This Civilization V guide helps you boost your early production, gold and faith by enhancing those ‘little tile improvements that could’ – quarries!
Now, quarries can be an awkward tile improvement in Civilization V. They are unlocked through a separate technology from mines (despite yielding the same basic bonus), only two resources in the game actually require their use (stone and marble), and they sometimes appear on top of unattractive tiles such as desert or tundra
The resources that require quarries possess a lot of hidden potential though and with a few tricks here and there, a player can actually develop them into a highly diverse tile and subsequently create a good base of mid-game production and gold even in the flat grassy areas where they are most commonly found.
A “super quarry” is simply a quarry tile with all of the available bonuses (of which there are many) applied to it. Most expert players will no doubt be aware of how this is achieved, but the best way to leverage this approach is right from the beginning of the game in the opening strategy that I’m about to detail here.
To be clear: this is not intended to be a strategy of game-breaking power (although it can be very potent in some setups), but rather a unique change of pace for ‘quarry starts’ that will offer a great deal of extra gold, extra production and a dependable source of faith as the game develops.
Because of the generally favourable availability of the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus wonder (one of our key ingredients), this strategy is compatible with all modes of difficulty, although successfully leveraging all of the benefits is decidedly tougher at Deity level due to the aggressive AI players and the need for an even greater focus on science.
I have won at least one Deity game using this approach however, so it certainly can help under the right circumstances. As always, be sure to weigh up the pros and cons depending on your circumstances and the style of game you enjoy playing.
- Wonders of the Ancient World Scenario Pack
General pointers and suitable civilizations
Before you can begin a ‘super quarry’ opening, you actually need to check the relevant resources near your starting settler. Stone and marble are the only non-modded resources that are applicable here so be on the look out for these when your game begins.
These resources can spawn on a variety of terrains, but grassy areas and maps with plenty of landmass seem to be a common match for them. Any civilization with a grassland bias such as India or Korea are a good fit for this approach, especially since a quarry on a grassland tile is generally the best sort of quarry you can work.
The civilizations that get early faith bonuses are also a good pick as they can more reliably get access to the competitive Stone Circles pantheon belief which gels wonderfully with this opening. Additionally, if you manage to get a matching start with Egypt, then their bonus towards wonder construction can also be a big help.
As a general rule, I would only recommend pursuing this strategy if you can spot a minimum of 3 workable stone/marble resources in the vicinity of your first city. It’s not all that common, but just remember: the more quarries you have, the stronger this opening will be.
You can technically approach this strategy with fewer resources if you want to, but the sacrifice of earlier libraries and settlers etc. will be harder to make up for in the long run. The lower your chosen difficulty setting is though, the more relaxed you can tend to play.
Research technologies in the following order:
Have your capital construct these projects in the following order:
- Delay monument – build shrine
- Complete monument
- Worker (skip this if you managed to steal one or you opened the Liberty social policy line)
- Mausoleum of Halicarnassus
- Stone works
At higher difficulties, the Honor and Piety lines are poor selections when pursuing this strategy and are generally not recommended for your starting policy.
The Tradition line is useful for early border expansion and getting those quarry spots in workable range. Aristocracy is also helpful as it can give somewhere between +2 and +3 extra production when building the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus wonder.
Liberty is useful primarily for the free worker and added tile improvement speed from Citizenship; something that is very good for getting your quarries online ASAP and thus providing a necessary production boost for building the Mausoleum. Super quarries are fantastic for their early gold boost too which helps patch up a glaring weakness in selecting Liberty; a lack of any bonus gold.
Tradition is usually the stronger policy on the whole, but if you don’t manage to steal/build a worker in good time then Liberty can certainly be a great fallback option if managed correctly.
1) Scout starting resources
It can be quite rare to get 4-5 quarries in view of your capital, but it can happen so be sure to use your warrior or settler to scout the immediate area for any bonus stone or marble resources that might be just out of sight.
Settling on a hill tile is beneficial for the early production boost, but is not strictly necessary. What you must not do however is settle your capital on a plains tile, as this rather stupidly prevents you from constructing the stone works; a key building which will augment your quarries further and provide a minor, albeit welcome, boost to happiness.
2) Scout surrounding area
Once you’ve built your initial scout unit, it’s vital that you explore the surrounding area for city states, ancient ruins and rival civilizations.
The bonus gold from meeting city states is very useful for purchasing quarry tiles that haven’t yet been claimed by your cultural borders and the free lump sum of faith given by religious city states can really improve your chances of getting the competitive Stone Circles pantheon belief.
Meeting other civilizations gives you an opportunity to sell embassies and luxuries for gold as well as the opportunity to steal workers if the circumstances are right.
3) Follow the build order
With your scout finished and ready to explore, it’s time to start building a monument. A monument provides a vital boost in culture which will help your capital acquire new workable tiles and unlock social policies that will aid in early development.
A shrine is necessary for getting the Stone Circles pantheon; a religious belief which will add a bonus +2 faith on top of all our quarries, so do all you can to grab it before an AI does. In the build order above I actually recommend delaying the monument once Pottery is researched in order to get the shrine up and running as early as possible.
If for whatever reason you can’t secure Stone Circles then perhaps consider selecting the less competitive Monument to the Gods pantheon belief instead as it grants another +15% production towards ancient/classical era wonders.
This combos extremely well with the bonuses from marble, Aristocracy and Egypt‘s unique ability, and will help finish Halicarnassus even quicker than usual. You can then leverage this immense early production even further for a faster National College or perhaps even a second world wonder depending on your chosen difficulty.
Once you have a shrine and a monument complete, then you need to wait for Masonry to be researched so that the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus wonder becomes available to build. A granary is a good option if you run out of things to build before this happens, but a worker may also be necessary if you didn’t manage to steal or unlock one from Citizenship.
4) Manage and protect your tiles
It can be easy to forget this step, but it’s very important for getting your buildings done on time. Ensure that your capital is always growing and taking advantage of the best food and production tiles it has available.
Whilst you’re researching Masonry, don’t be afraid to purchase a nearby hill tile and improve it with a mine as +3 production will really help in outputting an early granary and ultimately the Mausoleum itself.
Once Masonry is researched, you should begin improving your resources with quarries as soon as possible. Try to prioritize a marble tile first as it will grant an additive +15% production boost to ancient and classical wonders- perfect for further trimming down the build time of the Mausoleum.
Don’t forget to defend your territory from barbarians. Always have your warrior watch over your worker as tiles are being improved and if necessary, bring your scout back home to help keep your resources protected. You want to have every spare hammer available to help get the wonder completed in the shortest time possible.
Start researching Calendar as per the research order above and then move on to the next phase.
5) The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus
Halicarnassus has had a bumpy ride in Civilization V. It’s a rather mediocre economic wonder on the whole and one that seems to get slightly better and slightly worse with every new balance patch that Firaxis releases (see the advanced notes below for more on that).
When you have the good fortune of settling near multiple quarries though, Halicarnassus becomes a lot more competitive and shares a distinction with Petra as the one of the only wonders in the game that grants variable tile yields depending on the surrounding terrain.
As an ancient era wonder that’s sort of terrain dependent, Halicarnassus can either be very poor or very good depending on your starting dirt and shouldn’t really be considered an option on higher difficulties unless those magic stones and marbles can be seen around your starting settler.
A nice hidden benefit to this wonder is that it’s rarely coveted by the AI players and is a much ‘safer’ project as a result. At the point where Halicarnassus becomes available, most AIs will be too busy fighting over stronger wonders such as The Great Library and Stonehenge, thus taking a lot of the risk associated with building early wonders out of the equation entirely.
If you manage your start correctly, you can find that Halicarnassus is easily achievable all the way up to the Immortal difficulty level and even on Deity too.
Try to start constructing Halicarnassus in your capital the moment that Masonry is researched. If you have a granary that is a few turns away from completion though, then by all means finish that first as the extra food will help birth new citizens while you work higher production tiles such as hills or mines.
You’re aiming to construct the wonder in under 20 turns, with 15 turns being a good target to aim for if at all possible.
6) Improve all quarries and build a stone works
With the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus secured for your civilization, the hard part is over and all that’s left is to do now is build a stone works to fully take advantage of the extra production that your quarries offer.
Assuming that you have at least 3 stone/marble resources in your capital outskirts, it’s unlikely that you’ll have improved all of your quarries by the time you finish building the wonder.
Continue to improve your quarries, purchasing tiles to reach them if needed, and consider building/investing in an archer if there’s spare time/gold available before Calendar finishes.
Once Calendar is done, the final step of the opening is to build a stone works in your capital and watch its production explode!
Assuming your early game circumstances are generally favourable (i.e. you don’t spawn next to the Zulu!), you should aim to complete this opening by about turn 50.
Once you’ve got your stone works up and running, building libraries and settlers should be a doddle, so get out there and start claiming territory before the other players start gobbling it all up.
By using this opening you’ll set yourself up for a comfortable mid-game with the necessary gold, production and faith generation supporting you in whatever strategy you want to pursue.
If you’ve accomplished all of the goals outlined above then you should find your quarries looking a little something like this:
Although the opening itself is now complete, there are couple of other enhancements you can make to your quarries during the later stages of the game.
Remember that researching Chemistry grants a bonus +1 production for quarries and the Five Year Plan tenant in the second stage of the Order ideology tree also grants an additional +1 production to quarries as part of its overall benefit.
If you managed to get the Stone Circles belief with at least 3 improved quarries then you can expect to receive a great prophet around turn 70 or so.
From here you can decide whether founding a religion is something you want to pursue, but be warned that if you don’t do so then it runs the risk of another player spreading their religion to your capital; causing you to lose the benefit of Stone Circles forever as it gets overwritten by the competing religion’s pantheon belief.
Notes for advanced players
- The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus is a stronger wonder in the Brave New World expansion. Because of it being removed from many tiles, gold is a much tighter commodity in the early game, thus making the gold bonuses from Halicarnassus much more valuable.
- Brave New World also adds great writers and great musicians; both of them on their own separate birth tracker along with great artists. This means that there are more great people in the game and thus a lot more gold to be earned through Halicarnassus‘ ability.
- This opening strategy can also get you a relatively early great merchant if one is desired (something that could be very nice for Venice). The great person point from Halicarnassus, plus 2 more from slotted merchant specialists in the early market building can birth a great merchant pretty quickly when combined.
- If playing as Ethiopia or The Celts, you may safely choose to ignore Pottery and the shrine and beeline Masonry. Just remember that the granary won’t be available if you do this.
- The addition of the Bison and Cocoa resources have reduced the chance of seeing stone and marble on grassland thus slightly weakening Halicarnassus’ viability.
- The most recent changes to the way science is calculated means that many players choose to ‘corral’ their great scientists for use much later in the game. This means that by the time they are expended, the bonus gold you get from the Halicarnassus ability is somewhat less relevant than it would be in the earlier stages of the game.
- Check the area around your starting settler for 3+ sources of marble or stone. If you have these resources then proceed with the opening, but do not settle on a plains tile.
- Build a scout and check the surrounding area for city state gifts, ancient ruins and rival civilizations to trade with.
- Research Pottery.
- Build a monument.
- Delay the monument when Pottery finishes and build a shrine.
- Finish building the monument.
- Secure a worker either by stealing one from a rival civilization, selecting the Citizenship policy in Liberty, or by building one.
- If not building a worker, build a granary.
- Select Stone Circles when prompted to select a pantheon belief.
- Purchase tiles towards a nearby hill and build a mine.
- Once Masonry finishes, start building the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, but finish a granary first if you are a few turns away from completing one.
- Research Calendar.
- Purchase tiles towards a nearby marble tile and improve it with a quarry.
- Purchase tiles towards all remaining stone/marble tiles and improve them with a quarry.
- Build a stone works.