Social policies are a new concept in Civilization V, representing the non-scientific or religious advancements of your society. They act as a system of gameplay bonuses, activated little by little as your empire develops its Culture. Some of these bonuses are empire-wide (meaning they act on all cities and empire components at the same time), while others are related to particular buildings, units, or even Great People. Many Social Policies enhance individual buildings' functions - check the list of buildings for more info on that.
All policies are organised into trees, and each tree has to be unlocked before the specific policies in it can be adopted. The policies within each tree are further organized into branches, requiring that lower-level policies be adopted before higher-level ones become available. Unlocking a policy tree also activates a special bonus, as does adopting all five policies in it. Besides, each policy tree unlocks an honorific title for the leader.
For more information on the exact process of adopting policies, as well as for different strategies concerning Social Policies, check the Social strategy article.
With the addition of the Gods & Kings expansion, the new Religion system also plays part in social politics. The Piety tree has been redesigned to benefit Religion as well as Culture, and as a reward for completing many branches, the player can spend Faith to purchase certain Great People starting in the Industrial Era. Also, once the Industrial Era comes around, a player's choice of social policies can now drastically impact its standings with another civilization. Civilizations that choose the same Industrial Era policy track (Order, Autocracy, or Freedom) will become friendlier, while civilizations with different policy tracks will become more hostile.
In the Brave New World expansion, the social policies have been updated, with the inclusion of the Aesthetics and Exploration policy trees. Also, Piety can now be adopted right from the Ancient Era, while the next trees all unlock an Era earlier, giving the player a wider choice for development in the early game. No Policy trees are mutually exclusive anymore, and the Anarchy concept has been reserved for when you switch Ideology. Order, Autocracy, and Freedom have been excluded as Social policies, but one of these can be adopted as an Ideology once you build three Factories or reach the Modern Era. Even more than in Gods & Kings, a player's choice of Ideology can drastically impact his or her standings with another civilization. Finally, note that some World Wonders are now linked to Social Policy trees (for example, the Pyramids are linked to the Liberty tree) - now they can only be built if the relevant tree has been unlocked, AND you have researched the necessary technology.
The Culture cost of each new policy is calculated in a number of steps. It is proportional to
where does not count free social policies nor free tenets. This is further modified based on the number of cities the civilization has:
where the varies from 10% to 5%, decreasing as map size increases past Standard, is a 33% discount for civilizations which have adopted Representation, and is the number of cities in the civilization (excluding puppet cities and cities being razed). This is added to the , and the result is multiplied by the civilization's policy cost multiplier and multipliers for game speed and Difficulty level, then rounded down to the nearest 5 .
- Main article: Tradition (Civ5)
The Tradition tree is available right from the Ancient Era. Choosing this policy first will give you the title "Lord" for male leaders and "Lady" for female leaders.
Tradition is best for small empires.
Adopting Tradition greatly increases the rate of border expansion (25%) in cities (by diminishing the accumulated Culture needed for successive new tiles) and also grants +3 Culture in the Capital. Unlocks building the Hanging Gardens wonder ( only).
- Vanilla: +2 Food in each city
- : A free Aqueduct in your first four cities.
- : A free Aqueduct in your first four cities. It also allows the purchase of Great Engineers with Faith starting in the Industrial Era.
|Aristocracy||+15% Production when building Wonders (any Era) and +1 Happiness for every 10 Citizens in a City.||Adopting Tradition|
|Oligarchy||Garrisoned units cost no maintenance and cities with a garrison gain +100% (+50% in and ) Ranged Combat Strength.||Adopting Tradition|
|Legalism||Provides a free culture building in your first 4 cities.||Adopting Tradition in Vanilla and |
|Monarchy||+1 Gold and -1 Unhappiness for every 2 Citizens in the Capital.||Legalism|
|Landed Elite||+10% Growth and +2 Food in the Capital.||Legalism|
- Main article: Liberty (Civ5)
The Liberty tree is available right from the Ancient Era. Choosing this policy first will give you the title "Consul". Note that in the expansions, the order of Republic and Collective Rule was switched, although their bonuses remain the same.
Liberty is best for civilizations which desire rapid expansion.
|Collective Rule||Speeds the training of Settlers by 50% in the Capital and a free Settler appears near the Capital.||Adopting Liberty (Vanilla)|
Republic ( and )
|Republic||+1 Production in every City and +5% Production in cities when constructing Buildings (including Wonders).||Collective Rule (Vanilla)|
Adopting Liberty ( and )
|Citizenship||Tile improvement construction rate increased by 25% and a Worker appears near the Capital.||Adopting Liberty|
|Meritocracy||+1 Happiness for each City you own connected to the Capital and -5% Unhappiness from Citizens in non-occupied Cities.||Citizenship|
|Representation||Each city you found will increase the Culture cost of policies by 33% less than normal. Also starts a Golden Age (if one is already in progress, it is extended).||Citizenship|
- Main article: Honor (Civ5)
The Honor tree is available right from the Ancient Era. Choosing this policy first will give you the title "The Great".
Honor improves the effectiveness of one's army in a variety of ways.
Adopting Honor gives a +25% (+33% in and ) combat bonus against Barbarians; from now on notifications will be provided when new Barbarian Encampments spawn in revealed territory. Gain Culture for the empire from each barbarian unit killed. (The Culture earned is equal to the Combat Strength or Ranged Combat Strength of the defeated unit, whichever is greater.) Unlocks building the Statue of Zeus wonder ( only).
Adopting all policies in the Honor tree will grant Gold for each enemy unit killed. (Note that this applies only to units killed directly by your actions. For example, you won't receive Gold for a unit killed by the effect of a Citadel.) It also allows the purchase of Great Generals with Faith starting from the Industrial Era ( only).
|Warrior Code||+15% Production when training Melee units and a Great General appears outside the Capital.
Great Generals are earned 50% faster ( only).
|Discipline||+10% (+15% in and ) combat strength for melee units which have another military unit in an adjacent tile.||Adopting Honor|
|Military Caste||Each City with a garrison increases empire Happiness by 1 (local city Happiness in and ) and Culture by 2. (Note that cities in Resistance are unaffected by this.)||Discipline|
|Military Tradition||Military Units gain 50% more Experience from combat.||Warrior Code|
|Professional Army||Gold cost of upgrading Military Units reduced by 33% and:||Military Caste|
- Main article: Piety (Civ5)
The Piety tree becomes available during the Classical Era. It cannot be active at the same time as Rationalism. In Brave New World it is available right from the Ancient Era and can be active at the same time as Rationalism. Choosing this policy first will give you the title "The Pious".
Adopting Piety reduces the time to build:
Unlocks building the Great Mosque of Djenne ( only).
Adopting all Policies in the Piety tree:
- will reduce the Culture cost of future Policies by 10% (Vanilla)
- will provide a 20% discount on all purchases of religious units and buildings with Faith and Holy Sites provide +3 Gold and +3 Culture ()
- causes a Great Prophet to appear and Holy Sites provide +3 Culture ().
|Organized Religion||+1 Happiness from Monuments, Temples, and Monasteries (Vanilla).
+1 Faith from Shrines and Temples ( and ).
|Mandate of Heaven||50% of excess Happiness added each turn to the amount of Culture that may be spent on Social Policies (Vanilla and ).
|Reformation|| Culture increased by 33% in all cities which have built a World Wonder and the empire immediately enters a Golden Age (Vanilla and )
If you founded a religion, gain a bonus Reformation belief ().
|Organized Religion (Vanilla and )|
Religious Tolerance ()
|Theocracy||Temples increase a cities Gold output by 10% (25% in ).
Holy Sites provide +3 Gold ( only).
| Free Religion
|Gives 1 free Social Policy and +1 Culture from Monuments, Temples, and Monasteries.||Reformation & Mandate of Heaven|
| Religious Tolerance
( and only)
|Reduces the Culture cost of future Policies by 10% ().
Cities with a majority religion also get the Pantheon belief bonus of the second most popular religion ().
|Reformation & Mandate of Heaven ()|
Organized Religion ()
- Main article: Patronage (Civ5)
Patronage enhances the benefits of City-State friendship.
Adopting all policies in the Patronage tree will:
- make other players' Influence with City-States decrease 33% more per turn than usual (vanilla and ).
- cause allied City-States to occasionally gift you Great People ().
|Philanthropy||Gifts of Gold to a City-State generate 25% more Influence.||Adopting Patronage|
| Aesthetics (Vanilla and )
|Resting point for Influence level with all City-States is increased by 20.||Adopting Patronage|
|Scholasticism||All City-States which are Allies provide a Science bonus equal to 25% of what they produce for themselves.||Philanthropy|
|Cultural Diplomacy||Quantity of Resources gifted by City-States increased by 100%. Happiness from gifted Luxuries increased by 50%.||Scholasticism|
| Educated Elite (Vanilla and ).
Merchant Confederacy ()
|Allied City-States will occasionally gift you Great people (Vanilla and )
+2 Gold for trade routes with City-States ().
|Scholasticism & Aesthetics (Vanilla and )|
Scholasticism & Consulates ()
- Main article: Commerce (Civ5)
The Commerce tree becomes available during the Medieval Era. Choosing this policy first will give you the title "Doge".
Adopting all Policies in the Commerce tree will grant +1 Gold from every:
- Specialist (Vanilla)
- Trading Post and double Gold from Great Merchant trade missions. May purchase Great Merchants with Faith ().
- Trading Post. It also allows the purchase of Great Merchants with Faith starting in the Industrial Era ().
| Naval Tradition
(Vanilla and only)
|+1 Movement for Naval units and +1 sight range for naval combat units.
A Great Admiral appears and +2 Movement for all Great Admirals ( only).
| Trade Unions
(Vanilla and only)
|Maintenance paid on Roads and Railroads reduced by 33%. Harbors and Seaports gain +1 Gold.||Adopting Commerce|
|Mercantilism||Purchasing items in Cities requires 25% less Gold.
+1 Science from every Mint, Market, Bank and Stock Exchange ( and only).
|Trade Unions (Vanilla and )|
Mercenary Army ()
| Merchant Navy
(Vanilla and only)
|+3 Production in all coastal Cities.||Naval Tradition|
|Protectionism||+1 (+2 in and ) Happiness from each Luxury Resource.||Mercantilism (Vanilla and )|
Entrepreneurship & Mercantilism ()
| Wagon Trains
|+2 Gold from all your Land Trade Routes (with foreign nations). Maintenance paid on Roads and Railroads reduced by 50%.||Adopting Commerce|
| Mercenary Army
|Allows the purchasing of Landsknechts.||Adopting Commerce|
|Great Merchants are earned 25% faster. Receive double Gold from Great Merchant trade missions.||Wagon Trains|
Aesthetics (BNW only)
- Main article: Aesthetics (Civ5)
The Aesthetics tree becomes available during the Classical Era. Choosing this policy first will give you the title "Master" for male leaders and "Mistress" for female leaders.
Aesthetics improves the civilization's ability to generate Culture.
|Cultural Centers||Construct Monuments, Amphitheaters, Opera Houses, Museums and Broadcast Towers 50% faster.||Adopting Aesthetics|
|Fine Arts||50% of excess Happiness added each turn to the amount of Culture that may be spent on Social Policies or Ideological Tenets.||Adopting Aesthetics|
|Flourishing of the Arts||Culture increased by 33% in all cities which have built a World Wonder and the empire immediately enters a Golden Age.||Cultural Centers & Fine Arts|
|Artistic Genius||A Great Artist appears.||Fine Arts|
|Cultural Exchange||Increases the Tourism modifier for Shared Religion, Trade Routes, and Open Borders by 15% each.||Flourishing of the Arts|
- Main article: Rationalism (Civ5)
The Rationalism tree becomes available during the Renaissance Era. It cannot be active at the same time as Piety (Vanilla and only). Choosing this policy first will give you the title "The Wise".
Rationalism improves the ability to use and generate Science.
- boosts Science gained from research agreements by 50% (Vanilla)
- grants +15% Science while the empire is Happy ()
- +10% Science while the empire is Happy. Unlocks building the Porcelain Tower ()
Adopting all Policies in the Rationalism tree will grant:
- +1 Gold from Science buildings (Vanilla)
- 2 free Technologies. May purchase Great Scientists with Faith ()
- a free Technology. It also allows the purchase of Great Scientists with Faith starting in the Industrial Era ().
|Secularism||+2 Science from every Specialist.||Adopting Rationalism|
|Humanism||+1 Happiness (local city Happiness in ) from every University, Observatory and Public School (Vanilla and ).
Great Scientists are earned 25% faster ().
|Free Thought||+1 Science from every Trading Post and +17% Science from Universities.||Secularism (Vanilla and )|
|Sovereignty||+15% Science while your empire is Happy (Vanilla).
+1 Gold from Science buildings ( and ).
|Humanism (Vanilla and |
|Scientific Revolution||Gives 2 free Technologies (Vanilla).
Boosts Science gained from Research Agreements by 50% ( and ).
|Free Thought (Vanilla and )|
Exploration (BNW only)
- Main article: Exploration (Civ5)
The Exploration tree becomes available during the Medieval Era. Choosing this policy first will give you the title "Captain".
Exploration enhances your abilities to spread your empire over the seas.
|Maritime Infrastructure||+3 Production in all coastal Cities.||Adopting Exploration|
|Naval Tradition||+1 Happiness for each Harbor, Seaport, or Lighthouse.||Adopting Exploration|
|Navigation School||A Great Admiral appears. +2 Movement for all Great Admirals. Great Admirals are earned 50% faster.||Naval Tradition|
|Merchant Navy||+1 Gold for each Harbor, Seaport, or Lighthouse, +4 Production and +4 Culture in the city with the East India Company.||Maritime Infrastructuve & Naval Tradition|
|Treasure Fleets||+4 Gold from all your Sea Trade Routes.||Merchant Navy|
Freedom (Vanilla and G&K only)
- Main article: Freedom (Civ5)
Freedom is best for small, focused empires. In particular, it provides bonuses for Great people and Specialists.
Adopting Freedom increases the rate at which Great People are born by 25%.
|Constitution||+2 Culture from each World Wonder.||Adopting Freedom|
|Civil Society||Specialists consume only half the normal amount of Food.||Adopting Freedom|
|Universal Suffrage||Combat Strength of Cities increased by 33%.||Adopting Freedom|
|Democracy||Specialist Population in Cities produce half the normal amount of Unhappiness.||Civil Society|
|Free Speech||8 units are maintenance free.||Constitution|
Autocracy (Vanilla and G&K only)
- Main article: Autocracy (Civ5)
The Autocracy tree becomes available during the Industrial Era. It cannot be active at the same time as Order or Freedom.
Autocracy is for militaristic civilizations, dreaming of world conquest.
Adopting Autocracy reduces Unit Gold Maintenance costs by 33%, allowing an empire to field a larger military. Receive 10 Culture as plunder for each point of Culture produced in captured city ( only).
Adopting all Policies in the Autocracy tree will grant:
- a 20% attack bonus to all Military Units for 30 turns (Vanilla)
- a 25% attack bonus to all Military Units for 50 turns. May purchase Great Generals and Great Admirals with Faith ()
|Populism||Wounded military units deal +25% damage than normal.||Adopting Autocracy|
|Militarism||Gold cost of purchasing units reduced by 33%.||Adopting Autocracy|
|Police State||+3 Happiness (local city Happiness in ) from every Courthouse. Build Courthouses in half the usual time.
The effectiveness of enemy spies is reduced by 25% and your counterspies have a 25% increased chance of catching enemy spies ( only).
|Fascism||Quantity of Strategic Resources produced by the empire increased by 100%.
All Great Generals receive +2 Movement ( only).
|Populism & Militarism|
|Total War||+15% (+25% in ) Production when building Military Units and new Military Units start with +15 Experience.||Police State & Fascism|
Order (Vanilla and G&K only)
- Main article: Order (Civ5)
The Order tree becomes available during the Industrial Era. It cannot be active at the same time as Autocracy or Freedom.
Order is best for large, sprawling empires, increasing the strength of the empire based on the number of Cities it contains.
Adopting Order increases Happiness by +1 per city.
|United Front||Militaristic city states grant units twice as often when you are at war with a common foe.||Adopting Order|
|Planned Economy||Factories increase a city's Science output by 25%.
Build Factories in half the usual time ( only).
|Nationalism||15% attack bonus when fighting in friendly territory.||Adopting Order|
|Socialism||Gold maintenance costs of Buildings reduced by 15%.||Planned Economy|
|Communism||+2 Production per City and:||Socialism|
Fully explore the Aesthetics Policy track.
Death Before Shame
Fully Explore the Honor Policy Track.
Diplomacy by Other Means
Fully Explore the Autocracy Policy Track.
Eighty-Eight Miles per Hour
Fully Explore the Rationalism Policy Track.
Freedom Isn't Free
Fully Explore the Freedom Policy Track.
Legends of the Hidden Temple
Fully explore the Exploration Policy track.
Lux Perpetua Luceat Eis
Fully Explore the Piety Policy Track.
Master of the House
Fully Explore the Tradition Policy Track.
Money Doesn't Grow on Trees
Fully Explore the Commerce Policy Track.
Fully Explore the Patronage Policy Track.
With an Iron Fist
Fully Explore the Order Policy Track.
With Liberty and Justice for All
Fully Explore the Liberty Policy Track.
|Civilization V |
|Gods & Kings • Brave New World|