I read in an ad for Civilization 5 that it allows installation on 5 different computers. Does that mean I can install it on my kid's computer and mine, and then we can simultaneously play, or even in versus, or can only one install play the game at a time?

I've been looking around for any reference to the 5 different installations and can't find anything beyond the original ad. In the ad it didn't mention how many simultaneous players you could have, just installations.

  • Do you have a link to the ad? Or a quote, might help.
    – Akusete
    Oct 27, 2010 at 2:27
  • It was in Popular Science. I don't see an online copy of it on their website. I'll see if I can find the original magazine. Oct 27, 2010 at 4:12

2 Answers 2


Civilization 5 is designed to work with Valve's Steam platform.

This will allow you to install the game on any number of computers, but requires you to log-in with steam to play. Since only one steam account can be logged in at once this restricts you to playing the game on only one computer simultaneously.

The exception is that you can run Steam in 'offline mode' to play the game exclusively in single player mode, in which case multiple computers could each play 'offline' at the same time. From what I understand it is not possible to play a LAN game this way, you would need two copies of the game (and two steam accounts). Apparently it IS possible to play on LAN in offline mode. If so, this would allow you to play with your son with a single copy of the game.

This would seem to be a deliberate Steam design choice, for better or worse.

I'm not sure why an ad would specify the number 5, since Steam would not limit the number of installations at all, and only one account could play online at a time.

  • 7
    You can in fact play LAN while in offline mode, since LAN play isn't handled by Steam in any situation. You cannot play online with Steam offline.
    – user56
    Oct 27, 2010 at 8:14
  • @Arda Xi: Thanks for that, I have never tried playing Civ5 multiplayer yet.
    – Akusete
    Oct 27, 2010 at 23:39
  • That's great to know for those of us that haven't purchased it yet for a very similar reason (local LAN play with my wife -- we'd rather not buy two copies for something that might only happen once or twice a year).
    – lilbyrdie
    Oct 28, 2010 at 1:14
  • @libyrdie: Try to get an official confirmation on this before you buy it. I have only heard it from the comment above, and have not tried it myself.
    – Akusete
    Oct 28, 2010 at 1:39
  • 1
    @AKusete - Here you go. (Scroll down a bit.)
    – user56
    Oct 28, 2010 at 10:06

Seeings how it would be tied to your steam account, and your steam account can only be logged into one computer at a time, I do not believe you can play on multiple computers with one installation. Instead, you would need to gift another copy to your son's steam account, and play together in that way. I believe the 5 different computers just refers to the number of machines that can have the game installed on it, not the number of copies that can be played at once.

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