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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!


Sid Meier's Colonization DOS A preliminary view of a colony
Sid Meier's Colonization DOS Naval Adviser Report.
Sid Meier's Colonization DOS Game intro sequence
Sid Meier's Colonization DOS Building the first colony

Promo Images

Sid Meier's Colonization Screenshot
Sid Meier's Colonization Screenshot
Sid Meier's Colonization Screenshot
Sid Meier's Colonization Screenshot


Alternate Titles

  • "Sid Meier's Colonization: Erschaffen Sie eine neue Nation" -- German tag-lined title
  • "Sid Meier's Colonization: Create A New Nation" -- Tag-lined title
  • "Sid Meier's Colonization (Classic)" -- Steam product page title

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

Addictive despite its flaws. woods01 (163) 3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars
Great variation on the Civ theme, more trade oriented, like Merchant Prince Adrian Pascaso (5) 4.8 Stars4.8 Stars4.8 Stars4.8 Stars4.8 Stars
This game brings back memories igor balotsky (5) unrated
Colonize the New World David Ledgard (4) 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars
Great game. Kept me up well after midnight a lot of times. MajorDad (535) 3.4 Stars3.4 Stars3.4 Stars3.4 Stars3.4 Stars
A damn fine Sid Meier classic. Tomer Gabel (4634) 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars

Critic Reviews

Computer and Video Games (CVG) Nov, 1994 90 out of 100 90
Score Nov, 1994 90 out of 100 90
Gambler Dec, 1994 90 out of 100 90
MikroBitti Nov, 1994 88 out of 100 88
Secret Service / New S Service Mar, 1995 335 out of 400 84
The Retro Spirit Oct 07, 2005 5 out of 6 83
ASM (Aktueller Software Markt) Oct, 1994 10 out of 12 83
Play Time Oct, 1994 80 out of 100 80
High Score Dec, 1994 4 out of 5 80
Gameplay (Benelux) Dec 01, 1994 78 out of 100 78


Topic # Posts Last Post
Colonization Gold Multimedia 1 Lantizia (40)
Dec 31, 2019


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.


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.


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.