Sid Meier's Civilization V

Sid Meier's Civilization V

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Zigzagzigal's Guide to Babylon (BNW)
By Zigzagzigal
Babylon is one of the game's hardest nations to face, having strengths in both defence and science, and is a good introductory Civ for scientific victories. This guide goes into plenty of detail about Babylonian strategies, uniques and how to play against them.
 
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Introduction
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)



Once, there were no cities. No nations. No civilizations. And then rose the great cities of the Middle East, millenia ago, including the cities of Egypt, of Sumeria and the city of Akkad. Under Sargon the Great around 4300 years ago, Akkad would capture the cities of Sumeria, conquering the Fertile Cresent between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers and establishing the Akkadian Empire. This empire would last for around 180 years, before splintering. Over the following centuries, Assyria and Babylon would develop out of its remains. In the 18th century before the common era, Hammurabi developed Babylonia from a minor state into an empire and establish his famous code of laws, but this Old Babylonian Empire faded in prominence after his death. Babylon was to be occupied by Kassites for centuries, followed by brief independence, and occupation by Assyria.

In the seventh century before the common era, Babylonia would be free once more, creating the Neo-Babylonian Empire with such wonders like the Hanging Gardens. But this new empire would not last long, falling to the Persians less than a century later. In turn, it would be conquered by Alexander the Great's empire. Babylon would over the centuries fall into ruin, and many of those ruins would be damaged or destroyed in the 2003 Iraq War. Now, it is time. Time, in a brave new world, for Babylon to once more emerge under your rule. To build a new kingdom; to build a civilization that will 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.
Bulbing - Rushing a technology with a Great Scientist. It's generally advised to place Academies with them until sometime around the Plastics technology, then switch to bulbing.
Finisher - The bonus for completing a Social Policy tree (e.g. Free Great Person for Liberty.)
Great Tile Improvement - A tile improvement built by a Great Person (Academy, Citadel, Customs House, Holy Site or Manufactory.)
GWAM - Great Writers, Artists and Musicians. These are the three types of Great People who can make Great Works, a major source of tourism for cultural Civs.
HP - Health Points - The measure of the amount of health something has. All units have a maximum of 100 HP, and cities have a maximum of 200 HP before taking into account defensive buildings.
Opener - The bonus for unlocking a Social Policy tree (e.g. +1 culture for every city for Liberty's opener)
Tall Empire - A low number of cities with a high population each. That route's advised for Babylon.
UA - Unique Ability - the unique thing a Civilization has which doesn't need to be built.
UB - Unique Building - A replacement for a normal building that can only be built by one civilization
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.
Uniques - Collective name for Unique Abilities, Units, Buildings, Tile Improvements and Great People
XP - Experience Points - Get enough and you'll level up your unit, giving you the ability to heal your unit or get a promotion.
At a glance (Part 1/2)
Start Bias

Babylon is biased to avoid tundra tiles. This pushes you a little towards the equator, which has the advantage of making it more likely you'll reach jungle tiles (which give science with Universities) but the disadvantage of being potentially surrounded by opponents.

Uniques

Babylon has both a Unique Unit and a Unique Building in the ancient era, but their power almost solely comes from their mighty Unique Ability.

Unique Ability: Ingenuity

  • Receive a free Great Scientist with the Writing technology (Ancient era, 2nd column, 3rd column overall)
    • This does not increase the cost of future Great Scientists, Engineers or Merchants.
  • 50% bonus to Great Scientist generation
    • This stacks additively with other bonuses, so if you had just this and a Garden in a city, it would have a 75% bonus to Great Scientist generation.

Unique Unit: Bowman (Replaces the Archer)


A standard ranged unit

Technology
Obsoletion
Upgrades from
Upgrades to
Production cost
Purchase cost
Resource needed

Archery
Ancient era
1st column
(2nd column overall)

Construction
Classical era
1st column
(4th column overall)

Scout
(Ancient Ruins upgrade only)

Composite Bowman
(80Gold)*
40Production*
200Gold*
None
*Assumes a normal speed game.

Strength
Ranged Strength
Moves
Range
Sight
Negative Attributes
Positive Attributes
7Strength
9Ranged Strength
2Movement Points
2
2
  • May not melee attack
None

Positive one-off changes

  • 7 strength, up from 5 (+40%)
  • 9 ranged strength, up from 7 (+29%)

Unique Building: Walls of Babylon (Replaces Walls)


Building of the City Defence line

Technology
Building required
Required to build
Production cost
Purchase cost
City restriction
Maintenance

Masonry
Ancient era
2nd column
(3rd column overall)
None

Castle
65Production*
360Gold*
None
None
*Assumes a normal speed game.

Base output
Output Multiplier
Specialist
Great Work slots
Other effects
None
None
None
None
  • +6 city Strength
  • +100 city HP

Positive changes

  • Costs 65 production, down from 75 (-13%)
  • Provides 6 city strength, up from 5
  • Provides 100 city HP, up from 50
At a glance (Part 2/2)
Victory Methods

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: 7/10
Diplomatic: 5/10
Domination: 7/10
Scientific: 10/10

Babylon is one of the two strongest Civs in the game for science, along with Korea.

Aside from heading towards building the spaceship, a technological advantage is good for grabbing cultural wonders towards a cultural victory, and all the Academies you'll have from all your Great Scientists can create tourism if you have both the Historical Landmarks World Congress resolution and either a Hotel, Airport or the National Visitor Centre.

Domination is another viable route - you can go for an early rush with Bowmen, or wait until you have a technological advantage and launch an attack then. Walls of Babylon are good for securing conquests so they don't get recaptured.

Similar Civs and uniques

Overall

Korea is the obvious pick. Between them, Korea and Babylon are the two best Civs at scientific victories in the game, and both come with powerful defensive capabilities on top making them exceptionally hard to conquer. Babylon tends to be stronger earlier in the game, where their extremely early Great Scientist can get them rapidly chewing through technologies, while Korea's bonuses will typically lead to them having the highest science output around by the end of the game.

Same start bias

Babylon's bias to avoid tundra is shared with Songhai and Assyria. The last of these in particular is likely to be a particular threat to Babylon if they start nearby due to their ability to steal technologies from conquest.

Similar to the UA

Babylon and Korea's UAs work somewhat differently in theory, but they both encourage good use of scientist specialists and a very science-orientated game making them in practice work very similarly.

Bonuses to Great Scientist generation outside Babylon's UA can also be seen in Sweden's UA and Austria's Coffee Houses. Both of these add to Great Person Point generation in general.

Similar to Bowmen

Other Archer UUs include the Incan Slinger and the Mayan Atlatlist. The latter of these is most alike the Bowman in that they're both fairly effective at early rushing.

Similar to Walls of Babylon

India's Mughal Fort is the sole other UB that replaces a defensive building and like the Walls of Babylon, it comes with a lower cost. The key difference is that Walls of Babylon build on the advantages of regular walls, while Mughal Forts offer completely different bonuses on top of the normal castle bonuses.

Instead, good comparisons can be found in Civs with defensive UAs, like Ethiopia or the Shoshone. Like Babylon, those Civs will be resilient to enemy attack throughout the game.
Unique Ability: Ingenuity


The free Great Scientist and the early game

No time to waste! Found your capital and research Pottery and Writing! Now!

Got the free Great Scientist? Good. Use it to build an Academy near your capital so it doesn't get pillaged by Barbarians. Go! Now, go onto the city screen and lock the tile so your city always works it.

Now you've greatly increased your generation of science. Grab Archery and any Worker technologies you need, and let's head towards Philosophy! If you're playing on a higher difficulty, don't bother with the Great Library; you probably won't get it. Instead, grab Philosophy early and build the National College in your capital. Boom! You've got lots of science now.


Above: Without the free Great Scientist, I'd only be generating 24 science right now. Without both it and the National College, only 13. It's very easy to use this to build a huge technological advantage over opponents.

Now, it's probably about time to settle new cities if you haven't already. Babylon works best as a tall rather than wide empire, so let's keep the number of cities low. 3 to 5 is probably fine. Try to settle them next to mountains if you can, (for Observatories later in the game,) but if that's not possible, river or lakeside spots will be decent, allowing you to build Gardens.

Extra Great Scientist generation and the rest of the game


Above: The 50% bonus to Great Scientist generation in your UA is listed under "Empire Bonuses".

After Philosophy, you should push towards Education (though feel free to make a brief detour if you need better units to defend yourself with, buildings to improve your cities' infrastructures or there's a good wonder you think you can beat everyone to.) This enables you to get Universities, which aside from their 33% boost to science in the city they're built in, have two scientist specialist slots. Fill them, and it's worth 6 Great Scientist Points, or rather, at least 9 thanks to your UA.

With regards to specialist slots, it's tempting simply to dedicate one city to generating Great Scientists, assuming the smaller cities will never be able to generate Great Scientists as the cost of them rises every time you generate them. That's not the case. When a city generates a Great Person, its Great Person Points for the respective Great Person are reset to 0, but other cities don't have such a reset, giving them a head start towards the next one. Keeping your Great Scientist generation high in all your cities will therefore give you more Great Scientists than keeping it high in only one.

For the rest of the game, it's a good idea to mostly push towards scientific technologies. Beyond Education, the technologies of Astronomy, Architecture, Scientific Theory, Plastics and Atomic Theory all will help with science. Any Great Scientists you generate should be used to construct Academies prior to around the Plastics technology, and ones after that point are probably better-suited to rushing technologies ("bulbing".) You should be able to build quite a technological advantage by the end of the game, giving you plenty of time to build the spaceship and win.

Maximising Great Scientist generation

I've already mentioned how you'll generate more Great Scientists if you dedicate more than one city to making them. Now, let's look into how we maximise Great Scientist Points in a single city. There's three main ways of doing this:

  • Filling scientist specialist slots - Each one filled increases the base value of Great Scientist Points gained per turn by 3.
  • Certain wonders directly give Great Scientist Points
  • Modifiers to Great Person generation

Here's all of them, arranged by the earliest era you can get the points in.

Era
Specialist slots
Direct Great Scientist Points
Point modifiers
Ancient
None
Great Library (1Great Scientist Point)
Your UA (+50%Great Scientist Points")
Friendship with Sweden (+10%Great Person Points"^^)
Sciences Funding (+33%Great Person Points^")
Arts Funding (-33%Great Person Points^")
Classical
None
Oracle (1Great Scientist Point)
National Epic (+25%Great Person Points^^)
Medieval
University
(2 scientists, 6Great Scientist Points total)
None
Garden (+25%Great Person Points^^)
Renaissance
None
Porcelain Tower** (2Great Scientist Points)
Red Fort (1Great Scientist Point)
Humanism (+25%Great Scientist Points")
Leaning Tower of Pisa* (+25%Great Person Points"^^)
Industrial
Public School
(1 scientist, 3Great Scientist Points total)
Brandenburg Gate (2Great Scientist Points)
Avant Garde or Hero of the
People (+25%Great Person Points"^^)
Modern
Research Lab
(1 scientist, 3Great Scientist Points total)
None
None
Atomic
None
None
None
Information
None
Hubble Space
Telescope*** (1Great Scientist Point)
None
^Modifier also affects Great Merchants and Great Engineers, and has the opposite effect on Great Artists, Writers and Musicians.
^^Modifier affects all Great People generation, not just Great Scientists
*Wonder gives a free Great Person of your choice
**Wonder gives a free Great Scientist
***Wonder gives two free Great Scientists
"Great Person Points modifier applies to all your cities
Unique Unit: Bowman


Bowmen provide a little extra defence against early attacks, allowing you to concentrate on grabbing Philosophy early for the National College. Their power is mid-way between that of Archers and Composite Bowmen, while they defend equally well to the latter.

While it may be possible to use Bowmen with Warriors as part of an early-rush strategy, generally speaking Bowmen are there to protect you from Barbarians and being invaded prior to you having either a tech advantage, the Walls of Babylon or both. If you're using Bowmen defensively, you don't really need Warriors as they're the same cost, defend almost as well and attack more effectively.

Don't worry if you never get around to building Bowmen. They don't keep anything when upgraded, and there's nothing they can do that Composite Bowmen can't.

Aside from constructing Bowmen yourself, you can also get a Bowman (even without researching Archery first) if you have a Scout enter Ancient Ruins and it finds weapons. It'll keep its "ignore terrain cost" promotion, so it's just as good for exploring. As Scouts can often end up being a very long distance away from home, it might be a very long time until you can upgrade them - hence having a higher attack and defence to help with survival is useful.

Special promotions kept on upgrade

None.
Unique Building: Walls of Babylon


If having a stronger Archer replacement and strong science wasn't enough to make life hard for invading Civs, Babylon's cities are particularly hard to take out thanks to their UB - considerably more effective than normal walls, and cheaper too!

The mechanics of city defence

To explain the uses of the Walls of Babylon, we need look at how city defence works. There's two components: city strength and city health.

City Strength

City strength is shown by the number next to the shield icon above a city's name. It determines two things:

  1. How well the city defends against attacks
  2. How strong the city's ranged attack is. Cities always attack as if they're at full health (a city at 1 HP will do as much damage with its ranged attack as one at 200 HP, for example.)

There's several things that determine a city's strength:

  • The era the city's Civ is in
  • Whether or not the city's on a hill
  • The city's population
  • The presence of a land-based military unit (a garrison, in other words. The stronger the garrisoning unit, the more city strength it adds.)
  • Defensive buildings

The last one is what your UB is concerned with. Walls normally add 5 strength to a city, but the Walls of Babylon add 6. Not a massive difference there, but it'll mean attackers will do mildly less damage to the city, and the city's ranged attack will be mildly stronger.

City health

While all units have a maximum of 100 HP, cities start with a maximum of 200 HP. This can be increased by building defensive buildings, all of which are maintenance free...

  • Normal Walls add 50 HP
  • Walls of Babylon add 100 HP
  • Castles add 25 HP
  • Arsenals add 25 HP
  • Military Bases add 25 HP

Any other Civ can therefore have a grand total of 325 HP in a city. Babylon can have 375, but generally-speaking you won't need to go that far. Walls of Babylon bring a Babylonian city to having as much health as anyone else's city with an Arsenal; for less than the cost of a Swordsman, you can increase a city's health by 50%!

So, Walls of Babylon can be used one of two ways. Either you can build them on their own in place of building a full array of defensive buildings, (sparing more production for things like infrastructure buildings) or you can build them all, leaving your cities incredibly hard to take out.
Social Policies
Babylon works best building tall, so start with Tradition. Dipping into Commerce helps provides some funds for Research Agreements, but as soon as you're in the renaissance era, switch to Rationalism to provide extra science.

Tradition

Opener

Fast border expansion gets you more quickly to the good tiles, letting you get your luxury and high-food tiles going sooner. The Hanging Gardens unlocked with this opener is a great wonder for you - it's worth mirroring real life and building it in your capital if possible.

Aristocracy

Take this later if you're on a higher difficulty. Otherwise, the idea is to grab the Great Library early. Manage it and you'll be practically unstoppable.

Oligarchy

The Walls of Babylon's lower cost and slightly higher strength compared to regular Walls already makes them good for city defence, but Oligarchy takes that even further by making cities' ranged attacks 50% stronger and garrisons free to maintain. As such, you'll have one of the game's strongest defences, making it incredibly hard for would-be invaders.

Legalism

Your first four cities can now all expand their borders through culture as soon as they're built thanks to the free Monuments (or other culture buildings.) It also makes building the National Epic for its bonus to Great Person generation easier.

Landed Elite

Extra food and growth in your capital will make it easier to fill scientist specialist slots as soon as they appear. Be sure to manage specialist slots manually - the default management of them tends to favour Writers, Artists, Musicians and Merchants.

Monarchy

This provides a good source of early-game cash, and prevents unhappiness being and issue for quite some time.

Finisher

With faster growth and free Aquaducts in your first four cities, all of them can more easily grow to a good size for filling scientist specialist slots. You should do so - multiple cities dedicated to Great Scientist generation will generate more than if you had just one city doing so.

Commerce

The sheer speed Babylon picks up technologies means there probably won't be much time between the end of Tradition and the start of Rationalism. Commerce is probably the best Social Policy tree to plug the gap as you can use the gold for running Research Agreements, though keep in mind the science you get from Research Agreements is capped by whichever Civ has the lower amount of science.

Opener

Starting positions are always in range of at least two luxuries, (on most random map scripts) and together with the Monarchy Social Policy, your capital will probably be your highest producer of cash. As such, you can get a decent extra amount of cash out of this policy.

Mercenary Army

This may seem an odd direction to go in, but the Social Policy following this one (Mercantilism) will be rather powerful. This policy itself is a cheap source of mid-game defence.

Mercantilism

Aside from being one of the only non-Rationalism Social Policies to offer science, the reduction in gold-purchasing costs is excellent when combined with the Freedom Ideology's tenet Space Procurements, which allows you to purchase spaceship parts with gold.

Wagon Trains

Still not in the renaissance era? Wagon Trains saves you a little money on road and railway maintenance, and makes your land-based Trade Routes more effective, meaning a little more money for Research Agreements (or buying spaceship parts with.)

Rationalism

Opener

Keeping a tall empire in positive happiness is not difficult. As such, maintaining the 10% science bonus isn't difficult either. It's a universal bonus, applied after all other modifiers, so its impact is always noticable.

Humanism

Going nicely with your UA, this makes Great Scientist generation even faster.

Free Thought

You should have Universities in all your cities, so this provides a good boost to your science output without having to manage your cities any differently to before.

Secularism

All those scientist specialists are already producing a decent amount of... well... science, but Secularism lets you take that even further. Now, all specialist types will give you two points of science each, making it worthwhile to fill lots of those slots. Keep an eye on Great Merchant and Engineer generation, though - each one you generate increases the costs of each other as well as Great Scientists. It may be worth removing some Engineer and/or Merchant specialists briefly to ensure you don't generate the wrong Great Person.

Sovereignty

This frees up a sum of cash from scientific building maintenance, which can be funneled into things like Research Agreements.

Scientific Revolution

The science you receive from Research Agreements is determined by the recent output of the Civ (out of the two making the agreement) with the lowest science output. With Scientific Revolution, you will always make more science than the Civs you're making agreements with (so long as they don't have this policy themselves, or the Porcelain Tower wonder,) so the only risk when signing Research Agreements is if that Civ declares war on you, cancelling it.

Finisher

Grab an expensive technology with the Finisher. As a scientific Civ, you'll need to research nearly the entire tech tree, in order to be able to build all the spaceship parts, so the specific choice of technology matters less than with other Civs.
Ideology
Babylon's best-off taking the Freedom ideology, as it suits tall-building scientific players well. Generating lots of Great Scientists over the course of the game will make Great Engineers expensive to generate, so while for many scientific Civs, Order's level three tenet Spaceflight Pioneers may be easier to use than Freedom's Space Procurements, it's not really the case for Babylon.

As usual, I'm covering 3 level one tenets, 2 level two tenets and 1 from level three.

Level One Tenets - Freedom

Avant Garde

Generate even more Great Scientists, and eat up those last few technologies quickly!

Civil Society

With Rationalism's Secularism, now you can fill lots of specialist slots, get lots of science and still grow your cities at the same time for even more specialists (or more production potential for spaceships.)

Economic Union

If there's a lack of other CIvs taking Freedom, take something like Capitalism for happiness to help combat the ideological pressure you're likely to face. Otherwise, the Economic Union tenet is a source of extra gold ahead of Space Procurements.

Level Two Tenets - Freedom

New Deal

You've probably got plenty of Academies by now, and this tenet gives you and extra 4 science for every one of them (before taking into account science multipliers.)

Universal Suffrage

Lots of strong tourism Civs with Order or Autocracy pressuring your happiness? This tenet makes specialists produce half the amount of unhappiness of other citizens, giving you plenty of happiness to resist that pressure. Got no happiness issues? This tenet will make Golden Ages last longer, giving you a nice reward for keeping your happiness high. It's a decent idea to keep a Great Artist or two around for when you're building Spaceship parts, as you can activate a Golden Age then and make use of the production bonus offered.

Level Three Tenet - Freedom

Space Procurements


Above: I've got the Big Ben wonder reducing the cost to buy this spaceship part, but it could be even cheaper if I had the Mercantilism Social Policy from the Commerce tree.

Space Procurements can cut off a few turns when it comes to launching the spaceship, which in some cases can be the difference between victory and defeat. Remember that a spaceship component is only counted as complete once it's sent to the capital, so (particularly in multiplayer) you can hide your progress by building/buying components, and not sending them to your capital until they're all done.
Religion
You don't need a strong global religion as Babylon, but a decent domestic one is useful. In singleplayer, you can keep out rival religions by stationing Inquisitors in the cities you don't want rivals to convert. You don't actually have to use those Inquisitors, just keep them there.

As usual, this section covers the best non-situational choices from each type of religious belief. Taking a Pantheon which offers some faith is a good idea to help secure a religion, though nearly all faith-giving Pantheons are situational depending on where you start.

Pantheon

Fertility Rites or Goddess of the Hunt or Sun God

All three of these help to grow your cities taller, meaning you can more easily fill scientist specialist slots once they become avaliable. More citizens also often means more production to help build good scientific wonders with.

God-King

This gets your capital off to a good start. It's the only Pantheon that immediately offers science, making your early advantage even bigger, and the small production boost may come in handy for building wonders.

God of Craftsmen

Not as versatile as God-King, but affects all your cities. Decent for getting new cities off the ground.

Monument to the Gods

If you're really desperate to build the Hanging Gardens or the Great Library, this Pantheon can help somewhat, but it's quite a large risk to make.

Founder

Tithe

An effective source of gold, which works well for things like Research Agreements.

Interfaith Dialogue

Having a weak religion isn't a problem with Interfaith Dialogue which gives you science for using the "spread religion" function on Missionaries or Great Prophets.

World Church

When defending against cultural Civs' tourism, tall scientific Civs can often struggle, as you don't have the sheer volume of culture wide empires can get, nor are you getting plenty of culture from Great Works and cultural wonders. World Church may help lessen that problem.

Follower

Swords into Plowshares

This is a good belief for growing cities faster, though remember that it's a growth bonus, rather than a food bonus, meaning the maximum potential size of your cities will still be the same as before. You'll just be able to reach that point sooner.

Religious Community

There's a rather nice production bonus on offer here if you can get 15 or more of your followers in a city. It'll cut a few turns off wonder and spaceship building.

Feed the World

A reasonable way to help grow your cities, without having to spare any citizens.

Guruship

As you should be working scientist specialists in all your cities, they can easily get the +2 production bonus on offer here.

Choral Music

Really desperate for some more culture, perhaps to get through Rationalism policies faster? Here's a way.

Enhancer

Religious Texts

This makes it harder for rivals to convert your cities, without you having to spend any faith.

Reliquary

Generating lots of Great Scientists can now make you a decent supply of extra faith. As once you've finished the Rationalism Social Policy tree (and are at least in the industrial era) you can buy Great Scientists with faith, you've got a bit of a positive feedback loop going.
World Congress
Babylon doesn't really have any advantages to gaining delegates in the World Congress, so it may be difficult to push through what you want. Here's a list of most World Congress decisions and how best to vote.

Note "priority" refers to how high you should prioritise your votes if it comes up, not how much you should prioritise putting them forward. If someone wants to implement Arts Funding, you should prioritise to vote no, for example. If you could put forward a vote, then it'd be a bad idea to put Arts Funding on the table. Note also that voting choices can vary depending on your game.

Arts Funding

Very High priority
Vote no

Computer opponents have an annoying tendency to support Arts Funding, even if they're a Civ which gains more from Great Engineers, Scientists or Merchants. As such, it's worth using Diplomats to bribe other Civs to vote against this decision, just so you can scrape up enough delegates to stop it happening.

Cultural Heritage Sites

Medium priority
Vote no

This is more for cultural Civs. Thanks to Hotels, Airports and the International Visitor Centre, this policy gives them lots of tourism. You don't want that to happen.

Embargo City-States

High priority
Vote no

Trading with full Civs means giving them science.

Historical Landmarks

Medium priority
Vote yes unless a cultural Civ has lots of Great Tile Improvements and/or landmarks

You'll have plenty of Academies, and you can use this decision to get plenty of culture out of it, too. It can offer you decent defence against tourism, though watch out for cultural Civs trying to push this through to boost their tourism generation.

International Games

Medium-High priority
Vote no

International Space Station

High priority
Vote yes

This makes rushing technologies with Great Scientists more effective, as well as giving a little science to all Engineer specialists, and a little production to all Scientist specialists, which is good for pushing towards the spaceship.

Natural Heritage Sites

Low priority
Vote no unless you have Natural Wonders of your own

Nuclear Non-Proliferation

High priority
Vote yes unless you want to exploit your tech advantage by nuking unprepared Civs, and don't yet have the nukes to do so.

Generally, you want these banned. But, if you have the uranium and other Civs are a long way off nukes of their own, you've got an option to completely ruin their day.

Scholars in Residence

High priority
Vote no

Don't want someone leeching off your technology, do you?

Sciences Funding

Very High priority
Vote yes

Standing Army Tax

Low-Medium priority
Vote yes

Generally, scientific Civs can keep smaller armies and hence are affected less by this resolution than other Civs.

World's Fair

Low priority
Vote no

If it goes through, it can be worth working on it for the culture to defend against cultural Civs.
Wonders
Building tall gives you an advantage to building wonders (though it's compensated for by the fact wide empires have an advantage to founding a religion.) Don't go overboard - you shouldn't necessarily aim to build everything listed here - but there's still plenty that are worth a shot. Here's a list of them, arranged alphabetically by era.

Ancient Era

Great Library

On the highest difficulties, it's usually best not to even attempt to build the Great Library due to the early-game advantages other Civs have. For the rest of us, the science and free technology here, combined with the free Great Scientist from researching Writing and the National College all adds up to so much science you're practically unstoppable.

Mausoleum of Halicarnassus

As one of the only Civs with a bonus to any kind of Great Person generation, you can make more out of this wonder than most. Every Great Scientist (or other Great Person for that matter) used up now gives you 100 gold; what you do with that gold is up to you.

Temple of Artemis

This offers a food bonus (not a growth bonus as the tooltip claims) to all your cities, letting them both grow faster and reach a higher popuiation - good for filling those specialist slots.

Classical Era

Hanging Gardens (Tradition Only)

It's rather appropriate to build it in your capital. All the food will help it grow quickly, and the wonder's the only way of you getting a Garden prior to the medieval era or in a city neither on a river nor a lake.

Oracle

An early Great Scientist point's on offer here, as well as a free Social Policy to eat up those powerful Tradition policies faster.

Medieval Era

Chichen Itza

Tall empires usually have fewer issues with happiness than wide ones, which means more frequent Golden Ages. The gold's good for Research Agreements, the production's good for building further wonders (or even spaceship parts) and the culture's good for getting through those Rationalism Social Policies quickly, or Freedom tenets, or just to defend against cultural Civs.

Renaissance Era

Leaning Tower of Pisa

This helps you to generate those Great Scientists even faster! Plus, you get a free Great Person Great Scientist or Engineer out of it. (Okay, other options are avaliable, but generally you'll be best with one of the two.)

Porcelain Tower (Rationalism Only)

Combined with Rationalism's Scientific Revolution, you're guarenteed to get more out of Research Agreements than the other Civ does. Plus, there's a free Great Scientist on offer here. So, all the nicer.

Red Fort

I don't typically list defensive wonders in the Wonders section due to the fact they tend to be highly-situational, and the Civs that tend to most need them tend to focus on the other end of the tech tree. The reason I'm bringing up Red Fort here is its synergy with your UB. With this, your UB and the rest of the defensive buildings, you can defend your cities well while keeping your army slim, hence freeing up the cash you would spend on unit maintenance.

Industrial Era

Big Ben (Commerce Only)

Big Ben goes well with Space Procurements (and Mercantilism in the Commerce Social Policy tree) to make purchasing spaceship parts much more affordable, hence making it faster to complete.

Brandenburg Gate

This wonder offers two Great Scientist points, and can help out somewhat if your strong city defences and technological advantage aren't enough by themselves to put off attackers.

Modern Era

Cristo Redentor

If you're struggling to reach Space Procurements, or to finish Rationalism, this wonder can help out with that. It also provides a bit of direct culture to help defend against those pesky cultural Civs.

Statue of Liberty (Freedom Only)

Lots of science is useful, but later in the game, you're going to need to think about production for building the spaceship. The Statue of Liberty is a great help in that respect, adding production to every single type of specialist - something you'll have plenty of already. Plus, you get a free Social Policy as well.

Atomic Era

Great Firewall

The problem with having a technological advantage is that everyone wants it off you. As such, you'll be forced to keep at least one Spy as a counter-Spy, while everyone else is spying on you, sending Diplomats to each other, rigging City-States or other such everyday activities. The Great Firewall will put a stop to their little game. In addition to making the city it's built in Spy-proof, it makes all your other cities harder to spy on, too. That means you can free up your own Spies for the finer things in life, like implementing coups in City-States or using them as Diplomats to bribe other Civs not to attempt to implement Arts Funding for the seventh time.

Information Era

Hubble Space Telescope

An enormous help to spaceship-building, the Hubble Space Telescope makes the whole process much quicker.
Pitfalls to Avoid
Babylon is a very straightforward Civ, but with one major early hurdle which trips up inexperienced players...

Using the free Great Scientist at Writing to rush a technology

Please, do not do this. The science you'll get from planting an Academy will be considerably more than the science you'll get from trying to rush a technology. This is true up until around the modern era. Building an Academy will pretty much double your tech rate for the earliest few turns, helping you to grab multiple early technologies quickly rather than just one.

That's not the only pitfall to avoid, though...

Placing your first Academy too far out

In the earliest years, it's easy for random Barbarians to come in and pillage. Keep your first Academy close to your capital to avoid this problem.

Placing too much emphasis on your UU and UB

In all honesty, it doesn't actually matter if you never build either. Bowmen are stopgap units, helping to defend you for a brief time early on, and Walls of Babylon only really make a difference compared to normal Walls when someone's actively attacking your city.

Assuming you can build the Great Library

On the highest two difficulties, it's impossible in most games. On the two difficulties below that, it can still be difficult. Your free early Great Scientist's Academy will give you even more of an early science lead than the Great Library will to whichever Civ built it, so it's no great loss.

Not micromanaging specialists

By default, the AI that manages cities tends to like Writer, Artist, Musician and Merchant specialists. Control it manually, and you can ensure those scientist slots are always filled, and you can keep Great Scientist generation at its optimum.

Assuming a technological advantage means invulnerability

Even with a strong technological advantage, a good defence is still useful - you can't solely rely on your UB! UUs in particular can cause you problems, as they're often reasonably effective against units ahead of their eras.

Neglecting World Congress delegates

You've got to be ready for the event the World Congress may do something horrible like enacting Arts Funding. Be prepared to use Spies as Diplomats, or to spend money to bribe City-States if something like that comes up.
Nullify Nebuchadnezzar: The Counter-Strategies
Babylon is one of the hardest Civs in the game to defeat, owing to their combination of strong science and strong defence. Yet there are ways to weaken them, and huge rewards for success...

Playing against the UA: Ingenuity

If you meet Babylon really early on, you can post a couple of units near their capital, so as soon as they've researched Writing, you can declare war and destroy their Great Scientist (or force them to use the Great Scientist to rush a technology.) Alternatively, try attacking a little later with mounted units to keep pillaging their Academy tile so they can't make full use of the science. Or just make a full early attack - it'll take a bit of time for their tech lead to really kick in.

As a tall-building Civ, Babylon may be likely to focus on infrastructure ahead of building further cities early on. That's an opportunity for you to take a good river/mountain spot near them before they can.

If you can't take out Babylon early on, (or don't think it'll be a good idea for whatever reason,) consider that militaristic technologies are on the other side of the tech tree to scientific ones. Invading them may lead them into making a huge technological detour, lessening their advantage. If you can take them over, then you'll be rewarded with quite a number of Academies, allowing you to build a technological advantage of your very own.

If you're not in the business of invading other Civs, you can still put pressure on Babylon. Their relatively low focus on culture makes them vulnerable to ideological pressure, which could lead to quite a bit of unhappiness they'll have to deal with. For the diplomatic players among us, Arts Funding will often hurt them more than it hurts you. After all, there's still Golden Ages from Great Artists you can use to compensate for the loss of money from fewer Great Merchants.

So, generally Babylon is most vulnerable earlier on, though they're a Civ highly vulnerable to pillaging throughout the game. The more effort they put on defence, the less they place on science.

Playing against Bowmen

The best way to treat Bowmen is to assume they're Composite Bowmen - they're slightly weaker at attacking but have the same strength in defence, making them a decent approximation. If attacking Babylon at that stage of the game, either make sure your army outnumbers theirs, or bring more advanced units. Spearmen are good early units for fighting Bowmen with.

Fighting against Walls of Babylon

The best bit about Walls of Babylon is, unlike most UBs, you can tell if a city has them as it has a unique graphic. The -10 production cost and +1 city strength compared to regular Walls are things you don't really need to worry about, but the +50 HP will be. Bring more siege units than you usually would when attacking Babylon to ensure you cover the gap.

Strategy by style

Early-game Aggressors

You may need to bring slightly more units than usual to deal with Bowmen or the Walls of Babylon. Try to pillage their Academy early in the war so their tech rate suffers.

Mid-game and Late-game Warmongers

You might want to consider attacking Babylon earlier, but if that's not possible for whatever reason, beeline your UU (if you have one) so you can fight on a more even footing, and be sure to bring plenty of siege weapons in order to deal with their cities' high amounts of health. Again, be sure to pillage their Academies early on.

Cultural Players

Building tall but not focusing on culture, Babylon's quite prone to having a small pool of culture to defend against your tourism. Pushing through Arts Funding will both help you and hurt them, so it's not a bad idea.

Diplomatic Players

Trading heavily with Babylon will give you a good amount of science. As mentioned earlier, Arts Funding will hurt them more than it'll hurt you, but you can also use your strength in the World Congress to vote down other things they want.

Scientific Players

Consider, after a while in the game, switching your focus to military technologies and invading Babylon. As military technologies are at the other end of the tech tree to scientific ones, there's a good chance your military will be stronger than theirs, thus making it more likely you'll win. Conquering their lands will hopefully give you plenty of Academies to help your scientific aims even further.
Other Guides
Meta-guides

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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44 Comments
triv Dec 28, 2017 @ 6:59am 
This is by far the best guide I've ever read in my life. Thanks a million for that, mate!:gearthumbsup:
fishrace Mar 10, 2017 @ 6:16pm 
Thank you for the work you did in this guide. It has really increased my enjoyment in trying to get a spaceshuttle victory with Babylon.
Nơi Này Có MMR Feb 20, 2017 @ 7:26pm 
I just started playing Babylon for the first time and I got a population ruin, a culture ruin, and a WRITING rune (right after finishing Pottery). dafuq.
Zaughtilo Sep 9, 2015 @ 6:52pm 
" or using them as Diplomats to bribe other Civs not to attempt to implement Arts Funding for the seventh time." Haha... so true... q_q
🗩 Sep 1, 2015 @ 2:42am 
thanks for the tips, really helps me out
Thorkell Aug 23, 2015 @ 6:58am 
Thank you for this guide! Really helped improve my gameplay as a newbie. :steamhappy::steammocking:
kangaroo Aug 7, 2015 @ 12:40am 
I have a question, I have built all spaceship parts, but I do not know what to do with them, it says once they have been built send them to capital, but it doesn't do anything, help?
Grouchy Mar 14, 2015 @ 9:13am 
build hanging gardens as babylon, such historical
C0untzer0 Mar 9, 2015 @ 8:00am 
Also, the CN tower's population boost gives a final push to your last SS engine.
C0untzer0 Mar 8, 2015 @ 6:19am 
A little note for the pitfalls, as with any Scientific civ you need to keep an eye on your cashflow! Don't neglect markets and trading posts or the negative gold comes out of your research budget.