[Top 5] Civ 5 Best Map Types

Civ 5 Best Map Types, civilization 5 best map types
Civ5 Map Selection Screen

What are the best map types for a fun and challenging Civ 5 game?

Picking the right map type is just as much a part of your winning strategy as picking the right leader. Different map types are suited for different civilizations and styles of play. Or maybe you are just looking to try a new map type that is challenging for your leadership and playing style on purpose? Here are the five best map types that come with Civilization 5 and its subsequent official expansion packs that will guarantee you a fun and challenging game!

5. Archipelago

Archipelago Map Type Example

Love them or hate them, playing on a map made up of tiny islands can make for a different challenge compared to other types of maps!

What Is Great About Archipelago Maps: 

  • A different approach to growing your civilization, whether through war or peaceful means, is often needed. When starting out, you may not have an ideal amount of good land, be fairy isolated from other civilizations and city states, and constantly get your trade routes pillaged by Barbarian galleries and caravels. 
  • Some civilizations, such as England, Turkey, Polynesia, and Venice may be fun to play on  archipelago maps due to their unique traits!
  • Some of the downsides of this map type, such as potentially being too isolated from other civs until the invention of caravels, can be minimized by changing the map and game settings. For example, archipelago maps are more fun when you load the map with more than enough civilizations to guarantee having neighbors. 
  • For those that want a little bit more land for their civ than what archipelago maps typically provide, try a large islands map or a small continents map!

4. Earth Maps

Earth Map Type Example

Want to become the supreme leader of planet Earth? Earth maps allow you to play on a map resembling our planet’s seven continents and numerous islands.

What Is Great About Earth Maps: 

  • Have fun settling and conquering your civ’s cities in parts of the world that you recognize! You can use your knowledge of real-life geography to your advantage! 
  • You have the option of playing on maps that focus on specific regions of the world such as Europe or Japan if you don’t want to deal with playing on the entire planet. 
  • Add a further touch of realism by using mods that allow you to start in historically accurate locations for your civilization such as the Yet (not) Another Earth Maps Pack. 

3. Fractal

Fractal Map Type Example

If you like surprises, fractal maps may be the perfect map type for you! Fractal maps are generated randomly based on mathematical fractals, resulting in a lot of variability in the final map results. The possibilities are endless. Some fractal maps consist of just one main continent while other fractal maps contain several small continents.

What Is Great About Fractal Maps: 

  • The randomness and unpredictability of this map type! You never know exactly what type of map you will play on until after you start your game and send out units to explore! 
  • Fractal maps typically involve long snake-shaped landforms but not always. 
  • Often, fractal maps provide a wider variety of tile types and resources near your civ’s starting location compared to other types of maps, making it easier to turn your capital into a powerful city second to none.

2. Continents 

Continents Map Type Example

Although the continents map type may seem kind of plain, this map type has stood the test of time! The continents map type generates two continents and occasionally a third large island. Civs and city-states are generally evenly split between the two continents.

What Is Great About Continents Maps: 

  • Add a slight challenge to conquest by not being allowed to access half of the civs in the game until the invention of caravels. By that time, a powerful opponent may have emerged on the other continent and you will have to figure out how to invade. 
  • If you conquer your neighbors early, you can often leisurely expand on your own continent until you and your opponents acquire the ability to cross the oceans.
  • This map type is relatively predictable and realistic if that is what you prefer. The continent landforms differ from planet Earth but, unless you have changed the default settings, the poles will still have tundra regions and the equator zone will still be rainforests and deserts. Oceans allow the opportunity for naval warfare and overseas trading routes between civilizations.

1. Pangaea

Pangaea Map Type Example

Fight for world domination in a world in which there is only one continent! All civs start on the same continent, often in close proximity with each other and surrounded on all four sides unless you are lucky enough to have a coastal starting location.

What Is Great About Pangaea: 

  • Highly recommended for those who love to conquer their rival civs and form large empires! A pangaea map encourages early contact and warfare among in-game civs.
  • Maximum amount of land for expansion and yields from tile improvements! 
  • If you don’t like embarking your armies onto the high seas or watching the AI’s often poor handling of their own naval units, the pangaea map might be a perfect fit for you! 
  • Can adjust how crowded the placement of starting locations are on the map, which impacts the amount of early warfare and land grab competitions, by manipulating the geographical age of the land, climate, and sea levels settings. 
  • Easiest map for accomplishing a Domination Victory! 

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Who knew that growing up playing Civilization and watching the likes of Rurouni Kenshin and Yugioh would lead me to learn Japanese and travel the world?
Gamer Since: 1996
Favorite Genre: RTS
Currently Playing: Age of Empires Definitive Edition
Top 3 Favorite Games:Sid Meier's Civilization V: Brave New World, Civilization IV,

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