The starting bias is the setting (you can disable it in game set up) which allows your civilization to have a starting point similar to its original historical location. Like for instance if you play for ottomans you would start in a desert or if you play for iroquois you would start in a forest. So what is this bias for other factions?

Also, how does it work, is the part of the map generated specifically for a certain civilization, or is it generated randomly and then the best fitting spots found?

2 Answers 2


This is based on the comments and data inside the XML file (Assets/Gameplay/XML/Civilizations/CIV5Civilizations.xml).

The start bias just chooses the location on the map, it does not influence map generation itself.

There are 4 different start bias categories, a civilization can only belong in one category:

  • Start along Ocean
  • Start along River
  • Start in specific Region
  • Avoid specific Region

The start biases for the specific civilizations are the following:

Civilization    Start bias
England         Ocean
Ottoman         Ocean
Arabia          Desert
Aztec           Jungle
India           Grass
Iroquois        Forest
Russia          Tundra
Egypt           Avoid Jungle and Forest
Siam            Avoid Forest
Songhai         Avoid Tundra

DLC Civ         Start bias
Mongolia        Plains
Spain           Ocean
Inca            Hills
Polynesia       Ocean
  • @Fabian, great answer, but the list isn't full, what about the others?
    – Adj
    Commented Oct 27, 2010 at 15:26
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    All others don't have a start bias, as far as I can tell. Commented Oct 27, 2010 at 15:27
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    @ken I'm not a civ developer (AFAIK noone here is). The start bias XML is pretty well documented and natural wonders aren't mentioned in this documentation. So, in absence of any further information from the Civ 5 developers, I would think that this is a pretty reasonable base to conclude that natural wonders have no influence on start bias calculations. Commented Dec 29, 2010 at 21:32
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    @ken I have not found the link specifically between Mount Fuji and Japanese civilization start bias, but if you look at Mount Fuji placement requirements you shall see that is needs to be placed on the medium-sized island (not on largest landmass, not on island too small), which could be similar requirement for Japanese starting location if such requirement exists.
    – theUg
    Commented Dec 18, 2012 at 22:12
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    @MadScientist, to respond to your last comment: they are not, indeed. Candidate locations for natural wonders are selected after the civ starts were already placed (though you would not necessarily know this from XML-files alone). See link in my previous comment on how it is done.
    – theUg
    Commented Dec 22, 2012 at 1:12

You can find a full list here http://civilization.wikia.com/wiki/Starting_bias_(Civ5)

  • 2
    Please summarize the linked page's information here. That way, it saves people a click, and ensures your answer is still good if the site ever goes down.
    – Frank
    Commented May 7, 2014 at 3:21

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