Civilization 5 Victory Strategies: Diplomacy

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Diplomatic Victory is achieved through winning one of the periodic elections for World Leader in the United Nations. Civilizations are each given the same number of votes to exercise, but once City State allies begin to count for votes as well, any Civilization that has amassed a large network of alliances is given a significant advantage. There are three ways to win influence over City States: one can complete their quests, which are not always available, sometimes not possible, and oftentimes contrary to your interests with other Civilizations or City States; One can deploy spies to rig elections, stage coups, and win support for your Civilization, which is dependable and effective, but also slow and unreliable for influencing a large number of City States; lastly and much more simply, one can regularly offer City States gifts of gold. This method is quite expensive and quickly empties your coffers, but it is also fast and effective, and it is sometimes the only option when courting City States.

Problematically, with most of your gold being tied up in buying alliances and delegates, a large army is usually not an option. As a result, national defense will have to be an outsourced task; through a quilt-work of defensive pacts and carefully cultivated relationships with more militant Civilizations, security is still achievable. A player aiming for a Diplomatic Victory should also put a priority on militaristic City States, who frequently produce and deploy soldiers for their friends and allies to command. In moments of weakness, aggressive Civilizations may have to be bribed to direct their wrath towards others. This tactic may be less than perfectly moral, but it keeps your people safe and buys you time to continue pursuing your election for World Leader.

Fortunately, the slow and steady acquisition of City States into your network eventually has a snowball effect; each contributes to your cause in their own way (soldiers, food, resources, culture, or faith), further cementing your diplomatic dominance and making it easier to absorb more City States into your sphere of influence. This effect is further amplified by earning the Patronage social policies, especially Cultural Diplomacy, which increases the quantity of gifted resources by 100% and correlating happiness from luxuries by 50%

Being on the right side of conflicts in Religion and Ideology can also help deepen your pool of delegates. Potential World Congress proposals include World Religion and World Ideology. If enacted, these proposals will grant two additional delegates to any Civilization currently adhering to the triumphant Religion or Ideology.

In addition to ultimately earning a Diplomatic Victory, dominance in the World Congress can be useful in reinforcing yourself and your allies while undermining your enemies. Banning luxury resources that are abundant in their lands, enacting embargoes against them, heavily taxing their armies, and preventing them from acquiring nuclear weapons all serve to subvert your enemies’ power and avert crisis.

It is certainly in the player’s best interest to become the first host of World Congress. This is achieved by either discovering all other Civilizations and researching the Printing Press, or being the first Civilization to enter the Industrial Era. As host, you will be awarded one extra vote (two after entering the Modern Era), and the ability to make proposals for resolutions in congress. If another Civilization manages to become first host however, they can still be removed and replaced. The host will be voted upon with each Era change. If you are not the current host, this is an opportunity that should be exploited; if you are the current host, you should be wary of others making a grab at your office and take necessary precautions.

The Diplomatic Victory is certainly one of the more agreeable options for winning the game. Your people will be well fed, provided with countless luxury resources, and safe. No other victory path can ensure all three of these things.


Status Renaissance Industrial Modern United Nations
Host 1 Extra Vote 1 Extra Vote 2 Extra Votes 2 Extra Votes
Member 1 2 3 4
City State 0 1 1 2


Beneficial Technologies

-Globalization: Awards 1 extra delegate for each spy serving as a diplomat in another Civilization’s capital city. This can be a deciding factor in winning a World Leader election.


Beneficial Wonders

– Forbidden Palace: Allows two extra delegates in the World Congress. Often a great stepping stone for early game diplomatic       dominance.

-National Intelligence Agency: This wonder awards you with an extra spy and also promotes all existing spies. An extremely useful benefit, especially when Globalization has been researched.


Beneficial Religious Tenets

 -Papal Primacy: raises the resting point of influence by 15 with City States following your Religion.

-Religious Unity: Religion spreads to friendly City States at double rate, very effective when paired with Papal Primacy.

-Charitable Missions: Gifts of gold to City States award you with 30% more influence. This will offer some much needed relief to your finances.


Beneficial Social Policies

-Patronage: Designed specifically to make influence over City States easier to obtain. This social policy tree should be developed as soon as reasonably possible.


Beneficial Ideological Tenets



-Covert Action: Doubles your spies’ chances of rigging City State elections in your favor.

-Arsenal of Democracy: Gifts of military units to City States gain 15 influence.

-Treaty Organization: City States that you have a trade route with will gain 4 more influence per turn. This is an excellent, cost-effective way to gain and keep City State allies.



-United Front: When at war with a common enemy, Militaristic City State allies will gift units twice as frequently.

-Gunboat Diplomacy: 6 influence per turn from City States whom you could demand tribute from. Additionally, Military units are 50% more successful at bullying City States. This isn’t conventional diplomacy, but it will unquestionably prove effective.





               Civilizations suited to this path               






1. Delegates graph modeled after graph found at

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