Sid Meier's Civilization V

Sid Meier's Civilization V

163 ratings
Zigzagzigal's Guide to Greece (BNW)
By Zigzagzigal
Greece's uniques are some of the most straightforward around, but there's more to them than immediately apparent. This guide goes into plenty of detail about Greek strategies, uniques and how to play against them.
Note: This guide assumes you have all game-altering DLC and expansion packs (all Civ packs, Wonders of the Ancient World, Gods & Kings and Brave New World)

While Greek history begun thousands of years ago, most of what we know of Ancient Greece comes from the nine centuries between the Greek Dark Ages and the conquest of Greece by Rome; the Greek Dark Ages ending around the time of the first Ancient Olympic Games. With the written languages of old lost, the Greeks would adapt the Phonecian alphabet leading to the precursor of the Latin alphabet. Reforms in law would eventually lead to the world's first system of democracy in Athens. Great architecture would arise, along with a series of great people, advancing the cause of so many fields of knowledge from philosophy to mathematics. Colonies and later Alexander of Macedonia's empire would spread this culture around the Mediterranean and east, as far as India.

But the nation you are to rule, with such a colossal impact upon the world, became divided after Alexander's death, leading to conquest by the Romans. Greek culture would heavily influence Roman culture, and the Greek-speaking Byzantine Empire from the 5th to 13th centuries would rule Greece, but the Franks, Venetians, Serbs and eventually Ottomans would take over the land. In the early 19th century, a sizable part of Greece would become independent, followed by expansion and ultimately into the disastrous Greco-Turkish War from 1919-22. The Turkish victory led to instability in Greece, the aftershocks of which essentially lasted into the 1970s, where a lasting, stable democracy would be established. But is this progress under threat? For the worst recession since the Second World War has hit Greece hard. Unemployment is widespread. Extreme politics has gained ground. In this brave new world, you must set the course for the future, leader. Take this nation, take this culture, and build a civilization that can stand the test of time.

Before I go into depth with this guide, here's an explanation of some terminology I'll be using throughout for the sake of newer players.

Beelining - Focusing on obtaining a technology early by only researching technologies needed to research it and no others. For example, to beeline Bronze Working, you'd research Mining and Bronze Working and nothing else until Bronze Working was finished.
Builder Nation/Empire - A generally peaceful nation seeking victories other than domination.
Equilibrium - In the context of City-States, I'm referring to the influence resting point.
Finisher - The bonus for completing a Social Policy tree (e.g. Free Great Person for Liberty.)
Meatshield - Soaking up damage on behalf of something else. This can be on the small scale (like a Swordsman taking damage for an Archer) or on a large scale (protecting a capital city with less important cities.) This guide generally uses "meatshield" to refer to the small-scale version.
Melee Units - Throughout this guide, "melee units" typically refers to all non-ranged military units - whether on the land or sea. "Standard melee units" refer to Warriors, Swordsmen, Longswordsmen, Spearmen, Pikemen and replacement units for them.
Opener - The bonus for unlocking a Social Policy tree (e.g. +1 culture for every city for Liberty's opener)
Spotter - A unit which allows a ranged unit (usually a siege unit) a line of sight with its target. Typically, siege units have a higher maximum range than their sight radius, hence the need for spotters.
Uniques - Collective name for Unique Abilities, Units, Buildings, Tile Improvements and Great People
UA - Unique Ability - The unique thing a Civilization has which doesn't need to be built.
UU - Unique Unit - A replacement for a normal unit that can only be built by one Civilization or provided by Militaristic City-States when allied.
Wide empire - A high number of cities with a low population each.
XP - Experience Points - Get enough and you'll level up your unit, giving you the ability to heal your unit or get a promotion.
ZOC - Zone of Control - A mechanic that makes a unit use up all its movement points if it moves from a tile next to an enemy to an adjacent tile next to the same enemy.
At a glance (Part 1/2)
Start Bias

Greece has no starting bias.


Greece has two UUs close together in era, much alike Byzantium or Carthage; one's in the ancient era and the other in the classical era. The real strength, however, is in their UA, which can help in a multitude of ways, especially in leading towards a diplomatic victory.

Unique Ability: Hellenic League

  • Halved City-State influence decay when the level of influence is above the resting point
  • Doubled City-State influence regain rate when the level of influence is below the resting point
  • These per-turn changes don't directly affect the tenets Gunboat Diplomacy or Treaty Organisation, but do stack with them
  • Can enter City-State territory without losing influence even without friendship
  • Units can heal in City-State territory as if the City-State is friendly, even when at war with it

Unique Unit 1: Hoplite (Replaces the Spearman)

A standard melee unit

Upgrades from
Upgrades to
Production cost
Purchase cost
Resource needed

Bronze Working
Ancient era
2nd column
(3rd column overall)

Civil Service
Medieval era
1st column
(6th column overall)

(Ancient Ruins upgrade only)

*Assumes a normal speed game.

Ranged Strength
Negative Attributes
Positive Attributes
2Movement Points
  • 50% bonus vs. mounted units

Positive one-off changes

  • 13 strength, up from 11 (+18%)

Unique Unit 2: Companion Cavalry (Replaces the Horseman)

A mounted melee unit
Upgrades from
Upgrades to
Production cost
Purchase cost
Resource needed

Horseback Riding
Classical era
1st column
(4th column overall)

Medieval era
2nd column
(7th column overall)


1 Horse
*Assumes a normal speed game.

Ranged Strength
Negative Attributes
Positive Attributes
14 Strength
5Movement Points
  • No defensive terrain bonuses
  • 33% penalty vs cities
  • Can move after attacking
  • 50% increased contribution to Great General generation (Great Generals I)

Positive one-off changes

  • 14 strength, up from 12 (+17%)
  • 5 moves, up from 4 (+25%)

Positive stay-on-upgrade changes

  • 50% increased contribution to Great General generation (Great Generals I)
At a glance (Part 2/2)
Victory Routes

Note these scores are a matter of personal opinion based on experiences with the Civilization. You may discover a way of utilising the Civ more effectively in unconventional ways.

Cultural: 5/10
Diplomatic: 9/10
Domination: 7/10
Scientific: 6/10

Greece's UA is very well-equipped for diplomatic victories. While the UUs could help you win a domination victory, very little carries over on upgrade hence making it only viable if you're quick. Unless you're rushing with Hoplites, you're going to need siege units to back you up.

Similar Civs and uniques


Greece's double-UU combo with a lack of keep-on-upgrade features is in common with Byzantium and Carthage. It's the latter of these that Greece plays most similarly to, as both Carthage and Greece have advantages at diplomatic victory in their respective UAs. Persia also has similarities to Greece with a Spearman UU and a good ability to hold City-State alliances.

Same start bias

Greece's lack of a start bias is shared with America, China, Ethiopia, France, Germany, the Maya, Persia, Rome and the Shoshone.

Similar to the UA

Greece's UA is rather unique in that it slows City-State influence decay, rather than making it easier to gain influence. The closest unique of any other Civ is perhaps the UA of Siam. While it doesn't help with influence decay at all, it adds an incentive to hold City-State friendships and alliances, so both Greece and Siam will often have lots of City-States on their side even long before a World Leader vote.

Similar to Hoplites

Other Spearman UUs include Persia's Immortals, the Celtic Pictish Warrior and, in a sense, the Hunnic Battering Ram (although in practice it's nothing like a regular Spearman.)

Immortals are the UU most alike Hoplites, being a Spearman replacement with a higher base strength. Hoplites have slightly more strength (13 instead of 12) but lack the faster healing rate of Immortals (unless they come into contact with the Fountain of Youth.) On the whole, Immortals are a better unit, but it's worth remembering the 13 strength of Hoplites is only one less than a Swordsman for a lower cost and no resource requirement.

Other melee units built around a simple strength increase and no, or few other features include Rome's Legion and France's Musketeer. In all such cases, their higher strength helps them to last even into the following era's warfare.

Similar to Companion Cavalry

Having both higher speed and strength is a feature the Companion Cavalry has in common with Poland's Winged Hussar and Germany's Panzers, but unlike those two, Companion Cavalry are more of a support unit than the backbone of your army (owing in part to the difficulty of raising large armies in the early-game, especially with the horse requirement.)

Instead, Carthage's African Forest Elephant makes a good comparison. While the Forest Elephant is significantly slower than Companion Cavalry, they have the same amount of strength, have bonuses to Great General gain, and crucially, fill the same support-based niche.

Aside from the African Forest Elephant and Companion Cavalry, the other Horseman UU is Byzantium's Cataphract. Unlike Companion Cavalry, Cataphracts have defensive bonuses and a smaller penalty against cities, making them somewhat more versatile.
Unique Ability: Hellenic League

The Hellenic League is a powerful unique ability that stays relevant throughout the game. It can be divided into three parts of ascending importance:

  • No trespassing penalty
  • Double influence regain rate
  • Half influence decay rate

Let's go through each of these in turn.

No trespassing penalty

This aspect of Greece's UA is not well-known due to it not being mentioned by the Civilopedia, the loading screen or the Civ selection screen. Essentially, you can enter any City-State's territory as if you were friends with it, regardless of your status, though this won't make any difference if you're at war with the City-State.

Right away, from the earliest turns, this ability is brilliant for exploring City-State lands (or cutting right through them when exploring without losing influence.) Sometimes, a City-State on a chokepoint may be cutting off a chunk of land which is prone to spawning Barbarians. Getting there without needing naval escorts or upsetting the City-State makes it all the easier to deal with those more awkward Barbarian encampments.

Above: Besides the exploration benefits, you can heal in City-State territory for 20HP a turn, rather than the 10HP a turn of neutral territory (or 15HP a turn for naval units with the Supply promotion.) This is especially useful for injured ships, and it works even if you're at war with the City-State!

In wartime, being able to move into City-States without losing influence gives you a great opportunity to use them as forward operating bases - flood a City-State next door to a rival full of your own units and you can attack them via an unexpected angle.

Finally, a strong use for this ability is in intimidating City-States, whether through bullying them for Workers or Gold, or using the Gunboat Diplomacy tenet from the Autocracy tree to gain influence via a military presence. You can flood a City-State full of your own units and it won't cost you any influence.

Double influence regain

Another aspect of the UA which helps in bullying City-States. So, you can flood a City-State full of your units, steal gold or Workers and the influence will regain at double the speed of any other Civ. City-States become more resistant to intimidation over time, but it's a possible way to help make your early-game stronger.

For minimum impact on your diplomatic goals, intimidate a City-State with the Hostile personality. They're the hardest to please, but influence with them under the equilibrium level regains just as fast as any other kind of City-State.

A smaller use of this part of your UA is for building up influence quickly when your influence resting point has changed with a Civ, such as establishing a pledge to protect, the time just after adopting the Consulates Social Policy from the Patronage tree or spreading your religion to a City-State using the Papal Primacy Founder belief. This brings you to your new equilibrium sooner, hence giving you more time to buy influence on top of that equilibrium level.

Speaking of religion, if you founded a religion which becomes a majority in a City-State, your influence will regain even faster (and drop slower, too - the exact percentages are given as 50% and 25% respectively.) Greece isn't the best-equipped to found a religion, though concentrating on raising influence in religious City-States will help.

Halved influence decay

Above: This alliance will last 110 turns if no-one else intervenes, assuming I don't get anything in that time to slow down the influence decay even further. This is in a normal speed game.

This is the core element of your UA, and the one that should steer your path for eventual victory. With half the usual decay of City-State influence, it's much easier to keep them as allies. Early on, using your UUs to quickly sweep up Barbarian encampments City-States are concerned about is a great way to gain influence. Having long-lasting early City-State allies will be handy for getting through early to mid-game development. (Building wide is a good idea to maximise gold output.)

Your slow influence decay can be made slower with the Patronage opener, as well as by the City-State having the same religion as you. (Get them both together and your influence won't decay whatsoever - see the Religion section for more details.) Sometimes, you can end up taking over another Civ's City-State alliance simply because their own influence is decaying faster than yours.

Above: With the Patronage opener, my City-State influence decay is a quarter of a Civ without these bonuses, meaning this alliance will last 168 turns if nothing else happens.

Into the renaissance, along comes the World Congress. City-States start becoming relevant to it when at least half the players are in the industrial era, or someone reaches the modern era. At this stage, it's fairly easy to keep many City-State allies similtaniously, as alliances with City-States haven't really got competitive yet.

However, problems can begin to arrive late on. Out of the diplomatic Civs, you have some of the worst gold generation around, meaning you can't as easily save up for a big burst of influence before a World Leader vote. Spies can mess up your influence with coups, which you can't easily overturn by throwing money at the problem.

Luckily, there is another way. The Treaty Organisation tenet from the Freedom ideology, and the Gunboat Diplomacy tenet from the Autocracy ideology both give you influence with City-States per turn. Influence decay is subtracted from this influence gain, and with a slow rate of influence decay, Greece has an advantage over other Civs in that respect. So, your weak gold is made up for with your edge on long-term influence gain.


  • Use your UUs to raid Barbarian camps for City-State influence, or use City-States as bases to launch attacks on other Civs from
  • Double influence regain makes intimidating City-States for gold or Workers much easier
  • Founding a religion (if you can spread it to City-States) and opening the Patronage tree will make your UA even stronger, get them both and influence won't decay at all
  • Later in the game, focus on diplomatic aims
  • Use the Treaty Organisation or Gunboat Diplomacy tenets to help secure diplomatic victory
Unique Unit I: Hoplite

2 extra points of strength might not seem like a lot, but you can begin to realise the potential of Hoplites when you compare them to Swordsmen. 25% cheaper in production cost, no need for iron, 1 less technology needed and a 50% bonus versus mounted units, while being only 7% weaker than a Swordsman (generic Spearmen are 21% weaker than Swordsmen.)

So, what can you do with a cheap iron-free Swordsman? Well, one possibility is to very quickly rush another Civ with them - you only need two technologies to get to Hoplites, and the strength is probably much higher at this stage of the game than anything they can manage. This would hurt your relations with other Civs, making it harder to push through what you want in the World Congress later, so consider the benefits and drawbacks carefully.

You can also use Hoplites, Companion Cavalry and siege units together to launch a decent classical era attack. Hoplites make good meatshields while Companion Cavalry can sweep up enemy units effectively. But, again, this will hurt relations with other Civs.

The other option is to use your Hoplites for fighting Barbarians and defence where needed. It won't take long to research Bronze Working (one possibility here is to research Horseback Riding first to find horses for Companion Cavalry, then beeline Bronze Working for Hoplites) and the cheap cost coupled with the reasonably high strength of Hoplites makes them great at dealing with Barbarians.

Remember that while Hoplites may be exceptionally good against Horsemen, (effectively strength 19.5,) the 50% bonus vs mounted units doesn't apply to the Chariot Archer and its UUs due to its classification as a ranged unit.

Special promotions kept on upgrade

Unique Unit II: Companion Cavalry

While Hoplites cover a weakness of theirs (vulnerability to Swordsmen,) Companion Cavalry build upon their strengths with more movement and a higher amount of strength. Like Hoplites, you can use them for early-game warfare (remember to bring siege,) or to sweep up Barbarians and avoid the controversy that war brings.

If you want to get Companion Cavalry going early on, research Animal Husbandry before any other techs to reveal horses, clean up any Worker techs you need, then beeline Horseback Riding.

5 movement points

Being a Horseman replacement, Companion Cavalry can move after attacking. On flat land, 5 moves mean you can move from being out of range of most ranged units unit (or cities) to attacking them, then pulling out of range again. Archers, Composite Bowmen and Catapults are particularly vulnerable to this, though it's a viable way to deal with Chariot Archers, too.

Speed is also useful for reaching Barbarian encampments quickly (or retreating to heal up in City-State lands.)

14 strength

Companion Cavalry have strength to match Swordsmen, reducing their vulnerability to Swordsmen and being able to deal more damage while receiving less. Greece has basically no need to build Swordsmen.

Great Generals I

The only benefit of either of your UUs that carries over on upgrade, this attribute increases the Companion Cavalry's contribution to the Great General counter by 50%. One problem - you need to be at war with another Civ for that, and being at war will really hurt your reputation making it harder to push things your way in the World Congress later on. Still, as it carries over on upgrade, you don't have to worry about that right away.


Companion Cavalry are fast, strong Horsemen but require backup in war-time. They excel at Barbarian hunting, and while it may seem redundant to use both your UUs for that, it helps ensure you have a diverse defence for later on in the game. Having early UUs certainly nudges you to build a bigger army, which will hence serve as a bigger defence.

Special promotions kept on upgrade

  • Great Generals I (50% increased contribution to Great General generation)

It seems somewhat of a shame that the only attribute you keep from your two UUs is one bonus to Great General generation, but that balances with the fact your UA is particularly powerful. And remember that with two UUs, you've greatly discouraged aggressive Civs from attacking you in the crucial early-game.
Social Policies
Because wide empires tend to generate gold, start with Liberty. Honour is limited in effectiveness due to the lack of a sustained military edge (your UA isn't that useful in wartime and the main strengths of your UUs don't carry over on upgrade.) After that, go into Patronage and then Commerce to complement your UA.


There isn't really much to say about the Liberty tree that specifically affects Greek strategies, except for getting horses sooner rather than later.


Having all your cities expand their borders right away will help get horses for Companion Cavalry early on, and offsets some of the increased Social Policy costs per city.


Heading towards Collective Rule sooner rather than later helps you grab horses faster. Plus, the small bit of production makes a significant difference early on to help churn out more Hoplites or buildings.

Collective Rule

If you've not got horses already, now's a great opportunity to settle a city near some. And faster Settler production helps to spread your empire further.


Efficent Workers develops your cities faster, or you can just use fewer Workers and save a little in maintenance costs.


More happiness means more potential expansion.


A Golden Age is particularly good for cash, while Social Policy costs not increasing so much will help you get through other Social Policies faster.


You can rush a good wonder, or maybe just plant an Academy to prevent your tech rate from falling behind due to having many cities.



Now, your influence decay will be miniscule, and lower than any other Civ in the game (even if the Civ has this policy and their religion in the respective City-State.) This allows you to keep alliances going for a very long time, meaning alliances made for one round of World Congress voting will still be relevant in the second.


Raising the influence resting point gives you a head start towards City-State alliances. City-States below the new equilibrium point will head there more rapidly than is the case with any other Civ, though that makes very little difference in the grand scheme of things.


Gold is the main way of gaining influence later in the game, but while Greece has a disadvantage as far as it is concerned, this policy still makes quite a difference. After all, there will be some non-diplomatic Civs competing for City-State influence.


Greece has quite a bit to gain out of this policy, as you'll tend to focus on long-term alliances rather than getting loads of temporary alliances at once. Crucially, it's a source of science which you'll need to offset the increased technology costs of building wide.

Cultural Diplomacy

Both strategic and luxury resources are provided here, though the latter will be more useful for helping you support many cities.

Merchant Confederacy

If you're taking the Freedom ideology, Merchant Confederacy synergises very well with Treaty Organisation, letting you have decent International Trade Routes while gaining lots of influence. If you're taking Autocracy, then it's just a way of getting International Trade Route gold without giving a potential rival Civ money.


Random Great People! You can't really prepare for which Great Person will come when, but it's a nice advantage to have nonetheless.



Immediately you're generating a little more gold. Commerce is useful for Greece to help cover the disadvantage of no gold bonuses via uniques.

Wagon Trains

This policy cuts half your tile improvement maintenance, and makes land-based trade routes grant more money. A very useful policy for generating gold.


Now, you can generate Great Merchants faster and Trade Missions get double the gold. Setting aside a high-gold city to get plenty of Merchant specialists to generate Great Merchants is a good idea.

Mercenary Army

While Landsknechte are likely to be rather weak by this point, you need this policy to get further in the Commerce tree.


Cheaper gold purchasing may see limited usage seeing as you don't have as much gold to spare as other diplomatic Civs, but getting science out of gold buildings is good.

Protectionism and Finisher

And now your happiness problems are so much smaller. Lots of cities can work lots of Trading Posts, and faith-purchasing Great Merchants
Freedom and Autocracy both offer advantages to diplomatic players. Building wide suits Autocracy slightly more, and Gunboat Diplomacy is more effective than Freedom's Treaty Organisation, but Freedom offers an alternative source of influence and has better level one tenets.

I'm covering both and as usual, I'll be covering the best options from the first inverted pyramid of tenets per ideology, so that's three from level one, two from level two and one from level three.

Level One Tenets - Autocracy

Fortified Borders

As your cities grow in size, it places a huge burden on happiness, and the maintenance costs of happiness buildings eat away at your influence-buying potential. So, applying happiness to maintenance-free buildings is a rather good idea.

Industrial Espionage

Autocracy's level one tenets aren't the best around for diplomatic players, as you'll be using Spies mostly as Diplomats and maybe to rig a few City-State elections. Still, this can help get you to Globalisation faster.


For synergy with Gunboat Diplomacy. True, you can use the gold you would've spent on purchasing units on City-State influence, but in the long-run intimidating City-States should give you more influence.

Level Two Tenets - Autocracy


Unit maintenance takes away from precious gold, so this tenet reduces that problem and leaves more for bribing City-States or suchlike.

Total War

Just to help you with building even more units for Gunboat Diplomacy.

Level Three Tenet - Autocracy

Gunboat Diplomacy

The rather weak tenet choices leading up to this one can be excused by this tenet's potential power. If you have a strong enough military presence near a City-State to be able to bully gold off it, you gain 6 influence a turn, minus the per-turn decay. Greece's low per-turn influence decay makes them better at using this tenet than pretty much any other Civ.

Level One Tenets - Freedom

Covert Action

Diplomats are only worth delegates once you have the Globalisation technology, so before then you can dedicate your Spies to rigging City-State elections. Super-low influence decay means the effects of election rigging last much longer.


Happiness and gold are the two things you'll probably need at this stage of the game, so a source of happiness that's not only maintenance-free but generates you gold is rather welcome.

Avant Garde

Greece is good at maintaining levels of influence, though they're not great at rapidly gaining it. Generating Great Merchants faster is one way to help with that.

Level Two Tenets - Freedom

Arsenal of Democracy

An alternative way to get influence, you can build units and then gift them for 20 influence a time (5 base influence plus 15 from this tenet) Building lots of units then gifting them around 4-5 turns before a major World Congress vote is a good way to gain lots of influence quickly.

Volunteer Army

Maintenance-free units mean more gold for bribing City-States. True, the free Foreign Legion units cancel out the saved maintenance at first, but you can just gift less useful units you may have.

Level Three Tenet - Freedom

Treaty Organisation

While less effective than Gunboat Diplomacy, Treaty Organisation still does the job of gaining lots of influence adaquately. Remember to switch your Trade Route destinations every now and again so you don't end up with a redundantly excessive amount of influence in one City-State, and barely any in another.
Having a decent religion makes it easier to keep City-State alliances, especially as those sharing your religion have a 25% slower influence decay rate if it's above the equilibrium point, and regain influence 50% faster if it's below the equilibrium point.

Stacked with your UA and the Patronage opener, influence decay is 0 per turn, even for hostile personality City-States! So long as no-one overtakes your influence, uses Spies to lessen your influence or removes your religion from that City-State, it's a permanent alliance.

A slight problem is that your two UUs are on different technology routes to Shrines and Temples, so you need to be prepared for the event you don't get a religion, especially on higher difficulties.


As usual, highly-situational Pantheons aren't listed here. Consider a faith Pantheon to get to a religion faster.

Messenger of the Gods

Helps to offset the science troubles of building wide.

Sacred Waters

Cities next to rivers have a bonus to Trade Route gold, and this Pantheon gives happiness for such cities, helping to support more wide expansion.

God of Craftsmen

An easy boost to production helps with new cities, as well as churning out your UUs quickly in the early-game.


Papal Primacy

Combine it with Consulates for permanent City-State friendships. Raising the equilibrium of City-State influence means you don't have to gain as much influence to reach the alliance level, saving you gold.

Church Property or Tithe

More gold means you can afford to buy more influence, which in turn will mean more City-State alliances and more World Congress delegates.



The typical choice for wide-building Civs, Pagodas offer 2 local city happiness but the belief is highly-competitive.


To complement or as a backup for Pagodas, Mosques have more faith but only 1 point of happiness. Still, more faith means less time between faith-purchasing each one.


It's not too hard to get three followers in a city, nor it is difficult to build a Shrine, making this a cheap and effective source of happiness.

Religious Centre

Temples with this belief offer 2 local city happiness so long as the city has 5 followers or more. It's harder to get going than Pagodas or Mosques if you're not letting your cities grow very tall.


A backup to Pagodas and Mosques. Lacks the faith of Mosques or the happiness of Pagodas, instead offering a Great Art slot (which isn't that useful considering diplomatic players should be using Great Artists for Golden Ages.) Still, maintenance-free happiness is maintenance-free happiness.


Religious Unity

As City-States sharing your religion see even slower influence decay, it's worthwhile to spread your religion to them. This belief makes that easier, though remember this belief is useless on distant City-States which aren't near any other cities of your religion nor have a Trade Route with you.

Itinerant Preachers

Works well with Tithe. After converting a City-State to your religion, you can convert a decent number of nearby citizens to your religion (even if you don't convert any cities.)


If you want to firmly place a City-State in your religion, Great Prophets are effective at doing so, though the cost required means you can't really use your faith for anything else.
World Congress
In this section, I'm assuming you're after a diplomatic victory.

Thanks to Greece's ability to hold long-term alliances, you can really get an edge in the World Congress, though you may find trouble towards a World Leader vote as you can't rapidly gain influence with lots of City-States unlike most diplomatic Civs.

Note that "priority" in this section refers to how high a priority it is to vote on each decision, not how high a priority it is to put the vote forward.

Arts Funding

Low priority
Vote no

You can get a fair bit out of Great Artists, but Merchants, Scientists and Engineers are all good.

Cultural Heritage Sites

Medium priority
Vote no

Embargo City-States

Very High priority if you're using the Freedom ideology
Low priority if you're using the Autocracy ideology
Vote no if you're using the Freedom ideology
Abstain if you're using the Autocracy ideology, or vote yes if your main diplomatic competitors use the Freedom tree

A City-State embargo's not good for Freedom-taking diplomatic Civs, but it's not too bad for Autocracy as you can weaken other Civs in the process.

Historical Landmarks

Medium priority
Vote no

International Games

High priority
Vote yes

Because of Greece's low influence decay, the universal increase in City-State influence will help you more than any other Civ. Try to deny cultural players the tourism bonus. After all, World Congress projects can only occur once.

International Space Station

High priority
Vote no

Natural Heritage Sites

Low priority
Vote no unless you have a Natural Wonder of your own

Nuclear Non-Proliferation

High priority
Vote yes

You don't really want nukes in your lands, do you?

Scholars in Residence

High priority
Vote yes unless you're the leader technologically speaking

Sciences Funding

Medium priority
Vote yes

Standing Army Tax

Medium priority
Vote yes

World's Fair

Low priority
Vote yes

Keep in mind other Civs might get more out of it than you. Still, getting first place is an excellent defence against cultural Civs' influence.
If a wonder's good for a wide-building Civ or a diplomatic player, it'll probably be good for Greece. Here's a selection of the best.

Ancient Era

Mausoleum of Halicarnassus

A situational wonder, but if you start near marble and/or stone, it could be a great boost for early cash, helping to support more Barbarian-hunting units or early City-State-driven development.

Pyramids (Liberty Only)

Two free workers and a faster tile improvement rate means you can quickly get your new cities up to high standards. Plus, this is a highly uncompetitive wonder, so you're unlikely to be beaten to it.


If you want a good stab at getting your own religion, Stonehenge will really help out. It's somewhat competed-over, though, so don't rely on getting it on higher difficulties.

Classical Era


An extra Trade Route means quite a bit of extra cash by later in the game, and the Colossus also makes the city that built it more attractive for other Civs to trade to, meaning potentially even more money.


Due to the desert requirement, there's a good chance you won't be able to build this wonder, but if you can, it provides an extra Trade Route, which means more cash.

Terracotta Army (Warmongering Greece favoured)

While throughout this guide, I've been assuming you're heading for a diplomatic victory, that's not to say you can't do a little fighting early on (though it may just make every other Civ hate you for the rest of the game.) The Terracotta Army gives you a unit for every unit type you have already, so a good diverse early army can be achieved with a lower production cost than may otherwise be the case.

Medieval Era

Angkor Wat

If your cities can gain tiles faster, they can get to luxury resources and suchlike faster, providing you with happiness and gold sooner.


If you already have a religion when researching Theology, then this wonder will let you spread it far and wide. For the best results, convert City-States that don't have any rival religious followers, or very few.

Hagia Sophia

If you haven't founded a religion (or haven't enhanced it) yet but have production to spare, the Hagia Sophia sorts that issue out.

Machu Picchu

City connection gold is based off the total number of population points you have, which tends to be higher in wide empires by the end of the game. Machu Picchu increases that gold by 25%, as well as offering faith, which should help your diplomatic aims.

Notre Dame

10 points of global happiness helps to solve midgame happiness woes for quite some time.

Renaissance Era

Forbidden Palace (Patronage Only)

The highest priority wonder here. Extra delegates makes a huge difference in the initial World Congress sessions before City-States are taken into account, and reduced unhappiness from population is a great help for midgame happiness issues that tend to affect most wide-building Civs.

Leaning Tower of Pisa

A lower priority for Greece than some, but faster Great People generation will be useful for the odd Great Merchant or Artist (for Golden Ages.) And there's always the free Great Person of your choice.

Taj Mahal

Golden Ages are rare in wide empires, and they're also rather powerful due to the extra gold from every tile generating some already. So, picking up this wonder is rather effective.

Industrial Era

Big Ben (Commerce Only)

You might not be buying much with gold, but a small saving helps. You might need to quickly replace a Barbarian-plundered Trade Route, for example.

Modern Era

Neuschwanstein (Autocracy favoured)

This works wonderfully with Autocracy's Fortified Borders, making Castles generate 3 gold, two points of happiness and two points of culture every turn, cheaply and without a maintenance cost.

Prora (Autocracy Only)

A good source of happiness, Prora also grants you a Social Policy which helps you get towards Gunboat Diplomacy sooner if you haven't already.

Statue of Liberty (Freedom Only)

Extra production for specialists is good even for a wide-building diplomatic nation, helping you to churn out more units for the Arsenal of Democracy tenet. And that Social Policy pushes you towards Treaty Organisation.

Information Era

CN Tower

A free point of population, without unhappiness to go with it! That means a lot of extra citizens for working Trading Posts, for example.
Pitfalls to Avoid
Greece is a straightforward Civ on the whole, but it's easy to look at their two UUs and start trying to invade cities without proper preparation. Here's a selection of mistakes to avoid making.

Invading cities with Companion Cavalry without ranged units

While it's possible to pull off a Hoplite rush without using ranged units, by the time of Companion Cavalry, cities are typically too resilient to be beaten by melee alone. It's preferable to take a couple of Catapults, though a few Composite Bowmen are good, too.

Neglecting early City-State influence

Your UA isn't just about winning you the game through diplomacy; it's also good for development. City-States can stay friends or allies for a ridiculously long time, so sparing a couple of units to kill Barbarians works well.

Not saving up cash prior to a World Leader vote

Greece has trouble gaining lots of influence quickly, as I've said repeatedly already. Saving up money prior to a major World Congress vote, then spending it a turn or two just before the vote itself is a good idea. If you don't save up the cash, then other diplomatic Civs might just ally with lots of your City-States without you having a response.
Annoy Alexander: The Counter-Strategies
The Greek/Macedonian Civ has early-game strengths in combat which make them decent at attacking and excellent at defending, and Greece's City-State alliances are hard to overturn.

Playing against the Hellenic League

No trespassing trouble

Greece can freely use City-States as a spot to heal up units, or store an army without losing influence. It's not hard to keep an eye on nearby City-States if Greece is trying to use them as forward bases against you, and allying them can put Greece off attacking you.

Fast influence regain

When a Civ bullies a City-State, it usually offers a quest to grant it gold or pledge protection, making it hard to intimidate in future. So, if Greece is using their fast influence regain to get cash or Workers off City-States, it can basically hand you City-State alliances on a silver platter.

Slow influence decay

This is the tough one to deal with, but consider that Greece lacks a way to rapidly gain lots of influence compared to other diplomatic Civs. This means that it's not too hard to focus gold on some of their City-States just prior to a major World Congress vote, getting them out their hands.

Use of Spies is also an effective way to deal with Greece's influence. A successful coup is costly for Greece to try and overturn. For long-term City-State alliances prior to the renaissance era, it's best to avoid the ones Greece is after. They're probably the game's best Civ at holding down long-lasting alliances and it's not really a great idea to compete on their strongest point.

Playing against Hoplites

While Hoplites are closer in strength to Swordsmen, they're still not that much stronger than a generic Spearman. Using Swordsmen against them will work fine, or ranged units.

Playing against Companion Cavalry

Like regular Horsemen, Companion Cavalry are still vulnerable to Spearmen. Planting Spearmen on your more important tile improvements will keep them safe from pillaging. Chariot Archers are good at chasing them down, but will be vulnerable in defence. The optimum defence would be a mix of Spearmen, Chariot Archers and Horsemen (to defend the Chariot Archers) but for most of us, use Spearmen in your front line and the ranged unit of your choice behind them to pelt anything trying to attack your Spearmen.

Strategy by Style

Warmongers - It's not a great idea to attack Greece early on. As nothing of any great value carries over when Greece upgrades their UUs, they're as vulnerable in the mid and late-game as anyone else. Attacking them just after a World Congress vote should hopefully be the time they have the lowest number of City-State allies (as other diplomatic Civs will be rushing to buy alliances.)

Cultural and Scientific Players - Use your units of choice to deal with Greece's UUs if needed. Otherwise, bribing them into passing good stuff in the World Congress will help give you an advantage later on.

Diplomatic Players - Most diplomatic players can rapidly gain influence more effectively than Greece (mostly through gold, while Sweden can gain it through Great Person gifts.) Use this prior to major World Congress votes to get your way, and eventually get the edge over Greece for the World Leader vote. For diplomatic Civs that can't rapidly gain influence, then use Spies in their allied City-States to establish coups.
Other Guides
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These guides cover every Civ in the game and can be used as quick reference guides.

Civ-specific guides, in alphabetical order

All 43 Civs are covered in in-depth guides linked below. In brackets are the favoured victory routes of each Civ.
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Adrian Shepphard Sep 23 @ 9:44pm 
thx for the guide
Utahraptor Nov 24, 2020 @ 7:46pm 
One of my favorites along with Venice.
Zigzagzigal  [author] Aug 29, 2020 @ 1:04am 
Yeah - I've had a burst of comments in the comments section of Civ 5 guides since lockdown began, but it's been a long time since I wrote these guides so I keep trying to remember how mechanics work in Civ 5.
Seraguith Aug 28, 2020 @ 5:42pm 
damn it's been that long lol
Zigzagzigal  [author] Aug 28, 2020 @ 2:21am 
Given I wrote this guide over six years ago, I'm not sure how the sentence was supposed to end so I just cut it off.
Catface (Stalvern)/ Aug 27, 2020 @ 2:53pm 
Your blurb for Religious Center/Centre is cut off at "on the other hand it makes up for".
Scrambleman17 Nov 25, 2017 @ 3:44pm 
You Know that Mongolia is a Good COunter to Greece's UA, Since Mongolia Can Conquer City-States With Ease, and Greece's UA is City-State Based.
Seraguith Aug 6, 2015 @ 7:51am 
Really good guide. This gave me a lot of insight. +1
I always thought Greece was really bad, but now I've tried this and am steamrolling through the run.
Zigzagzigal  [author] Aug 5, 2015 @ 7:17am 
I decided a while ago not to do guides on general strategies (it'd take forever) but I can refer you to the CivFanatics War Academy, a very good source of high quality guides:
Oliver Closeoff Aug 5, 2015 @ 7:07am 
can u make a guide of how to win wars over different civs? i would really apretiate of so thx