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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Critic Reviews add missing review

Average score: 86% (based on 29 ratings)

Player Reviews

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

Wish there were more games with this approach...

The Good
If Civilization was the macro version, then Colonization was the micro version although to say the least, Colonization is a brilliant strategy game.

Colonization sets somewhere between the 1500's and the 1800's, from where the first Europeans set ground in South/Central America bringing disease and ultimate chaos to the natives until the independence of the newly found United States of America and beyond.

With that, historically you have 4 major "parasite" nations that you can choose from to plunder the new world (in no particular order):

  • Spanish

    The Spanish represents the military hulk of the European states. Historically known for their brutal conquests of South America, bringing the treasure galleons to Spain from their successful plunders. The Spanish get bonuses when it comes to smothering the native Indians and plunder obtained from burning their Tipi's to the ground.

  • French

    The French represents the "good guys" of the European States. Focusing on cooperation with the locals for trade, their presence only alarms the Indians half the rate compared to the other European invaders. This means that they'll probably be butchered much later by surprise Indian raids compared to their European counterparts. If the locals like you, they come by time to time and offer you gifts as an offer and symbol of eternal friendship.

  • English

    The English represents the lack of birth control of the European States. Historically surpressed by religion and dictatorship, the arguably European scum of the earth (according to most Europeans) arrived in vast numbers in the New World. From religious fanatics to low-life cut throats landed on the shores of the New World to the amazement of the local natives. The English get more settlers from the motherland compared to their European counterparts.

  • Dutch

    The Dutch represent the founders of Capitalism and raw economic interests. The Dutch only resort to military approaches only to further economic gain. Being Dutch means that fur traps yields much greater and prices back in Europe are much more stable during transactions (they don't fall or rise very often).

    Depending on your nation, you start with a Caravel (Merchantman for the Dutch) for sea travel, one unit of soldiers (Veteran soldiers for the Spanish) for protection and one unit of pioneers (Expert Pioneers for the French) to establish the first settlements. After you land, this is where the game really starts to begin. Usually right after you land, you'll be greeted by your would be neighbours. Unless your a Spaniard with an attitude problem and Xenophobia, an offer of peace would be essential for survival. After establishing your first settlement, you can either choose to trade peacefully or introduce globalization to the locals through musket fire. Trading is a refreshing difference from Civilization where revenue usually only comes from taxes. In Colonization, you have a wide array of trade items to buy and sell or more often produce. Your settlement can produce Furs, Sugar, Tobacco and manufacture them into valuable goods of Coats, Rum and Cigars for a much higher price in Europe. More advanced settlements can create muskets and even ships! You have basically 3 major opponents in the game. All are optional, with the exception of the third. The first enemies you meet will be the native Indians, but only if you are considered a threat to them. Burning their camps and butchering their braves might be considered a negative gesture. Otherwise, if your French with a smooth accent, they might actually enjoy peace with pale faced invaders! The second enemies are your cousins from your backyard. These blokes are better to be in a state of war than peace, as capturing their units means more man power for you. The third and last batch are your own initial supporter. The King and motherland! They don't seem to like the fact that your making much more money selling turkey dinners than the state tax, so they'll be sending their royal pain soldiers for harsh negotiations once you figure out you want to be an independent owner in the turkey franchise. But basically the game is divided into 2 major game sequences, the before independence and the after independence. Usually in the first part, it's exploring, trading and testing the military might of the Indians and other European nations. In the second part its about defending, defending and some counter attacking. When the King and his lackies attack, they mean business. If you don't have a substantianal force and backup, they swat you like a fly. The technology feature in Colonization is swapped with a Founding Father feature. The founding fathers represent great figures in the history of North and South America recognized for their influence. Each founding father gives you a tech bonus after you 'research' them through the production of liberty bells. For instance the only 'founding mother' is Pocahontas that reduces the alarm rate of locals. Other founding fathers are practically useless such as John Paul Jones that gives you a frigate free of'd probably have the manufacturing ability to produce one already when that time comes. The music is overall excellent. Colonization actually has some background music worth listening to! It has more than 10 soundtracks to choose from so this is a great bonus to the game. There are a few minor differences from the Windows and DOS version. Some units have new graphics such as the Fisherman and the Veteran Soldier. Otherwise, everything else is pretty much the same. The game also provides some history through Founding Fathers, units and buildings. Can't help to think they could provide more though.

    **The Bad**
    I can't help to think that this game could do a really big makeover. Something called Colonization 2? :) There are however, some very irritating features in the game that require careful planning beforehand. The first one has to do with stockades. They made this stupid rule that when you have a stockade, you cannot actively decrease the population lesser by 3. This means your stuck with that settlement until someone else gains control. This is quite bad when it comes to national planning of colonies. Especially when other Europeans aquired some really strategic land that interfers with your plans. You can't rename the settlements either. This game made me hate Indians as they seem to always have their camps at the best tourist sites. Which meant that I had to find another place, introduce the reservation camps to them or get other Europeans to introduce that concept to them. Through this game I probably understand why war was the only alternative in the first place. :(

    **The Bottom Line**
    An excellent strategy game with a lesson or two on history as well! Top stars!

  • Windows 3.x · by Indra was here (20750) · 2019

    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

    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

    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

    Great variation on the Civ theme, more trade oriented, like Merchant Prince

    The Good
    A nicely woven trade context, you can harvest many different goods, process them to varying levels of refinement, ship intermediates between towns (like RRT) then trade them either back in Europe, with other Civs, or with the indians, to reap huge profits. It allows rapid expansion if that's your style. It allows temporary cities (build, then later dismantle) if that's your style again. You can fight others, or grow peacefully, relatively unhindered.

    The Bad
    It can get a little too peaceful, if you're not attacking anybody. You can go for 200 turns without a war, which is fine, if you like merchant/trade simulations. The military units never advance in technology, which is historically realistic, but a paradigm shift for seasoned CIV style gamers. The graphics are of course 1994 state-of-the-art, but that was amply sufficient for me, since the spreadsheet engine underlying the graphics is no worse than that of Civ 3. At least the AI doesnt cheat so much in Colonization.

    The Bottom Line
    DOS and Windows versions virtually identical, I play both (I find the interface more smooth in DOS. You settle and build cities like other Civ games. You can engage in trade and make money, or attack and rob the Indians and make money. You can get $100 for a good or $1000, depending who you go to trade with and what they need at that time. You can conduct shallow trade, with inexperienced workers right from the start and make a little money. Or you can go deep, develop the land, train workers to be specialists, and built industrial infrastructures, to make 5 to 10 times more money from trade. If you want to be peaceful, the AI pretty much can leave you alone to develop and grow peacefully, and build an economic powerhouse.

    But there is ultimately a war you need to prepare for. The war of Independence, which you have to spend 200-300 turns preparing for, and to win it, you will need every cannon, every cavalry, and every fortification (and every dollar) you could possibly have built during those peace years.

    DOS · by Adrian Pascaso (4) · 2004

    Colonize the New World

    The Good
    Play as Spanish, English, Dutch or French. Each has a special advantage of their own. Most people play the Dutch because your ship can carry 4 commodities at the start instead of 2 for all other players. Also commodity prices are better. The French have better relations with the Indians meaning fewer attacks and have a trained pioneer which clears land quicker and gets more logs from cleared woods. The English get 50% more immigrants, but this makes it more difficult to train them all and stop big colonies losing efficiency. The Spanish have veteran Soldiers to attack the Indians or other Europeans.

    The Bad
    The fight mechanics don't work according to probabilities and you get too many foreign POW's - ie. you can attack a city with several Artillary all the time and lose them all, on other occasions attack all the time and win. This means either you lose every unit and keep every unit. Probably means you should only lose some, this really spoils the game as you can't guarantee a win although you have a massive arsenal. Also after you get 4 privateers they always lose. It would have been good if you could have captured ships as well as sink them.

    The Bottom Line
    Great. A real insite into how the New World was Colonized. Learn about historic figures of the time who join your Congress. New Congress members act like tech advances in Civilization eg. Adam Smith makes Factories, and Magellan increases ship movement. The game is a bit like Civilization only on a reduced time scale. Includes Dragoons, Soldiers, Scouts, Caravels, Mecantmans, Galleons, Man-O-War (during fight for Independence). Kings Soldiers and Continental army recruits act like Riflemen and Cavalry.

    DOS · by David Ledgard (3) · 2004

    Great game. Kept me up well after midnight a lot of times.

    The Good
    All the different things/ways you can play it. Each game is like a new game. Sound is not to bad.--Sid Meier classic. A game in my list of top 10 games ever played.

    The Bad
    The music, normal I like the music in games, but the music is the first thing I put of when I play this game.

    The Bottom Line
    I game you either love it with you whole heart or you had it.

    DOS · by MajorDad (515) · 1999

    This game brings back memories

    The Good
    I loved the music, and it was probably one of the best aspects of the game. The game was addicting because it resembled Civilization, and just building up the empire was fun too.

    The Bad
    Back when it played it in the mid-90's, I could'nt think of any flaws that it had. But now, I wish they made Colonization 2 or a game that plays identically to this one, but has better graphics and more features. I've tried quite a few games such as Conquest of the New World, and they just don't have the unique feel that Colonization had.

    The Bottom Line
    I would tell people that this game is similar to Civilization and that they can play it today for nostalgic relief or just sit back and listen to the tunes. This game also inspired me to take an Indian Studies course later in college.

    DOS · by igor balotsky (5) · 2004

    Colonial History made easy and FUN! Students, this is YOUR GAME!

    The Good
    Engaging turn-based strategic gameplay. Some reliance on luck, since you could choose to randomise maps, OR play the real America as translated into game squares. Very good summaries about historical figures of times past. Runs well on Windows 3.x or 9x - no soundcard worries here! Also, high-res images make it easier to tell units apart (640x480 versus the DOS versions' 320x240(I think?!).

    The Bad
    You couldn't make the natives continuously happy - then again, which colonist can? Also, after declaring sovereignty, the troops your motherland sends are quite powerful - then again, it's a STRATEGY game.

    The Bottom Line
    A masterpiece of Historical Simulation! Play this if you need to learn history, the extremely engaging way!

    Windows 3.x · by P Ray (7) · 2019

    Contributors to this Entry

    Critic reviews added by Scaryfun, jaXen, Wizo, Joobs, Игги Друге, Rebound Boy, Havoc Crow, Sun King, Tim Janssen, Patrick Bregger, WONDERなパン, shphhd, robotriot, Jeanne, mailmanppa, Alsy, Tomas Pettersson, ☺☺☺☺☺, Cantillon, Mr Creosote, DSFC.