Happiness is a measure of people's feelings of contentment within an empire. It can also be interpreted as the citizens' "approval" rating of the leader (you). It is counteracted by Unhappiness, people's discontent or disapproval of your rule, which naturally increases as the game progresses. The two stats form a balance, which changes constantly and therefore affects the functioning of a civilization.
It is worth noting that "real" problems, like food shortages or slow cultural growth have no bearing on the level of contentment of the people - more important factors are instead the overcrowding of cities, or such visibly vicious acts like conquering foreign cities and razing them, which have to be countered by the state with the old principle: "Keep people entertained and distract them with shiny baubles to make them forget their problems!"
Levels of Happiness
An empire with Happiness of zero or greater is considered happy. Happy civilizations grow as normal, and each turn's Happiness value is added to the empire's Golden Age counter. We could say that such empires are well governed internally, although that doesn't necessarily mean that they will be successful, or competitive.
A civilization with Happiness below zero is unhappy. An unhappy empire causes each city's food surplus to be reduced by 75%, drastically reducing population growth. In Brave New World, there are additional effects; see below for more info.
A civilization with Happiness of -10 or lower is very unhappy. A very unhappy empire does not grow at all, suffers a Production penalty, receives a nasty combat penalty (-33%) for all its units, and cannot train Settlers. It is unknown about whether existing Settlers can found a city or not.
When Happiness drops to -20, the civilization's cities go into revolt, and rebels start appearing throughout the empire, based on the number of cities. The rebels are similar to Barbarians, but appear in groups. Once a group of rebels spawns, another group will not appear for a while. Again, for the exact effects of Unhappiness in Brave New World, see below.
- Luxury resources: For every different luxury resource which a civilization has access to (through possessing an improved luxury resource, trading with another civ, or alliance with a city-state with access to the resource), the empire receives +4 Global Happiness.
- Buildings: The Circus, Colosseum, Theatre, Zoo, and Stadium are the main options, but there are also some other choices, such as the Stone Works. These provide Local Happiness.
- Wonders: Many wonders provide varying amounts of (often Global) Happiness.
- Social policies: Almost all Social policy trees have some way of boosting a civilization's Happiness. Common methods include granting Happiness from certain buildings and reducing the Unhappiness generated by population.
- Natural wonders: Each Natural wonder grants a permanent +1 Global Happiness bonus to all Civs which have discovered it.
- Mercantile city-states: Each mercantile city-state provides +3 Global Happiness to each civilization with which it is at least Friends.
Global vs Local Happiness
Happiness sources are divided loosely into Local and Global. The main difference is that while Global sources contribute to Happiness unconditionally, Local sources can only contribute up to the Population number of the respective city. This means that if a city has 5 Population and sources of local happiness adding up to 8 Happiness, the actual amount that will be contributed to your empire's Happiness will be 5, not 8.
The logic behind this distinction is sound: Sources of Local Happiness are the most common entertainment buildings (Circus, Colosseum, etc.), which provide shallow, low-level amusement for the masses. On the other hand, sources of Global Happiness are Luxuries, Social Policies, etc., which all provide deeper, more meaningful reasons for your empire to be happy.
- Population: A living person is an unhappy person. Each of a civilization's Citizens automatically generates +1 Unhappiness. N.B. This is also true for Specialists, despite their unhappiness being shown separate to that of the rest of the population.
- Puppet Cities: Each puppet city in an empire adds the same amount of Unhappiness that a normal city does.
- Annexed Cities: Each annexed city in an empire produces more Unhappiness than a normal city, as detailed in the table below. This penalty can only be removed by constructing a Courthouse in the city.
World size Duel Tiny Small Standard Large Huge Unhappiness per annexed city +5 +5 +5 +5 +4 +3 (Penalty compared to normal city) +2 +2 +2 +2 +1.6 +1.2
- Razing Captured Cities: Razing a city creates the same amount of Unhappiness as annexing a city. This Unhappiness, however, diminishes during the razing process, and disappears entirely once the city is destroyed.
- Population of Annexed or currently razed Cities: Each citizen in an annexed city, or in a city being razed, generates 1.34 Unhappiness instead of the usual 1.
- Public Opinion: Only possible once you have adopted an Ideology. If another civilization with differing Ideology has stronger cultural influence on your empire than yours, your Public Opinion starts generating Unhappiness.
Brave New World
Happiness has been reworked in the Brave New World expansion pack, with the introduction of the new Ideology mechanics, including the Public Opinion. This is now a new potential source of Unhappiness: in case its level is not "Content", it now adds directly to Unhappiness, and the exact amount of points added depends either on the number of cities, or the number of population, whichever is greater.
The first thing on Happiness in Brave New World is the effects of an Unhappy empire have been changed - now each point of Unhappiness below 0 gives a penalty of -2% Production and Gold output (applies directly to the output of each city), as well as -2% Combat Strength for all units. Effect on city growth is the same as before (as if you were adding to your Food Basket only 1/4 of the normal amount you would otherwise add).
At the Unhappiness level of -10 ("Very Unhappy"), population growth stops completely, you can't train Settlers anymore, and rebellions erupt at regular intervals in the form of "Barbarian" units appearing right near a city of yours, using your most up-to-date units based on your technological progress. Production, Gold and Combat Strength continue to lower steadily.
Finally, when your empire's Unhappiness reaches -20, given your Public Opinion is low, some of your cities may start to revolt and change their allegiance to other empires following their Preferred Ideology. The effect is as if the other empire suddenly acquired the city in question. Border cities are most likely to defect, and the civilization they go to is the one with the Preferred Ideology, whose Capital is closest to the city.
Clearly, this presents a grave danger for your empire, while at the same time the new gradual worsening of the situation feels more natural (as opposed to simply having either an "Unhappy" or a "Very Unhappy" stage).
Keeping your empire happy is difficult, but important. The main thing you need to remember is that your empire gets gradually unhappy, as time goes - whether it is from Population growth, or due to more cities being founded or conquered. To counter this, the first thing you need to do in the first stage of the game, is get access to as many luxury resources as you can get hold onto. Later, you'll have to depend more on buildings and Social Policies, especially when Ideology kicks in. Keep in mind, however, that the Local Happiness produced by buildings (which is the most accessible way to raise Happiness) is limited in most cases to +6 per city (+8 or 9 with access to certain resources, which in turn allows construction of more Happiness-boosting buildings), and you will have to procure additional ways to keep your people happy. Try to think ahead of time so as to avoid crisis periods.
Try to keep your empire happy at all times, but don't despair if your empire's Happiness becomes negative for a few turns - it's not the end of the world. Try to negotiate for some more luxuries, or build Happiness-boosting buildings, and think of some long-term strategy to boost your Happiness (such as building up to a particular Social Policy or building a particular Wonder). Or, try to eliminate any extra Unhappiness, for example from Occupied cities.
Acquiring the favor of city-states is a useful strategy: not only do city-states provide all their luxury resources to their ally, but mercantile city-states also provide +3 Happiness to each civilization which is at least Friends with them. Cultured city-states can also make useful friends and allies since they aid in the acquisition of Social policies (some of which are key to maintaining a happy civilization).
In Brave New World, you will have to deal with Public Opinion where your civ will be influenced by other civs with higher Tourism rates than your own. If you aren't playing a culture civ, you might find your Happiness suffering because of this.
One solution is to try to improve your tourism rate slightly to overcome this, but you may also have to adopt some of the Happiness-oriented tenets of your Ideology in order to even out these losses. If it gets absolutely unmanageable, you can adopt the Ideology of the person presently leading in tourism, but this will cost you all of your Ideological Tenets thus far, and so it is not advisable unless you are desperate.
|Ancient||Circus||+2||City must have horses or ivory nearby|
|Ancient||Stone works||+1||City must have an improved marble or stone resource nearby, city cannot be on plains|
|Classical||Burial tomb||+2||Egyptian unique building|
|Renaissance||Satrap's court||+2||Persian unique building|
|Renaissance||Ceilidh hall||+3||Celtic unique building|
|Renaissance||Theatre||+3||Requires Colosseum (unavailable in Brave New World)|
|Renaissance||Zoo||+2||Requires Colosseum (Brave New World only)|
|Modern||Stadium||+4 ( +2)||Requires Theatre or Zoo|
|Circus Maximus||+5 global||Must have a Colosseum in every city|
|Chichen Itza||+4 local||Civil Service|
|Notre Dame||+10 global||Physics|
|Forbidden Palace||-10% Unhappiness in non-occupied cities||Banking|
|Taj Mahal||+4 local||Architecture|
|Neuschwanstein||+2 local, +1 global from every Castle||Railroad|
|Eiffel Tower||+5, +1 per two additional policies adopted ( +5 Global)||Radio|
|Prora||+2, +1 per two additional policies adopted (both global)||Flight|
|Aristocracy||Tradition||None||None||+15% Production when building Wonders (any Era) and +1 Happiness for every 10 Citizens in a City.|
|Monarchy||Tradition||None||None||+1 Gold and -1 Unhappiness for every 2 Citizens in the Capital.|
|Meritocracy||Liberty||None||Citizenship||+1 Happiness for each City you own connected to the Capital and -5% Unhappiness from Citizens in non-occupied Cities.|
|Military Caste||Honor||None||Discipline||Each City with a garrison increases local city Happiness by 1 and Culture by 2.|
|Professional Army (pre-)||Honor||None||Military Caste||Gold cost of upgrading units reduced 33% and +1 Happiness from every defensive building (Walls, Castle, Arsenal, Military Base)|
|Cultural Diplomacy||Patronage||Classical||Scholasticism||Quantity of Resources gifted by City-States increased by 100%. Happiness from gifted Luxuries increased by 50%.|
|Protectionism||Commerce||Medieval||Mercantilism||+1 Happiness from each Luxury Resource|
+2 Happiness from each Luxury Resource
|Naval Tradition||Exploration||Medieval||None||+1 Happiness for each Harbor, Seaport, or Lighthouse|
|Humanism (pre-)||Rationalism||Renaissance||None||+1 Happiness from every University, Observatory and Public School|
|Democracy (pre-)||Freedom||Renaissance||None||-50% unhappiness from specialist population|
|Police State (pre-)||Autocracy||Industrial||Militarism||+3 Happiness from Courthouses, build Courthouses in half the time|
There are also numerous tenets in each Ideology which boost Happiness, including Universal Healthcare which is available to all three.
|Universal Healthcare||All||1||+1 Local Happiness from each National Wonder.|
|Capitalism||Freedom||1||+1 Local Happiness per Mint, Bank and Stock Exchange.|
|Urbanization||Freedom||2||+1 Local Happiness per Water Mill, Hospital and Medical Lab.|
|Universal Suffrage||Freedom||2||Unhappiness from Specialists is halved. Golden Ages last 50% longer.|
|Socialist Realism||Order||1||+2 Local Happiness from each Monument. Build Monuments in half the usual time.|
|Young Pioneers||Order||1||+1 Local Happiness per Workshop, Factory and Solar/Nuclear/Hydro Plant.|
|Academy of Sciences||Order||2||+1 Local Happiness per Observatory, Public School and Research Lab.|
|Fortified Borders||Autocracy||1||+1 Local Happiness per Castle, Arsenal and Military Base.|
|Militarism||Autocracy||2||+2 Local Happiness per Barracks, Armory and Military Academy.|
|Police State||Autocracy||2||+3 Local Happiness from each Courthouse. Build Courthouses in half the usual time.|
|Religious belief||Belief type||Effects|
|Goddess of Love||Pantheon||+1 Happiness from cities with Population of 6+|
|Sacred Waters||Pantheon||+1 Happiness from cities on rivers|
|Ceremonial Burial||Founder||+1 Happiness for every City following this religion|
+1 Happiness for every 2 Cities following this religion
|Peace Loving||Founder||+1 Happiness for every 8 followers of this religion in non-enemy foreign cities|
|Asceticism||Follower||Shrines provide +1 Happiness in cities with 3 followers|
|Cathedrals||Follower||Use Faith to purchase Cathedrals (+1 Faith, +1 Culture, +1 Happiness, +1 Great Work of Art slot)|
|Mosques||Follower||Use Faith to purchase Mosques (+3 Faith, +2 Culture, +1 Happiness)|
|Pagodas||Follower||Use Faith to purchase Pagodas (+2 Faith, +2 Culture, +2 Happiness)|
|Peace Gardens||Follower||Gardens provide +2 Happiness|
|Religious Center||Follower||Temples provide +2 Happiness in cities with 5 followers|
Valid only in the Gods & Kings expansion pack.
Valid only in the Brave New World expansion pack.
|Civilization V |
|Gods & Kings • Brave New World|