FAQ/Strategy Guide by MightyMooquack

Version: 2 | Updated: 11/09/01 | Printable Version

Civilization 3 FAQ
release 2/110901
by the MightyMooquack

1: A quick overview of terms
2: Basic changes
3: Culture
4: The resource system
5: Trade
Copyright notice


     This document, in its current form, is a guide to people trying to convert
from Civilization II to Civilization III. Later I plan to expand it to a general
Civ3 FAQ, but that's too much work for an initial release. This may seem a tad
unorganized to you; this is really a rough draft. If you spot anything that's
obviously wrong, have anything you'd like to add, or just would like to praise my
fine work, email me at mooquack@bigfatpipe.net. If the focus of this document
changes, I'll just append paragraphs to the end of this introduction.
     One note about what is FAQ is not: it isn't a database of units and
technologies. That is what the manual and Civlopedia are for. There will be no
endless lists of crap at the end of this document expanding its size another
200kb. My goal is a grand total of zero tables (with the exception of the table of
contents, duh).

1: A quick overview of terms

     A few terms have changed since Civ2. The "trade" resource (you know, those
two little arrows) is now called "commerce" and is represented by a little pile of
gold coins. The term "resource" used to refer to those little corn stalks and
pheasants you'd find scattered throughout the map. It still does, only now there
are a few more things that go by the name. "Culture" is an entirely new system
which makes things a little more interesting (the least of which is Alpha Centauri-
ish borders; more on this later). The minor villages (the goody huts) really do
seem more like villages now (they look like villages and they have names).

2: Basic changes

     A few tweaks from Alpha Centauri, a few regressions to Civ1, and some
entirely new things. Though I wish they had added AC's social engineering feature
(I love that little thing), I'm glad they didn't add its unit customization feature
(it's just not what Civ is all about). They DID add the fact that settlers and
workers are different units. On top of that, settlers take two population points
from the city you build them in, and workers take one. Damn! My rabid expansionist
tactic goes right out the window. On the plus side, you now start with both a
settler and a worker.
     The Civ games have always sort of had ages. In Civ2, when you advanced in an
age your cites changed what they looked like, but that was the only real
indication. In Civ3, you have to research most of the techs in one age before you
can start researching techs in the next. Once you research the requisite techs, you
advance to the next age (and the appearance of your cities changes, just like it
always did in Civ2).
     The various civilizations are now different from one another in some small
ways. There are now six attibutes, of which every civilization has two. The six
attributes are: Commercial, Expansionist, Industrious, Militaristic, Religious, and
Scientific. Industrious is a very good one, as it makes Workers work faster, as
well as a production bonus in large cities. Commercial lowers corruption, which is
nice, and it gives a commerce bonus in large cities, which is very nice.
Expansionist could be better; starting the game with a scout is nice, but this
advantage doesn't warrant picking it over another attribute, and the other
advantage, barbarian encampments are worth more, is moot in the later stages. The
last three, Militaristic, Religious, and Scientific, each give discounts on the
buildings associated with those types (Militaristic gives a discount on barracks
and walls and so on, Religious on temples and cathedrals, Scientific on libraries
and research labs). They also each get another advantage. Militaristic makes
promotions happen more often, Religious reduces anarchy between government types to
one turn, and Scientific gives a bonus tech when you go from one age to the next,
which can make all the difference on harder difficulties. Choosing two of these
(there is a civ for each combination) can be very difficult.
     Irrigating is a little different, as are rivers. In Civ1, rivers were their
own terrain type. In Civ2, they were a modifyer to terrain, and ran through the
middle of squares. Now they run on the borders between squares. Consequentally,
they no longer provide the movement bonus; roads running over them actually don't
provide the road movement bonus until construction is discovered. They still
provide a defensive bonus when one unit attacks another across a river. They also
still provide source for irrigation, but salt water oceans do not, at least until
Electricity is discovered (representing the development of desalinization, I
expect). Fresh water lakes also provide a source for irrigation, as do (yay!) city
squares with irrigation running next to them. Irrigation can also be transferred
diagonally. But (damn damn and damn again!) farmland is gone, as is the Engineer's
transform ability and the Engineers themselves. The efficiency of workers is now
directly tied to government type.
     Gone is the concept of home cities for units. Now each city merely adds a
certain amount (depending on city size and government type) to a central allowed-
units number. Going over the number costs one gold per unit per turn. Under a
democracy and republic this number is zero, and you must pay for every unit (with a
bonus to commerce at the same time, so you're still making money). You can view
both how many units you have and what your maximum count before you have to pay is
on the military advisor screen. Lots of large cities equals lots of units. Settlers
and workers do not cost any food in any cities per turn.
     Governments have been changed. Fundumentalism has been removed (what, halved
science didn't balence it enough?), and Communism has been made more like it was
in Civ1. Democracy is now really the best choice. Specifically, for those of you
not familiar with Civ1, Communism's main advantage has been altered: it now has
corruption and waste. What it does do is even out the corruption and waste, making
every city have the same amount. Building a courthouse in one city effects every
city a small amount under Communism.
     City walls are a little different now. In Civ2 they tripled the defensive
values of any units inside of them. In Civ3, they only do something in a city of
size 6 or less, and it's only a 50% bonus at that. Cities of size 7-12 just get a
50% bonus for being that big, and cities over 12 get a 100% bonus.
     The random world generator is a little smarter. For one thing, it can create
worlds with 16 starting locations (only on the huge maps). It also has a new land
mass type to go along with contenents and archipeligo: pangea. One huge hunk of
land. The old temperature and humidity options are still there, and work like they
always have (more or less).
     Barbarians don't just magically appear out of nowhere. More accurately, they
way in which they appear to appear out of nowhere is different. They now have
encampments, which look much like the goody huts, from where they come. They also
are more limited in which unit types they can make. Where in Civ2 the technology
they had access to rose with everyone else, in Civ3 they have three units they are
limited to building for the length of the game: warriors, horsemen, and galleons.
The harder levels of barbarian activity just change how many units they send out of
their encampments. Capturing an encampment gives a small amount of gold and
destroys the encampment. Be warned: they can rebuild it in a different place. Like
always, they don't appear inside of your terriory, so controlling a whole landmass
prevents them from appearing on that landmass.
     For more information please consult the manual, which is included with the
game in both printed form and in handy PDF format on the game CD.

3: Culture

     So you've built your first city. Something's wrong: the city radius seems
smaller. Where it should look like this:


it actually looks like this:


The reason for this is an entirely new system to Civ3: culture. As you build
various city improvments, such as libraries, temples, and universities, that city
starts to earn culture points every turn. Once it's built up enough, its "cultural
influence" expands. Hopefully I can get some exact numbers on this later. Every
time it expands, the radius of the circle around it increases by one map grid
square. Note that this doesn't mean the city radius expands, just its cultural
     The point is that the city radius cannot be bigger than the culture radius,
but it CAN be the other way around (and usually is). The culture radius limits the
size of the city radius. So your dinky size 1 cities with a culture radius of one
also has a tiny city radius, but your size 30 metropolis has a massive (size 5 or 6
or possibly bigger) culture radius, with a normally sized city radius. Most
importantly, your favorite city-building scheme still applies.
     So beyond limiting your city radius, what does this thing actually do? For
starters, it allows access to resources (described below), but it also defines your
national borders. Borders actually mean something in this game: the fog of war is
now lifted on all the territory within your borders and one square beyond. This
makes keeping an eye on things at home much easier. It also does some interesting
things when your culture boundries are right next to someone else's.
     Say two enemy cities are near one another, say three squares between them.
Suppose one has big culture radius, 4 or more, and the other is still trying to get
beyond its initial radius of 1. Suppose (optimally) that the big city is yours. If
you're lucky, you'll be presented with a message to the effect of "The citizens of
[small city] have overthrown their dictator and wish to join with you," and you're
given the choice of installing a new governor (taking the city) or "rebuffing the
rebels" (not taking the city). I cannot think of a situation in which you wouldn't
take it, but there probably is one. And, oh yeah, if you're at peace with the
people who used to have the city, your diplomatic stance is unaffected. I once
conqured half the Russian empire with this, never once going to war with them.
Nice. Keep in mind that the cities involved can be any size, the only real factor
is their respective culture radii.

4: The resource system

     You've made a couple cities, made a few units, possibly engaged some bad guys.
Why, you even discovered Iron Working, but you can't, for some reason, make the
Swordsman unit. What gives?
     Throughout the game, you periodically discover technologies that uncover new
resources. There are eight resources of this type (called "strategic resources"):
Iron, Horses, Saltpeter, Coal, Oil, Rubber, Aluminum, and Uranium. For information
on what techs give what resources, and which units need them, consult the
Civlopedia or the manual.
     There are also "luxury resources" which work much like the strategic versions,
except they make people happy instead of allowing the construction of units.
     The trick with these resources is that they must be within the culture radius
of a city you control to collect, and there must be a road (or railroad) connecting
the city to the resource. This is not true with bonus resources (the corn and
pheasants and so forth); they work like they always have.
     Here's how the strategic resources work with respect to building units that
need them. So long as a city is connected to the city with access to the resource
through the trade network (described below) that city has access to the resource.
The simplest way to connect two cites in the network is with a road.
     So you've discovered gunpowder and need Saltpeter, but there's none to be seen
in your neck of the woods. That's bad. First, try and find some in an unclaimed
area, then claim it. You can do this with either a city or a new thing called a
colony which was created for exactly this purpose. Colonies are made with workers.
Remember to connect it to a city with a road, or it does nothing. And, here's the
important part, garrison a unit or two in it. An enemy can take it just by walking
into it. Of course, I personally prefer just building a city on it, but that's my
own opinion. Colonies are convenient because workers are usually plentiful. If
there is none to be seen, you're going to have to trade for it.

5: Trade

     This makes a whole lot more sense than it used to. No more caravans! No more
freight! I can't speak for everyone, but hearing that made me much happier. Trade
deals are now negotiated through the diplomacy screens.
     You can now trade almost anything for almost anything else. The strategic and
luxury resources can be traded (so long as you have excess) for money, or for
someone's world map, or whatever.
     In order to trade resources between two civilizations, the trade networks of
those civs must be connected somehow. There are three ways to do this: with a road
(or railroad), harbors (they must both be on connecting bodies of water), or
     So, you may be asking, what is a trade network? Simple! A group of cities
connected by the three means I just listed. Always always always keep your cities
connected in as many ways as possible. Build roads everywhere you control (of
course, this was true in Civ2 as well). Build harbors and airports everywhere you
     Once your civ is connected to another, you can negotiate trade deals. Your
first priority is to get your hands on all the strategic resources you don't have
at home. I'm still not sure whether it's better to offer the computer a lump sum of
money or a per-turn agreement, but my gut feeling is that it's better for you to
offer a lump sum. You could also offer it any spare luxury resources you have on
hand. They seem to enjoy those quite a bit. Another important point is that a
computer can't trade any strategic resources it may have if it doesn't have the
requisite techs behind them. If you want your neighbor's saltpeter and they don't
know gunpowder, you could either give gunpowder to them (bad idea) or conquer that
section of their land with the saltpeter in it and then make peace with them (good
idea; after all, you're far enough ahead of them that they don't have gunpowder,
and once you get saltpeter you can start making the better units and upgrade your
defensive force).


11/7/01: So how's this for a first draft? I expect this document to explode in size
as I add new and better stuff, possibly a few incomprehenceable, horribly aligned
ASCII tables, maybe a dissertation on economic theory or two. Or not. How 'bout I
stick with Civ3 stuff, okay? I thought so. And, oh yeah, no ASCII art. I'll not
have the first thing you see when opening my FAQ be some huge representation of
"CIVILIZATION III FAQ" in a horrid fixed-width character format. Argh. Spare me. I
prefer the simple title and useless version number, followed by a gratuitous legal
text. Anywho.

I leave you with this quote from the Half-Life technical FAQ by HQH, hosted on
"This [FAQ] is and shall be updated regularly on a regular basis on my terms of
when it should be updated."
Don't it say it all?

11/9/01: One day and I aleady got an email about the FAQ! Yay! It was a flame! Erm.
Someone on the staff of a gaming news site was a tad insulted about my permission-
of-posting notice (which, you'll note, is now at the end). Bah. In this update,
I've also filled out sections which (whoops) were incomplete in the first release,
expanded the "general changes" section immensely, and added a table of contents.

I leave you with this quote, as seen on a message board signiture:
"'Outlook not so good.' That magic 8-ball knows everything!"

This document is copyright 2001 Kirk McDonald
I am in no way affiliated with Firaxis, Infogrames, MicroProse, Sid Meier, or
anyone related to him within four steps any way. They in no way had anything to do
with the creation of this document beyond creating the the game it's about and the
games that came before.
The only site with permission to post this at this time is GameFAQs
(http://www.gamefaqs.com). Any other posting or publication of this FAQ is not
allowed. If I want your site to post it, I will come to you and not the other way