever won against those odds? Commented Sep 28, 2010 at 16:56
  • @DJ Of course. Check out the awesome G+K Dido Diety LP series on youtube. Thats not even the most important bonus. The most broken AI advantage is the +60ish happiness. I have never seen an AI civ go unhappy on prince+ difficulties, they just have too big a bonus.
    – Lawton
    Commented Jul 7, 2012 at 2:59

Actually, you don't need to rush a low-tech war if you can find a way to keep out of trouble. Here is how I did it:

I made an Advanced Setup with myself as Gandhi, allied with Montezuma and Oda Nobunaga (To create an ally, click "Add AI Player" and match the team number with your own. Other military oriented civs would probably do just as well.) You can add more if you wish, but I found two AI members to be sufficient. As the only opposing civ, I chose Alexander because his main trait is tied to city-states (The same would go for Ramkhamhaeng). These are the changes I made:

City-States: 0 - No advantage for poor Alex.

Map Type: Archipelago - Islands are easier to defend.

Map Size: Duel - So that the AI can't found 17 cities while you're producing your first worker.

Difficulty Level: Deity - Well, that's the point, isn't it?

Game Pace: Quick - Unless you want more time for potentially being crushed.

Sea Level: High - Less land means smaller differences.

Now, allies do not simply add to your team's strength compared to the single civ. Since research is now split between team members, your participation will make the combined science effort slightly lower than that of a pure deity AI player. However, more allies will probably make your weakness less significant (If you don't mind waiting longer between turns, or you're playing on a Giant Death Computer). The idea is not to use your allies to win by domination (There is no way in which you can coordinate offensive warfare with them anyway, those deity retards). The team is simply there to discourage your opponent from going to war. There will probably be a few fights anyway, but with a bit of luck, the enemy will then be so busy with your allies that he won't send more units toward your cities than what you can handle with city bombardment, friendly territory bonuses and a few up-to-date land units.

Science can actually be totally neglected (I didn't even build libraries), since new technologies will pop up from your superior allies anyway. Economy is not the most important either, unless you base your growth on purchasing. With allies providing somewhat of a "cold war standstill" defense, you are now free to focus almost entirely on culture and production. Keep your people happy and rush buildings and wonders which will boost culture or lower social policy requirements (Keep an eye for new wonders, so that your allies don't grab them first). Select your policies wisely within 5 branches and aim toward completing them all. The choice is yours, but I'd say Piety and Freedom are unquestionable.

Unless your cities get caught in the line of fire, or your allies fail to keep a larger wave from coming your way, you should be able to finish the Utopia Project before 2050. Yeah, I know, it's a Freemason NWO Eye in the Pyramid, but if one has to join the dark side to win a cultural victory, so be it. For "Flawless Strategy"! :P


Play/studied the game using the follow settings: deity, random map, quick (probably a disadvantage for the human but 330 turns takes long enough), size = standard. I win at this level over 50% of the time. (against AI; this analysis is not applicable to human opponents). Note that many approaches that can succeed at more moderate settings just won't work here due to time pressure (the AI gets to a science victory ridiculously fast at deity level).

My own view is setting up the game or choosing opponents that are weak is of no interest and so I won't address those approaches. Likewise, a duel is far easier that multiple adversaries on standard or huge maps. Picking your leader is essential however and there lies the most important decision you'll make.

I don't want to write a total spoiler (because that would take away from the discovery/fun of the game), but let me share some observations and strategies that I found applicable at this setting:

  1. At this level and with this multiple opponents, an offensive military based strategy will fail under almost all scenarios. Military should be for defense and deterrence; in the ideal game you may not even get attacked (yes, that is possible if you play correctly). Naval power is key and generally coastal cities are advantageous for this and some other reasons.

  2. At these setting, the consistent/only path of victory is diplomatic. Given the AIs advantages, there is just insufficient time for science and culture victory is out of the question. Venice comes on very strong if played correctly. Alexander achieves a similar advantage, but it takes him a bit longer and he can't purchase CSs like Venice. Either way. you can win by not losing in the early game and then lap you opponents at the last moment to achieve a diplomatic victory.

  3. A winning strategy must be focused and what you don't do is an essential component. No shines, no piety, forget don't waste resources on archaeology, no tanks, no air power, generally just infantry, artillery and naval, with a preference to ranged units (often cobbled together from what your militaristic allies send you). Defense/deterrence rather than offense. Likewise, at this setting you'll come late to the ideology phase and will still be culturally weak and so you'll often need to choose the ideology is dominant and/or use your control at the UN to make your ideology the world ideology. In most scenarios there will be no early adapter bonus for you.

  4. Become host at the UN asap (not too hard for either Venice or Greece) and use it to reconfigure the game to your advantage. Repeal things as needed; embargo cultural leaders to slow their victory path and definitely, at an opportune point, make your ideology the world ideology.

  5. You'll need to skip land ships, tanks, etc. and other non-essential research to get to Hubble first. Then use the science boost to get to globalization soon afterwards.

  6. Finally, every resource needs to be used to its utmost and there many subtle mechanisms that can make a huge difference. My workers are more like military engineers at times; at other times I have them clear forest outside my city for the productivity / plus to spoil the land for my opponents. Cargo ships should sometimes be used to boost food/production for your own cities. Everything has multiple/subtle uses and you need to fully exploit your limited resources.

Hope, I haven't given away too much.

A final thought -- the art of war is to not fight. That is what Civ 5 is about. Enjoy!

  • Note: This answer uses the Brave New World expansion. Given its focus on city-states, it's probably applicable to Vanilla Civ5, though the main way to gain influence with CSs in Vanilla is money: you will need a huge money engine. Commented Mar 19, 2014 at 15:50
  • Agreed and Venice's double trade route feature is an amazing money machine! I've done it with Alex as well, you just have to to very careful about saving $ and using quests whenever possible to gain influence.
    – user71965
    Commented Mar 22, 2014 at 23:13

I've heard this strategy works: start a tiny duel game vs. one Deity AI. Rush the honor policies and horsemen. Achieve early victory.


On Deity any AI player starts with: three warriors, two settlers, two workers, and a scout.(!)

I'm actually not sure if this can pe pulled of, but given the stupidity of the AI when it comes to warfare, some wars (early on?) should definitely help.

That and recklessness: Don't be afraid to loose. Go for the win and if it fails -- the sooner you can rinse - repeat :-)


Just picked up my first deity victory so I thought I would add some thoughts. I won on a Tiny Continents map as Persia without any AI allies. My opening was as I've described elsewhere, build up a military to attack my nearest neighbor (Askia). After doing that and taking over my continent, I started going for a cultural victory (since I hadn't gotten that yet). The rest of the game was much more a showcase of the AI's incompetence than my own skill.

Alexander conquered his own larger continent. He was way ahead of me technologically and had a huge unused bank account. He never launched a naval assault on me or the one city that was left of Montezuma, though it certainly would've been successful. He reached the future age around the 1700s, but never built the Apollo project, despite having tons of time and resources to do so. He ended the game with over 80,000 gold and had built the UN, but he didn't buy out the city states to get the diplomatic victory.

So I guess the key to victory is playing on something other than Pangaea, and making sure that you have a path to victory, and just ignoring the AI as much as possible. Kind of disappointing, and something that I hope will change as they have more time to work on the AI. I might try tinkering with the AI parameters in the XML file to see if I can make any improvements.


Not sure if anyone is still trying to do this. But on dual deity archipelego map you can just build triremes asap, declare war and set up a naval blockade on your opponent. I won domination victory in 170 turns (quick game) and that was making a lot of mistakes and getting several units killed.


I got the Deity no sweat, Catherine vs Napoleon, Skirmish Map, Duel Size, Modern Age! No Barbarians, Victory only by Domination. No stupid Ruins either

The trick is to only build ONE city in turn 1, (moskow), then send settlers and Infantry to scout.

Turn 2: Spend all your Social Policy points in The one with research (forgot the name) and claim two free techs.. Chose the Nuclear weapons ones at the bottom.. then research for NUKE misiles..

Build cities grab ALL the plutonium.. yes.. see where its going.. forget about settling close or whatever.. get PLUTONIUM ASAP.. there should only be about 4-6 of them out there..

Ab out now is the time to build units.. just whatever you got resources for.. I stack 20 regular misilies in the closest city and then Nuke Misiles in mid city, and then Stealh Bombers as far away..

Nuke away all Napoleons cities in one turn and taking out abou 95% of all his units..

Nuke paris and use balistic missiles and stealth for random frenchy units..

Send in the Giant Death Robots (2) should do.. and yay I am a GOD!

I try to also make a Research agreement about 5-10 turns after meeting him.. to make him think we are friends.. MUHAHAHAHAHA....


You can do it within 100 turns on duel map.

General strategy:

  • use Greece, amass horses/archers, get honour
  • if there's a militaristic city-state nearby, it will help you for 10 turns for 500 gold
  • only attack the enemy capital, you kill 1 capital city and you win.

Super cheap tricks:

  • steal workers from city-states and then declare peace on them. You can save a lot of time by doing this
  • pillage enemy city-states then declare peace on them
  • trade gold/turn, luxury resource, strategic resource for gold before declaring war

Okay I can say I play on immortal with Germany with 8 players:

  • Terra (means that all civilizations start on the same continent!)
  • Small map size, (but added 2 more players, so 8)

I have chosen that setup, because a) I love challenges! and b) I like it with many civilizations nearby (like in real world) which makes it much more dynamic.

And you can win! But I have to say I failed many times and you need to get experiences. And your position is important if you are central for example- well then you are dead!.But mostly you will not be central, but I can assure there will be always someone who attacks you, maybe even several players, and you have to build a defense army quickly

I played indeed a bit risky, because I developed at first a quick expansion, so i chose liberty to get a free settler, my first production of my city was worker (so I can develop fast my production and luxury resources, because I will build 2 cities in the first 50 turns) and then i build a monument and then a settler. After that I built my army, and I had to be quickly!. I also built stonehenge, because no luckily no one builds that (not the library, there is always someone who builds library!)

I watched my borders and whenever someone set up a huge amount of troops on my borders, indicating that he will declare war to me, I denounced him, and then he moved away. But be careful sometime there will be war, that you cannot avoid and due then you have to make sure you got your defense and dont try to get out of your borders with your troops, keep your defense and be ready that someone else will declare war to you unexpectedly.

When I did that, have to say that I was already in the first 100 turns a strong civilization, with strong economy, and was equally high (ranking) than many other civilizations, in the next 100 turns, could even catch up to the second best and later won the game.


It is easy to win on Deity. Just played through a huge world map. You just need to get a boat and travel to the farthest land you see. Then make a deal with the civilization over there. I give them gold every turn so they give me all their gold. Then I declare war, but since it is such a long way to travel I never get attacked by them. And soon they want to be friends again.

  • Is the AI really that stupid that you can pull this off more than once?
    – Martin
    Commented Oct 25, 2010 at 13:52
  • @Martin, I don't know about more than once, but I've heard this, here is another one - capture cities and sell them to a civ on another continent, they'll give you a lot of money... I try not to use these exploits myself
    – Adj
    Commented Oct 26, 2010 at 14:18

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