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Released: 1992

Genre: Strategy

Format reviewed: Amiga 500

Publisher: MicroProse

Developer: MPS Labs

Submitted by: Clarance Frank

Civilization is a game with a vast scope for playability; indeed I dread to think how many hours I have spent (and indeed still spend) on this turn based strategy in the last sixteen years since its release on the Amiga. Sid Meier’s franchise has spawned many sequels, but the original version holds a simplicity and beauty of game design that has not been bettered since.

You take control of a tribe at the dawn of prehistory and have the job of guiding them through the ages, building cities and taking the wealth created by these cities to advance your ‘civilisation’. This can be done in a variety of ways. By developing science your tribe will create new technologies which will in turn provide greater wealth, and open up further advanced technologies to develop. Another approach is to develop a highly militaristic society through the creation of military units with the aim of conquering other civilisations. Two other important strategies are the creation of trade units and diplomatic units, which further economic prosperity and political power respectively.

The beauty of the game is in the variety of different ways you can choose to play it. All the different stratagems, of which there are many, can be blended together to various degrees within each game, and can easily be adjusted when other civilisations on your world develop certain stances against you.

The game can be played again and again, with no two games the same, thanks to the excellent terrain generator which can be used to adjust five main variables to create a unique world.

The Amiga version suffers slightly compared to the PC equivalent, the graphics and animations are not so detailed and vibrant, especially during the cut scenes, and a main frustration has to be the speed that the program runs at, especially towards the end of a game where the time taken during your opponent’s turns seems to take forever and a day. Nevertheless, this is frighteningly addictive, and can consume whole days at a time. Whether this is a good or a bad thing however is very much another question…