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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 Colony Adviser Report.
Sid Meier's Colonization Amiga The orders pull down menu allows you to carry out various actions (Note: I have Magic Menu installed so these are activated as pop-ups)
Sid Meier's Colonization Amiga Select your nationality
Sid Meier's Colonization Windows 3.x Town Screen - Strengthen your town by building new buildings, training new colonist skills and producing new world goods for profit

Promo Images

Sid Meier's Colonization Screenshot
Sid Meier's Colonization Screenshot
Sid Meier's Colonization Screenshot
Sid Meier's Colonization Magazine Advertisement


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

An excellent presentation of American colonization that gets bogged down in the later stages Windows 3.x James Hofmann (13)
Wish there were more games with this approach... Windows 3.x Indra was here (20891)
Addictive despite its flaws. DOS woods01 (163)
Great variation on the Civ theme, more trade oriented, like Merchant Prince DOS Adrian Pascaso (5)
This game brings back memories DOS igor balotsky (5)
Colonize the New World DOS David Ledgard (4)
Great game. Kept me up well after midnight a lot of times. DOS MajorDad (536)
A damn fine Sid Meier classic. DOS Tomer Gabel (4643)
Colonial History made easy and FUN! Students, this is YOUR GAME! Windows 3.x P Ray (8)

Critic Reviews

Amiga Format Amiga Aug, 1995 95 out of 100 95
Amiga Joker Amiga Aug, 1995 91 out of 100 91
PC Format (UK) DOS Dec, 1995 89 out of 100 89
Coming Soon Magazine DOS Oct, 1994 85 out of 100 85
Secret Service / New S Service DOS Mar, 1995 335 out of 400 84
Secret Service / New S Service DOS Dec, 1994 335 out of 400 84
The Retro Spirit DOS Oct 07, 2005 5 out of 6 83
Génération 4 Macintosh Nov, 1995 82 out of 100 82
High Score DOS Dec, 1994 4 out of 5 80
The Good Old Days (Staff Reviews only) Amiga Dec 11, 2016 4 out of 6 67


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.