Best Civ 5 Leaders – Now that Sid Meier’s Civilization 6 has been officially announced it’s a good time to look back at the first five games of the series and the vision of history they gave us.
Many historical characters appear throughout these games people that for good or bad shaped history as we know it.
But only 5 civilization leaders appear in all 5 games. Who are these 5 leaders and how have they been portrayed in the series let’s check it out.
1. Alexander III
Alexander III of Macedon, also known as Alexander the Great was an excellent military leader known among other facts for the successful invasion of the Persian Empire.
In the first game of the Civilization series Alexander is portrayed as one of the most aggressive leaders.
His diplomacy screen shows him holding a sword and the game considers him expansionist and militaristic.
If his cities are close to yours you know that going to war is just a matter of time. Those traits are also the main characteristic of Alexander on the second game of the series which means Alexander will build more cities than other leaders and he will prioritize the research of military technologies.
In the third installment of the series Alexander shows a new haircut which apparently turned him into a slightly less furious opponent who loves democracy.
The game introduced unique units but Alexander has the hoplite which is very good at defense but not so great for attacking.
However we only need to go one game ahead to see Alexander being described as aggressive once again Religions were added to the game in Civilization 4 and while having the same religion as Alexander might stop him from attacking you he’s really not among the leaders of care a lot about it.
In Civilization five Alexander is once again one of the most hated leaders, not only is he aggressive towards the human player but his unique ability will also make it harder for you to take advantage of one of the major new elements in the game the city states.
In general the Civilization series has portrayed Alexander as a very relevant military threat and a hard enemy to attack.
His historical military success is the main part of his legacy is portrayed by the games, although there were some attempts to combine it with elements that we usually associate with the classical Greece of the ancient times.
Shaka, also known as Shaka Zulu was a very well-known leader of the Zulu kingdom. He conquered and through both military success and diplomacy, and it is said that he wasn’t impressed by the technology of the European empires of the time.
The first game portrays Shaka as an aggressive leader and his diplomacy screen also shows him holding a weapon.
While he’s not the most militaristic of the possible enemies you can have, he’s definitely among the ones you shouldn’t leave unchecked.
Although if you play well you should be able to get a technological advantage against him. the second game shows him once more as an aggressively leader, although he might not expand so fast or prioritizes military technology so much.
This should give you enough time to be ready for his attack. The third game consolidates Shaka as one of the most aggressive leaders you can find with bonuses to expansion and military power.
His new unique unit, the impi, is not particularly strong but its additional movement is not a bad bonus.
For his government Shaka likes despotism and hates democracy. Civilization 4 shows Shaka again as an aggressive and expansionist leader who doesn’t care if you don’t have the same religion as he does.
His impis are shown as spearmen with higher mobility but they still aren’t a particularly strong unit.
Shaka is also a leader who can be easily bribed into going to war against someone else. In Civilization 5, Shaka is again an aggressive leader but this time his impis are much stronger than before and his unique ability allows him to build a lot of them.
He will fill the land with impis and make it very hard for you if you are not ready. As it happened in the previous game it’s usually a good idea to convince him to go to war against a different civilization.
In general Shaka has been portrayed by the series as a leader eager to grow his kingdom via military expansion, who is not particularly good at technological development, while this doesn’t seem completely inaccurate.
It looks like his historical skill in diplomacy was completely overlooked by the games’ designers, since it’s usually very easy to manipulate him.
3. Elizabeth I
Elizabeth I was the queen of England during the second half of the sixteenth-century. Her rule included a lot of diplomatic intrigue as well as a very important military success of the naval war against the Spanish “armada”.
She turned England into a relevant political power and during her reign the arts and economy of the kingdom flourished.
The first game doesn’t portray her as either extremely aggressive or peaceful but her tendency to expand as much as possible makes her an enemy to consider.
She won’t forget about technological progress and you should always be careful when she’s around. The second game follows a similar line was a list of us being more or less moderate in aggression level but very eager to expand her domains.
In the third game she’s described as expansionist once again with a bonus to commerce. Her special unit will be a naval unit in an attempt to show the relevance of her most famous military victory in real history.
She likes democracy and is still a more or less moderate leader. Civilization 4 is the 1st game that doesn’t show Elizabeth as expansionist, and focuses instead on her ability to financially develop her kingdom.
Not only she doesn’t care much if you have a different religion but in fact free religion becomes her favorite option among all the elements that configured the game’s government system.
She’s considered by many as one of the best options for the human player and she can be a great opponent too.
Civilization 5 shows her again as a moderate leader, not completely peaceful but not among the most aggressive ones either.
She’s quick touse spies and will probably try to win the game through diplomacy. Her balanced game combined with a very good unique unit turns her into a very good opponent.
Overall it seems surprising that the Civilization series didn’t make a stronger emphasis to reflect the flourishing of the arts during the ruling of Elizabeth.Especially after the third installment, in which culture became a very important part of the game.
4. Genghis Khan
Another great military leader, Genghis Khan was the ruler of the Mongol Empire that turned his kingdom into the largest contiguous empire in history.
His great military skill, as well as the cruelty of his troops are legendary throughout the whole world.
Genghis Khan is the most aggressively leader in the first game of the series. He will expand fast, prioritize military technology and attack as soon as he can.
His diplomacy screen also shows him well armed and you should be ready for war if he’s next to you.
The second game of the series maintains Genghis Khan as the most aggressive leader in the game, and once again you should be ready for war the moment you see him.
Unlike Shaka, Genghis Khan doesn’t forget about technological advancement to make his army mightier, so he’s always a big threat.
Civilization 3 is the only game of the series that refers to Genghis by his birth name Temujin. It’s also the first game to introduce the keshiks as a unique unit for the Mongol Empire.
This new element doesn’t really change much the way Genghis plays the game, he’s still basically a threatening warlord.
Civilization 4 gives Genghis traits that are intended to play the game in constant war, and the keshiks got a major improvement from the previous game turning them into an extremely dangerous early military unit.
Genghis won’t care if you have a different religion than him but don’t worry. He’ll find a reason to attack you anyway, especially if your military isn’t very strong.
In the 5th game of the series Genghis is once again one of the most aggressive leaders in the game, and this time he will not only attack other civilizations but also the new city-states.
The good thing about this is that most of the other leaders will hate him for it, and it should be easy to find allies if you need to go to war against him.
As usual, you’ll need to be ready for his mounted units. Overall, Genghis Khan is shown by the games as pretty much the biggest warmonger in history.
His religious tolerance is shown in Civilization 4, but his role in creating the silk route and therefore increasing international commerce is not reflected by the game series in any way.
Mahatma Gandhi was the leader of the Indian independence movement during the first half of the 20th century.
His leadership was noted, among other things for promoting a non-violent way of resistance and protest.
The first game shows Mahatma Gandhi as the most peaceful leader in the game. He will prioritize scientific research and can be a good rival in the race for a technological victory is also the protagonist of one of the funniest box in the history of video games.
When his government switches to democracy, His aggression level should be reduced, but since it’s already at the minimum, the number goes all the way to the opposite side leaving him with the highest score possible.
This means that in the late game he’ll be more dangerous than Genghis Khan. The image of Gandhi threatening you with a nuclear attack on this first game has become a very famous meme among gamers worldwide.
The 2nd game fixes this bug, so Gandhi is among the most peaceful leaders from the beginning until the very end of the game.
He won’t expand much, and he will probably not declare war on you. The 3rd game presents Gandhi, once again, as a leader with the minimum level of aggression.
He likes democracy and he has the war elephant as his unique unit chances are he won’t use it against you.
The 4th game goes on the same line, giving Gandhi the traits of “spiritual” and “philosophical”. He will be slightly annoyed if you don’t have the same religion, but he won’t make a huge deal out of it.
His peaceful attitude and his willingness to trade make him a good neighbor to have. There aren’t many changes in the 5th game, in which Gandhi is once again a peaceful leader, who frequently tries to win a cultural victory.
While he hates warmonger, and is very likely to want tobe your friend if you are also peaceful, the designers included a joke in this game.
While Gandhi is the most peaceful leader, he’s also the one most inclined to use nuclear weapons game.
While Gandhi is the most peaceful leader, he’s also the one most inclined. Overall, the rejection to violence has been the trait that the games highlighted about Gandhi.
The joke regarding the bug in the 1st game is so well-known that Gandhi is still nowadays one of the favorite leaders among the fans of the game, even if his use of nuclear weapons in the last game can be… troubling sometimes.
Will these 5 leaders appear in the next Civilization game? We truly hope they do.