Sid Meier's Civilization

aka: Civ, Civ1, Civilization, Civilization I, Civilization: Shin Sekai Shichidai Bunmei, Sid Meier's Civilization: Build an Empire to Stand the Test of Time, Wenming
Moby ID: 585

Description official descriptions

Civilization has the widest scope of any strategy game of its time. You are a leader of a nation. You begin in the Stone Age, and complete the game in the XXIth century (unless your civilization gets destroyed earlier). Your eventual goal is to become the dominant civilization in the world, either by wiping out everybody else, or being the first to get a space ship to Alpha Centauri.

As the nation's leader, you have many responsibilities. You have to build cities, and then micromanage them, constructing various buildings. Most of people in your cities will be working on the neighbouring lands to get food (without it, your city won't survive or grow), production (used to build military units and buildings) and trade (which can be exchanged for money, science (see below) or luxuries that make people happy. You decide how much trade you want to invest into each of these areas.) You have to make sure that your people are in a good mood; if they get too unhappy, the city will collapse into disorder, and won't produce anything until you fix the situation.

If you're ambitious, you can build Wonders of the World - epic constructions, such as the Pyramids or the Hoover Dam. Each Wonder is an unique thing, and only one of each can exist in the world. They give you a lot of benefits if you complete them, but they take a long time to build, and many of them will eventually stop working.

There are other nations in the world, and there are also barbarians, so you'll have to invest into the military to protect yourself and to attack. Sure, you can sign peace treaties with other nations, and even exchange scientific knowledge with them (although sometimes they'll demand tribute from you), but eventually you'll probably have to fight. You control each of your military units on the world map, attacking your opponents' units and cities (possibly taking over them).

Not all units are for combat though. Settlers are used to build cities, create roads (for easier travel of your units) and improve the land around cities, increasing production. Diplomats can be sent to foreign cities to negotiate with the other nations or create embassies, but they can also bribe enemy units to join you and conduct espionage and sabotage in the enemies' cities. Caravans can be sent to faraway cities to increase trade in their home city, and they can also help in building Wonders of the World.

Scientific progress is an important part of the game. The more science your cities produce, the faster you research new technologies. Initially, you'll be finding out about the wonders of Alphabet or Bronze Working, but late in the game you'll be researching Computers and Robotics. Most technologies give you some new units, buildings and other things, although some have more interesting effects - for example, after inventing the Automobile, you'll find out that your citizens started producing pollution. Pollution is a bad thing; if there's too much of it, global warming may occur.

How your cities prosper depends partially on the type of government that your nation has. Initially you're living in Despotism, but this can stunt growth of your civilization, so it's a good idea to switch to something else - Monarchy, Republic, Democracy or Communism.


  • シヴィライゼーション 新・世界七大文明 - Japanese spelling
  • 文明 - Simplified Chinese spelling

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Credits (DOS version)

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Average score: 89% (based on 47 ratings)


Average score: 3.9 out of 5 (based on 324 ratings with 12 reviews)

This game just screams "best game in the entire history of the universe"!

The Good
Sorry, I realize I'm not being objective but I just couldn't help giving this one all 5's :-)

This is the best game I've ever played! The first of its kind, one of only a few games of its kind which make my skin tingle every time I play it. Brilliant! Brilliant! Excellent graphics, good music (when there is any), great gimmicks (Civilopedia for one), the best gameplay ever created!

This game has proven that there indeed be a God, and thy name be Sid Meier!

The Bad
Nothing! It's perfect, and I like it a whole lot more than any other game of its type, including its sequel and Alpha Centauri.

The Bottom Line
A landmark in computer gaming, basically the best game of its kind ever made and probably ever will be made.

DOS · by Tomer Gabel (4539) · 1999

Civilization for Windows - a great game...

The Good
This game has, in my opinion, a few points over the DOS-version: - The screens with discoveries and things can be clicked away. Rather than having to wait for it to fully fade in, you just click thus get more time to play the game. - Extra tribes? I think there are more tribes to play than in the DOS-version, but not sure since I haven't played the DOS one in a while now (still have it on my hard-disk though). - The mouse works in the Windows version. Having an usb-mouse means DOS won't let me use it... and the DOS version can be run under Windows, but the mouse responds much slower and dodgier. - It looks better... While this is not a gameplay-issue (gameplay is great in both versions), it does help that this version looks a bit better.

The Bad
There is only one point I didn't like so far: - It seems impossible to find working cheats for the Windows-version! Unlike the "counterpart" of Civilization (both Dos and Windows versions), Colonization which has well-documented cheats that can be found just about everywhere, for Civilization only the DOS cheats keep turning up in websearches...

The Bottom Line
All in all I would say this is a great game that has earned it's merits. Both DOS and Windows versions feature a great gameplay that guarantees you'll be playing them for hours, but the Windows-version described here would be the version I am rooting for in a comparison, due to the fact that for me it's a bit more streamlined. Anyways, I'm going back into the search to find some cheats... I know they exist, I used them years ago.

Windows 3.x · by Cesar Saez (5) · 2003

I can only say this The Civ line of games can never and will never be unseated from the Throne!

The Good
Everything what more can you say.

The Bad

The Bottom Line
I have been giving reviews to my persoal favorites. This game is number 1.

DOS · by Shawn McDonie (13) · 2000

[ View all 12 player reviews ]


1001 Video Games

The PC version of Civilisation appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Avalon Hill

The game was partially inspired by the Avalon Hill boardgame Civilization and later Advanced Civilization. When Sid Meier's version became so popular, Avalon Hill actually came out with Advanced Civilization for the PC. Avalon Hill then sued Hasbro/MicroProse for copyright infringement. Activision got involved as they want to license the Avalon Hill version for their Civilization: Call to Power. MicroProse then went on, with Hasbro's help, to buy out the original inventors of the Avalon Hill's version, thus negating the suit. Finally they settled out of court. Activision gets the license to make Call to Power, MicroProse keeps the computer game name Civilization, and Avalon Hill gets nothing.

Board game

Coming full circle from its apocryphal roots in the 1980 Hartland Trefoil / Avalon Hill boardgame Civilization, 2002 saw the release of Sid Meier's Civilization: the Boardgame.


Dan Bunten, creator of the M.U.L.E., wanted to follow this game up with a computer port of the Avalon Hill board game Civilization. Unable to drum up enough support from his Ozark colleagues, he instead went on to create Seven Cities of Gold. After leaving Electronic Arts in 1988, Bunten signs a deal with Microprose and has a choice between the Civilization port and a conversion of Milton Bradley's Axis and Allies. Fellow Microprosian Sid Meier convinces him to tackle the latter, which becomes Bunten's Command H.Q.. Meier, of course, goes on to make Civ.

Gandhi and nukes

A long-standing urban legend claimed that the Indian civilization's leader Mahatma Gandhi was especially prone to using nuclear weapons due to a game bug. In the game, each leader has their own statistics that define their personality towards others. According to the legend, once a player researches and adopts democracy in the game, all leaders would have their aggression stat towards the newly-democratic player reduced by 2. However, India's leader Mahatma Gandhi already had that stat set to 1 by default, and the effect of democracy caused an integer overflow - it would have theoretically gone to -1, but the stat apparently used an unsigned 8-bit integer format for its value, setting Gandhi's aggression to 255 and having him threaten players with nuclear weapons. The story first appeared on the TV Tropes wiki in 2012, spreading from there until it was widely reported by gaming media. However, in his 2020 autobiography Sid Meier's Memoir!, designer and programmer Sid Meier debunked the story, stating that such a bug never existed since government types do not affect the AI leaders' aggressiveness rating. And even if they did, the C dialect used to program Civilization used signed integers as a default, meaning no overflow would happen. The supposed bug became a running joke among the fans and the "Gandhi using nukes" meme made an appearance in the Civilization series itself: Gandhi's nuke production and usage stats in Sid Meier's Civilization V are always set to the maximum value, and in Sid Meier's Civilization VI, Gandhi has an increased chance of having the "Nuke Happy" hidden agenda. Since Civilization V was released before the first claim of the supposed bug, it was not influenced by the legend, possibly influencing it instead.

Further reading: Nuclear Gandhi at Wikipedia.


Although clearly inspired in part by Avalon Hill's Civilization boardgame, Sid Meier's Civilization also draws very heavily upon the original conquer-the-world computer strategy game Empire: Wargame of the Century.


The lines of text shown in the intro cinematic/animation are read from a plain text file in the game's directory, and thus can be easily modified.

References to the game

Strangely enough, but in Sliver, a thriller movie with Sharon Stone, William Baldwin and Tom Berenger, you can spot a poster on the wall to secret room of the bad guy in the movie, a close up of the front cover of Sid Meier's Civilization game. It is hardly noticeable as it appears for a split second.


An orchestral version of the game soundtrack was released on the CD-ROM (as audio tracks) of Sid Meier's CivNet in 1995.

Strategy guide

Sid Meier's Civilization was one of the first games to have a paperback strategy guide released for it: Alan Emrich and Johnny Wilson's Rome on 640K a Day.


  • Amiga Joker
    • Issue 02/1993 – #3 Best Game of 1992 (Readers' Vote)
    • Issue 02/1993 – Best Simulation of 1992 (Readers' Vote)
  • Computer Gaming World
    • November 1992 (Issue #100) – Overall Game of the Year
    • August 1993 (Issue #109) - Introduced into the Hall of Fame
    • November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) - #1 overall in the “150 Best Games of All Time” list
    • March 2001 (Issue #200) - #1 in the "Top Ten Games of All Time" list (Editors' vote)
    • March 2001 (Issue #200) - #7 in the "Top Ten Games of All Time" list (Readers' vote)
  • Game Informer
    • August 2001 (Issue 100) - #62 in the "Top 100 Games of All Time" poll
  • GameSpy
    • 2001 – #4 Top Game of All Time
  • GameStar (Germany)
    • Issue 12/1999 - #1 in the "100 Most Important PC Games of the Nineties" ranking
  • PC Gamer
    • April 2000 - #11 overall in the "All-Time Top 50 Games" poll (the oldest game to make the list)
  • Retro Gamer
    • October 2004 (Issue #9) – #29 Best Game Of All Time (Readers' Vote)

Information also contributed by Adam Baratz, Andrew Grassender, JimmyA, Kasey Chang, lethal guitar, MAT, PCGamer77 and Pseudo_Intellectual

Related Games

Sid Meier's Civilization III
Released 2001 on Windows, 2002 on Macintosh
Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Complete
Released 2007 on Windows
Sid Meier's Civilization II
Released 1996 on Windows 3.x, 1997 on Macintosh, PlayStation
Sid Meier's Civilization III: Complete
Released 2004 on Windows, 2006 on Macintosh
Sid Meier's Civilization V: Brave New World
Released 2013 on Windows, Macintosh, 2014 on Linux
Sid Meier's Civilization V
Released 2010 on Windows, 2010 on Macintosh, 2014 on Linux
Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Colonization
Released 2008 on Windows, 2009 on Macintosh
Sid Meier's Civilization: Revolution
Released 2008 on Nintendo DS

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by MajorDad.

Windows 3.x, SNES added by PCGamer77. Amiga added by Rebound Boy. Atari ST added by Martin Smith. PlayStation added by qwertyuiop. Macintosh added by Игги Друге. PC-98 added by Unicorn Lynx. SEGA Saturn added by Thiago Simões.

Additional contributors: Ummagumma, Terok Nor, MAT, Robert Teichmann, PCGamer77, Unicorn Lynx, Jeanne, Alaka, monkeyislandgirl, formercontrib, Patrick Bregger, Plok, Victor Vance, FatherJack.

Game added December 21st, 1999. Last modified October 13th, 2023.