up:: Civilization V

  • Winning Strategy: Science 🔬

First Steps


  • Prod Scouts
  • Prod Workers
  • Prod Shrine
  • Prod Pantheon


  • Research Pottery
  • Research Writing (for Great Library)
  • Research Archery
  • Research Philosophy
  • Push towards Education
  • After that: Astronomy, Architecture, Scientific Theory, Plastics and Atomic Theory all will help with science

→ 3 to 5 cities, near mountains (Observatories), lakesides and rivers (for Gardens)

Great Scientists

→ After Plastic: bulbing

Get Great Scientists Points

Social Policies



Fast border expansion gets you more quickly to the good tiles, letting you get your luxury and high-food tiles going sooner. The Hanging Gardens unlocked with this opener is a great wonder for you - it’s worth mirroring real life and building it in your capital if possible.


Take this later if you’re on a higher difficulty. Otherwise, the idea is to grab the Great Library early. Manage it and you’ll be practically unstoppable.


The Walls of Babylon’s lower cost and slightly higher strength compared to regular Walls already makes them good for city defence, but Oligarchy takes that even further by making cities’ ranged attacks 50% stronger and garrisons free to maintain. As such, you’ll have one of the game’s strongest defences, making it incredibly hard for would-be invaders.


Your first four cities can now all expand their borders through culture as soon as they’re built thanks to the free Monuments (or other culture buildings.) It also makes building the National Epic for its bonus to Great Person generation easier.

Landed Elite

Extra food and growth in your capital will make it easier to fill scientist specialist slots as soon as they appear. Be sure to manage specialist slots manually - the default management of them tends to favour Writers, Artists, Musicians and Merchants.


This provides a good source of early-game cash, and prevents unhappiness being and issue for quite some time.


With faster growth and free Aquaducts in your first four cities, all of them can more easily grow to a good size for filling scientist specialist slots. You should do so - multiple cities dedicated to Great Scientist generation will generate more than if you had just one city doing so.


The sheer speed Babylon picks up technologies means there probably won’t be much time between the end of Tradition and the start of Rationalism. Commerce is probably the best Social Policy tree to plug the gap as you can use the gold for running Research Agreements, though keep in mind the science you get from Research Agreements is capped by whichever Civ has the lower amount of science.


Starting positions are always in range of at least two luxuries, (on most random map scripts) and together with the Monarchy Social Policy, your capital will probably be your highest producer of cash. As such, you can get a decent extra amount of cash out of this policy.

Mercenary Army

This may seem an odd direction to go in, but the Social Policy following this one (Mercantilism) will be rather powerful. This policy itself is a cheap source of mid-game defence.


Aside from being one of the only non-Rationalism Social Policies to offer science, the reduction in gold-purchasing costs is excellent when combined with the Freedom Ideology’s tenet Space Procurements, which allows you to purchase spaceship parts with gold.

Wagon Trains

Still not in the renaissance era? Wagon Trains saves you a little money on road and railway maintenance, and makes your land-based Trade Routes more effective, meaning a little more money for Research Agreements (or buying spaceship parts with.)



Keeping a tall empire in positive happiness is not difficult. As such, maintaining the 10% science bonus isn’t difficult either. It’s a universal bonus, applied after all other modifiers, so its impact is always noticable.


Going nicely with your UA, this makes Great Scientist generation even faster.

Free Thought

You should have Universities in all your cities, so this provides a good boost to your science output without having to manage your cities any differently to before.


All those scientist specialists are already producing a decent amount of… well… science, but Secularism lets you take that even further. Now, all specialist types will give you two points of science each, making it worthwhile to fill lots of those slots. Keep an eye on Great Merchant and Engineer generation, though - each one you generate increases the costs of each other as well as Great Scientists. It may be worth removing some Engineer and/or Merchant specialists briefly to ensure you don’t generate the wrong Great Person.


This frees up a sum of cash from scientific building maintenance, which can be funneled into things like Research Agreements.

Scientific Revolution

The science you receive from Research Agreements is determined by the recent output of the Civ (out of the two making the agreement) with the lowest science output. With Scientific Revolution, you will always make more science than the Civs you’re making agreements with (so long as they don’t have this policy themselves, or the Porcelain Tower wonder,) so the only risk when signing Research Agreements is if that Civ declares war on you, cancelling it.


Grab an expensive technology with the Finisher. As a scientific Civ, you’ll need to research nearly the entire tech tree, in order to be able to build all the spaceship parts, so the specific choice of technology matters less than with other Civs.




Fertility Rites or Goddess of the Hunt or Sun God

All three of these help to grow your cities taller, meaning you can more easily fill scientist specialist slots once they become avaliable. More citizens also often means more production to help build good scientific wonders with.


This gets your capital off to a good start. It’s the only Pantheon that immediately offers science, making your early advantage even bigger, and the small production boost may come in handy for building wonders.



An effective source of gold, which works well for things like Research Agreements.

Interfaith Dialogue

Having a weak religion isn’t a problem with Interfaith Dialogue which gives you science for using the “spread religion” function on Missionaries or Great Prophets.

World Church

When defending against cultural Civs’ tourism, tall scientific Civs can often struggle, as you don’t have the sheer volume of culture wide empires can get, nor are you getting plenty of culture from Great Works and cultural wonders. World Church may help lessen that problem.


Swords into Plowshares

This is a good belief for growing cities faster, though remember that it’s a growth bonus, rather than a food bonus, meaning the maximum potential size of your cities will still be the same as before. You’ll just be able to reach that point sooner.

Religious Community

There’s a rather nice production bonus on offer here if you can get 15 or more of your followers in a city. It’ll cut a few turns off wonder and spaceship building.

Feed the World

A reasonable way to help grow your cities, without having to spare any citizens.


As you should be working scientist specialists in all your cities, they can easily get the +2 production bonus on offer here.

Choral Music

Really desperate for some more culture, perhaps to get through Rationalism policies faster? Here’s a way.


Religious Texts

This makes it harder for rivals to convert your cities, without you having to spend any faith.


Generating lots of Great Scientists can now make you a decent supply of extra faith. As once you’ve finished the Rationalism Social Policy tree (and are at least in the industrial era) you can buy Great Scientists with faith, you’ve got a bit of a positive feedback loop going.


Ancient Era

Great Library

On the highest difficulties, it’s usually best not to even attempt to build the Great Library due to the early-game advantages other Civs have. For the rest of us, the science and free technology here, combined with the free Great Scientist from researching Writing and the National College all adds up to so much science you’re practically unstoppable.

Mausoleum of Halicarnassus

As one of the only Civs with a bonus to any kind of Great Person generation, you can make more out of this wonder than most. Every Great Scientist (or other Great Person for that matter) used up now gives you 100 gold; what you do with that gold is up to you.

Temple of Artemis

This offers a food bonus (not a growth bonus as the tooltip claims) to all your cities, letting them both grow faster and reach a higher popuiation - good for filling those specialist slots.

Classical Era

Hanging Gardens (Tradition Only) It’s rather appropriate to build it in your capital. All the food will help it grow quickly, and the wonder’s the only way of you getting a Garden prior to the medieval era or in a city neither on a river nor a lake.


An early Great Scientist point’s on offer here, as well as a free Social Policy to eat up those powerful Tradition policies faster.

Medieval Era

Chichen Itza

Tall empires usually have fewer issues with happiness than wide ones, which means more frequent Golden Ages. The gold’s good for Research Agreements, the production’s good for building further wonders (or even spaceship parts) and the culture’s good for getting through those Rationalism Social Policies quickly, or Freedom tenets, or just to defend against cultural Civs.

Renaissance Era

Leaning Tower of Pisa

This helps you to generate those Great Scientists even faster! Plus, you get a free Great Person Great Scientist or Engineer out of it. (Okay, other options are avaliable, but generally you’ll be best with one of the two.)

Porcelain Tower (Rationalism Only)

Combined with Rationalism’s Scientific Revolution, you’re guarenteed to get more out of Research Agreements than the other Civ does. Plus, there’s a free Great Scientist on offer here. So, all the nicer.

Red Fort

I don’t typically list defensive wonders in the Wonders section due to the fact they tend to be highly-situational, and the Civs that tend to most need them tend to focus on the other end of the tech tree. The reason I’m bringing up Red Fort here is its synergy with your UB. With this, your UB and the rest of the defensive buildings, you can defend your cities well while keeping your army slim, hence freeing up the cash you would spend on unit maintenance.

Industrial Era

Big Ben (Commerce Only)

Big Ben goes well with Space Procurements (and Mercantilism in the Commerce Social Policy tree) to make purchasing spaceship parts much more affordable, hence making it faster to complete.

Brandenburg Gate

This wonder offers two Great Scientist points, and can help out somewhat if your strong city defences and technological advantage aren’t enough by themselves to put off attackers.

Modern Era

Cristo Redentor

If you’re struggling to reach Space Procurements, or to finish Rationalism, this wonder can help out with that. It also provides a bit of direct culture to help defend against those pesky cultural Civs.

Statue of Liberty (Freedom Only)

Lots of science is useful, but later in the game, you’re going to need to think about production for building the spaceship. The Statue of Liberty is a great help in that respect, adding production to every single type of specialist - something you’ll have plenty of already. Plus, you get a free Social Policy as well.

Atomic Era

Great Firewall

The problem with having a technological advantage is that everyone wants it off you. As such, you’ll be forced to keep at least one Spy as a counter-Spy, while everyone else is spying on you, sending Diplomats to each other, rigging City-States or other such everyday activities. The Great Firewall will put a stop to their little game. In addition to making the city it’s built in Spy-proof, it makes all your other cities harder to spy on, too. That means you can free up your own Spies for the finer things in life, like implementing coups in City-States or using them as Diplomats to bribe other Civs not to attempt to implement Arts Funding for the seventh time.

Information Era

Hubble Space Telescope

An enormous help to spaceship-building, the Hubble Space Telescope makes the whole process much quicker.