Civilization 5 Wonders of the Ancient World Scenario Strategy and Achievement Guide

Wonders of the Ancient World Scenario

This scenario for Civilization 5 features the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. In addition to the seven “traditional” wonders, it also includes The Oracle and The Great Library. Overall you’ll be able to build 9 Wonders of the Ancient World. If you ever wondered how the phrase “Seven Wonders of the Ancient World” came to be – here’s an explanatory post about that.

There is not one explicit “Wonders of the Ancient World Strategy”, since the scenario is quite different from most other scenarios. Mainly because Wonders are the primary victory criteria. There are 9 Wonders available, and since they grant the most victory points you will usually need to build at least 4 of 7 to win the scenario. Another innovation is the fact that wonders are no longer unlocked by researching the required technology. In this scenario, wonders unlock by making progress in these 4 areas:

  1. Cultural progress
  2. Technological progress
  3. Gold income
  4. Experience points of your units

All Wonders have different requirements to be built. These prerequisites don’t differ across the levels of difficulty, even though of course it gets harder and harder to fulfill the requirements on higher levels. Here’s what’s required to unlock the Wonders of the Ancient World:

Wonder Prince

Civilization 5 Wonder - Oracle
The Oracle is the only Wonder available immediately and the higher the level of difficulty, the sooner should you start building it.

Civilization 5 Wonder - Pyramids
600 Culture

Civilization 5 Wonder - Mausoleum of Halicarnassus
Mausoleum of Halicarnassus
1500 Culture

Civilization 5 Wonder - Hanging Gardens
Hanging Gardens
15 Technologies

Civilization 5 Wonder - Great Library
Great Library
20 Technologies

Civilization 5 Wonder - Temple of Artemis
Temple of Artemis
1500 Gold earned

Civilization 5 Wonder - Colossus
3000 Gold earned

Civilization 5 Wonder - Temple of Zeus
Temple of Zeus
150 XP

Civilization 5 Wonder - Great Lighthouse
Great Lighthouse
300 XP

Overall it took me 9 complete playthroughs to get all Steam Achievements:

  1. Egypt on Prince
  2. Hittites on Settler
  3. Greece on (random) King
  4. Sumeria on (random) Emperor
  5. Sumeria on (random) Settler (for conquering 3 Wonders)
  6. Sumeria on (random) Immortal (losing)
  7. Egypt on Deity
  8. Egypt on Immortal
  9. Persia on Settler

Wonders of the Ancient World Strategy for all Steam Achievements

Rest in Gold Pieces

Unlocked 27 Feb, 2015 @ 3:03am

Gain 1000 gold from expended Great People with the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus across any number of playthroughs

This achievement was introduced with the scenario “Wonders of the Ancient World”, but since the wonder is available in normal games as well, I got it much earlier already. Even if you don’t have it yet: All you need to do is build the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus and expend (use) 10 Great Persons. This is more than realistic given you’ll probably need at least 6 playthroughs.


Unlocked 27 Nov, 2016 @ 1:21pm

As Rome, conquer a city with the Statue of Zeus

Also starting to play this scenario, I realized: Rome is not a playable civ! So I had to start a settler game on a tiny random Pangaea map, with Brave New World disabled. Dominating the game, building all other wonders but the Statue of Zeus, I played until I had Tanks. I used two Tanks to kill those annoying enemy Spearmen (!!!) and capture the capital with the Statue of Zeus.


Unlocked 26 Nov, 2016 @ 11:59pm

Build 3 Wonders in the same city in the Wonders of the Ancient World scenario.

See below. First game 🙂

Ra’s Mighty Truth

Unlocked 27 Nov, 2016 @ 2:58am

Win as Ramesses II in the Wonders of the Ancient World scenario.

My first game in this scenario, playing on Prince difficulty and winning immediately. Most straight forward.

Thoughtful Telemachus

Unlocked 27 Nov, 2016 @ 2:58am

Win on Prince in the Wonders of the Ancient World scenario.

Know Thy Enemy

Unlocked 27 Nov, 2016 @ 11:58pm

Consult the Oracle 2 times in a single game in the Wonders of the Ancient World scenario.

This one I made in my 2nd game of this scenario, playing the Hittites, building most of the wonders.

Bolt and Arrow

Unlocked 28 Nov, 2016 @ 12:04am

Build Statue of Zeus and Temple of Artemis in the same city

Quite easy on the lower difficulties (e.g. Prince).

Party in hattUSA

Unlocked 28 Nov, 2016 @ 1:10am

Win as Muwatallis in the Wonders of the Ancient World scenario.

And of course if you build the above wonders in one game, most likely you will also win.

Grecian Formula

Unlocked 30 Nov, 2016 @ 12:44am

Win as Alexander in the Wonders of the Ancient World scenario.

I tried increasing the level of difficulty, playing on random maps. In this game with Alexander I got a really good start with lots of flood plains and some hills including Silver and Gold. So even the first King attempt was successful.

Odysseus the Great Tactician

Unlocked 30 Nov, 2016 @ 12:44am

Win on King in the Wonders of the Ancient World scenario.

Epic Gilgamesh

Unlocked 1 Dec, 2016 @ 9:28pm

Win as Gilgamesh in the Wonders of the Ancient World scenario.

On the next level of difficulty, Emperor, I tried with Gilgamesh. Turns out the free Great Scientist you receive for researching Writing is a great benefit. Use it to research Philosophy immediately to unlock

  • National College for more research
  • Temples for more culture

An area of rivers at your borders might be a powerful defense: Your unique ability allows crossing rivers with no penalty, whilst every other unit comes to a halt at the rivers. This proved powerful, as mighty Greece (10+ cities) attacked me (2 cities) because I had too many wonders they desired.

Far-Shooting Apollo

Unlocked 1 Dec, 2016 @ 9:28pm

Win on Emperor in the Wonders of the Ancient World scenario.

Reverse Engineer

Unlocked 6 Dec, 2016 @ 12:03am

Gain possession of 3 Wonders by conquering cities in a single game in the Wonders of the Ancient World scenario.

Played the Hittites in this game. Unfortunately also this achievement has to staged. Meaning: If you play for real, once your opponents build those wonders – they are to strong to be conquered. So the key to get this achievement is simple, but stupid:

Play Wonders of the Ancient World on Settler difficulty, build no wonder yourself, but build your military. Once the other nations build wonders – capture them. If you’re lucky, most of the wonders are being built by only one or two other nations.

All-Achieving Zeus

Unlocked 16 Dec, 2016 @ 1:58am

Win on Deity in the Wonders of the Ancient World scenario.

Winning this scenario on Deity difficulty is by far the hardest thing. I’ve tried several tactics, several times with several civilizations, but always failed at the end. I was quite successful on random maps, but got overwhelmed by enemies. So it had to be the historical map. But even playing as Egypt on the historical map I didn’t get far.

This guide on CivFanatics proved invaluable:

The basic concepts in some short bullet points:

  • Play Egypt on the historical map
  • Found Capital on the hill on the coast, reroll until you get Marble on that tile (took me about 20 attempts)
  • Build Monument -> Oracle immediately
    (This should boost your culture sufficiently to get the first culture wonder, the Pyramids)
  • War with the closest City State brings you XP
  • Sell all your Gold to the AI in exchange for Gold per turn

This reddit thread contains some helpful savegames (which I didn’t use 🙂 )

Following the above concepts and with a good start I managed to win on Deity in the first game I played (as Egypt on this map, not counting all the failed random map attempts).

Bright-Eyed Athena

Unlocked 17 Dec, 2016 @ 6:06pm

Win on Immortal in the Wonders of the Ancient World scenario.

My first attempt was playing Sumeria. I managed to build 3 or 4 of 9 Wonders and my realm was quite secure. Unfortunately the remaining wonders weren’t very well distributed and the Hittites built all the remaining ones, thus surpassing me in score…

Winning the scenario on Immortal works similarly to winning on Deity. I played this with Egypt on the historical map again, rerolling until I got Marble on the coastal hill. This actually makes the Immortal achievement incredibly boring 🙁

It satrap!

Unlocked 24 Dec, 2016 @ 12:43am

Win as Darius I in the Wonders of the Ancient World scenario.

The last game I played in this scenario, as I had never played Persia before. In this Settler difficulty game I dominated, built all Wonders, but saved the Great Lighthouse for later. I captured all enemy coastal cities, so they couldn’t build it and then played until the Modern Era. When I reached Future Tech, I built the Great Lighthouse (185 Production) in my 2nd city in one turn. Meanwhile Giant Death Robots roamed the Sumerian empire.

Wonders of the Ancient World – Factions


Civilization 5 RamesessUnique Ability: Cult of Osiris (+1 Culture from all buildings that provide Culture.)

Unique Unit(s): War Chariot (replaces Chariot Archer), a weak replacement, but with the advantage to not require horses.

Unique Building: Nilometer (replaces Water Mill), granting a growth bonus and +1 Gold from flood plains.


Civilization 5 AlexanderUnique Ability: Hellenic League (City-State Influence degrades at half and recovers at twice the normal rate.)

Unique Unit(s): Hoplite (replaces Spearman), Companion Cavalry (replaces Horseman), the strongest military of the ancient world.


Civilization 5 MuwatallisUnique Ability: First to Iron (Strategic resources provide +1 Production. Horses and Iron resources provide double quantity.)

Unique Unit(s): Heavy Chariot (replaces Chariot Archer)

Unique Building: Lion’s Gate (replaces Walls), +2 Gold, Culture and Gold costs of acquiring new tiles reduced by 25% in this city.


Civilization 5 DariusUnique Ability: Achaemenid Legacy (Golden Ages last 50% longer. During a Golden Age, units receive +1 Movement and a +10% 20xStrength5 Combat Strength bonus.)

Unique Unit(s): Immortal (replaces Spearman)

Unique Building: Satrap’s Court (replaces Market), grants +2 Happiness, but is available much too late in the game to be of great benefit.


Civilization 5 GilgameshUnique Ability: Land of Two Rivers (Receive free Great Scientist when you discover Writing. All units pay just 1 movement to enter any tile adjacent to a river.)

Unique Unit(s): Phalanx (replaces Spearman), solid defense against stronger military, like the Greek.

Unique Building: Ziggurat (replaces Temple), +25% Science, which is quite powerful on those levels of difficulty where it’s still realistic to compete.

Wonders of the Ancient World – City States

There are thirteen City-States in the Wonders of the Ancient World scenario. During all my playthroughs I have only ever been allied with Maritime and Cultural city states (for food and culture, with culture being the priority). Here’s the list including links to the historical cities:

  1. Byblos (Cultured), in present day Lebanon, continuously inhabited since 5000 BC
  2. Cyrene (Maritime), in present day Libya, the former “Athens of Africa”, declined and deserted in the 4th century AD
  3. Elam (Cultured), in present day Iran, having played a crucial role in the emerging Persian dynasties.
  4. Enkomi (Maritime), in Cyprus, inhabited since 2000 BC, but deserted after an earthquake ~1050 BC
  5. Knossos (Maritime), on Crete, Greece, deemed the oldest city in Europe, being inhabited since 8000 BC
  6. Nakhchivan (Militaristic), in Azerbaijan
  7. Seuthopolis (Militaristic), founded by the Greek ~325 BC in present day Bulgaria, now submerged in an artificial lake at Koprinka Reservoir, plans to “resurrect” the city, by surrounding it with a damn and uncovering the site are being made by the impressive Sevtopolis project
  8. Sharuhen (Militaristic), in the Negev Desert
  9. Stobi (Militaristic), in present day Macedonia
  10. Troy (Militaristic), in present day Turkey, is the stuff of legends
  11. Tyre (Militaristic), fourth largest city of Lebanon, established 2750 BC
  12. Ugarit (Cultured), in Syria, settled since 6000 BC
  13. Washukanni (Militaristic), in Syria, precise location unknown

I find on higher levels of difficulty it’s close to impossible to benefit from City States. If you don’t happen to destroy a barbarian encampment they target, earning influence is incredibly hard. Buying influence will be close to impossible due to your difficult economic situation.

So once more, City States are a nice addition to the scenario, but of little use for the gameplay.

Wonders of the Ancient World – Conclusion

The bottom line for this scenario is not a very positive one. Although the setting is great and the way to unlock wonders is quite innovative, it is the balancing that ruins the fun. Especially on high levels of difficulty, the AI is completely overpowered. Thus, no Wonders of the Ancient World Strategy is there but playing isolationist Egypt. Quite poor. Other scenarios are much better balanced, making it possible to win on deity difficulty with any faction.

9 thoughts on “Civilization 5 Wonders of the Ancient World Scenario Strategy and Achievement Guide”

  1. I eventually rolled a Deity Egypt save that has the coastal marble hill, along with some other luxes nearby. Do you want me to share it so others don’t have to keep rerolling?

  2. Nice guide. I tried Egypt and the deity strategy on prince, it was fun (I was looking for a casual game) but it is definitely out of balance. The map could have been wider, and maybe shorter, forcing Egypt to expand West/East. It seems like almost 1/3rd of the map is useless desert, Persia and Sumeria are placed too close and are limited from having effective coastal cities. I guess they wanted to encourage at least some war to shake things up. The mechanics of the wonders being unlocked play OK but they seem rushed – this seems like a scenario which could have been written by a fan. It is unfortunate that the new BNW rules can’t work in this scenario – above all, I was reminded just how much Civ5 felt unfinished when I first started playing it.

    As far as the strategy goes, I don’t think there is a natural hill tile with a resource on the coast. Every map I generated had the resource-hill one tile from the coast. Settling beside that should work fine on all but the hardest settings though.

    Part of why I tried this map was to see what the historical interpretation was like. It felt like they took the first snippet of map that fit the civs and then squeezed in the rest.

  3. I used the Egypt strategy for Immortal, but I couldn’t get it to work on deity. I couldn’t even get the cultural wonders. So I did the strategy linked in the Reddit thread: play as the Hittites on a random map, reroll for a good coastal start, and gunrush oracle. Then keep one city and trade money, get the military wonders at your leisure and trade up to the Collossus (Artemis is just a little too out of reach). Then roll the dice and hope the same AI doesn’t build 3 wonders.

    In my game, the Sumerians actually were close, so I saved and declared war with them. Of course I didn’t do anything, I had almost no army and they were far away. They built the Great Library and won. But like the Butterfly effect, when I reloaded the save and didn’t declare war, for some reason Egypt was the one that built it, giving me the victory.

    1. I’m planning to, but on my current PC I can’t make screenshots whilst playing Civ5. This kinda spoils those plans (and also makes the remaining guides much more work…)
      It’s on the list though! 🙂

  4. Haha, thank you for linking my reddit post, it’s really funny seeing this, since when I went for the scenarios in Civ 5 in 2015, I looked a lot at your guides, which helped me a lot. When I went for the wonders scenario, I looked for a guide here as well but didn’t find one, so I just went for it and did it for myself.
    Seeing my guide now linked here is really cool 🙂

    1. Hehe, small world indeed 🙂
      I usually give credit to when other guides have helped me and also try to not duplicate content on the web. It’s made for linking after all. Best regards and Happy New Civ Year!

  5. Kalle – you legend, never stop doing these, nothing exists of this quality and narrative elsewhere – props!

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