Top 10 Civilization V mods

Tom Senior at

civ v mods - World Map

Civlization V hasn't been out for long, but there’s already a wealth of user made maps, mods and scenarios available. Here’s our pick of the best from the early rush of Civ V mods. Whether you want to rebalance the economy, change the pace of the game, or play on a huge, scale version of the planet Earth, there’s something for you in the selection below.

Civilization V has a great mod browser built into it. It helps you search for the highest rated mods as voted by the community. All of the mods on this list can be downloaded and installed from inside the game, but you can follow the links for information on each one.

1. Dale's Earth Map

Civilization V has plenty of nations, each imbued with their own sense of personality, but the game's randomly generated worlds means you're never playing on the actual countries they represent. Dale's True Start Map Pack adds a decent world map with a built in scenario that puts every nation in its right place. For some, playing on a carefully modelled facsimile of our own planet takes the surprise and discovery out of the exploration element of the game, but the more you play, the less familiar the world becomes until you’re looking at a vision of what the world would look like with the Songhai Empire as the dominant superpower.

2. Queen of the Iceni

This mod adds the Celts as a playable faction. Led by Queen Boudica, the Celts represent a menacing military threat. Their two specialised units include a Gaelic Warrior, who operate much like traditional Warriors, but move more quickly over difficult ground, and the Sons of Morrigan, a special unit that gains health every time it defeats an enemy unit. Combine these guys with Boudica's Battle Fury trait, which grants nearby units extra attacks in combat, and the Celts represent an excellent choice for players of a military mindset.

3. E3 Combat Scenario

This is the professionally designed scenario used by Firaxis to demonstrate Civ V's combat and diplomacy at E3. If you don't feel like clawing your way up from the the dirt and just want to jump straight into a well developed world then this is the map for you. It puts you in charge of Ceaser's forces, poised to kick off a massive war with surrounding nations. There's a variety of techs already on the map, from cannons to attack helicopters, so it's a great way to get to know a lot of different units without having to put in all of the time and effort associated with researching and building them.

4. R.E.D. modpack

R.E.D. has been around since Civ IV, it stands for Regiment and Ethnic Diversity, and aims to give all the units in the greater variation. It also addresses some of the more ridiculous scale problems that combat can throw up, such as a squads of twenty foot tall infantrymen fighting tiny tanks, or 18th century Ships of the Line dwarfing Aircraft Carriers. The new units aren't precisely to scale, so you'll be able to see them easily on the map, but they're a bit more realistic. A load of formations have also been added, so your units won't always line up in exactly the same way, making your units seem a bit less like mass produced counters on a board.

5. Economy Mod

Many players have found that Civ V’s economy growth and research speeds are out of whack, with players often reaching Medieval tech decades before they should. A small team of modders has set about rebalancing the entire economy of the game with this mod. Tech costs have been increased and building costs reduced to slow down research rate and bring technology in line with the level of infrastructure in your empire. This mod also incorporates a couple of UI tweaks, the best one being DireAussie's build order overhaul, which improves the UI for putting together build orders, and adds some useful shortcuts to help you manage your cities' production more easily.

6. Legions

One of the very first mods to appear, Legions removes Civlization V’s insistence that military units occupy separate tiles. The inability to stack several army units on top of one another has added a whole new tactical element to combat in Civ V, but if you couldn’t care less where your archers should go, and the formation of your troops when attacking a city, then this mod will handily remove those restrictions.

7. World War X

If you think that diplomacy is just a load of useless chin wagging, and define ‘peace’ as the bit when you build your forces up before crushing everything, you might want to check out World War X. It's an all out war mod that ramps up the aggression of the AI, lowers the cost and build times of all military units and turns the world into a snarling bear pit of angry, tooled-up nations just spoiling for a fight.

8. Copasetic UI Update

Civilization V’s UI is already miles better than the previous games. Where once you had to wade through a world of menus and construction screens to get anything done, now everything is a few clicks away. That doesn’t mean it’s perfect, though, and modders have already gone to task on the slick new system, adding more information to the interface, and streamlining the experience even further. The Copasetic UI update from Cope makes a few small but extremely useful changes, such as having city labels showing how close a city is to expansion and, in poorer towns, the number of turns left until citizens start starving to death.

9. Larger Scale Mod

If you're bothered by the one unit per tile stacking restrictions, but don't want to use Legions as a workaround, there are other mods out there devoted to making Civ V a less fiddly game by increasing the overall size of the game. Db0's Larger Scale Mod aims to allow more space between cities, giving units more room to manoeuvre and allowing for larger empires in general. Happiness penalties have been reduced, so an average empire can cheerfully exist with a dozen cities. City defences have been buffed as well, which makes military victory that much harder, and gives all nations more opportunity to expand.

10. Useful Extras

And finally, here's a few smaller mods that have proved popular with the community. They may seem menial, but they fix a few niggling problems with the game, and add some useful extra UI tidbits to make managing your empire easier. Searching for these in Civilization V's in game mod database should turn them up fairly quickly, and they're a breeze to install.  First up we have the second most popular of all the mods in Civ V's mod database is the Simple Clock mod, which simply adds a clock at the top of the screen, making it easier to stop yourself from playing until two in the morning. The Luxury Resource Display mod gives you another version of the strategic resource display that lets you see luxury resources instead, useful when your capital city starts demanding fur, or uranium, or something. Last but not least there's the surprisingly popular Simple Spacebar Mod, which lets you end turns with a tap of the spacebar.

For more Civilization V mods check out the in game database, and the ever expanding list of projects over at Civ Fanatics. If you fancy creating a scenario yourself, check out our map making guide.