What is a good benchmark for the cultural win strategy?

I am currently learning to play Civilization 5 and decided to experiment with the cultural victory strategy. I am going to play game after game with the same strategy, making minor adjustments to see what works and what does not.

While it is nice to see which approaches work better than others, I could use some kind of benchmark from experienced players to compare my results to. I am looking for things like

  • Is it possible to (globally) slow down the pace of research and culture gain, without slowing production (as much)?
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  • Civilization 5 crashes often during play
    • You should be able to win the game before the year X
    • You should have at least a growth of X cultural points each turn in the year Y
    • You should have built at least X cultural landmarks during the game
    • You should get at least wonder X, Y and Z
    • You should …

    Those are just examples, maybe there are much more important KPIs in this strategy I am not even aware of. What values can I measure my attempts against?

    UPDATE: To avoid confusion what I am exactly looking for, I add a clarification from the comment section below.

    I am looking for KPIs like “A experienced player can win a cultural victory before 1850 AD”. If I cannot do it before 2000 AD, I know that there is a large gap I need to close. Or a KPI like “A experienced player can gain 200 culture points each round around 350 AD” tells me, that I am messing things up in the early game, if I can only gain 100 around 350 AD. I am not looking for instructions about what to do but how I can measure if what I am doing works.

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  • 2 Solutions collect form web for “What is a good benchmark for the cultural win strategy?”

    Here’s a recounting of my France, Tiny, Pangaea, King game.

    Turn 75

    7, 2, 2 population.

    2 spearmen
    2 warriors
    2 workers

    Completed: Wheel, BronzeWorking, Calendar, Trapping.
    Civil Service is 8 turns away.

    Stonehenge 7 turns away.
    3 Monuments. No other buildings.

    Social Policies: Tradition 5/6

    Notable randomness: Fountain of Youth +10 happy, so ignoring happy science.
    Turn 2: +1 pop from ruins.

    Turn 250 (1700 AD)

    21, 11, 10 population

    2 Pikemen
    1 Musketeer
    3 Crossbowmen
    1 Cannon
    2 Caravel
    2 Workers

    Science: Archaeology, Acoustics, Chemistry.
    Fertilizer is 2 turns away.

    Wonders: Hermitage, Ironworks, National College, Sistine Chapel, Hagia
    , Kremlin, Louvre, Stonehenge, Colossus, NotreDame, National Treasury

    Social Policies: Tradition 6/6, Piety 6/6, Freedom 6/6

    Culture 272 + 75 + 42 = 399

    7 landmarks.

    At this point, Science is mainly for defense and production. I don’t really
    need any more wonders to win. My next focus is to get a bunch of artillery,
    and build any helpful buildings (finish my museums, then happiness due to
    piety’s conversion, then the rest). I hope to win before bombers become any
    kind of threat.

    Notable randomness: My incredibly weak military score has caused all 3 AI’s
    to declare war and send armies (even my ally 🙁 ). Sorted them out, but
    situation is still risky. I lost a couple workers, and it’s hard to build
    improvments with enemy units standing on those tiles. However, cities were
    never really at risk.

    Turn 350

    There are 15 enemy units on my lands, a mix of modern infantry and tanks. I have ~6 artillery trying to sort them out… (note from the future: I wind up losing all military that isn’t in a city, but I do enough damage to push them back.)

    1.5 policies to go. 14 landmarks.

    Turn 370

    City pop: 25, 19, 17

    All policies done. Starting Utopia project. Currently researching Electronics. Did not research Radio.

    Turn 390: 1970 AD

    Cultural Victory. Whew.

    Additional notes: King is much harder than I remember… by the end of the game, one of the AIs was able to field a ~40 military unit offense. Fortunately, he sent it to another AI. I feel the Fountain of Youth greatly influenced my game – I never hit unhappy and I was able to put off Theater science and buildings for a long long time. I feel I built too many wonders at the start of the game and should have instead built more units.

    The AI’s took all the city states as allies, I never sent any of them any gold. I never had much spare gold to send them either.

    I ran a comparatively idyllic prince game (france, pangaea, tiny). Two city’d my way into a cultural victory on turn 317, 1894 AD.

    Because nobody came up with KPIs for cultural victory by now, I will document here what I have found out through experiments. Please keep in mind that I am a beginner and the values of an experienced player might differ a lot. I will keep this question open longer and hope that a stronger player can provide his data points.


    Difficulty level “Prince”. Playing as Gandhi on a small island map. I stayed an 3 cities and had little space to maneuver because of the small island I started on. Never initiated war but was under attack twice. Both attacks did cost me some units but no major harm has been done. I was able to stay safe, although I had only about 30% of military power compared to my opponents in the end. On harder difficulty levels this will most likely be more difficult and military investment will slow the strategy down. I was lucky to find 3 cultural oriented city states early, which also helped my strategy.


    • I won the game through the utopia project in the year 1970 AD.
    • In the end I got +740 culture per turn.
    • I reached the +500 culture per turn mark around 1850 AD.
    • I was able to produce 12 great artists before the 5th policy tree was completed.

    Interesting learnings:

    If everything works out, it does not make sense to rush towards “Cristo Redentor”, which seems like an amazing wonder. I was able to research the necessary technology “Telegraph” before I won, but the game was over before I could have put “Cristo Redentor” to use. It might help to catch up if things go wrong, but if you can use this strategy without major interference the game can be won before Cristo Redentor even comes into play.

    Other attempts with this strategy failed because I neglected how important science is. It seems better to wait a little before going all out culture heavy and invest in science initially. Otherwise it seems impossible to get the important wonders before your opponents. I consider the “Sistine Chapel”, the “Louvre” and the “Sydney Opera House” the most important wonders. Failing to get them will slow you down significantly.

    Having one city for Science, one city for wonder production and great people production and one city you can plaster with cultural landmarks seems like a solid approach, also it is likely that there are way better approaches possible.

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