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(The Cultural aspect of the game got a complete overhaul in Brave New World, including the way to achieve Cultural Victory. Consequently, some information in this article is only valid for vanilla Civilization V and the Gods & Kings expansion. For the Brave New World information, see the specific parts below!)


Culture Culture represents the advancement of a civilization in ways that aren't scientifically or technologically oriented, and have nothing to do with day-to-day survival, or any other practical purpose (such as growing food and making things). In this respect, culture is one of the things that best defines a civilization and differentiates it from Barbarians (who also progress scientifically, for example). It is measured in Culture Points (CPs).

Culture has three main applications in Civilization V:

  • Expands the borders of your empire by acting in each city you found.
  • Allows you to buy new social policies by accumulating empire-wide Culture Points (CPs).
  • Contributes to winning a Cultural Victory:
    1. In Vanilla, when you acquire enough culture and complete five social policy trees, you may win the Cultural Victory by constructing the Utopia Project in one of your cities.
    2. In the Brave New World expansion pack the victory condition for Culture is a little different. It has the added purpose of generating Tourism Tourism and defending against other civilizations' Tourism, making their way to a Cultural Victory more difficult. Tourism is another, more offensive side of a Cultural competition.

Border Growth[]

The cultural borders of one city may expand to a maximum of five tiles away. The city can, however, only work on the slots three tiles away.

The cities you found define your empire's territorial borders. When founded, each city occupies its tile, as well as all tiles immediately adjacent to it (if not already taken by another civilization or city-state).

Once established in this way, your empire's borders are expanded by each city individually, according to the amount of 20xCulture5.png Culture produced by it. Note that only culture points produced specifically by a city will count towards border growth! Any other CPs you gain for the whole empire (for example, those gained by a Cultured City-State Friend/Ally, or the bonus gained from an Ancient Ruins) will go to the main 20xCulture5.png Culture pool, but won't help border growth. There is a certain amount of accumulated CPs needed for the occupation of each tile, and each subsequent tile costs more (according to a certain formula). To find out how exactly how much 20xCulture5.png Culture you need to occupy the next tile, mouse over the Culture stat in the city screen. Certain Wonders and Social Policies may diminish the amount of Culture needed for acquiring tiles - either empire-wide, or in this city specifically. For more info on the principle of cultural border expansion, check this article.

Note that if a city produces 0 20xCulture5.png Culture, it won't grow your borders at all!

Producing Culture[]

Culture can be gained in several ways: cultural buildings, specialists working in those buildings, wonders, and acquiring Great Works (in Brave New World). Cultural City-States will also contribute to your Culture each turn when you befriend them. Of those, the most important - and the first one available, in fact - is the first source: buildings. The following is a comprehensive table of all the buildings that produce culture, valid for the Brave New World expansion:

Buildings that produce culture
Era Name Culture points Notes
Ancient Monument 2
GodsKings5 clear.png or BNW-only.png Ancient Stele 2 Ethiopian unique building; replaces Monument. Also produces +2 Faith Faith.
Classical Burial Tomb 2 Egyptian unique building; replaces Temple. GodsKings5 clear.png Produces Faith Faith instead of 20xCulture5.png Culture.
Classical Mud Pyramid Mosque 4 Songhai unique building; replaces Temple. GodsKings5 clear.png +2 20xCulture5.png Culture; also produces Faith Faith.
Classical Temple 3 Requires Monument. GodsKings5 clear.png Requires Shrine. Produces Faith Faith instead of 20xCulture5.png Culture.
Medieval Monastery * +2 culture from each nearby Incense and Wine. GodsKings5 clear.png Only available via a religious belief.
GodsKings5 clear.png Classical Amphitheater 3 Requires Monument (BNW-only.png 1 20xCulture5.png Culture + 1 Great Work slot)
Medieval Mughal Fort 2 Indian unique building
Medieval Wat 3 Siamese unique building
Renaissance Opera House 5 Requires Temple/Amphitheater (BNW-only.png 1 20xCulture5.png Culture + 1 Great Work slot)
Industrial Museum 5 Requires Opera House (BNW-only.png 1 20xCulture5.png Culture + 2 Great Work slots)
Modern Broadcast Tower 3 +33% 20xCulture5.png Culture in this city. Requires Museum. (BNW-only.png 1 20xCulture5.png Culture + 1 Great Work slot)

Most wonders also produce at least 1 culture per turn, but a few produce or may produce more:

Wonders that affect culture and/or produce more than 1 culture
Era Name Culture Requires Notes
Ancient Stonehenge 6 Calendar GodsKings5 clear.png Produces Faith Faith instead of 20xCulture5.png Culture
GodsKings5 clear.png Classical Terracotta Army 6 Construction
Classical Oracle 3 Philosophy 1 free social policy
Classical Great Wall 3 Construction
Medieval Angkor Wat 1 Theology 20xCulture5.png Culture cost of new tiles reduced 25%
Medieval Himeji Castle 3 Chivalry
Medieval Notre Dame 3 Education
Renaissance Sistine Chapel 1 Acoustics +25% 20xCulture5.png Culture in all cities
Modern Kremlin 4 Railroad
Industrial Louvre 4 Archaeology 2 free Great Artists
Modern Sydney Opera House 4 Mass Media 1 free policy, +50% 20xCulture5.png Culture in this city

Note that in Brave New World, the World Wonders' Culture production is significantly different. For more info, see below.

The following may also help you acquire more culture:

The Piety Social Policy tree is designed to enhance cultural growth considerably. In Gods and Kings, this is a bit mixed up with religion enhancements, but it still provides considerable cultural bonuses. In Brave New World, however, the Piety tree is focused solely on religion. So instead, the new Aesthetics policy tree is included as a major source of culture.

Also, the Liberty tree has some nice effects, especially if you intend to build a larger empire. Finally, the Tradition tree's opening effect influences positively border growth, besides giving you bonus culture in the Capital Capital. You get these benefits simply by unlocking this tree, so you don't need to actually complete it - its main purpose is different.

Finally, note that all Puppet cities suffer a 25% penalty to culture production.

Brave New World[]

In the Brave New World expansion, the role of 20xCulture5.png Culture is strongly affected by the changes made in the expansion. For starters, as mentioned above, its secondary purpose now is to defend against others' cultural influence. According to a certain formula, a nation's total culture per turn is measured against another nation's accumulated tourism output, determining the latter's cultural influence over the former. Simply put, the stronger your culture, the more difficult it is for the others to influence you!

Secondly, the production of Culture Culture has been considerably altered. Most of the regular Culture buildings now produce only 1 Culture Culture, but they also have slots for Great Works which, when filled, produce additional Culture Culture (as well as Tourism Tourism). Furthermore, Specialist slots are now very scarce - there are a total of 6 slots (2 in each Guild). This means your total 20xCulture5.png Culture depends not that much on how many cultural buildings and Wonders you have, but also mostly on how many Great Works you have in your buildings and Wonders. It also means befriending Cultured City-States becomes vital for your Social Policy growth in the beginning and middle game, when Landmarks aren't available yet and you don't have many Great Works.

Thirdly, Social Policies have been altered as well. Since the Piety tree is now solely dedicated to Religion, a brand new tree, Aesthetics, is focused on Culture. For more info about the changes on Social Policies, check here. Also, to better understand the touristic part of the new Cultural system, check here.

All in all, in the new expansion the 20xCulture5.png Culture stat becomes more of a source of social progress (the means of adopting more Social Policies and Ideological Tenets) and defense against other nations' influence, than a means to achieve victory. It also seems like the late-game formula for number of 20xCulture5.png Culture required to adopt new policies has been changed, allowing for relatively more policies to be adopted than earlier. On the downbeat, most of the 20xHappiness5.png Happiness-building policies have either been reworked (so that they don't provide happiness anymore), or simply moved to the Ideologies as Tenets. This means you will have less chances of increasing happiness through Social Policies in the early game, and are literally forced to adopt appropriate Ideological Tenets later, especially to counter the new effects of Public Opinion. This is consistent with the many other ways the game now has to hamper your progress in the last stages, if you don't know what you're doing. 


(This part is written for vanilla Civilization V and Gods & Kings; it doesn't apply to Brave New World, in which the strategy is dramatically different.)

Cultural growth is one of the important, although not essential, aspects of the game. To be successful in it, you should keep in mind two things:

  1. Culture is mainly produced in buildings built in your cities, and through specialist Artists, working in those buildings. There are ways to produce it in land tiles (for example the Landmark Great improvement, or Natural Wonders), but they are limited. One of these special ways is through certain Religious Beliefs - consider it if you pursue cultural growth.
  2. Each city you found (or conquer, or acquire in any other way) increases the cost of further Social Policies. (Note that Puppet cities don't count here!)

So, as you see, you need cities to maximize your cultural output, but also, you can't have too many of them, lest the price of policies skyrocket. A good way to easily balance between expanding and producing enough Culture is to conquer cities but make them puppets, not annex them. This way, you get more culture from these puppet cities, but the puppet cities don't increase the culture cost of policies. Build cultural buildings as a priority, research technologies giving you access to those as a priority, assign Artist specialists and use the Great Artists to build Landmarks to maximize 20xCulture5.png Culture production without founding new cities.

Certain Wonders are vital for your cultural growth (see above), so try to build them at any cost necessary.

For more detailed information and strategies on obtaining a Cultural Victory, including the new victory in Brave New World, read this article.

See also[]

Civilization V [edit]
Gods & KingsBrave New World

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