The map is the world on which a game of Civilization V takes place. Most scenarios use premade maps, but other types of games allow players to choose their own map script and let the game generate a world for them.
The map consists of a rectangular set of hexagonal tiles, and comes in six sizes. In most cases, the map will be cylindrical with wraparound on an east-west axis, with impassible ice caps at the northern and southern edges. However, there are some map scripts, such as Inland Sea, that do not feature wraparound with hard borders on all four edges.
Maps can be randomly generated through scripts, some of which were added with the Gods & Kings and Brave New World expansions. These scripts arrange the continental land and open sea into various configurations. There are also advanced map settings, which allow players to adjust aspects of a map such as ocean levels, rainfall levels, resource abundance, and the age of the world.
- Amazon: A region similar to the Amazon Jungle of South America, but with random elements.
- Amazon Plus: A region similar to the Amazon Jungle of South America, but with random elements.
- Americas: A large map spanning from Peru in the South to America in the north.
- Ancient Lakes: An all-land region featuring a large crater lake in the middle.
- Arborea: A world almost completely covered in forest.
- Archipelago: The world will consist of many islands.
- Asia: A large map dominated by the Himalayas and jungles of south east Asia.
- Bering Strait: The Bering Strait and land surrounding, including the Russian Far East, Kamchatka, and Alaska.
- Boreal: A large region that is all tundra and well forested.
- British Isles: Great Britain, Ireland, and countless smaller islands.
- Caribbean: Explore the Caribbean, in all its tropical splendor.
- Continents: The world will consist of a few large landmasses and some smaller islands.
- Continents Plus: Similar to Continents, but with extended scripting for chains of islands and city-state placement.
- Donut: A circular Pangaea. You can choose what type of terrain is in the middle.
- Earth: A map that spans the entire planet.
- Europe: A randomly generated map that resembles Europe.
- Eastern United States: A map that spans the southern tip of Texas and all the way up to the eastern tip of Nova Scotia.
- Four Corners: This map is sectioned into 4 equal sections, separated by water, with land in the very middle.
- Fractal: A highly random map that will often form thin, snaky continents.
- Frontier: A single continent scattered with mountains to simulate the rough environment of the Frontier.
- Great Plains: A region similar to the Great Plains of North America, but with random elements.
- Great Plains Plus: A region similar to the Great Plains of North America, but with random elements.
- Hemispheres: A world with two large, fairly balanced continents. Suitable for duels or two-teams multiplayer.
- Highlands: A large region dominated by hills and mountain ranges.
- Ice Age: A severely glaciated world where only regions near the equator are habitable.
- Inland Sea: An all-land region that has a large salt water sea in the center.
- Japanese Mainland: This map focuses exclusively on Japan, with no surrounding countries in play.
- Lakes: A world without oceans, only lesser bodies of water.
- Large Islands: A world with numerous large islands, roughly equal in size but varying in terrain. Civs are placed on the best available islands.
- Mediterranean: A large map covering the entire Mediterranean basin.
- Mesopotamia: A large map spanning the Nile River valley to the west and extending east down the Tigris and Euphrates.
- North vs South: A map split horizontally by desert.
- Oval: An oval-shaped Pangaea with random bays carving in to the sides.
- Pangaea: All players start on one large landmass. There may be small islands off of the main continent.
- Pangaea Plus: Similar to Pangaea, but with extended scripting for chains of island and city-state placement.
- Rainforest: A world almost completely covered in jungle.
- Ring: Each civilization gets its own subcontinent. All are connected in clockwise fashion to adjacent neighbors.
- Sandstorm: A harsh world composed primarily of desert with smaller patches of plains and grassland.
- Shuffle: A truly random map, including all core settings like world age, rainfall, etc.
- Skirmish: A balanced map designed for 2 players.
- Small Continents: The world will consist of a few medium landmasses and some smaller islands.
- Terra: A very large world, similar to Earth, where all civilizations start on the continent akin to Asia-Europe-Africa (more accurately known as Afro-Eurasia).
- Tilted Axis: A very large world, tilted on its side with its south pole always locked in to facing the sun.
- Tiny Islands: This world will consist of many tiny islands.
- West vs East: A region split vertically down the middle by a wide channel of water.
As mentioned above, Civilization V separates maps into six distinct sizes. The size of a map determines the default numbers of players and city-states and the number of natural wonders in the game, as shown in the table below. It also affects penalties related to warmongering. These are the default sizes for most maps, but individual maps can use different sizes. Of the official maps, Tilted Axis and Terra have the largest dimensions, while Four Corners, North vs South, and West vs East have the smallest.