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Basics[edit | edit source]

Resources are special commodities found in limited quantities on the map. When a resource is "worked" (or accessed), it provides a bonus for your empire; this is accomplished either through constructing a specific improvement with a Worker (on land) or expending a Work Boat (for sea tiles). Bonuses vary from increased yield (production, food, etc.) to a number of units of Iron, Uranium, Gold or some other strategic or luxury resources necessary for producing specific units and buildings, and for providing more happiness to your citizens.

Resources are extremely important in the game, and the main reason for expansion and territorial wars. Plan your early expansion carefully to take control of as many resources as you can! 

Civilization V contains three kinds of resources: bonus resources, strategic resources and luxury resources. This article explains their differences and lists the resources of each category.

Of the three types of resources, bonus resources are the most common, providing only tile yield benefits. Strategic and luxury resources' effects, on the other hand, are much more far-reaching, and are sufficiently precious to be traded across empires (besides having tile yield benefits). For this purpose, all of them are counted in units across your empire (regardless of their source location). To gain strategic access to, and add the count of a particular strategic or luxury resource to your trade network, you need not only to have it in your territory, but also to construct a particular improvement on it. You don't need to work its tile to have access to its strategic and trading benefits! You do, however, need to work it to access its tile benefits.

Finally, the utilization of strategic resources depends highly on technological development. While the use of resources like Spices and Wine is apparent from the dawn of ages, this is not true for the use of Uranium, for example. Because of that, Strategic resources don't even appear on the map before you research the necessary technology to make use of them! These technologies are widely spread across the eras, starting in the Ancient Era with Animal Husbandry (which reveals the use of Horses), and ending in the Atomic Era with Atomic Theory (which reveals the use of Uranium). Likewise, early strategic resources such as Iron or Horses may become less useful towards the end of the game. These changes and the discovery of more and more useful resources makes for a dynamic game and may force you to expand, conquer, or negotiate in locations you never thought would be useful before.

Bonus Resources[edit | edit source]

If there is a bonus resource on hills you cannot construct a Mine there.

These resources are the most widespread resources on the map. They aren't special in any strategic sense, and are thus not shared across your empire and neither can they be traded. However, they provide substantial additional output for the tile they are on when worked, especially when improved. Since their benefit lies only in their tile output bonus, it only makes sense to use a bonus resource by having a city sufficiently close to it (within three tiles), which can then work its tile. Also, several special buildings can be constructed in the controlling city to further increase bonus resources yields.

Bonus resources Output bonus
Bananas Bananas Wheat Wheat 20xFood5.png
Cattle Cattle Sheep Sheep 20xFood5.png
Bison Bison BNW-only.png Deer Deer 20xFood5.png
Fish Fish 20xFood5.png
Stone Stone 20xProduction5.png

These are the buildings which increase bonus resources' output:

  • Granary - +1 20xFood5.png Food per Wheat, Bananas and Deer resource
  • Lighthouse - +1 20xFood5.png Food per Fish resource (stacks with the general +1 20xFood5.png Food to all ocean tiles nearby; additional +1 20xProduction5.png Production to all Sea Resources in Brave New World)
  • Stone Works - +1 20xProduction5.png Production per Marble and Stone resource
  • Stable - +1 20xProduction5.png Production per Horses, Sheep and Cattle resource

Strategic Resources[edit | edit source]

Strategic resources are those that are of economic and military importance for your empire. Certain military units and buildings require a strategic resource before they can be built. For example, a Horseman requires 1 20xHorse5.png Horses resource, while a Factory requires 1 20xCoal5.png Coal resource.

If these objects are removed from a civilization's control - whether by losing a unit in battle, gifting it to a City-State, or by any other means - the strategic resource consumed by the object is released for future use. Strategic resources never actually leave play.

If a civilization loses access to some of the strategic resources they are currently using, and find themselves using more than they're producing or trading, then military units depending upon the resource in question will fight with a large combat penalty until the situation is remedied.

Each improved strategic resource tile provides a certain quantity (varying from one resource to the other, and also from one source to the other) of that resource to the empire that controls it, regardless of whether it is worked by a city or not. Note that they also provide output bonuses, which are useful only if the tile IS worked. Unused strategic resources may be traded to other empires.

Strategic resources Output bonus
Horses Horses Iron Iron 20xProduction5.png
Coal Coal Oil Oil 20xProduction5.png
Aluminum Aluminum Uranium Uranium 20xProduction5.png

The Stable building provides +1 additional 20xProduction5.png Production from each Horses resource.
The Forge building provides +1 additional 20xProduction5.png Production from each Iron resource.

Luxury Resources[edit | edit source]

Luxury resources are fancy goods that everyone values highly, but your wealthier citizens especially relish (and often clamor for). They are the most diverse of all resources, and are used in all sorts of human activities - cooking, weaving, and in many other crafts. Their practical effect is to provide additional 20xHappiness5.png Happiness - on a Standard map, +4 per each type of resource of which your empire has at least one count. Unlike strategic resources, each improved luxury resource tile provides only one count of it. If an empire possesses more than one count of the same luxury resource, the happiness effect is the same as possessing only one, so you should use the extra counts to trade with other empires.

Again, you don't need to work an improved luxury resource tile in order to gain the resource, but you DO need to work it to gain its output bonuses. Unlike other resources, Luxury resources add 20xGold5.png Gold yield to tiles, which makes them even more important strategically, allowing you to gain 20xGold5.png Gold directly from terrain (and not having to trade for it). Note that luxury resources may be traded to other empires, if they're produced by YOU. However, in the event that you've gained them via trading or from a City-State, you can't trade them away.

Luxury resources Output bonus
Cotton Cotton Spices Spices Sugar Sugar 20xGold5.png20xGold5.png
Furs Furs Ivory Ivory Silk Silk 20xGold5.png20xGold5.png
Dyes Dyes Incense Incense Wine Wine 20xGold5.png20xGold5.png
Copper Copper GodsKings5 clear.png Gold Gold Silver Silver 20xGold5.png20xGold5.png
Marble Marble Pearls Pearls Truffles Truffles GodsKings5 clear.png 20xGold5.png20xGold5.png
Jewelry Jewelry* GodsKings5 clear.png Porcelain Porcelain* GodsKings5 clear.png 20xGold5.png20xGold5.png
Nutmeg Nutmeg** BNW-only.png Cloves Cloves** BNW-only.png Pepper Pepper** BNW-only.png 20xGold5.png20xGold5.png
Crab Crab GodsKings5 clear.png Salt Salt GodsKings5 clear.png Whales Whales 20xGold5.png20xFood5.png
Citrus Citrus GodsKings5 clear.png Cocoa Cocoa BNW-only.png 20xGold5.png20xFood5.png
Gems Gems 20xGold5.png20xGold5.png20xGold5.png

† Marble provides +15% Wonder production for Ancient and Classical Wonders
* Unique to Mercantile City-States
** Unique to Indonesia, only obtainable through the Spice Islanders unique ability

Some buildings also increase the bonuses of luxury resources:

  • Harbor (vanilla and Gods & Kings): +1 20xProduction5.png Production to all Sea Resources (This bonus is transferred to the Lighthouse in Brave New World.)
  • Mint: +2 20xGold5.png Gold per Gold and Silver resource
  • Monastery: +1 20xCulture5.png Culture per Incense and Wine resource (additional +1 20xfaith5.png Faith in Gods & Kings; can only be built via a particular Religious Belief)
  • Seaport: +1 20xProduction5.png Production and 20xGold5.png Gold to all Sea Resources
  • Stone Works - +1 20xProduction5.png Production per Marble and Stone resource

GodsKings5 clear.png Introduced in Gods & Kings.
BNW-only.png Introduced in Brave New World.

Strategy[edit | edit source]

Settling a city on top of a luxury or strategic resource tile gives the strategic benefits as soon as you have the appropriate technology for improving it. It also gives additional production, food and gold it usually provides right to your city tile, meaning that you'll always be using these benefits (since the city tile is always worked).

You won't be able to use the potential benefits of Improvements built on the resource, but you WILL be able to build the bonus city buildings related to the resource and their bonus will apply. For example, with a city settled on a Stone resource, the Stone Works building is available (and it is expected that the city tile's 20xProduction5.png Production yield will increase accordingly after it is constructed). However the city will not gain the additional 1 or 2 20xProduction5.png Production (and possible 20xfaith5.png Faith from Stone Circles pantheon belief) associated with a Quarry.

City-States allied to you give your empire free units of the resources they have. Note that these units are added to your pool for internal use, but are not available for trade with other civilizations!

Interaction with Great tile improvements[edit | edit source]

Great People create incredible tile Improvements, with strong yields. Generally it would not be advantageous to forgo their yield and replace these Improvements with standard Resource Improvements, and as a result, these special improvements will connect any revealed and future strategic resources on them to the trading network as a courtesy. Unlike cities, Great tile improvements do not connect luxury resources!

However, Mines and Pasture resource improvements, the two main Improvements placed on strategic resources, get two further bonuses when adding up yield (on top of the resource's bonus yield and the improvement's own yield). The first is based on the resource they improve and the second is based on later technologies. Great tile improvements do not receive these additional bonus yields, unlike resource improvements.

As an example, consider some coal resources on hills in the Modern Era:

  • Hills have a base terrain yield of 2 20xProduction5.png Production and Coal provides 120xProduction5.png Production. This gives a total of 3 20xProduction5.png without improvements.
  • A Mine provides 1 production, the resource-dependent combination of mine and coal provides an additional unit, and it receives another unit from Chemistry technology. Thus the Mine provides 3 Production.
  • An Academy provides science, but it will connect the coal to the empire. Moreover, it doesn't get any boosts. Therefore it does not provide any production at all.
  • When the coal is improved with a Mine, the total production yield is 6. When an Academy is placed, the total yield is 3 production and some science.

Therefore, intentionally placing an Great Tile Improvement on a strategic resource can be a waste of yields. However, there may be situations where it is advantageous to connect the resource with an Great improvement, such as obtaining 20xIron5.pngIron or 20xHorse5.pngHorses to rush units into production. Furthermore, resource-dependent yields only appear on later strategic resources such as Uranium and 20xOil.pngOil that are revealed much later. Generally A) workers are more readily available and a few turns of construction is less consequential and B) Great People have already been spent by this point and the choice to avoid the resource will already have been 'made'.

Hence while a good exercise in understanding the process of calculating and understanding tile yields, the distinction between the types of improvements tends to be more academic in nature, and have less practical applications than it may appear.

Civilization V [edit]
Gods & KingsBrave New World

BuildingsCivsDLCImprovementsPromotionsResourcesScenariosSocial PoliciesTechnologiesTerrainUnique AbilitiesUnitsWonders (Natural)

AncientClassicalMedievalRenaissanceIndustrialModernFuture† • Atomic‡ • Information

City-StateCultureEspionage‡ • FoodGoldGreat PeopleHappinessProductionReligion‡ • ScienceTourism‡ • Victory

Guides etc.
AchievementsMathematicsModdingMajor PatchesSoundtrack

† Only in vanilla Civ5
‡ Only in Gods & Kings and Brave New World

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