You begin with a small tribe and the ambition to build a great civilization. Expand your farms and mines to gather the resources to build your cities. This sets the groundwork for technological advancements, better governments, and great wonders. Select wise leaders whose legacy will lead your people to greatness. Strengthen your army to defend your borders and to expand your territory. And shape history with your political abilities.
A strong economy, advanced technology, happy citizens, enlightened government, a strong military - your civilization needs to do well in multiple areas. You might excel in some, but don't fall behind in others. Change your strategy to the opportunities the game offers. Your rivals will look for advantages through wars and politics, so keep your defenses up. But don't ignore the finer things in life, because the civilization with the most influential culture wins.