The People and Places of Civ V

2K Greg posted a new article on the official Civ5 site on Tuesday. The article talks about the five different people and places that players will encounter while playing Civilization V. Below is the full article text:
In a game about building an empire to stand the test of time, it only makes sense that you will discover many interesting places and meet a variety of people. Today, we'll explore five different people and places that you will encounter while playing Civilization V.

Ancient Ruins

Ancient Ruins are the remnants of earlier civilizations that rose and fell long before you came on the scene. As in previous Civilization games, ruins (you might call them “goody huts” - I do) provide a special benefit to the first civ that enters their tile. There are a number of different benefits that an ancient ruins tile could provide you:

  • Ancient treasure which provides gold to your civilization.
  • A map of the surrounding area.
  • Weapons upgrades. The unit which enters the tile is upgraded to a more advanced unit (a warrior might become a spearman, for example)
  • Survivors from the earlier civilization. They move to one of your cities, increasing its population by one.
  • A one-time boost to your culture.
  • On the easier difficulty levels, ruins can also provide you with free settlers and workers.

Natural Wonders

Natural wonders are extraordinary natural formations. The simple act of discovering one of these great sights is enough to increase the happiness of the people in your empire by a small amount. To really benefit from natural wonders through, you should found a city near one. A natural wonder tile, when worked by a city, provides extra production and gold for your empire.

Some examples of natural wonders are Old Faithful and the Great Barrier Reef. The Great Barrier Reef is the only natural wonder large enough to take up two tiles, and as such it provides an even greater benefit to an empire discovering it!


Barbarians are roving bands of villains who hate civilization and everything that goes with it. They attack your units and cities and pillage your improvements. As your civilization grows, the barbarians become much less menacing, but early in the game they can be a huge problem.

Barbarians come from “encampments,” which may spring up in any neutral space that cannot be seen by a civilization’s city or unit. Every few turns the encampment will create another barbarian unit which will make a beeline for the nearest civilization and start causing trouble. The only way to stop this is to find the encampment and destroy it.

Barbarian encampments can create almost any kind of unit in the game - from warriors and spearmen to more advanced units (they can build units equal to those that the most advanced civilization can create.) If enough are involved, barbarians can even take down a poorly-defended city, which they will then promptly and thoroughly pillage. This is why it’s important to periodically sweep the countryside around your civilization, destroying encampments before they become a threat.

A civilization will earn a gold reward for dispersing a barbarian encampment - in addition to the benefit of stopping it from spawning more barbarian units, which of course is the primary reward. Encampments are usually guarded by at least one fortified unit, so they’re not pushovers!


City-States are the smaller political entities in Civilization V. They cannot win a game - they’re not competing against you - but they can greatly assist or impede your progress towards victory. You can befriend City-States and gain a number of important benefits; you can ignore them and concentrate on bigger and more important foes; or you can conquer them and take their stuff. It’s up to you.

In order to communicate with a city-state, you must find it first. When one of your units encounters a city-state, the city-state will tell you what type it is (cultured, maritime, or militaristic,) and it will often give you a gift of gold as well.

Once you have met, the city-state may periodically make contact with you to ask you to undertake “missions.” Perhaps it’s being plagued by barbarians, for example, or its people seek knowledge of Natural Wonders, or perhaps they’re being attacked by another civilization and they seek allies. Completing missions for city-states is one way to increase your Influence with them.

I’ll be talking a more about city-states in a future community feature. They’re a very big new element in Civilization V, and as such they deserve their own article, so stay tuned!


Last but most certainly not least are the other civilizations of the world. These civilizations have leaders who are just as cunning and determined as you are. Some are honest; others are liars. Some are warlike and others prefer peace. But all want to win.

In order to win the game, you will need to be clever in your dealings with the other leaders. You can engage in trade to exchange gold, strategic and luxury resources, and even entire cities. You can engage in research agreements which help you (and them!) advance more quickly. You can ask other leaders for assistance in a war, or to cut off all trades with a mutual enemy.

It’s a big, tough world out there, and you won’t last long if you automatically attack everybody you meet. Sometimes it really is better to talk than to fight - at least until their back is turned and you’re ready to launch the big attack.

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