Civilization V multiplayer AI is a dumbed down version

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For some reason the Civilization V multiplayer AI is essentially a dumbed-down version of the single player AI. Not only do they never suggest trades, they are actually more passive in general. Meaning they grow slower, start less wars and engage in less challenging attacks.

Since I am usually playing Civilizaiton V cooperatively with friends this tends to be an issue!


Creating a more challenging Civilization V multiplayer experience

But first some general tips to improve your cooperative multiplayer experience!

Do not group the AI in a team

Do not group AI’s together in a team. This will force some strange wars. Just increase the difficulty level if you are playing in the same team as your friend.

Play in separate teams.

If you team up with your friend you will share all research. Therefore you are essentially researching twice as fast. To keep things fair you are better off promising each other not to attack and keep everyone in their own team.

Buy expansions

A case of sad but true. In “vanilla” Civilization V the online multiplayer AI is extremely passive. Even expansionist Civilizations such as Darius (Persia) start out with 3 cities. In Gods  & Kings the AI started to expand properly. In Brave New World, the latest expansion at the time of writing, the AI researches much more quickly. So they can pretty much keep up with your tech levels. Unfortunately Brave New World AI does tend to go bankrupt. Fortunately the AI “cheats” meaning they don’t have to sell units.

Best performing multiplayer AI

The developers of Civilization V actually tried to give certain leaders certain characteristics. Because the actual interaction with the AI is very limited this basically means some are really bad. For example India will only build a few cities whereas Napoleon tends to spread. Greece tends to start wars, etc.

This also means some AI leaders in Civilization V are more challenging than others. GameplayInside has compiled a tier list for you. Grouping the Civilization leaders and countries into difficulty ranks.

Tier 1- Best multiplayer AI

  • Poland – Casimir (friendly/expansive)
  • Gajah Mada – Indonesia (aggressive/expansive)
  • Ahmad al-Mansur – Morocco (aggressive/expansive)
  • Egypt – Ramesses II
  • Siam – Ramkhamhaeng
  • Persia – Darius
  • France -Napoleon
  • Byzanthium- Theodora
  • Rome – Ceasar

Tier 2 – Good multiplayer AI

  • Ethiopia – Haile Selassie
  • Aztecs – Montezuma

Tier 3 – Decent multiplayer AI

  • England – Elizabeth
  • Japan – Oda Nobunaga
  • Songhai – Askia
  • Sweden – Gustavus Adolphus
  • Russia –  Catherine

Trash tier – Worst multiplayer AI

  • India – Ghandi
  • Ottomans – Suleiman
  • Mongolia – Ghengis Khan
  • Babylonian – Nebuchadnezzar
  • Brazil – Pedro II
  • Portugal – Maria I
  • Assyria – Ashurbanipal

Update 1

I tested a game with Brave New World AI; Assyria, Brazil, IndonesiaMorocco, Poland and Portugal. As control I used the previous best;  Siam and Egypt. I put difficulty on King.

Poland, Morocco and Indonesia all did extremely well. They were better than both Egypt and Siam. Besides expanding rapidly Morocco and Indonesia were extremely aggressive. Indonesia send an army including catapults on turn 96. On Turn 100 he declared war. Morocco followed quickly.


Obviously this led me no choice than to defeat both (with the financial support of my teammate). At turn 147 Poland had about a 20% higher score.


The following AI’s have not been tested (yet):

from “vanilla” Civilization V

  • America
  • Arabia
  • China
  • Iroquois
  • Greece

from Gods and Kings expansion

  • Austria
  • Carthage
  • Celts
  • Huns
  • Maya
  • Netherlands
  • Sweden

from Brave New World expansion

  • Soshone
  • Venice
  • Zulus

DLC Civilizations

  • Babylon
  • Denmark
  • Inca
  • Korea
  • Mongolia
  • Polynesia
  • Spain


To create the best possible cooperative multiplayer Civilization V experience you will need to make sure everyone AI has their own team.  Other than that you should setup your game to include Ramesses II, Ramkhamhaeng, Darius, Napoleon, Theodora and or Caesar. If you want a more challenging experience then you should not team up with your friend but instead rely on in game diplomacy options. For example the Defensive pact becomes available after +- 200 turns.


If you have any questions or remarks than feel free to post a comment.

For more information about Civilization V check the official Civilization V website.