Civilization 5 Paradise Found Scenario Strategy and Achievement Guide

Paradise Found Steam Achievements

The Paradise Found Scenario for Civilization 5 comes with 4 playable civilizations (Samoa, Tahiti, Hiva, Tonga) and 9 Steam Achievements. While these achievements are quite diverse, they don’t represent much of a challenge. It’s mainly 4 discovery achievements, winning with each faction and the Captain Cook achievement, which is a bit weird anyways… Below you’ll get an overview of the achievements followed by the Paradise Found Strategy guide (which should at least allow you to win the game(s) on Emperor difficulty. With regards to the discovery achievements – have a look at the Paradise Found map.

Paradise Found

This isn’t Kansas

This isn't Kansas Steam AchievementFind Australia in a South Pacific map game.

Unlocked: 21 Apr 2015 @ 4:29pm

German and French names of this Steam Achievement:
DE: Hier ist nicht Kansas
FR: Ce n’est pas le Kansas

Searching for the Precious

Searching for the Precious Steam AchievementCivilization 5 Paradise Found Searching for the Precious Steam AchievementFind New Zealand in a random map game.

Unlocked: 16 Feb 2015 @ 12:24am

All you have to do is scout the ocean – sooner or later you’ll find New Zealand, which is a nice “civilizationized” version of… well… New Zealand.

In my first games I settled New Zealand, because it’s great land. But then again: Every single city is a drain on your happiness, so better stick to your little islands and be happy with it (literally).

German and French names of this Steam Achievement:
DE: Auf der Suche nach dem einen Ring
FR: Une précieuse recherche

Book ’em Danno!

Book 'em Danno! Steam AchievementCivilization 5 Paradise Found Book em Danno Steam AchievementFind Hawaii in a random map game.

Unlocked: 16 Feb 2015 @ 1:53am

The second scouting achievement. You can do all scouting achievements in one game, if only you build enough caravels. I did this in my game a Tahiti as their units have +1 Visibility, which makes scouting much easier!

Hawaii would be a nice spot to settle. It has Marble and thus increases your happiness, if you don’t let your new city grow too much!

German and French names of this Steam Achievement:
DE: Reiseführer
FR: Bouclez-les, Danny !

Heads Up!

Heads Up! Steam AchievementCivilization 5 Paradise Found Heads up Steam AchievementFind Easter Island in a random map game.

Unlocked: 16 Feb 2015 @ 2:34am

The Easter Island is the smallest island to discover in this set of Steam Achievements. That’s why I spotted it only very late, having almost uncovered the entire map.

Instead of doing that, you might as well leave this for your South Pacific game. There the Easter Island is in the same location every time and you should be able to find it easily.

German and French names of this Steam Achievement:
DE: Vorsicht!
FR: Haut les têtes !

Do you have a little Captain in you?

Do you have a little Captain in you? Steam AchievementCivilization 5 Paradise Found Do you have a little Captain in you Steam AchievementEncounter Captain Cook.

Unlocked: 16 Feb 2015 @ 12:08am

I hope that with later games I’ll find out how this is being triggered. I got it twice so far, but without being aware of having done anything special. Maybe it was just the year? That would mean you’d just have to survive a certain number of turns.

Two conclusions so far: First is I still have no idea how this Paradise Found scenario event triggers. I’ve once had it in turn 95 (1250 AD), three times in turn 110 (1400 AD) and my last game only in turn 122 (1510 AD). Second conclusion is I won’t replay this scenario often enough to find out…

German and French names of this Steam Achievement:
DE: Steckt ein kleiner Kapitän in Euch?
FR: Avoir l’âme d’un capitaine

Head and Shoulders Above the Rest

Head and Shoulders Above the Rest Steam AchievementWin as Samoa.

Unlocked: 18 Apr 2015 @ 6:03pm

This is quite interesting: Actually I lost the scenario, but the achievement triggered nonetheless. Good for me, because I really did not want to play it yet another time.

German and French names of this Steam Achievement:
DE: Allen anderen überlegen
FR: La tête et les épaules avant tout

Bora! Bora! Bora!

Bora! Bora! Bora! Steam AchievementWin as Tahiti.

Unlocked: 16 Feb 2015 @ 3:13am

German and French names of this Steam Achievement:
DE: Bora! Bora! Bora!
FR: Bora-Bora… Bora !

Surviving the Marquesas

Surviving the Marquesas Steam AchievementWin as Hiva.

Unlocked: 22 Apr 2015 @ 4:03am

German and French names of this Steam Achievement:
DE: Überleben auf den Marquesas
FR: Survivant des îles Marquises

Ngata Chance

Ngata Chance Steam AchievementWin as Tonga.

Unlocked: 21 Apr 2015 @ 1:22am

German and French names of this Steam Achievement:
DE: Polynesische Chance
FR: La patrie de l’amour

The combatants struggling for supremacy over the Pacific

Here’s a little overview on the playable factions of the Paradise Found scenario for Civilization 5. There’s a little bit of information for each of the civilizations. To learn even more, check out the City States section in the Paradise Found map post.



civilization-5-leader-indian-gandhiStatus: Failed (Immortal), but Achievement granted
Malietoa Savea – Samoa

Heart of Polynesia:
Unhappiness from number of Citizens reduced by 25%.

Samoa – 2 large islands, incl. one of the biggest islands of Polynesia, population: ~200.000, independence from New Zealand in 1962



civilization-5-leader-iroquois-hiawathaStatus: Achieved (Emperor)
Pomare I – Tahiti

Tupaia’s Navigation:
All land and naval military units (including Scouts) have +1 sight.

Tahiti – biggest island of French Polynesia, population: ~183.000, part of the French Republic



civilization-5-leader-polynesian-kamehamehaStatus: Achieved (Emperor)
Hotu Matua – Hiva

Hotu Matua’s colonists:
Receive free Settler when you discover Astronomy.

Hiva – Population: ~2.000, 1 of the 2 biggest islands of the Marquesas Islands (population: ~9.000), part of the French Republic



civilization-5-leader-aztec-montezumaStatus: Achieved (Emperor)
‘Aho’eitu – Tonga

Tiu Tonga Empire:
City-State Influence degrades at two-thirds the usual rate and recovers 50% faster than normal.

Tonga – 177 islands, population: ~103.000, amazingly Tonga according to Wikipedia has never lost its sovereignty to a foreign power (maybe that’s why Firaxis chose fierce Monty as leader for this scenario)

Paradise Found Strategy

Here are some screenshots of my first game on Deity – I was massively outranked in all regards: Social policies (the leader needed 3 more when I needed 10), technology (I was so far behind, my Maori warriors fought Riflemen), military strength (they were outnumbered by Riflemen), number of cities (and outproduced). With the primitive level you start on and no special traits to leverage, I wouldn’t know how to win this scenario on Deity! Fortunately it’s not required for any of the Steam Achievements.

So eventually I stuck to playing on Emperor, which is the level of difficulty I normally play random games on.

Still: Beating the Paradise Found scenario even on Emperor requires a good balance between conquests and expansion and your empires’ happiness. Over the first 2-3 games I’ve found what I think is a pretty good balance to win every game on Emperor. Immortal: Not so much. Deity: Tell me how (in the comments below, please)!!! 🙂

Update: Paradise Found Deity Strategy

Princess Kenny explained the Deity Strategy for this scenario in the comments below! Check it out!

General Strategy and Combat Tactics

  • Start saving some money once you encounter Captain Cook (and unlock Scientific Theory)
  • Direct your research to get Frigates ASAP
  • Your 2 cities should have all required buildings by now – start producing 2-3 melee units and otherwise only Triremes, Caravels and finally Frigates
  • Use your saved money to upgrade all older ships to Frigates
  • A fleet of 6-8 Frigates can easily bomb a city until you can march in with 1 melee

This is what I did in all my games. Playing as Samoa on Immortal the above process started too late. So in the time it took me to build my fleet and sail to attack my enemy No 1 (the one with most social policies adopted) he unlocked the last and won the game. Great news: The achievement triggers regardless! So you don’t even have to win which makes the Steam Achievements for the Paradise Found scenario even more worthless.

With Hiva, Tahiti and Tonga I won on Emperor using the exact same tactics. With Tonga I altered it only slightly: I applied the social policy for more reputation gain with City States straight away. This allowed befriending and allying with the cultural CS much earlier, boosting my culture tremendously.

Social Policies and Happiness in Paradise Found

Civilization 5 Paradise Found Social Policies ArtworkThe entire scenario is about Social Policies. Mainly because you need to complete all 3 policy trees to win the game.

The 3 Paradise Found Social Policy trees can roughly be described as

  1. The happiness tree – Ceremony
    Adopting Ceremony reduces unhappiness from population in your capital by 33%.
  2. The culture tree – The Arts
    Adopting The Arts increases culture from monuments and temples by 2.
  3. The military tree – Honor
    Adopting Honor gives +15 XP to all land combat units constructed from now on.

Happiness is a big issue in this scenario. There aren’t many resources around (only those you would typically find in the Pacific Ocean area) and there is NOT ONE SINGLE building that provides local or global happiness. So what I learned in the early games: The fewer cities you have the better. In most games I built 2 cities (capital plus one) which grew to a size of 11 to 12. Not further. I stopped growth once the cities covered all bonus tiles (fish, pearls etc.) and land tiles with Moai statues. Also you should have a specialist work in the cities’ markets and temples.

In my last game I built a third city on a 1 tile island with 1 whale next to it. Restrict growth immediately and just work the whale, so this city generates a net-plus in happiness.

After failing on my 1st Deity attempt I used almost entirely the same order for social policies. Doing so I got better through all my 5 games of the Civilization 5 Paradise Found scenario. I’ll use some colors to highlight which tree an SP is in:

  1. Ceremony – At the beginning you don’t have any monuments and temples (don’t have the technology yet). So why go for The Arts already? Start with Ceremony.
  2. Tapu – Tapu reduces future policy costs by 10%. The earlier you have it, the better.
  3. The Arts – Happiness is not a problem (yet), so time for The Arts, boosting your monument culture output. (Around this time you’ll have the technology to build monuments.)
  4. Hula – 25% less happiness required to start a Golden Age. Nice bonus, but only a step on the way to:
  5. Tapa Cloth – +2 Culture in every city. By now you’ll have your 2nd city, so this becomes really useful.
  6. Rongo-Rongo – Around this time you’ll build an Observatory in your capital, followed by a library, when you research the required technology, so Rongo-Rongo will boost your science output.
  7. Stone Carving – Following the same research path every time, around this time in the game I got to Ornamental Carving and built Moai statues on unimproved tiles, so this bonus comes just in time.
  8. Powhiri – Gold gifts to City States generate +25% more reputation. By now your economy is good enough to actually DO gift Gold to City States – again great timing.
  9. Kava – Also around this time your capital and 2nd city will have grown to a size that almost uses up all your happiness. So time to invest in Ceremony again.
  1. Tiki – Once you’ve got some excess happiness again it’s time to have that generate some culture, too.
  2. Luau – +2 happiness from each luxury resource under your control. This is also a good timing, because around now you will both conquer some of your enemies cities and befriend City States, so you’ll actually get more resources.
  3. Surfing – +1 happiness per city. This doesn’t make much of a difference early on (remember: You only have 2 cities). But once you start conquering your neighbors this comes handy.
  4. Honor – +15 XP for all land units produced from now. Well… Pretty much useless in my opinion, because I always only produced 2-3 land units: Those to capture cities.
  5. Poi – +1 movement for embarked units. This is nice for your melee city capture units to keep up with your fleet.
  6. Ariki – +100% faster generation of Great Generals. Again a bit useless, because my melees ONLY captured cities. Only three times in five entire games did I do a melee attack against an enemy (not Barbarian) unit.
  7. Haka – Gain Culture for killing enemy units. This is what we’re heading for first in the Honor tree.
  8. Mana – +100% faster generation of Great Persons. This is nice, but doesn’t make a difference anymore.
  9. Kahuna Healing – Medic promotion for all melee combat units. *Yawn*

There is a great entry in the civilization wiki on the Social Policies of Paradise Found which not only lists what each policy does, but also provides a lot of background information on Polynesian lifestyle and why all these traditions have (had) this or that effect.

Social Policies and Happiness in Paradise Found

Civilization 5 Paradise Found Technology Research Path
The research path I chose most of the time


In the Paradise Found scenario there are several surrounding conditions fundamentally different from other scenarios: You’ve got an abundance of sea resources, while there are little to no land bonus resources. Generating the maximum possible wealth and production from the ocean is essential. Then comes fine-tuning and aligning the research path with the social policies you (can) choose.

Here’s what worked best for me:

Go for Aquaculture first. Usually your capitol has 3-4 sea resources, so building a Sea Port gives you 4 more production from these tiles. Second: Head for Masonry (via Mining) to build Monuments. You’ll also need those to generate culture in your 2nd city for border growth.

After that: Go for Astronomy to further boost your ocean tiles (Lighthouse +1 food, Harbor +1 production). To do so you’ll need Calendar. Time this with building (or buying) your first worker. He’ll then build plantations on your bonus-resource(s).

Once you’ve got the basics covered, go for Ornamental Carving to build some Moai statues. This is also prerequisite for Theology, which you need to build Temples (main priority) and Libraries (2nd priority).

My research path complete leaves out military technologies. I chose them last, because with being discovered by Captain Cook and getting Scientific Theory I never build much of a military anyways.


Whew. Where to start? The Paradise Found scenario for Civilization 5 is certainly the weakest so far. Maybe it’s on par with Empires of the Smoky Skies. Although I really like the setting, what put me off is the bad balancing. It feels like not much effort went into this:

Having tried the military way only very briefly the result was disappointing. First you need to invest a huge amount of your little production into pumping out weak ships and even weaker melee units (without amphibious promotion). Soon after you’ll realize that a small army of yours is not strong enough to deal with a single enemy city with walls. Also: Having to sail through half the archipelago to get to your enemies, their units at home will be upgraded to musketmen and riflemen until you get there. Not even to mention you falling behind in technology and culture even more while you focus on producing those units.

No. The only Paradise Found strategy that proved viable to me is the one I described. And since that’s the same for all 4 civilizations, the scenario gets a bit boring. Damn – when I was losing with Samoa on Immortal difficulty I was really mad, because I didn’t want to play Paradise Found more often than necessary… If you made different experiences, found a way to become ruler of the Pacific on Deity difficulty – please leave a comment and let me know!

9 thoughts on “Civilization 5 Paradise Found Scenario Strategy and Achievement Guide”

  1. I rather enjoyed the way that this inverted the normal balance of civilization, and forced a different play style: I’ve never tried my hand at going so wide and shallow before, so that was interesting. I was also intrigued by the change of pace: instead of continuous improvement, it was a slow, exploratory and expansionary start, followed by a mad rush after Captain Cooke unlocked new tech.

    …My response to that new tech was to immediately and viciously destroy my peaceful neighbors. That’s a memorable dynamic.

    With that said, it’s definitely not a polished scenario. The end game dragged on, waiting for more culture after I captured all rival capitals. Annoyingly, this was extended by a couple of automated workers who industriously replaced my moai with farms.

    I wouldn’t play it again, but I liked playing it once.

  2. There is ONE building that provides happiness! The STONEWORKS. Yeah you can only make them in the Hawaii, Maui, and Rapa Nui islands though. But there is a building that provides (+1) happiness.

  3. I found this scenario quite interesting because to be successful you really need to focus on culture and neglect everything else, which means spamming low population cities, having a relatively unhappy empire, and replacing many possible tiles with moai. From what I’ve read, this appears to mimic what happened on Rapa Nui… I agree it’s not very fun to play, but the simulation aspect of it was interesting nonetheless.

  4. I won very comfortably with Samoa. Rush the huge islands to the south-east and west of you. Spam moai statues. I had fewer than 10 cities, no war, and at the end of the game I was producing over 200 culture per turn. Really easy. Demographics don’t matter.

  5. I beat the scenario on Deity yesterday after 3-4 attempts, and it seems like the only viable strategy is mass city spam. I don’t mean normal-game standards of wide where you drop 5-10 cities and stop, I mean you need to keep making cities until your unhappiness has reached -10 and you literally can’t. You can build 1-2 scouts, a worker, enough work boats to hook up unique luxuries, a trireme or two (for defense), and of course monuments and temples, but everything else should be settlers. Yes, ignore harbors, lighthouses and seaports, ignore improving fish or duplicate sea luxuries, ignore markets, ignore science (you can’t progress to the final string of techs until Cook visits, so getting to Scientific Theory quickly won’t accomplish anything, and only 5 or so techs even matter to this strategy anyway). It feels gross and wrong since the normal game calls for the exact opposite, but it’s the only way I can see. And in order to squeeze in as many cities as possible, you’ll want to stunt their growth at 2 pop (so they can build settlers; later cities can even be stunted at 1), except for the capital which you can let 2 or 3 more slip into. Extra cities and monuments are worth infinitely more than some extra production or gold, even if it’s just a 1-tile desert island with no resources. For perspective, in the game I won I ended up having 23 cities.

    Of course, spamming settlers and ignoring growth/science means that war won’t really be an option, but that doesn’t seem to be a reliable strategy anyway. Triremes and caravels do 1 damage to cities and get killed in one turn if it has a single garrison, and frigates come too late to matter. All of your opponents tend to progress at nearly the same rate, so you’d need to destroy them all extremely quickly WHILE keeping up in culture, which just isn’t feasible.

    Overall, I agree with not liking the scenario much. It’s passable for one game, but every faction plays the exact same, and repeated playthroughs highlight how hollow and rushed it feels.

    1. Hey Princess Kenny, thanks a lot!
      I’m tempted to try your strategy now, too, but as you said: The scenario is so hollow – now that I have all achievements, I won’t play it again.
      But I updated the post above linking to your comment! 🙂

    2. I’d like to confirm the idea that more (but less populated) cities are better in this scenario: it means that you get more monuments, temples and city culture.

      I didn’t test this on deity, just on King: with 5 cities (capital, two cities in NZ (great coastlines, dye), 1 in Hawaii (marble) and 1 in Tahiti.(whale)), I never had to declare any wars, just settle all these places, then maximize cultural output via statues (even on duplicate resources). I won with being 1 cultural policy in advance, even neglecting to buy the city states’ favor.

      I changed the strategy in my final game with Tonga, building 7 cities that got strict population control unless they had statues to operate (there are statues that give +5 and +6 culture per tile in NZ!). Two more settlers got caught and I stopped settling, but I still finished being 4 policies in the lead, despite being much less advanced in science or infrastructure.

      Just two more cities made such a difference (although in that game, I was investing more heavily in earlier temples but also the city states for a change. Though half the time they were closer to the rivals… I think it’s worth more buying a temple +5 culture for 500 gold, than buying a fickle CS for +4/+8 culture.) Also, even with seven cities, I could maintain +30 happiness, which meant +15 culture each turn. Just imagine what I could have done with 10 more cities instead… each of them +11 culture just from city/monument/temple, and eating 3 culture.

      Also, each run I checked which rival had more cities: the closest rival had the most cities, each time.

    3. Ha! Nice hints — thanks for sharing! 🙂

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