From Civilization V Wiki
A city is the locus of most activity in Civ5. Cities are vital to a civilization's success. They gather wealth which adds to their owning civ's treasury. (They also cost money in expenses.) They create culture and science. They allow the civ to build units, buildings, wonders, and projects. You won't win without powerful, well-situated cities.
Building New Cities
Cities are constructed by Settler units. If the Settler is in a location where a city can be constructed, the "Found City" action button will appear. Click on the button and the Settler will disappear, to be replaced by the new city.
WHERE TO CONSTRUCT CITIES
Cities should be constructed in locations with plenty of Food and Production and with access to Resources. It's often a good idea to build a city on a river or coastal hex. Cities constructed on hills gain a defensive bonus, making it harder for enemies to capture them.
The City Banner
The city banner appears on the Main Map. It provides a useful snapshot of the goings-on in the city.
The City Screen
Click on a city's banner to reach the city screen. The city-screen allows you to "fine tune" your control over each city. It contains the following elements:
Units in Cities
- Combat Units
- Only one combat unit may occupy a city at a time. That military unit is said to "Garrison" the city, and it adds a significant defensive bonus to the city. Additional combat units may move through the city, but they cannot end their turn there. (So if you build a combat unit in a city with a garrison, you have to move one of the two units out before you end your turn. )
- Non-Combat Units
- Only one non-combat unit (Worker, Settler, or Great Person) may occupy a city at a time. Others can move through, but they cannot end their move in the city. Thus, a city may have at most two units in it at the end of a turn: one combat unit and one non-combat unit.
Construction in Cities
You may construct buildings, wonders, or units in a city. Only one can be constructed at a time. When construction is complete the "CHOOSE PRODUCTION" alert message will appear; click on this to access the "City Build Menu" and choose the next item to construct.
The City Build Menu
The City Build Menu displays all of the units, buildings and wonders that you can construct in that city at that time. As your technology increases new items will appear and obsolete items will disappear. Each entry tells you how many turns it will take until construction is complete.
If an entry is grayed-out, then you are currently unable to construct the item. Roll your cursor over the entry to see what you're missing.
If you wish to change what a city is constructing, you may do so on the City Screen. The production already expended on the original item is not applied to the new item; however, it remains "on the books" for a while and if you later order that city to resume construction on the original item, it may get the benefit of some or all of the earlier production. The longer the delay, the more production is lost. Constructing Units You can build any number of units in a city (as long as you have the required resources and the unit hasn't become obsolete). Since you can only have one combat and one non-combat unit in a city, you may have to move the newly-constructed unit out of the city immediately after it's built. See the section on Units for more details
Only one Building of each kind may be constructed in a city: you cannot have duplicate buildings in the same city. Once you've constructed a building, that building will disappear from that city's City Build Menu. (You can still build the same building in another city, of course.) See the section on Buildings for more details.
There are two kinds of Wonders in the game: National Wonders and World Wonders. Each civilization may construct a single copy of a national wonder (in other words, each civ may build one National Epic, but no civ may build two). Only one of each World Wonder may be constructed anywhere in the world: once one civ has constructed one, no other civ may do so. Wonders will disappear from the City Build Menu once you can no longer construct them.
If another civ completes construction of a World Wonder while you are building it, you will receive a gold bonus to compensate you for your efforts, and you'll have to begin construction on something else.
Working the Land
Cities thrive based upon the land around them. Their citizens "work" the land, harvesting food, wealth, production and science from the tiles. Citizens can work tiles that are within two tiles' distance from the city and that are within your civilization's borders. Only one city can work a single tile even if it's within two tiles' distance from more than one.
Assigning Citizens to Work the Land
As your city grows, it automatically assigns its citizens to work the lands around it. It seeks to provide a balanced amount of food, production and wealth.
You may order a city's citizens to work other tiles – for example, if you want a certain city to concentrate on generating wealth, or production. See the City Screen section, above.
Improving the Land
While certain tiles naturally provide good amounts of food, wealth, and so forth, many can be "improved" to provide even more, thus increasing a city's growth, wealth, productivity, or science. You need to build "Workers" to improve the lands. Once you have a Worker, you can order it to construct improvements - such as farms, mines, schools and so forth – that will make the land around your cities far more productive.
See the section on Workers for more details.
Interacting with Cities
Cities may be attacked and captured by enemy units. Each city has a "Combat Strength" stat which is determined by the city's location, its population, whether any military units are "garrisoned" in that city, and whether defensive buildings such as walls have been constructed in the city. The higher the city's defensive value, the harder it is to capture the city. Unless the city is extremely weak or the attacking unit is extremely strong, it will take multiple units multiple turns to capture a city.
Attacking a City
To attack an enemy city, order your melee unit to enter the city's hex. A round of combat will ensue, and both the unit and the city may take damage. If your unit's hit points are reduced to zero, it is destroyed. If the city's hit points are reduced to zero, your unit captures the city.
- Attacking with Ranged Units
- Although you can attack a city and wear it down with ranged units, you cannot capture the city with a ranged unit; you must move a melee unit into the city to take it. Similarly, water and air units cannot capture a city, though they can wear its defenses down to nothing.
- See the articles on air combat and sea combat for more info.
Defending a City
There are a number of things you can do to improve a city's defenses. You may "garrison" a strong unit in the city. A melee unit will greatly increase the city's defensive strength, while a ranged unit will fire at nearby enemy units.
No matter how powerful a city is, however, it is very important to have units outside the city supporting it, to injure the attacking units and to stop them from surrounding the city and getting huge flanking bonuses against it.
Conquering a City
When your unit enters an enemy city, you have three choices: you can destroy the city, you can annex it and make it part of your empire, or you can make it into a puppet state. Each has its own benefits and costs.
- Destroying the City
- If you destroy the city, it's gone. For good. All of its buildings, wonders, and citizens are no more. We hope you're proud of yourself, you big bully! While there are some good reasons for destroying a city, mostly to do with your population's happiness (see below), this extreme behavior does have significant diplomatic consequences – i.e., other civs and city-states may be less likely to ally with you if they think you're a bloodthirsty maniac. You can destroy the city immediately upon capturing it or at any point after that.
- Indestructible Cities
- You can't destroy a city that you founded. (Some other civ can, but not you.) Also, you cannot destroy a city-state or another civ's capital city.
- Annexing the City
- If you annex the city, you make it a part of your empire. You have total control over the city, just as if you had constructed the city yourself. The one downside to annexation is that doing so makes your citizens very unhappy, and you will be required to construct happiness-related buildings like courthouses and coliseums or connect up to luxury resources to counteract their extreme displeasure. Annexing too many cities too rapidly can bring your empire to a grinding halt.
- See the section on Happiness for more details.
- Making the City a Puppet
- If you make the conquered city a puppet, you gain the benefit of the city's research and its output of wealth, while taking a much smaller hit to your citizens' happiness. However, you do not control the city's production. It makes the buildings it chooses and it creates no new units or wonders at all. Thus you'll have to provide the military force for its defense, and if you want to make the city more efficient, you'll have to order your civ's Workers to improve its land.
- You can annex a puppet city at any time. To do so, click on the city's banner.