20 Best Mods For Civilization 5 (All Free)This post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something we may get a small commission at no extra cost to you. (Learn more).
Civilization 5 has well surpassed the 10-year mark since its release.
Having stood the test of time, the community is still very much alive – constantly finding new ways for us to enjoy the game.
Whether you haven’t had a chance to pick up Civilization 6 yet, or are just looking for a fresh Civ 5 experience, these mods will definitely be worth your while.
And of course they’re all totally free to check out, so be sure to dive in and see what you can find!
20. Really Advanced Setup
The Advanced Setup screen allows you to set different gameplay mechanics. But this mod allows for even more in-depth customization.
On top of all the options previously available, you’ll be able to select active civilizations, set starting bias, starting bonuses, and map visibility among others.
What’s even more interesting, in my opinion, is the option that allows you to disable nuclear weapons, policies, happiness, etc.
There is even an “Always War” mode which puts you at war with all the other civilizations throughout the duration of the game. Wild stuff.
All in all, this is a great way to really get the experience you’re looking for.
You could create your very own utopia where everyone gets along and each civilization thrives, or choose chaos and destruction.
I think I know where I’ll start.
19. City Limits
Anyone who’s played a city-builder tends to be a bit obsessive-compulsive in terms of planning and layout.
We all want our cities to be neat and aesthetic. But in Civilization 5 more than anything, we want to be efficient in our city planning.
This is a great tool that will help with exactly that.
City Limits shows how far you can potentially expand by clicking on either a city, or settler.
Nothing fancy, but you won’t want to play without it once you’ve given it a try.
18. Real Natural Disasters
Back in Civilization 4 there were a number of random events that could occur in the world, including natural disasters.
Everything could be completely normal until an unexpected earthquake destroys your buildings and disrupts your citizens’ day-to-day life.
This was removed from Civilization 5 along with all other random mechanics that negatively impact gameplay.
It was decided that these negative experiences were generally not fun for players.
Of course not everyone agrees, as some would even argue that the world feels more realistic with these random events in place. Immersion is key to some gamers.
The Real Natural Disasters mod reintroduces earthquakes, flood, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, and the like.
There may even be a chance that a meteor falls from space. Wowza!
If that doesn’t keep you on your toes, I’m not sure what will.
17. Health & Plague
Here’s another mod that improves on the realism of Civilization 5.
As the title suggests, Health & Plague makes it possible for plagues to spread across the world.
These mostly come by neglecting the overall health of your cities, which is based on factors such as water access, resources, and tourism (keep those foreigners visiting!).
A plague could be devastating to your city as you lose citizens to diseases.
Watching your own health rating won’t be enough either, as sickness from neighboring cities can affect you as well.
Trade routes and tourism play major roles in keeping diseases away, so make sure to monitor your international relations as well.
This increased importance to micromanagement is an exciting way to spice up your next Civ 5 playthrough.
Up your survival game in the early stages of the game by keeping your citizens healthy until you can build research facilities to discover cures.
A simple mod which allows you to plant forests after discovering fertilizer.
Simple yes, but also fun!
Whether you’re planting trees for lumber, growing forests to keep enemies away, or just really care for the environment – this is the mod for you.
15. A Mod of Ice and Fire (G&K)
A Mod of Ice and Fire takes us to Westeros where we can play as many of our favorite GoT characters.
Ever wished you could lead the Dothraki as Khal Drogo? Or claim the Iron Throne as Daenerys?
Here’s your chance.
With no shortage of additional content, this mod includes 12 playable civilizations each with unique traits, along with special units and buildings.
You can even explore different religions and play as a follower of the Many-Faced God!
14. Faster Aircraft Animations
Tired of sitting through those long and tiresome aircraft attack animations?
This freebie should do the trick.
A small, simple fix that saves you loads of time by doubling aircraft animation speeds. Check it out and see for yourself.
We all know how long a game of Civilization can get.
If you’re playing in-between work hours or just coming back from a break, InfoAddict will make sure you’re kept up-to-date with everything that’s going.
This mod presents data in easy-to-read graphs where you’ll be able to keep track of your progression through time.
This is a big help in terms of plotting your next moves, as you’ll be able to track everything from military, culture, science, and happiness development against other civilizations.
12. R.E.D. Modpack
The R.E.D. or Regiment and Ethnic Diversity Modpack gives a much-needed visual upgrade to units in the game.
Unit scaling has been cited by many as an issue with Civilization games. And this mod gives your units not only fresh models but also updated formations to match.
The updated unit models do look quite nice, as unit appearances are now better matched to their civilizations.
This also makes it much easier to differentiate unit types as quite a bit of detail is added.
One more helpful detail here is sizing, where units are sized much more realistically relative to one another.
For example, archers are now smaller than catapults. This should give you a better understanding of unit differences with a quick glance instead of having to go through all the stats each time.
11. Strange Religions
Probably the silliest mod on the list, Strange Religions is just a fun way to add new content to Civ 5.
The title may not be obvious enough, but Strange Religions includes some of the more unusual beliefs you probably didn’t even know existed.
Most would argue that this is too much of a joke to be considered an actual mod.
But if you’re looking for some light-hearted fun, look no further.
Choose to have your citizens worship the Invisible Pink Unicorn, be part of the Sith Order, or subscribe to Pastafarianism – anything is possible really.
This mod may be upsetting to some, but that’s always part of the fun isn’t it?
PerfectWorld3 works because it aims to do one thing, and does it this very well.
It greatly improves the world generation aspect of the game to create more realistic terrain.
Mountains, deserts, and forests now appear in places that make much more sense – giving the map a much more vibrant and natural feel.
Rivers now begin to run down mountains and eventually converge with larger bodies of water.
Other than the aesthetic value of this mod, resources are located in different areas of the map as well.
Following the jungles and water sources, resource placement will have more of an impact on how you play through the game. Immersion at its finest.
If you’re looking for a way to make Civ 5 more interesting while making it much more visually pleasing as well, check this one out.
9. Global Warming
Similar to Health & Plague mentioned earlier, I’d say the Global Warming mod adds a fantastic climate simulator to the game.
Mirroring real-world events, global warming in-game can drastically affect how you play the game.
Ice and snow melts, land tiles may dry out and lose resources, or at worst you may even be hit by flooding or hurricanes.
A great way to add a new sense of realism to the game. Save the polar bears!
8. Smart AI
If you’re a seasoned Civ 5 player looking for a more challenging experience, this mod is for you.
If you’ve been playing Civ 5 for a while then AI decisions may become predictable.
Outsmarting the AI might no longer be satisfying – you may even begin to notice that some AI decisions don’t even make sense.
This mod bumps up AI decision-making as they make smarter moves, from targeting unit upgrades to policy choices.
If you’re looking for a refreshing single player experience then you should give this a download and see what you think.
7. Vox Populi
The Vox Populi mod is one of, if not the biggest and most ambitious Civilization 5 mod available.
Further proof of how strong the Civilization 5 community is, Vox Populi builds on the Community Patch Project also known as CPP.
The CPP is a dream for any involved gamer where community comments, suggestions, and feedback are taken into consideration toward making the game what the players want it to be.
With contributions from all over the community, Vox Populi provides rebalances and updates from discussions on how the game can be improved.
Almost everything about the game is changed. Which, if you’ve only played the vanilla version, will definitely make for an interesting new playthough.
Major changes to everything from leadership balances to updated unique abilities per civilization makes this one of the more robust mods you can explore to give you a fresh appreciation for Civ 5.
6. Prehistoric Era Reborn
Here’s another mod that adds a bunch of new content by allowing you to start off at a much earlier era than the original game.
With Prehistoric Era Reborn, instead of opening the game with the ancient era, you’ll find yourself at 20,000 BC.
You have yet to discover essentials such as fire and are struggling to survive against wild animals.
Evolve through new (though primitive) technologies such as gathering, cooking, and hunting.
Eventually build your civilization up to learning language and social structure.
Explore prehistoric world with new units, technologies, and wonders with your cavemen, shamans, explorers and savages.
You may even encounter a few mammoths or giants, who knows? Do I really have to keep selling this one? It’s awesome!
5. Communitas Map
An alternative to PerfectWorld3, the Communitas Map mod takes a different approach to world building.
This gives a unique experience as maps now include continents and offshore islands, directly affecting how you approach exploration and expansion.
Aimed at producing a balance between aesthetic and gameplay balances, not only does the Communitas map make visual improvements to the game, but there are a number of factors that impact gameplay as well.
Naval exploration is given greater value as you discover different islands across the map.
Also mountains affect surrounding weather conditions and ocean rifts place a greater importance on astronomy (this one goes real deep into physics!)
All-in-all a great alternative to PerfectWorld3 in terms of visual and gameplay upgrades.
I recommend giving both a try to see which one you prefer.
4. MC’s Buccaneers
Here’s a fun one – traverse the seas as a band of pirates led by Henry Morgan.
Harass neighboring civilizations with your superior naval combat to capture cities and disrupt trade routes for gold.
As the Buccaneers, you will have the unique ability to issue a Letter of Marque.
This allows naval units uninterrupted access to enemy territory.
You may also build a fleet of corsairs, which are unique naval units to this civilization.
These privateer ships have a combat advantage against other naval units, while allowing you to gain additional combat bonus boosts for plundering enemy tradeships.
And of course, would pirates even be pirates without rum?
Playing as the Buccaneers you’ll be able to build Rum Distilleries as an additional food and gold source for your cities.
I can already hear the pirate shanties…
Emigration adds a new game mechanic that gives more importance to civilization happiness.
Keeping your citizens satisfied now produces a resource called prosperity, which determines whether people come to or leave your cities.
It’s really cool.
Tying into a number of different in-game factors such as social policies and productivity, citizens may choose to move to more prosperous cities around you.
This not only adds an interesting new challenge to watch for on your next playthrough, but introduces new strategies to take advantage of.
A cool mod to help make a more interesting Civ 5 experience.
2. Enlightenment Era
An “Era Mod”, this adds an Enlightenment Era between Renaissance and Industrial.
This includes tons of additional technologies, units, buildings, and wonders to explore.
New content includes exploring concepts such as economics, humanism, and imperialism as you play through the scientific revolution prior to moving into the industrial era.
Learn about exploration and navigation with warships, or build museums as you discover natural history.
You can even improve culture ratings by building salons and theatres. Yes, theatres!
Whichever way you’d like to play though this era of science and discovery, there’s tons of new content here that’s definitely worth taking a look at. Especially if you love the discovery side of Civ games.
1. Civilization Nights
As explained by the mod creator himself, this title comes from the fact that the difference between Civilization 5 and Civilization Nights is like day and night.
The complete overhaul of gameplay mechanics and balancing aims to give you a fresh Civ 5 experience unlike any of your previous playthroughs.
And personally, I say it hits the nail on the head.
One of the major changes in Civilization Nights is an updated happiness system.
Citizens now gain happiness, while military units and cities generate unhappiness.
This then creates a new balance where there is more weight on the decision of whether to expand, or focus on military improvement.
And this feature is just a small part of Civilization Nights!
All the updates here tie together to give you a new Civilization 5 experience that is absolutely worth checking out.
This is a good way to explore new play styles, making the game you love feel completely new. Highly recommend trying this one out if you’ve got the time.