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

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Critic Reviews add missing review

Average score: 89% (based on 47 ratings)

Player Reviews

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

Quite simply the greatest, most addictive computer game ever.

The Good
Everything. It still stands up very well to this day.

The graphics were great at the time, and even today their simplicty and clean-ness makes it very enjoyable to play. The sounds do their job - they let you know what's going on without intruding. The gameplay is simply staggering, with infinite variety. No two games are ever alike.

The Bad
It's possibly too addictive. The amount of time I wasted (?) on this game over the years is mind-boggling.

The Bottom Line
Quite simply the greatest, most addictive computer game ever.

DOS · by Steve Hall (329) · 2000

The best, strategy game of all time.

The Good
An incredible scope, and yet still great detail. This set the level of all games to come after it. I was playing the old game "Empire" before this. It was as big a jump as going from a black and white 10" screen (yes, I had one when I was a kid) to a 35" color HDTV today. This game was a bigger jump in innovation than any game before or since.

The Bad
It was actually a little buggy at the time. Of course it, probably strained that poor 286DX I had at the time. It used to crash quite often, but I would still immediately reboot and continue playing.

The Bottom Line
This is the classic conquer the world game. Start as nomad wondering the plains and advance over the next 6000 years to send a mission to the nearest star. Be warned this game is incredibly addictive.

DOS · by Jeff Watts (18) · 2001

The greatest game of the greatest designer

The Good
I liked everything about this game when I first say it. I sad to say had played Colonization before and loved it and heard about Civ about a year after Colonazation came out.

The moment I started playing this game I became Meier fan. Everything is well thought out graphics are of course a little dated today, but as with every Sid Meier game they are not importent.

The Bad
I didn't hate anything about this game. Maybe a couple of points but they all were corrected for Civ2. I only remember this game in good light I just can't rember anything about it.

The Bottom Line
Build a civilization from a bunch of people and then conquer the world or build a spaceship!

A history of the human civilization no less, no more.

DOS · by Heikki Sairanen (76) · 2000

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

A diamond in the rough

The Good
Sid Meier’s Civilization is widely known game that has captured the minds of a generation of gamers after it came out.

This is one of the first god games that now have become standard. Populous already existed and there were strategy games close to Civilization that existed in the board game form but this game still managed to break away from competition and become a fan favorite for years to come.

Civilization is a turn based strategy game where a player guides a civilization in its rise to power throughout the history of mankind. This is done through building cities, exploring, improving the land, mining, road building, trading, diplomacy and research. Let’s look at what comes with the game. There is a technology tree foldout with additional information on all the terrain types, units and buildings. The manual is not too large and contains a good amount of information to help the player get started in playing the game. However, manual does omit some of the things such as the unit limit, what to do when the city has finished building everything. However this is not that important as the game itself. The concept of the game is great, and the game offers a good variety. There is large number of buildings one of which does become obsolete if another one is build. The building all have specific function and it is hard to say that some are of them are useless, all of them together are used effectively to build a city that is extremely functional. However, the player is given the choice to decide where to build which buildings and when. In addition, the game has additional buildings which are called the Wonders. These buildings are based on the idea of Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. In the game however many of the of the Seven Wonders are missing however there are other wonders that are added for later time periods that all have different effects.

Now like every strategy game this one also has units, while settlers work and change the land, build roads, the diplomats establish embassies and act as spies, the military units are used to conduct warfare. The variety of units that exists and are made available through technology research makes the game fun and enjoyable as well as very nicely balanced.

The game also offers different styles of the government that all have advantages and disadvantages. The choice of government affects corruption levels, which is lost income, the production level and trade. This makes the game even more interactive and amazing as now the player is forced to consider when to switch the governments.

The game also has a different way of gaining income, the income comes from the trade that is taxed and the level of allocation of taxes for income, money spend on luxuries (social spending) that are used to boost morale and money given to science are all controllable. The money from taxes is used to support buildings in the cities and buy units for faster production, however a different resource is used for normal production rather than rush production. The shields which symbolize the different resources produced overall are what is used for the purposes of the construction of buildings and units. The city’s population determines how much the resources is gathered by working land around the city, they population grows and so is able to work more land thanks to gathering of food. Than there is also possibility to switch population from working the land to become entertainers and so boost luxuries output, become taxmen and so boost income and finally become scientists and boost science research in the city. The interface that the game has and offers is also great for its time period as each city has its own screen that can be opened and additional screen to view the city and the buildings that it has. Than there is other screens for the information about the civilization from score, to research, diplomacy standing, tax rates and etc. The icons are intuitive and symbolic of what they represent.

The game has advisors that change with each epoch and the different forms of government, the provide advice on the matters of spending, military, trade, foreign relations and science. The advice could be conflicting often showing the real dilemma that the country leaders in the real world have to deal with.

The winning conditions do not require only conquering the enemy, it is possible to win without that just by surviving till the time limit, or building a space ship to colonise Alpha Centuri.

The Bad
The game however is not without the flaws. The first being the historical accuracy of some of the descriptions becoming obsolete as better facts are found, the other being the functions of some of the buildings being slightly weird. Why do Pyramids allow player to change governments as they like, what is rationale behind that? There are other examples of that in the game.

Than there is the problem of computer A.I rarely functioning properly and it requires cheating to compete effectively with the player. In diplomatic functions the computer A.I is rarely rational in its demands.

Than there is the invisible unit population limit. It would have been good to mention that in the manual or put a counter in the game so that the player would know about it. In addition, there is also no ready solution for what to do when city finishes building everything. There are creative solutions that do come to mind but they are still annoying and are clearly not created by the designers. The colours of the backgrounds of the units also are not always good. I really hated the pink background that was used. The fact that the go to command doesn’t allow to take advantage of railroads is also terrible. These things make the game seem like unfinished product. The winning conditions still push the player towards the global conquest as the other alternatives are not attractive enough and the AI often just asks to be conquered. The overall, development of civilization is also seems to be done towards the democratic form of government, the communism form of government doesn’t really approach the ideal image of the communists as does democracy which has the zero corruption and is peace loving.

The game sounds are a bit lacking and I failed to hear any music in the game. In addition the use of different scripts for different world leaders makes it also hard to read their messages at firsts.

The game has problems with the realism besides the problems of the historical inaccuracies, the government types it over simplifies things too much, in addition it seems to put a lot of control in the hands of the player with regards to the such things as scientific development which generally is hard to influence in real life. While if the game would have detached the player from the civilization itself making him rather like invisible hand than a leader that is refereed to constantly in the game it would have been not a problem. There are of course numerous other problems such as ability of the weak prehistoric unit defeating a tank or a battleship. There are other problems that will be there naturally when the game touches on the topic of the history and real world, listing them all would hardly be worth it as they are just expected to occur. It is very hard to approximate the real thing.

The Bottom Line
Finally the idea of the game for working civilization is just approximation as it doesn’t really come close enough to the real world and just scratches the surface. However the attempt must begin at some point. It also gives a taste of the difficulty that the leaders of the nations face with the regards to their decisions in the real world and this creates a reason besides being entertaining why people should play this game.

Overall judging from all those points it is possible to say that the game is diamond in the rough and will require some more work to become a great game. It is a great concept however its realisation is not done properly enough even considering the limits of the hardware as it has some points that could have been addressed at the time of its creation.

Windows 3.x · by Tatar_Khan (676) · 2009

The first game where AI had a meaning

The Good
Civilization was the first strategy game I ever played on a PC,and the third true game ,after Prehistorik and Chessmaster

Since I was creamed at chess due to the recursive backtracking procedure that computer used to prove it's faster than a human mind,I expected the same in this square-by-square game,but...there were to many for backtracking

So the rat-mind computer employed massive cheating:population boost,building things out of thin air,map knowledge,etc,instead of: "Gee,what happens if I send my lonely knight into thy army?"

But that added to the challenge (since I barely noticed that until my first spaceship got launched) which was based ,mainly ,on discovery of technologies,meeting leaders who had a different look each time they changed their government, advisers and senate who influenced your decisions and even blocked your desire for expansion in democracy and ancient republic

(So you could not bomb and invade everyone in a democracy:)

Unfortunately the later sequels of this great game (who also employs a good manual,at least from historic point of view) have lost many of its advantages:

The democratic rulers became mere communists and the democracy itself became just a prosperous dictatorship ,with less wars.The other leaders faces were hidden and only the diplomatic sense remained out of the personal feeling that I loved so much.Also ,when you are talking to a republic,no longer the minister of foreign affairs appear ,with he's glasses jumping at each one of your offensive proposals,no longer you talk to many in a democracy,but just with the old Stalin:(

The advances are realistically related and the pace of discovery increases,instead of decreasing ,as with all sequels

The Bad
The graphics are simply bad,even for that time,the pieces are just..that,2-D chess-like.

The settlers unit is working to hard to build roads ,essential to your commerce,and everything else that matters and unit maintenance is too high

The piece by piece movement is boring and time consuming,there are no armies

Also,it's to often when you''l find your Apache being shot down by a mounted Afghani with a Stinger missile-launcher in his hands or your Leopard tank being ravaged by slingers

There's too much cheating by the computer

The Bottom Line
That's the game I searched for 10 years ,I wanted to have it for it's the single most-important road-opener to global strategy gender

Now I'm playing it with the same sense of humor,not with the same passion and it's faults appear more disturbing to me

But,as the intelligence quantity is a constant and the size and time constraints of all strategy games are increasing,it's one of the very few smart games still available .In a very short time,you can learn a lot about balance ,focus and planning-ahead.

So go get it!

DOS · by lucian (36) · 2005

If you have read any of the other reviews then you can guess what's in this one :P

The Good
What did I like about this game? Uh, where to start.. I guess the epic, open ended, engaging nature of the game that keeps me up night after night. The diplomacy, warfare, city building etc.. The thought of the fact that the whole of WWII can be compacted into 6 turns and D-Day can be put into a single transport unit moving one square and unloading one rifleman unit. It's stupidly epic.

I also like how each game could be easily written into a dozen volumes of stories. You know that book you've got about the history of the earth? One of those could be written about each game of civilization.

This game is hands-down the best game ever. All praise civilization! It owns every and any real-time strategy game on any console and OS.

The Bad
If this game had auto-settler and a build-wealth option in each city (civ gamers will know what I'm talking about) it would be the ultimate game. And you can quote me on that.

The Bottom Line
This is more of an intoxicating wine then a game.

DOS · by Trada PIB (2) · 2005

One of the greatest games. Does anyone not like civ?

The Good
This game was the ulitimate sim game untill Civ II came out. Cool graphics, outstanding music and top notch gameplay made this a winner. This game was so addicting that once during summer break I started playing a new game a hour after I woke up at 10:00 am. I only left the room a few times for very small amounts of time. (just to use the restroom and get a quick bite) Just as I was conqureing the last of my enemies I looked up and noticed that the room was really dark. I looked at the clock and it said 11:00 pm! I had spent the whole day totaly wraped up in this game and I didnt even have a clue of what time it was. I probably would have though it was mid day if you had asked me. When I play civ everything just stops and time just seems to fly away without me knowing it. Now I know that you are probably thinking that I am crazy but the game will suck away your free time like nothing I have ever seen. But the unique thing about that is, you won't mind. :-)

The Bad
Absolutly nothing.

The Bottom Line
If you havent played Civ then you cant call your self a Computer gamer.

DOS · by William Shawn McDonie (1130) · 2001

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

Grossly overrated

The Good
Addictive. I remember paying $99.99 for it and staying up all night playing it, emerging bleary-eyed, having just made it at the lowest level. Today I wonder which I had most of, money? and least of, sense? I shan't repeat here what the game is about--that would be as silly as explaining what a mouse and a keyboard are. And you will find here at MobyGames more than a dozen reviews that will tell you all about it. Many years after my first exposure to Civilization, thinking back on it, I am still at a loss as to what made this game such a success. Yes, it is addictive, but so is crack, they say. So let's turn to:

The Bad
Absurd, utterly absurd. I realized that when I was building a space ship and a Zulu diplomat stole the technology and the Zulus started building their own spaceship. Now in this game, when a civilization gets wiped out, another one often pops up in the form of a settlers' unit, which builds a city, and starts again from scratch. The Zulus were one of these newborn nations. They hadn't discovered anything much beyond chariots and they set about building a space ship! I was also pretty miffed once when I attacked a Barbarian diplomat with my tanks, and got zapped out of existence. That is when I stopped playing, to take a long hard look at the game and to write myself a saved-game editor allowing me to modify the properties of military units and the contents of cities. In the process I discovered what a mess the coding was. It was like digging middens in an archaeological site, uncovering layers upon layers of rubbish. But, once finished, I then could price diplomats right out of anyone's reach, and make movement a bit more realistic. Still I could not knock any sense into combat rules, that is, short of disassembling CIV.EXE, I imagine, and rewriting the mess.

Combat is as unrealistic as the rules of chess compared to real war. There is only one possible outcome to each engagement with an enemy unit: total annihilation of him, or of you. No attrition, no morale, nothing. And you can only attack a unit on an adjacent square, even with artillery, even with a battleship. Now have a battleship attack an enemy phalanx. Your battleship, the most powerful unit in the game, stands a chance of getting zapped out of existence by the phalanx. And with what weapons would that be, pretty please, javelins?

The so-called AI is nothing but cheating, cheating, and more cheating. Have you ever tried to build a Wonder, say, the Pyramids, or the Hanging Gardens? Suspiciously often another civilization will beat you to it, just before you succeed. And all out of thin air. Just hit %^ to reveal the map and you'll see. They just didn't have the production capacity by far, but they still managed to build that Wonder. The only way you can hope to beat those cheats is to build caravans, caravans, and caravans, and keep them stored away until you have enough to build your Wonder in one single turn so as not to give your hand away.

Speaking of caravans, have you ever seen an enemy caravan roaming the map? Of course not. But when you take over their cities, by battle or, better, by subverting them, you will see trade routes to here, there and everywhere bringing in good money. YOU have to build caravans and send them under military escort to distant cities, THEY just conjure them out of thin air and teleport them.

Diplomacy? There is no diplomacy. Blackmail and intimidation, yes, but you cannot strike an alliance with another civilization. Oh sure, you can ask the Romans to attack the Babylonians. They will want payment up front, and then they will do nothing at all. And once you have sworn eternal friendship (sic) with, say, the Russians, they will turn against you at the drop of a hat. Which is whenever your coffers are full enough to make blackmail a going proposition. As for striking an alliance against a common enemy, forget it: there is no way it can be done. Soon you learn your lesson, which is (spoiler ahead): once you are a Republic or a Democracy, always refuse to talk to foreign delegates--otherwise the Senate will force you to sign a peace treaty and then forbid you to sabotage their cities and steal their technologies. And just before you become a Republic or a Democracy, don't forget to declare war on everybody you are at peace with.

Movement? Movement is ridiculous. In the early stages one turn is equal to twenty years of calendar time, so that it takes a phalanx about 400 years to go from Rome to Moscow. Yes, dem soldiers were long-lived in dem days. How long would Alexander's conquests have taken? And Xenophon's march? Something like 2000 years I guess.

Scoring. Starry-eyed me played his first few games trying to shower his citizens with goodies, and got rewarded with defeat and a Dan Quayle rating. Oh yes, building Wonders and keeping citizens happy does count towards the final score, but not as much, by a very very long sight, as destroying other civilizations. Once I had figured that out, I managed to end up regularly with top marks, having destroyed ten civilizations, sometimes eleven. "Civilization"? This should have been called "Thuggery and Savagery".

The Bottom Line
Search me. The more I think about it, the less I understand. Yes, it is addictive, but, as I have already written, so is crack. I suppose that outsmarting the cheating, brain-dead AI might be what makes it attractive to many. I had a good belly laugh when, having priced diplomats at 200gp, I started "building" one, immediately "bought" it, and found myself credited with 1752gp. A great way of making money. There are many more such gems, such as when you discover the trick for opening a mine in just one turn, instead of five. But in the end, it's a bit like playing chess against a retarded five-year old.

DOS · by Jacques Guy (52) · 2004

Sun Tzu would like this one

The Good
From a hut to an empire, who wouldn't like to do it?

The Bad
Units put on autopilot from point A to point B tend to take the path of most resistance, as opposed to least. Typical MicroProse annoyance.

The Bottom Line
HELLO! Have you been under a rock?! You need me to tell you about Civilization?!

Really, it's a great game. If you even have the least bit of Napolean, Alexander the Great, et al in you, you'll like it.

DOS · by Yeah Right (50) · 2000

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

Contributors to this Entry

Critic reviews added by Terok Nor, Patrick Bregger, Parf, Mr Creosote, Pseudo_Intellectual, Joakim Kihlman, S Olafsson, ti00rki, Alaedrain, xPafcio, Tim Janssen, Jo ST, Alsy, Sun King, Tomas Pettersson, Scaryfun, Big John WV, vedder,, WONDERなパン, formercontrib, Emmanuel de Chezelles, Riemann80.