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Oligarchy is a social policy in Civilization V. It is part of the Tradition tree.

The formation of an Oligarchy is the beginning of feudalism, when a particular group of people native to this part of the country take the power and hold it by any means necessary. This benefits greatly local defense, since this group undertakes the obligation to pay any units from the central army stationed there, and is interested in helping it out by any means necessary. After all, they defend their interests!

Game Info[]

  • Garrisoned units cost no maintenance.
  • Cities with a garrison gain +100% (+50% in GodsKings5 clear.png and BNW-only.png) Ranged strength Ranged Combat Strength.


Adopting Oligarchy is necessary to progress further down the tree, so it is generally a no-brainer. To make best use of it, keep a unit stationed in each city - this will offset its maintenance cost, freeing up Gold Gold for other, more important purposes. And, of course, it greatly increases the defensive power of a city, which is extremely useful for defense-oriented empires in all stages of the game.

Civilopedia entry[]

Oligarchy is a form of government in which a small segment of society has all of the power. Power might be held by a specific family or tribe, or people of a certain religion or from a special caste. Some city-states in ancient Greece were oligarchies, where all power was in the hands of a few elite families. Apartheid South Africa would be a modern oligarchy, the white minority holding all of the power. Pre-9-11 Iraq too was an oligarchy, with power concentrated in the hands of members of Saddam Hussein's family and tribe.

Civilization V Social Policies [edit]
Tradition AristocracyLanded EliteLegalismMonarchyOligarchy
Liberty CitizenshipCollective RuleMeritocracyRepresentationRepublic
Honor DisciplineMilitary CasteMilitary TraditionProfessional ArmyWarrior Code
Piety Free ReligionMandate of HeavenOrganized ReligionReformationReligious ToleranceTheocracy
Patronage AestheticsConsulatesCultural DiplomacyEducated EliteMerchant ConfederacyPhilanthropyScholasticism
Commerce EntrepreneurshipMercantilismMercenary ArmyMerchant NavyNaval TraditionProtectionismTrade Unions Wagon Trains
Rationalism Free ThoughtHumanismScientific RevolutionSecularismSovereignty
Aesthetics Artistic GeniusCultural CentersCultural Exchange Fine ArtsFlourishing of the Arts
Exploration Maritime InfrastructureMerchant NavyNaval TraditionNavigation SchoolTreasure Fleets
Freedom Civil SocietyConstitutionDemocracyFree SpeechUniversal Suffrage
Autocracy FascismMilitarismPolice StatePopulismTotal War
Order CommunismNationalismPlanned EconomySocialismUnited Front