Sid Meier's Colonization

aka: Sid Meier's Colonization (Classic), Sid Meier's Colonization: Create A New Nation, Sid Meier's Colonization: Erschaffen Sie eine neue Nation
Moby ID: 366
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Description official descriptions

Sid Meier's Colonization is a strategy game which puts you in the role of Viceroy of the New World. You are sent by your King and country to establish colonies in the newly-discovered Americas that lie to the west. You face many of the same challenges that faced colonial organizers of the time-competition from other Old World powers, strange native cultures, the problems of establishing profitable trade programs, and the problems of organizing an army from a rag-tag band of colonists.

The game begins with the European discovery of the Americas (1500) and continues until approximately the time of the American Revolution (1800). In the beginning of the game you are given a trading/exploration ship and a small group of colonists. You have no knowledge of what lies ahead of your ship, so you must explore until you find a suitable spot to lay down your first colony. As your colonies grow larger and larger, you inevitably encounter native populations and are confronted with competing imperial powers from the Old World.

Each of your colonies is populated by a number of colonists, who you can assign to various tasks. Some chop wood, mine for ore and collect plants outside the colony, some others stay inside to turn those raw materials into more valuable cargo - such as rum (made from sugar), coats (made of furs) or hammers (made of lumber). Hammers which aren't a cargo you can sell, but represent the speed with which you construct new buildings in your colony. Some colonists are specialists, and thus are more effective at a certain job.

The cargo you collect and produce is an important thing. You can take it to Europe to sell, and earn money to buy some other necessary things, hire colonists (though new, willing colonists appear in Europe by themselves) or buy ships and artillery. You can also trade it with the Indians or colonies of other nations.

You'll construct various buildings in your colonies. They have a lot of different functions: some of them can improve the speed with which you produce valuable cargo, others allow you to defend yourself from attacks more easily or construct ships and artillery. Some buildings require you to spend a number of valuable Tools when constructed, though you can make new Tools out of ore.

As you explore the land, you'll come across the Indian villages and some "places of interest" which can be investigated. A colonist that enters an Indian village can be welcomed with open hands, and the natives will reveal a map of nearby lands, or teach him a profession. Investigating places of interest has various consequences: sometimes you'll find nothing, sometimes you'll be killed for trespassing on ancient burial ground, but sometimes you'll find treasure! (Taking this treasure to Europe can be difficult though - if you don't have a sufficiently big ship, the King will agree to transport it for you... if you give him 50% of the gold).

To defend yourself from enemies, you'll want to have some military units. Just give a colonist a musket and he'll turn into a Soldier, give him a horse, and he's a Scout or a Dragoon. However, such a warrior is typically inexperienced, though he might gain military experience in battle. Artillery is also good at defense, but don't try to leave your colonies with it - in the open field, it is useless.

As you progress in the game, you'll feel that working for the King is getting more and more annoying, especially since he keeps raising your taxes, thus decreasing your income from sold goods. Your colonies produce "Liberty Bells", which increase rebel sentiment in the colonies. If the majority of colonists supports your yearning for freedom, you can declare independence. But when you do that, you'll have to deal with the King's expeditionary force arriving to teach you a lesson. If you manage to defeat all his incoming armies and emerge victorious from the American Revolutionary War, you've won!

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Credits (DOS version)

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Reviews

Critics

Average score: 86% (based on 29 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.9 out of 5 (based on 150 ratings with 9 reviews)

A damn fine Sid Meier classic.

The Good
Just about everything - it's as addictive as Civilization and not quite as elaborate, the graphics are very well drawn and fit the style of the game, the King with His Pinky Ring is really cool and the ingame music is of top quality.

The Bad
Hmm... I guess it gets kindof annoying after a while, but you always go back to it.

The Bottom Line
A really good Civilization-style game from God Himself.

DOS · by Tomer Gabel (4536) · 1999

Addictive despite its flaws.

The Good
This game looks and plays a lot like the designer's classic Civilization game. The difference is that while that game was won by expansion of your civilization and developing technology, this game is won by careful development of your cities and trade. This game is really more about economics than military conquest.

In Colonization you are given different types of prospective colonists with various skills (or lack of skills) and you decide whether to sail them from the Old World to the New. Then you have to get those colonists to where you can take full advantage of their skills. So you'd want to get the miners close to mountains and distillers close to sugar supplies, etc. You then want to arrange trade routes between your cities so you can get your raw materials shipped to cities that can then upgrade it to more refined and valuable goods. Ultimately you can ship your raw or manufactured goods back to the Old World for profit.

Eventually you will reach a point where you will declare independence and have to fight a revolutionary war. Your success in this war is heavily dependent upon how well you fortified your cities and built a strong, diverse economy prior to independence.

The Bad
To get your cities productive will require a lot of micro management of your cities. While I really enjoyed this at first. As I got better at the game it became a bit of a nuisance moving colonists around. I think if the computer could have managed some aspects for you it would have cut down on all the mouse clicking.

But the real sore point of the game is its frustrating combat system. In this game you don't really damage or destroy units, instead, when beaten, a unit downgrades. So after a battle a military unit would loose all its guns making it a normal colonist until you armed it again. While this fits the games focus on economics, it makes for fighting wars very frustrating. After a hard fought battle, unless you had extra troops to mop up the beaten armies they would retreat and return a few turns later rearmed with weapons. This wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for the fact that fighting the King's army is very difficult on the harder settings. I understand that it was made this way to stress the importance of developing your colony's manufacturing . But I think there could have been a better way to portray this in the game.

The Bottom Line
Despite its flawed combat system this game is quite addictive. You will have many late nights perfecting cities and trade routes as you prepare for independence.

DOS · by woods01 (129) · 2002

An excellent presentation of American colonization that gets bogged down in the later stages

The Good
There are many paths to victory, and plenty of opportunity to invent unique strategies. Initially, you are dependent on your mother country, and so make money by shuffling goods back and forth between your colonies, the natives, and Europe. Or you can ignore that, outfit some guys with guns and go treasure-hunting and wiping out Indians. Gradually, through the addition of taxes, you are forced out of your mother countries' market, at which point you end your game by declaring independence and (hopefully) winning the war. You can win "big" by developing into an industrial behemoth, or win "small" by quickly building up an army and trying to defend only one or two colonies.

The Bad
The price for the depth allowed is that in the later stages heavy micromanagement(more than Civ) of your trade and specialists becomes necessary for success. Since specialists are individual units and are attached to colonies, you often find that early on you don't have a use for some specialists, and then later when you do it's in a different location from where they went originally, so that you either shuffle them around constantly or sort of ignore it and miss out on their production bonuses. This is alleviated slightly since you can choose when to finish your game, but that only covers up the problem.

The Bottom Line
Fun historical strategy, loosely related to Civ but with a character all its own. You can learn a lot by playing this game, though it quietly steps around the issue of slavery. It moves relatively quickly - you might be able to finish a game in one evening.

Windows 3.x · by James Hofmann (12) · 2004

[ View all 9 player reviews ]

Discussion

Subject By Date
Colonization Gold Multimedia Lantizia (40) Dec 31, 2019

Trivia

Amiga version

Although Sid Meier's previous Amiga strategy games, Civilization and Railroad Tycoon, were system-friendly and could run on a multitasking system, they kept their custom user interfaces from the PC versions. Colonization, on the other hand, made use of the normal AmigaOS GUI, making for movable and resizable windows. This also meant that you could run Colonization on the Workbench screen, by starting the game with WORKBENCH as an argument.

Development

Colonization was the fourth game that Sid Meier protege Brian Reynolds worked on with MicroProse. The game began as a "spare time" project for Reynolds until it was noticed by the rest of the company. Because the game underwent many significant changes during playtesting, Sid Meier cites the game as proof that designers can (and perhaps should) continue to make changes and improvements up until the last possible minute.

Indians

Colonization was considered somewhat controversial by the press at the time of the release because it portrayed the European conflict with the American Indians but completely excluded the issue of slavery from the game's model.

An interesting change in dialog occurs in relation to Indian wars after your colony gains its independence. When you interact with other European countries before independence, you merely ask them if you want them to war against the Indians. After the independence, you ask them if they will you (or vice versa) place the Indians in reservation camps, a bit of sarcasm from the developers.

Historically, the relations between the native Indians and the invaders are gruesome, if not down right degrading. The first arrivals from Spain and Portugal introduced various diseases to the local populace.

The United States of America traded small pox infested blankets with the Indians, introducing biological warfare before the concept was established and sold whiskey to a nation of people who, surprisingly did not have the genes to break down the alcohol naturally.

Awards

  • Amiga Joker
    • Issue 02/1996 – #2 Best Game in 1995 (Readers' Vote)
    • Issue 02/1996 – #2 Best Simulation in 1995 (Readers' Vote)
  • PC Powerplay (Germany)

Information also contributed by Игги Друге and Indra was here

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by MajorDad.

Amiga added by Rebound Boy. Linux added by Sciere. Windows 3.x added by Terok Nor. Macintosh added by Игги Друге. Windows added by Longwalker.

Additional contributors: PCGamer77, Sergio Brinkhuis, David Ledgard, Havoc Crow, formercontrib, hlejr0, Patrick Bregger.

Game added November 2, 1999. Last modified February 13, 2024.