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Sid Meier's Civilization III is a turn-based strategy game where the objective is to rule the planet with the civilization of the player's choice. Players control one of 15 historic civilizations (Aztecs, Egyptians, Russians, etc). Each civilization has its own particular strengths and weaknesses -- some are more scientific, for example, while others have stronger cultural or military attributes; also, each civilization has its own unique unit, and is more prone to certain forms of government while shunning some others.

Like in the previous titles in the series, the point of the game is to expand the influence of a civilization through resource management, conquest, or trade with other civilizations. As game time progresses from ancient times through the modern era, a civilization will acquire new technologies, which in turn enable interesting new abilities and enhanced power. Since there are several ways to win (military, diplomatic, or cultural), it is up to each player to determine how best to manage the division of labor.

The game includes some mechanics and features which were introduced in Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, such as borders between civilizations and the aforementioned differences between each civilization's statistics. The advisors are now present in the upper right corner of the screen in relevant menus. Diplomacy has been expanded, with the ability to trade and even slightly haggle with other civilizations in a more detailed way. Other new additions include the great leader mechanic, war weariness amongst the population, and small wonders.


Sid Meier's Civilization III Windows View your cities like a bird
Sid Meier's Civilization III Windows Artillery units and warships have the ability to bombard a target that's within their range.
Sid Meier's Civilization III Windows This green patch is uranium, used for building nukes; glad I found it.
Sid Meier's Civilization III Windows We have managed to plant a spy in Beijing. What will it be?

Promo Images

Sid Meier's Civilization III Render
Sid Meier's Civilization III Other
Sid Meier's Civilization III Screenshot
Sid Meier's Civilization III Avatar


Alternate Titles

  • "文明帝國 III" -- Traditional Chinese spelling
  • "文明III" -- Simplified Chinese spelling
  • "Wenming III" -- Simplified Chinese title
  • "Sid Meier's Cywilizacja III" -- Polish title
  • "Sid Meier's Civilization III: Più Civ che Mai" -- Italian tag-lined title
  • "Sid Meier's Civilization III: More Civ Than Ever" -- European tag-lined title
  • "Sid Meier's Civilization III: das beste Civ aller Zeiten!" -- German tag-lined title
  • "Sid Meier's Civilization III: créez le monde à votre image" -- French tag-lined title
  • "Civ 3" -- Informal title

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

The best civilization and empire-building simulation to date Windows Frecklefoot (203)
The best, and worst, computer game of all time... Windows Vaelor (381)
It's good... it's very good... but it's not more than that, unfortunately... Windows Gothicgene (83)
Another classic - but it''s got some flaws Windows Rick Jones (111)
A great new game, arguably a classic, but so different from earlier Civs that you can't compare them. Windows weregamer (169)
A worthy successor to the Civilization lineage. Windows James Kirk (168)
You call this a game? It's a MASTERPIECE! Windows Kobus Myburgh (2)

Critic Reviews

IGROMANIA Windows Jan 30, 2002 100 out of 100 100
ESC Magazine Windows Mar 07, 2002 10 out of 10 100
GameStar (Germany) Windows Dec 05, 2001 91 out of 100 91 Windows Nov 20, 2001 91 out of 100 91 Windows Nov 06, 2001 90 out of 100 90
Joystick (French) Windows Apr, 2002 90 out of 100 90
Mac Gamer Macintosh 2002 85 out of 100 85 Windows Jul 12, 2005 17 out of 20 85
Gameplay (Benelux) Windows Nov 30, 2001 75 out of 100 75 Windows Sep 15, 2002 74 out of 100 74


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German version

Because they didn't want to wait for Firaxis to release a German version of Civilization III, some German fans started to translate the game. They were about halfway through when they were forced by Infogrames to stop distributing their translation with an injunction, citing copyright infringement. The reason was not so much ill will, but Infogrames' responsibility towards the game's developer Firaxis on the one hand and commercial aspects on the other -- Infogrames wanted to sell its own localized version. As a sign of goodwill, Infogrames payed for the injunction's legal costs, so the fan project came away unharmed.


You may notice that some of the original themes from previous Civ/Sid Meier games have made their way into Civilization III. For example, the Middle Age music for Oriental Civilizations is the Chinese theme song and the Middle Age music for North American Civilizations is 'Tenochtitlan' from Colonization and Civilization II.


The game's initial advertising campaign featured Gandhi and Abraham Lincoln wrestling. This is a reference to a comment made by Brad Pitt after filming Fight Club about the two people he'd most like to see fight each other.

References: Music

1) Let the credits roll through and right at the end, after Shakespeare's quote and after about two or three seconds of the credits screen being blank, a picture of Elvis Putnam appears.

To view this picture manually: Find folder: Infogrames\Interactive\Civilization 3\Art\credits

Then one of the pictures there is called "Elvis Putnam" obviously an Elvis joke of some kind.

2) Access your computer's clock by double-clicking on it, and change the date to January 8. January 8 is Elvis Presley's birthday.

Play any game with either "Regicide" or "Mass Regicide" mode on, and notice that your King unit looks like Elvis! If your Elvis gets into a fight, he will just stand there and say things like "Thank you, thank you very much!"

3) In the screen where you talk to your domestic advisor, you have the option to change your form of government. She will ask you, "You say you wanna revolution?" And you can select either "Yea, you know it's gonna be alright," or "No, you can count me out." Both are lines from the Beatles song Revolution.


  • Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences
    • 2001 - Strategy Game of the Year
  • Computer Games Magazine
    • 2001 - Game of the Year
    • 2001 - Strategy Game of the Year
  • Computer Gaming World
    • April 2002 (Issue #213) – Best Game That Didn't Win an Award
  • Gamepen
    • 2001 - PC Strategy Game of the Year
  • Game Revolution
    • 2001 - PC Strategy Game of the Year
  • GameSpot
    • 2001 - Best Single-Player Strategy Game of the Year (Editors' Choice)
    • 2001 - Best Single-Player Strategy Game of the Year (Readers' Choice)
  • Gamespy
    • 2001 - PC Strategy Game of the Year
  • GameStar
    • Issue 02/2002 - Best Game in 2001
    • Issue 02/2002 - Best Strategy Game in 2001
    • 2001 - Strategy Game of the Year
Information also contributed by -Chris, Indra was here, Itay Shahar, phlux, Rambutaan and Zack Green

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Contributed to by Jeanne (76388) and berksneighbor (10)