Title Civilization (Second Review) Publisher Microprose Game Type Management Sim Players 1 HD Installable Yes (CD version also available) Compatibility All Submission firstname.lastname@example.org Review WARNING!!! This game is highly addictive. This game is the closest thing to the 'Better than Life' Game out of Red Dwarf (read the book), at least for certain types of people. I read on a newsgroup that someone actually destroyed his copy, because he couldn't stop playing it. This could be an example of a game being too good, as there are so many possible permutations, making for infintite replay. It's sequel Civilization II is the best selling computer game of all time, not unfortunately or fortunately depending on your point of view available on the Amiga. It was the main reason I bought a PC. This game is a bit like a body building exercise, starting with next to nothing and building a mighty Empire to crush all that would oppose it. as the game goes on, you feel the strength flow into you, so to speak, as your Cities, Armies, Technology, Treasury, and Conquests grow. You start off with one (or two if your lucky) Settler Units, which can found cities, and improve terrain. The terrain varies, having different mixes of food, shields (for production), and trade on each, plus special resource squares with bonuses. You also always get the Technologies of Road Building (to generate Trade), Irrigration (to improve Food Production), and Mining (to get Shields from Hills and Mountains). You may also get up to 3 early random Technologies, with luck you can trade these with other Civilizations you contact early, and build a good starting Technology base to begin with. There is always plenty to build, so don't worry about Technology too much, just if you get too far behind, or miss critical ones. There are many devious ways to acquire it. The map is 2D and divided into squares, try and pick a starting City location with a good balance of resources, your first city is very important as it is the Metropolis (Mother City in ancient Greek), which will be your Capital, found other Cities, and probably build several early Wonders. Tutorial advice is available for beginers which suggests where to build your City, what to build in it, and what to research. Take it with a pinch of salt, it is useful for getting started though. Corruption (reduction in trade and shields) increases with distance from the Capital, Courthouse improvements and better government types reduce it, but it is best to build new Cities near your Capital. The other Civilizations do exactly the same as you, but not as well, as computer AI's ain't very smart, this AI is however smarter than most, but you can still find loopholes and run rings round it. The game is turn based, starting in 4000 BC and going to 2000 AD approx. depending on level, time passes quickly to begin with but then slows more and more, so the date approximates to world history, and the technology currently available then. Cities produce everything in your Empire, the more food they have the faster they grow. They start off at level 1 and go up to 10, before needing an Aqueduct improvement for further growth, they are then limited by the food available. If they build a settler, the population is reduced by one, if it falls to one in total, the City is disbanded. I didn't know this to begin with, and kept building Mecca in the Desert and ordering it to build a Settler Unit, and the City kept getting disbanded. Granaries and the Hanging Garden Wonder double population growth and help prevent starvation. Greater City populations mean the possibility of disorder, while a City is in disorder it pays no taxes, and if you are a Democracy it may bring the Government down, it is also more open to being bribed by another empire to join it, but don't worry the Computer AI is seldom smart enough for this. Many Wonders and Improvements, prevent disorder but are expensive to build. Improvements require a maintenance cost. Research Ceremonial Burial at the start of the game, to get the cheap Temple Improvement which maintains order for a while, giving you time to research better Technologies. Workers can stop production and become entertainers to help (but this can lead to Starvation in extreme cases), or taxes can be moved from Science, and Revenue to Luxuries. When I started playing Civilization the manual was unclear about how to hire entertainers, so I had to wait 150 turns, for the Hanging Gardens to be built in a city in disorder, with the Mayor fleeing every turn! Also Trade routes, make more revenue, meaning more Luxuries. Larger Cities cost, but are worth it as you get increased production and revenues, you've just got make sure you run you're Empire efficiently. As is befitting an epic, this game features the 7 Wonders of the World. But not once, but three times, for Ancient, Medieval, and Modern Times. The 7 Ancient ones are the Pyramids, Colossus [of Rhodes], Hanging Gardens [of Babylon], Great Library, Great Wall, Lighthouse [of Alexandria], and Oracle [of Delphi]. It should be noted the Great Library and Great Wall were not in fact in the original list of Wonders compiled by the Ancient Greeks. It could be an amazing coincidence but 4 of the 7 Wonders were in fact Greek! Modern historians believe the Hanging Gardens may not have even existed, and Greeks had no real knowledge of China and the Great Wall wasn't built when the list was compiled. - The only Wonder that survives today is the Pyramids. - The Colossus was a giant statue with one foot on each side of the Harbour of the Island of Rhodes, which poured hot oil etc... on hostile ships, making the Island impregnable as high cliffs guarded it's other shores. It survived less than a century, and then toppled over, being sold for scrap for Muslims a thousand years later. -The Lighthouse marked the Harbour of Alexandria, allowed commerce to flourish. As Alexandria is on a delta is would have been very difficult to find otherwise, with so many outlets to the sea. -The Oracle predicted fortunes of individuals and nations, which were famous for their ambiguity. -The Great Library was destroyed by religious fanatics about 400 AD, it contained a copy of virtually every ancient text ever written. -The Great Wall was not built as commonly believed to keep the Mongol barbarians out, but to prevent them getting away with their plunder. It was built by forced labour, over a long period of time, and would have be impossible to garrison permanently along it's 2000 Mile length, stretching from the Yellow sea to the Gobi Desert. Hadrian's Wall pails into insignificance by comparison, of course this was only part of a frontier defence that stretched from the Rhine and Danube Rivers, to the Arabian and Saharan Deserts. The other fortifications being made of Wood and Sand have long since disappeared. Each Wonder costs a phenomenal amount to build, but has beneficial effects, that apply to at least one, but usually most Cities. Be warned some Wonders have time limits, and when they expire they could throw your Empire into chaos. There are 14 Civilizations to play as, including all those that built the Wonders, so your could build the Hanging Gardens in Babylon for example. You play as one Civilization, and can have between 2 and 6 opponents, plus Barbarians with whom you are always at War. More opponents, equals more fun, but Technology, Wonders production, Warfare, and Population Growth will also advance faster. The game uses one 8 bit byte to represent each Civilization, meaning no more than 8 can ever be played, this is a shame as even more would make for a better game (providing your processors up to it), as the Map is quite big. Shields are used to build Wonders, City Improvements, and Military Units. The more you have the quicker you can build. Units use shields as support depending on government, so the more units you have the slower production will be after a point. Improvements help City Defence, increase Revenues, increase Research, maintain Order, Increase Production, and late in the game reduce Pollution. So this is the standard resource management problem of trading one resource against another, to get the optimum balance. Military Units can wage war on other Civilizations. By attacking enemy Units in the field, or entrenched in Forts or Cities. There are three basic types; defence, offence, and fast. They come in ancient spear/sword/lance type, renaissance gunpowder type, and modern armour type, plus sea and land equivalents including nuclear bombs. If you develop the technology for the next level of warfare before an enemy this gives you a massive advantage on the battle field, your window of opportunity may be small, so use it. Warfare is simple, one unit attacks another, and a probability decides who wins. If other units are in that square they die also, if not in a city or fort. Forts are built by settlers. So an ancient phalanx can beat a battleship, occasionally, not very realistic. There are movement restrictions that prevent your Units moving to certain squares, if there are enemy Units in certain places, this prevents exploration, and makes getting your Units to the front more difficult. They can also be using to blockade areas of the map, and Cities in peacetime. Some terrain offers defence bonuses as do Forts, and City Walls, so fortify there, block passes, to cut off large sections of the continent to you enemies at minimal cost. Leading to production losses and starvation in blockaded enemy cities, and increasing the safety of inland Cities. Special Units are available for trade, transport, and diplomacy. Allowing units to trade, land on coasts to attack, steal technology, meet with enemy leaders, and subvert cities. Very poor cities may spontaneously join your empire which is fun (for some reason this feature wasn't extended to Civilization II, a bad decision in my opinion). Some units away from home cause increased disorder for Republican and Democratic Governments. Tax revenue is used to maintain City improvements, and bribe enemy Cites, Units, and Barbarians. The Barbarians threat isn't very great, and they seldom manage to take a City, although they do destroy Irrigration, Mines, and Settlers well. If they take an enemy city, get a Diplomat there quick, and you can get it cheap without starting a War. So try to get a fat treasury, it makes the game much easier. If you run out of cash you could try demanding it from you enemies, this may lead to War, or Tribute, try to judge their strength first. You might also receive technology. If you run out of gold, an improvement will be sold, possibly leading to disorder, and a downward spiral. Civilization has a complex technology tree with about 100 technologies. These are researched, the more you spend on science the quicker you get them. Once a technology has been successfully researched, it will allow you to build new Improvements, Wonders, Military Units and have a different type of Government. You get a list to choose what to research next, most technologies require one or two prerequisite technologies before you can start researching them, with 6 starting technologies which have no prerequisites. The number of choices you get depends on game level, with more at easier levels. A good early one to research is mathematics which allows the highly effective offensive catapult weapon. Technology can also be acquired by trading it with other Civilizations on a one for one basis. Be aware that this will make them, as well as you, more powerful, but if you don't, someone else might, and then you will be cut out of the loop. There is a certain amount of diplomacy that allows either War or Peace with each power. Enemy Units can blockade and starve your Cities even if you have a peace treaty which isn't very good. You can bribe powers to attack an enemy at a huge price (or if your lucky, a couple of technologies), and they usually aren't very effective, and give up very quickly. Spies can be created to show what technologies enemies have, very useful for deciding when to go to War, or who to Trade technologies with. If a leader demands an audience be careful as he may declare War when you are not ready, give him tribute it's cheaper, than a bloody War, Cities without City Walls may loss a lot of population, or even be destroyed. It's best to declare War on your terms. Be aware that if you start building a Fort outside an enemy City, or end a turn with a Ship next to an enemy Ship or Port City, you are likely to be attacked, thus starting a War. So be careful if you don't want a War. The game ends either by conquering all other Civilizations, or building a hugely expensive Spaceship to go to Alpha Centauri. I seldom got this far as either I had been wiped out (which didn't happen very often), it was so obvious I had won that I couldn't be bothered, or the game had become so slow it was unplayable. Building the Spaceship is a bit of a drag. There are several downsides to the Amiga version of the game: -There is a ten minute introduction sequence at the start of EVERY game, detailing the creation of the Earth, Evolution of Life etc... Very interesting the first time, but after 100 rounds it gets a bit boring, and CAN NOT BE SKIPPED!!! Sid Meier probably put this in to try and stop people getting addicted to the game, but the junkies still want to play, and just waste ten more minutes waiting for the game to start. The game can be saved, but to reload you have to go through the intro sequence, this does prevent save-and-try type cheating. -There is a lot of disk swapping even with an extra disk drive, particularly during negotiations, of which there are a lot. Especially when you wish to trade technologies. -You have to wait a long time while the computer calculates enemy moves, particularly later in the game when it starts to get interesting. -Although their are Despotic, Monarchy, Republic, Communist and Democratic Types of Government. The game is set up so you play most of it as a Despotism, and then switch to Democracy. Despotism has less disorder problems, minimal population growth, but can build quite well at the beginning AND support a lot of Units. Democracy has high population growth, generates more taxes, but doesn't support any Units for nothing, and it has increased disorder problems, so is only useful when you have built a lot of order creating wonders, trade routes, and have very large Cities. It's possible but really stupid to play any other way. Civilization II has fixed this bug with an a vengeance. -Wars are easy to start and stop, you just stockpile a load of Units outside a City, declare War using a Diplomat Unit, take the City, and then they will ALWAYS sue for peace, even when they have the military power to retake it, and take some of your cities. The downside is if your Diplomat get killed, then you can meet to end the War, or they may demand more Tribute than you have to end the War. -The Computer AI is seldom good enough to take enemy Cities, the Human advantage is just too great, making for a very one sided game. -The Computer AI is very good at bombarding your Cities with War Ships, and Bombers, but once all you Units are destroyed it seldom follows ups, by sending in a landing party to capture the City. This involves controlling a transport, protection ships, and a land unit, so I imagine it must be quite complex to program. -Trading is extremely slow, with enemy units blocking your Caravan Units paths frequently. In the real world they would want to speed you to their Cities as they also benefit, by building roads, and letting you pass their Units. Civilization II has fixed this bug a bit, by making the AI a better road builder, but has also created new problems. Also trade ships move extremely slowly, taking several hundred years per voyage sometimes. The Navigavation Wonders are highly desirable for this reason, as they speed ship movements, as do better ship designs, and Nuclear Power. But they are still painfully slow, and mean trade only really gets going at the end of the game when you least need it. This is also the case as early Caravans are used to make Wonders, which you have to get immediately.