It may be true that "money can't buy you love," but it can purchase a nuclear submarine armed with nuclear missiles, and that's not bad.
Gold, the currency - not to be confused with the resource of the same name - is the standard money unit in the game, and as such serves a number of purposes, mostly related to trade. Unlike in the real world, where currency has become the preferred representation of wealth, in the game, gold has sharply defined functions and isn't nearly as ubiquitous as in real life.
As with other main stats in the game, gold is counted in single units, which in this article are called coins.
Gold is earned in a variety of ways, and is added to your imperial treasury (after deducting current expenses). Note that Gold is usually earned through cities, rather than directly; for example, all terrain yields are added to the city output, and subject to additional city bonuses (or penalties), before being added to the treasury. The same is valid for the income from trade routes in Brave New World. On the other hand, gold earned (and lost) from trade agreements, or from incidental sources such as Ancient Ruins, is added/deducted directly from the treasury, without being subject to bonuses or penalties. For a list of possible bonuses and penalties to Gold income from cities, see below.
The land is the main source of Gold...and for some time, the only source of it. To earn Gold from the tiles around your cities, you must have Citizens work them. Note that Gold yield isn't found on the most common terrain types!
- These tiles each yield 1 Gold when worked:
- Rivers ( Gold is provided by all tiles that border a river, with the exception of mountains.)
- Many - but not all - Natural Wonders (See Natural Wonders for a list; they usually provide more than 1 Gold, with Cerro de Potosi being the most abundant with 10 Gold.)
- Note that Brave New World fundamentally changed gold production, and removed gold yield from all terrain features except oases and Natural Wonders!
- Resources: All luxury resource tiles yield Gold when worked - most of them 2 Gold, some 1 Gold. The Gems resource, on the other hand, provides more Gold if worked.
- Improvements: The Trading Post improvement adds +1 Gold (with an additional +1 Gold with Economics and another additional +1 Gold with the completion of the Commerce Social Policy tree) to the yield of a tile. Also, the Plantation improvement provides +1 Gold, which comes in addition to the bonus already provided by the luxury on which it's built. Finally, the Camp provides +1 Gold with Economics, and the Fishing Boats naval improvement gives you +1 Gold after Compass is researched. And of course, the Customs House Great tile improvement nets you +4 Gold (+5 with Economics). When improvements are pillaged they grant a random sum of Gold to the player and restore 25 HP to the unit.
- Natural Wonders. A number of these have Gold potential, which you could use if you build a city nearby.
As mentioned above, the innate Gold potential of terrains is largely removed from Brave New World. Of the above list, coast and ocean tiles, as well as river, lake, and atoll tiles DO NOT have Gold potential anymore! This makes producing Gold from the land much more difficult, especially in the beginning of the game, and makes international trading a crucial aspect of your empire's Gold production.
The Market, Bank, and Stock Exchange (and their replacements) all add percentage bonuses to a city's base Gold output. The Mint also adds +2 Gold to any Gold or Silver resource in the city's territory. Note that these bonuses don't affect income from trade routes!
Each Specialist you assign to work in a trade-related building (such as the Market) earns +2 Gold.
Trade routes are another way to earn Gold. These are especially effective in doing so. Consider making trade routes when possible.
- Trade routes ("City Connections" in Brave New World) - You can establish routes for domestic trade between your cities and your Capital. This is done automatically upon connecting a city with the Capital, either via a Road, or via a Harbor. Trade routes net some gold coins each turn - the bigger the cities that trade, the more Gold is earned. This income enters your treasury directly and isn't subject to percentage increase from gold-boosting buildings.
- International trading - In Brave New World, you can also establish trade routes with other civilizations and city-states to earn Gold. Unlike city connections, the gold coins provided by either incoming or outgoing routes enter the city first, and are thus subject to additional boost from financial buildings, so consider building those in your trading hubs first.
Be aware that trade routes may be blockaded by enemy units! In that case, Gold production from trading stops until you manage to drive away the enemy. Also, in Brave New World, the enemy units have the ability to plunder an international trade route. Plundering a Trade Route destroys it altogether, along with the trade unit that was servicing it. Plundering a trade route doesn't cost a movement point, and gives you a nice amount of Gold; a Caravan gains you a flat value of 100 Gold when plundered, and a Cargo Ship 200 Gold; these amounts stay the same throughout all eras.
After researching Guilds, your cities gain the ability to convert Production into Gold by "renting" a city's production facilities to the traders. This effectively produces more Gold for your empire, adding to the flow each turn according to the Production potential of the city in question.
- Wonders: Some Wonders, such as Machu Picchu and the Colossus, provide or increase a city's output of Gold. Also, if you're constructing a Wonder and another civ finishes it before you do, you get some Gold as a consolation prize. How much you get depends upon how much progress you've made on the Wonder.
- Barbarian Encampment: You'll earn Gold each time you disperse a Barbarian encampment.
- Ancient Ruins: An Ancient Ruin may provide Gold when it is explored.
- Meeting City-States: A city-state gives you a small amount of Gold when you first meet (which is doubled if you're the first civilization to meet it).
- Requesting Tribute: In Gods & Kings, you may also demand tribute from city-states for some Gold. This, however, reduces your Influence with the city-state and provoke any other player who is protecting it, so use this option carefully!
- Pillaging Enemy Improvements: Pillaging improvements in enemy territory gives you a modest amount of Gold. The biggest loot comes from Trading Posts.
- Capturing Cities: You may gain a bunch of Gold when you capture a city (city-state or civilization's possession).
- Gold Trading: You may gain Gold - either a lump sum or an amount each turn for 30 turns - during negotiations with another civ.
- Performing a Trade Mission: A Great Merchant can perform a "trade mission" in a city-state. The Merchant is expended and you get lots of Gold.
- Adopting all social policies in the Honor tree: This grants Gold for each enemy unit killed.
Also, the Commerce policy tree considerably enhances your empire's Gold production. Check it out for more info.
Finally, during a Golden Age, all land which produces at least 1 Gold produces 1 extra Gold. Make sure to use this limited time bonus by working all Gold-providing tiles during a Golden Age! This becomes incredibly important in Brave New World, where there are a limited number of tiles that produce Gold, which means you could easily squander a major benefit of a Golden Age if you aren't aware.
Bonuses and Penalties to City Gold Income
Because most of your Gold is actually earned through cities, and thus subject to bonuses or penalties, you should be aware of what exactly could influence your raw income. Below is a comprehensive list of factors influencing city Gold earnings.
- Commercial buildings bonuses - As mentioned above, the Market, Bank, and Stock Exchange provide bonuses to a city's base gold production.
- Social policies - A number of these add a percentage bonus to the Gold output of a city. Note that certain policies only affect the Capital!
- Machu Picchu Wonder - This adds 25% to City Connection income. Since this depends on each city individually, we could say that this is a city bonus.
- Unhappiness - When your empire is unhappy, Gold output in each city is reduced.
The first, and most important, is Unit and Building Maintenance. You need gold to pay for everyday repairs of your buildings, feed and clothe your armies and civilian units, and keep your empire's road network in working order. These costs add up and are automatically deducted from your total gold flow each turn. (See the individual entries on the units and buildings for specific amounts. Also, note that these maintenance costs are dependent upon the difficulty level!) It isn't very clear how road/railroad costs for tiles that aren't in your territory are calculated, but they DO have cost. Any extra Gold that is left after the deduction goes directly into your treasury, ready to be used as you see fit. If, on the other hand, there isn't any extra gold left - if your maintenance costs are higher than your current income - the negative balance is deducted from your treasury until it reaches 0! For what happens in this case, see below.
- Purchasing Land: You can expand your civilization's territory by purchasing individual tiles around your cities. Go to a City Screen, then click on "Buy a Tile." The map displays all tiles available for purchase. Click on the tile to expend the requisite gold and purchase the tile. Note that you can only buy tiles three tiles away from any given city.
- Buying Units or Buildings: You can spend gold to instantly purchase units or buildings in a city. Click on an item (if you can afford it) and it is immediately constructed in the city, and the amount of Gold is deducted from your treasury. Buildings' effects activate immediately, while units are ready to use on the next turn (with the exception of the Landsknecht in Brave New World, which can move and attack on the same turn it is purchased).
- Buying Influence with City-States: If you want to improve your relationship with a city-state, one way to do so is to gift it some Gold. Increasing amounts of Gold may be given for larger boosts to friendship.
- Upgrading Obsolete Units: Over time, you'll learn new technologies that allows you to create better military units than those you previously could. When this occurs, you'll have the option to "upgrade" the older units, turning them into the newer, more powerful models (e.g. once you learn Iron Working, you can upgrade any Warrior you possess to a Swordsman). Each upgrade costs some Gold - the more powerful the upgrade, the more expensive it is. Note that upgrading a unit may also require a certain strategic resource (e.g. upgrading a Warrior unit to a Swordsman unit requires an Iron resource), so you must find that resource before you can upgrade.
- Research Agreements: After discovering Education, you can invest some Gold to enter into a Research agreement with an allied civ. If you and your ally remain at peace for a set amount of time, both players receive a large SP bonus. This is a good option to consider when your Gold income is high and your Science output is low.
- Trading with Other Civilizations: Finally, you can spend (or receive) Gold as part of deals with other civilizations. See below for more on this.
Diplomacy and Gold
You can exchange gold with other civilizations for any number of reasons - trading it for resources, for example, to get the other civ to make peace with you, or to bribe the civ to attack a third. Gold is extremely useful in negotiations.
- Flat Fee: A "Flat Fee" exchange is just that - you give or receive a one-time lump sum of gold, and then you're done. In Brave New World, however, flat fees require a Declaration of Friendship.
- Per Turn: You can also negotiate an exchange that occurs over a number of turns (usually 30). For example, you might agree to pay the other leader 5 Gold per turn for 30 turns. These agreements are rendered null and void if the two civilizations go to war against each other.
If the fiendish barbarians successfully conquer one of your cities, they "plunder" some of your gold and your city is instantly razed (meaning it is burnt to ashes as soon as a barbarian seizes it). If another civilization or a city-state grabs your city, it is different - they take some of your gold along with the city, which they can then annex, puppet, or raze (though it won't burn down instantly like it would if it were captured by barbarians).
Running Out of Gold
When your net Gold flow is negative, your treasury may eventually reach zero and you will start running a negative budget. The first bad effect of this is that the difference is deducted from your Science (at the rate of minus one SP for each negative gold coin), and the second is that eventually units start to disband on their own. Beware! This can seriously slow down your acquisition of new technology, which can leave you extremely vulnerable to attack by more advanced neighbors. Get your budget in order as quickly as possible!
In the early game you have to pay attention to your gold, because running out of it reduces your empire's Science output. Do not worry about making a lot of extra gold while you are developing your empire for growth. Connect cities to your capital as soon as possible for extra gold.
In the middle and late game you should start setting up your trade routes and earning some money. Prioritize buildings that improve trade route gold in cities that have the most efficient trade routes in the trade route overview. You should save your gold to buy science buildings as soon as you research the appropriate technology to boost your Science output faster (e.g. Scientific Theory for Public School). Research agreements are also a very good investment. If you have threatening neighbors, pay them to go to war with other civilizations - they leave you alone in the meantime.
Gold is the most important when going for a diplomatic victory, because it's essential for buying city-state votes. For a scientific victory, use it to purchase science-boosting buildings, and you can also buy Spaceship parts if you adopted the Freedom Ideology. Upgrade and purchase units when going for a domination victory. It contributes very little to a cultural victory, but all uses apply here as well.
Gold and gold per turn can also be used as a way of borrowing money. If you have a declaration of friendship with another civilization, you can exchange a gold per turn deal for a lump sum of gold. For example, if you ask for 300 Gold as a lump sum, it can be exchanged for 11 GPT on your part. As the gold deal lasts for thirty turns, you are making a repayment of 330 Gold on a loan of 300 Gold over thirty turns. This is usually useful if you need money quickly to buy units or buildings, especially during a war.
Trade your resources to the AI for a steady gold profit. Use this table to determine how much gold resources are worth. It assumes that you have made a Declaration of Friendship.
|Selling or signing||Standard||Quick|
|Luxury resources||240 (6-7 GPT)||200 (8 GPT)|
|Strategic resources||45 (1-2 GPT)||37 (2 GPT)|
|Open Borders||50 (1 GPT)||50 (2 GPT)|
|Embassy||35 (1 GPT)||25 (1 GPT)|
|Civilization V |
|Gods & Kings • Brave New World|