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For the luxury resource, see Gold (Civ5).


Currency (Civ5).png

Ah, Gold Gold! Gold is wonderful stuff. You can use it to build an army, to pay for a road network, to purchase buildings, to buy the friendship of a city-state and to bribe an enemy civilization.

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.

Earning Gold[]

20xGold5.png Gold is earned in a variety of ways, and is added to your imperial treasury (after deducting current expenses). Note that 20xGold5.png 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 20xGold5.png Gold income from cities, see below.


The land is the main source of 20xGold5.png Gold...and for some time, the only source of it. To earn 20xGold5.png Gold from the tiles around your cities, you must have 20xPopulation5.png Citizens work them. Note that 20xGold5.png Gold yield isn't found on the most common terrain types!

  • These tiles each yield 1 20xGold5.png Gold when worked:
    • Coast
    • Ocean
    • Rivers (20xGold5.png Gold is provided by all tiles that border a river, with the exception of mountains.)
    • Lakes
    • Atoll
    • Many - but not all - Natural Wonders (See Natural Wonders for a list; they usually provide more than 1 20xGold5.png Gold, with Cerro de Potosi being the most abundant with 10 20xGold5.png Gold.)
    • Oasis
    • 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 20xGold5.png Gold when worked - most of them 2 Gold Gold, some 1 20xGold5.png Gold. The Gems resource, on the other hand, provides more 20xGold5.png Gold if worked.
  • Improvements: The Trading Post improvement adds +1 20xGold5.png Gold (with an additional +1 20xGold5.png Gold with Economics and another additional +1 20xGold5.png Gold with the completion of the Commerce Social Policy tree) to the yield of a tile. Also, the Plantation improvement provides +1 Gold Gold, which comes in addition to the bonus already provided by the luxury on which it's built. Finally, the Camp provides +1 Gold Gold with Economics, and the Fishing Boats naval improvement gives you +1 Gold Gold after Compass is researched. And of course, the Customs House Great tile improvement nets you +4 20xGold5.png Gold (+5 with Economics). When improvements are pillaged they grant a random sum of 20xGold5.png Gold to the player and restore 25 HP to the unit.
  • Natural Wonders. A number of these have 20xGold5.png Gold potential, which you could use if you build a city nearby.

As mentioned above, the innate 20xGold5.png 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 Gold potential anymore! This makes producing 20xGold5.png 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 Gold production.


The Market, Bank, and Stock Exchange (and their replacements) all add percentage bonuses to a city's base 20xGold5.png Gold output. The Mint also adds +2 20xGold5.png Gold to any Gold or Silver resource in the city's territory. Note that these bonuses don't affect income from trade routes!

Merchant Specialists[]

Each Specialist you assign to work in a trade-related building (such as the Market) earns +2 20xGold5.png Gold.

Trade Routes[]

Trade routes are another way to earn 20xGold5.png 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 Capital. This is done automatically upon connecting a city with the Capital 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 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 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, 20xGold5.png 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 20xGold5.png Gold; a Caravan gains you a flat value of 100 20xGold5.png Gold when plundered, and a Cargo Ship 200 20xGold5.png Gold; these amounts stay the same throughout all eras.

Wealth Conversion[]

After researching Guilds, your cities gain the ability to convert Production Production into Gold Gold by "renting" a city's production facilities to the traders. This effectively produces more 20xGold5.png Gold for your empire, adding to the flow each turn according to the Production Production potential of the city in question.

Additional Sources[]

And here are some additional sources of 20xGold5.png Gold:

  • Wonders: Some Wonders, such as Machu Picchu and the Colossus, provide or increase a city's output of 20xGold5.png Gold. Also, if you're constructing a Wonder and another civ finishes it before you do, you get some 20xGold5.png 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 20xGold5.png Gold each time you disperse a Barbarian encampment.
  • Ancient Ruins: An Ancient Ruin may provide 20xGold5.png Gold when it is explored.
  • Meeting City-States: A city-state gives you a small amount of 20xGold5.png 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 20xGold5.png Gold. This, however, reduces your Influence (Civ5).png 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 20xGold5.png Gold. The biggest loot comes from Trading Posts.
  • Capturing Cities: You may gain a bunch of 20xGold5.png Gold when you capture a city (city-state or civilization's possession).
  • Gold Trading: You may gain 20xGold5.png 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 20xGold5.png Gold.
  • Adopting all social policies in the Honor tree: This grants 20xGold5.png Gold for each enemy unit killed.

Also, the Commerce policy tree considerably enhances your empire's 20xGold5.png Gold production. Check it out for more info.

Finally, during a 20xGoldenAge5.png Golden Age, all land which produces at least 1 20xGold5.png Gold produces 1 extra 20xGold5.png Gold. Make sure to use this limited time bonus by working all Gold Gold-providing tiles during a 20xGoldenAge5.png Golden Age! This becomes incredibly important in Brave New World, where there are a limited number of tiles that produce 20xGold5.png Gold, which means you could easily squander a major benefit of a 20xGoldenAge5.png Golden Age if you aren't aware. 

Bonuses and Penalties to City Gold Income[]

Because most of your 20xGold5.png 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 20xGold5.png 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 20xGold5.png Gold output of a city. Note that certain policies only affect the Capital Capital!
  • Machu Picchu Wonder - This adds 25% to 20xCityConnection5.png City Connection income. Since this depends on each city individually, we could say that this is a city bonus.
  • Unhappiness (Civ5).png Unhappiness - When your empire is unhappy, 20xGold5.png Gold output in each city is reduced.

Spending Gold[]

Unlike real life, where you can spend money to do virtually anything, the uses of 20xGold5.png Gold in the game are very specific.

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 20xGold5.png 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.

The other uses of gold are strategic and depend on your decisions each turn. Here is an exact list of the ways you can spend your 20xGold5.png Gold income:

  • 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 20xGold5.png 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 20xGold5.png Gold. Increasing amounts of 20xGold5.png 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 20xGold5.png 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 Iron resource), so you must find that resource before you can upgrade.
  • Research Agreements: After discovering Education, you can invest some 20xGold5.png 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 20xGold5.png Gold income is high and your Science Science output is low.
  • Trading with Other Civilizations: Finally, you can spend (or receive) 20xGold5.png 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.

There are two different ways to exchange 20xGold5.png Gold:

  • 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 20xGold5.png Gold per turn for 30 turns. These agreements are rendered null and void if the two civilizations go to war against each other.

Getting Plundered[]

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 20xGold5.png 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 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 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 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 20xGold5.png 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 20xGold5.png Gold on a loan of 300 20xGold5.png 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 Gold (6-7 GPT) 200 Gold (8 GPT)
Strategic resources 45 Gold (1-2 GPT) 37 Gold (2 GPT)
Open Borders 50 Gold (1 GPT) 50 Gold (2 GPT)
Embassy 35 Gold (1 GPT) 25 Gold (1 GPT)
Civilization V [edit]
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