How to Play Civilization V Multiplayer Mode
Multiplayer has been a part of the Civilization series since 1995’s CivNet, the multiplayer remake of the original Civilization. It enables the player to tackle genuine, human opponents rather than AI, and makes for a far more challenging game.
If you haven’t played Civilization in multiplayer mode, you’re missing out. Civilization V offers perhaps the best multiplayer experience in the series. It can be time consuming, but always enjoyable. Ready? Here’s how to play Civilization V multiplayer mode.
Civilization V’s Multiplayer Options
There are three ways that you can go up against other players in Civilization V. To begin, launch the game and select Multiplayer, where you will be presented with three options:
- Standard: Players take turns continuously over the internet or LAN.
- Hotseat: Players take alternating turns on the same machine.
- Pitboss: A dedicated server controls the game, either over the internet or a LAN.
These options can all help you to have a great time playing Civilization V in multiplayer mode against other players. Either start your game at 4000 BC, or in predetermined scenarios. Below is the first in a series of videos following an online multiplayer game on YouTube:
As you can see, Civilization V multiplayer can be in-depth—just what the typical Civilization player is looking for. But where do you find other players?
Finding Players to Compete With in Civilization V
A multiplayer game means finding opponents. If you live with someone you can play against, or have a friend who often visits, use the Hotseat option.
Meanwhile if you’re playing Standard or Pitboss, you have the LAN option, which would be ideal for a LAN party.
For internet play, make sure that you can find players online before starting or joining a game. There are several ways of to find multiplayer opponents in Civilization V:
- Click the Internet option on Standard or Pitboss and select a server to join
- Input the IP address of a server you’re familiar with on Pitboss mode
- Find people on Civilization forums: the Civilization V forum on Steam, Civ Fanatics, or the 2K Forums
When joining an online game, check the DLC column to make sure you have the required downloadable content installed. If not, you’ll need to head to Steam and make the necessary purchases.
If you are not already using Steam, you really should be. There are various benefits to running Steam on your computer, such as easily installing updates and patches.
Civilization V Multiplayer: Play by Email
Want to play Civilization V in multiplayer mode but don’t have the time for a long online session?
The answer comes from the early days of multiplayer gaming: play by email.
In times past you would start a game, take your turn, save the file, and email it to your opponent. Thanks to the Giant Multiplayer Robot (GMR), however, this is now a far simpler process.
GMR automates the process, collecting the file, launching Civilization, and sending the saved turn to the next player. This is all done with just a few mouse clicks.
Begin by heading to www.multiplayerrobot.com, and signing in with your Steam account. With your profile connected to the site, download the software, and make a note of the authentication key.
Download: Giant Multiplayer Robot for Windows (Free)
Note that the GMR client is Windows only—Mac users must upload and download save files through the GMR website.
When you install and run the GMR client, you’ll be prompted for the authentication key. Add this, and you’ll be ready to join a game.
Open the Games screen and find a Public Game to start. You usually won’t be able to join an In Progress game, so find one that is looking for players. You can use the filter tools in the top-right column to find games that Haven’t started yet. When you’ve found one that suits, click Join Game.
Any games you join are listed in the My Games tab on the website as well as in the client. By default, only two games can be played concurrently. However, you can increase your game limit by contributing $5, $10, or $15 via PayPal for five, 10, or unlimited slots.
How to Play Civilization V by Email With GMR
With the GMR client running, you’ll be notified when it is your turn. You should also receive an email to the address associated with your Steam account.
When the turn arrives, click the corresponding game in GMR to download it. This action will also launch Civilization V, so all you need to do next is take your turn. Once your moves are made, click Next Turn to save the file. GMR will then close Civ V and ask for confirmation to send the save file to the next player.
Play by email can be slow, especially for a full game starting from 4000 BC. However, it is a flexible and enjoyable way to play Civ 5 multiplayer if you’re pushed for time.
If Civilization V is already open when your turn comes around, click the game in the GMR client to download. When you’re ready, open Hotseat > Load Game to load your turn.
Creating a Multiplayer Game in Civilization V
After you’ve played a few multiplayer games in Civ V, you might wish to set up your own. This isn’t as difficult as it might sound.
Begin by selecting your multiplayer game type. You’ll find a wealth of game options, such as map type and size, pace, starting era, and world age. You can also specify the climate, sea level, and volume of available resources.
Toggle victory types on or off depending on your preference. Don’t overlook the Advanced Game Options, a menu that includes options like setting a turn timer and a turn limit. AI characters can be randomized (characters switched, essentially) while the One-City Challenge game can be enforced.
You can also enable Civilization V’s downloadable content (DLC) in this menu. However, for maximum compatibility with your multiplayer opponents, select as little DLC as possible.
When you’re done, click Host Game, choose your civilization, invite opponents, wait for them to join, and enjoy the multiplayer ride!
Civilization V Multiplayer Is So Much Fun!
Playing Civilization V multiplayer mode gives you a whole new appreciation of the game. You’re no longer playing the AI, but someone just like you, who loves the game. Someone who has developed their own combat tactics, and strategies for building settlers and researching technology. You have three multiplayer options for Civilization V:
- Standard (over internet or LAN)
- Hotseat (local turn-based multiplayer gaming on the same machine and play by email with Giant Multiplayer Robot)
- Pitboss (a dedicated Civilization V multiplayer server)
Playing against human opponents is arguably tougher than playing the computer. It’s also considerably more rewarding, so if you haven’t tried Civilization V multiplayer mode before, now is the time.
Playing a different version of Civilization? Learn how to win at Civilization VI .