Firaxis Games (Currently)
|Publishers||Hartland Trefoil/Avalon Hill
Infogrames Entertainment, SA
2K Games (Currently)
|Creators||Francis Tresham, Sid Meier|
|Latest release||Civilization: Beyond Earth
October 24, 2014
All titles in the series share similar gameplay, centered on building a civilization on a macro-scale from prehistory up to the near future. Each turn allows the player to move his or her units on the map, build or improve new cities and units, and initiate negotiations with the computer-controlled players. In between turns, computer players can do the same. The player will also choose technologies to research. These reflect the cultural, intellectual, and technical sophistication of the civilization, and usually allow the player to build new units or to improve their cities with new structures. In most games in the series, one may win by military conquest, achieving a certain level of culture, building an interstellar space ship, or achieving the highest score, among other means.
Over the years part of the crew involved in the developing the series became successful in producing their own strategy games, such as Bruce Shelley (Civilization I co-designer) of Age of Empires fame, Brian Reynolds (Civilization II lead designer and programmer) who went on to create Rise of Nations, and more recently Soren Johnson (Civilization III co-designer and Civilization IV lead designer and programmer) with Spore.
As of February 4, 2015, the series has reached 29 million total units shipped. 
In 1980, Francis Tresham designed the Civilization board game and published it through his company Hartland Trefoil, and in 1981, Avalon Hill obtained from Hartland Trefoil a license to sell the Civilization board game in the United States.
MicroProse, founded by Sid Meier and Bill Stealey, published Civilization in 1991, after licensing the right to use the name "Civilization" from Avalon Hill to avoid conflicts over similarities to the board game. Meier was also the game's designer. In 1993, MicroProse was bought by Spectrum Holobyte, but the two companies remained separate. In 1996, MicroProse released the lauded Civilization II, designed by Brian Reynolds. Also in 1996 Spectrum Holobyte consolidated the company under the name MicroProse, but, in reaction to Spectrum Holobyte's decision to fire the majority of MicroProse's staff, Reynolds, Jeff Briggs, and Meier left MicroProse and founded Firaxis.
Although Firaxis did not own the rights to the brand name "Civilization", the company still went on to design the acclaimed Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, a "space-based Civilization-style game" released in 1999. Alpha Centauri uses a game engine similar to the one used in Civilization II and its storyline continues from where the Civilization franchise ends, namely the colonization of a planet in Alpha Centauri.
Litigation over brand name
In April 1997, Activision acquired from Avalon Hill the rights to the name "Civilization" on its PC games and seven months later Avalon Hill and Activision sued MicroProse over trademark infringement because of the name "Civilization".
In response to the lawsuit, MicroProse bought Hartland Trefoil in December 1997. This move sought to establish "MicroProse as the preeminent holder of worldwide computer game and board game rights under the Civilization brand". In January 1998, Microprose counter-sued Avalon Hill and Activision for false advertising, unfair competition, trademark infringement, and unfair business practices as a result of Activision's decision to develop and publish Civilization computer games.
In July, Avalon Hill and Activision settled their case against MicroProse out of court. Under the terms of the settlement, MicroProse kept all the rights to the Civilization brand, Avalon Hill had to pay MicroProse $411,000, and Activision acquired a license from MicroProse to publish Civilization: Call to Power (released in March 1999).
Avalon Hill accepted the unfavorable settlement because Hasbro was already negotiating the acquisition of both Avalon Hill and MicroProse. Less than one month after the settlement, Hasbro finalized the purchases of both companies which consolidated the Civilization franchise under Hasbro.
Infogrames and Firaxis
In January 2001, the French company Infogrames bought the Hasbro subsidiary Hasbro Interactive for $100 million, which included the rights to the Civilization franchise, the rights to the Atari brand, and Hasbro's Game.com handheld game console. Following the sale, Hasbro Interactive was renamed Infogrames Interactive, Inc and Civilization III (developed by Firaxis with Jeff Briggs as game designer) was released in October 2001 by the new company. In May 2003, Infogrames changed the name of Infogrames Interactive to Atari Interactive.
Take-Two bought the rights to the Civilization franchise from Infogrames in 2004 for $22.3 million. In October 2005, 2K Games, a Take-Two subsidiary, published Civilization IV, which was developed by Firaxis with Soren Johnson as game designer.
Take Two bought Firaxis for $26.7 million including possible performance bonuses in November 2005 which resulted in Take Two owning both the developer and the publisher of the Civilization franchise. In 2010, on September 21 and November 23 respectively, the Windows and Mac OS X versions of Civilization V were released.
Civilizations and leaders represented
Throughout the various different Civilization games, nearly 50 different civilizations and almost 110 different leaders have been represented. The following tables below delineate the appearances of various civilizations and leaders.
|— CivNet||1995||A remake with improved graphics and sound, and support for Windows 3.1 and Windows 95.|
|— Civilization II: Conflicts in Civilization||1996||The first expansion pack for Civilization II.|
|— Civilization II: Fantastic Worlds||1997||The second expansion pack for Civilization II.|
|— Civilization II: Test of Time||1999||Includes the original Civilization II plus new scenarios and improved features, including an alien landscape.|
|— Civilization III: Play the World||2002||The first expansion pack for Civilization III.|
|— Civilization III: Conquests||2003||The second and final expansion for Civilization III.|
|— Civilization IV: Warlords||2006||The first expansion pack for Civilization IV.|
|— Civilization IV: Beyond the Sword||2007||The second expansion pack for Civilization IV.|
|— Civilization IV: Colonization||2008||A spin-off based on Sid Meier's 1994 game, Colonization.|
|— Civilization V: Gods & Kings||2012||The first expansion for Civilization V.|
|— Civilization V: Brave New World||2013||The second expansion for Civilization V.|
|Civilization: Beyond Earth||2014||A spiritual successor to Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri built atop the Civilization V engine.|
- The Explorer (1997), includes Civilization and the Colonization spin off.
- Civilization II: Multiplayer Gold Edition (1998), includes Civilization II and its two expansions: Conflicts in Civilization and Fantastic Worlds.
- Civilization III: Gold Edition (2003), includes Civilization III and the first expansion, Play the World.
- Civilization III: Complete (2005), includes Civilization III and its two expansions: Play the World and Conquests.
- Civilization Chronicles (2006), includes all the games from the main series from the first Civilization to Civilization IV.
- Civilization IV: Gold Edition (2007), includes Civilization IV and its first expansion Warlords, as well as a bonus poster illustrated by artist Greg Hildebrandt.
- Civilization IV: Complete (2007), includes Civilization IV and its two expansions: Warlords and Beyond the Sword.
- Civilization IV: The Complete Edition (2009), includes Civilization IV, its two expansions, Warlords and Beyond the Sword, and Civilization IV: Colonization. It does not feature any DRM (copy protection).
- Civilization V: Game of the Year Edition (2011) includes Civilization V and all DLC prior to the Korea and Wonders of the Ancient World packs released through Steam.
- Sid Meier's Civilization V: Gold Edition (2013) included the original plus the Gods & Kings expansion with all the DLC released between them both.
- Sid Meier's Civilization V: The Complete Edition (2014) includes the original plus the Gods & Kings and Brave New World expansions with all the DLC released between them.
Other video games
|Sid Meier's Colonization||1994||Created by Brian Reynolds and Sid Meier while still at MicroProse.|
|Avalon Hill's Advanced Civilization||1995||The computer version of the Advanced Civilization board game.|
|Freeciv||1996||Latest release 2015, announced on the freeciv wiki|
|Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri||1999||Created by Sid Meier's team at Firaxis Games.|
|Sid Meier's Alien Crossfire||1999||An expansion pack to Alpha Centauri.|
|Civilization: Call to Power||1999||Created by Activision.|
|C-evo||1999||Latest release 2013, created by Steffen Gerlach|
|Call to Power II||2000||Sequel to Civilization: Call to Power. Due to licensing issues, Civilization could not be in the title.|
|FreeCol||2003||A clone of Sid Meier's Colonization, latest release 2015.|
|CivCity: Rome||2006||A city-building strategy game inspired by the series.|
|Civilization Revolution||2008||The first game in the series designed specifically for consoles, iOS and Windows Phone; not released for the PC or Mac.|
|Civilization World||2011||A full Civilization game for Facebook. The game was discontinued in 2013.|
|Civilization Revolution 2||2014||A mobile exclusive sequel to Civilization Revolution.|
|Sid Meier's Starships||2015|
Board and card games
|Civilization||1980||board game by Francis Tresham, published by Avalon Hill in the US (1981).|
|Advanced Civilization||1991||an expansion of the original board game published by Avalon Hill.|
|Civilization: The Boardgame||2002||an officially licensed board game published by Eagle Games and based on Civilization III.|
|Civilization: The Card Game||2006||a card game designed by Civilization IV lead designer Soren Johnson and based on Civilization IV.|
|Civilization: The Board Game||2010||an officially licensed board game published by Fantasy Flight Games and based on Civilization IV.|
|Civilization: Fame and Fortune||2011||the first expansion to the 2010 Civilization based board game.|
|Civilization: Wisdom and Warfare||2013||the second expansion to the 2010 Civilization based board game.|
Scottish science fiction and mainstream author Iain Banks has noted that he spent much time playing the game (appearing to refer to the first version) and that it was one of the inspirations for the concept of the 'Outside Context Problem' central to his Excession novel - the appearance of invaders or travelers who are so advanced that they are totally outside the society's frame of reference. In an interview, Banks specifically compares this to having a Civilization battleship arrive while the player is still using wooden sailing ships. One of the two viewpoint characters in his novel Complicity plays Civilization compulsively.
- Eddie Makuch (2015-02-03). "GTA 5 Ships 45 Million Copies, Including 10 Million On Xbox One And PS4". GameSpot. Retrieved 2015-02-04.
- The Fall of Avalon Hill
- "Features - The History of Civilization". Gamasutra. Retrieved 2014-05-07.
- "Company News; Microprose Plans Merger With Spectrum Holobyte". The New York Times. 1993-06-18. Retrieved 2010-04-30.
- "Civilization II for PC Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More at Metacritic". Metacritic.com. Retrieved 2014-05-07.
- "History for MicroProse Software, Inc". Mobygames.com. Retrieved 2014-05-07.
- "Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri for PC Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More at Metacritic". Metacritic.com. Retrieved 2014-05-07.
- "Sid starts up. Again - Forbes.com". Forbes. 1997-07-25.
- "IGN: Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri". Pc.ign.com. 1998-11-21. Retrieved 2014-05-07.
- "Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri". Kickstartnews.com. Retrieved 2014-05-07.
- "MicroProse Buys out Hartland Trefoil". Mimgames.com. Retrieved 2014-05-07.
- "Hasbro Takes Over The Hill and Others". Web.archive.org. Retrieved 2014-05-07.
- "Monarch Services Inc - 10KSB40 - For 4/30/98". SEC Info. Retrieved 2014-05-07.
- Evangelista, Benny (1998-08-13). "Hasbro Buying Alameda's MicroProse / Computer games-maker sells out for $70 million". The San Francisco Chronicle.
- "Company News; Hasbro Completes Sale Of Interactive Business". The New York Times. 2001-01-30. Retrieved 2010-04-30.
- Press Release
- "Hasbro Inc - 10-K405 - For 12/31/00 - EX-13". SEC Info. Retrieved 2014-05-07.
- "Civilization III: Home". Civ3.com. 2002-05-08. Retrieved 2014-05-07.
- "Atari Inc - 10-KT - For 3/31/03". SEC Info. Retrieved 2014-05-07.
- Feldman, Curt (2004-11-24). "Civilization sold off to mystery buyer - PC News at GameSpot". Gamespot.com. Retrieved 2014-05-07.
- Winegarner, Beth (2005-01-26). "Take-Two takes over Civilization - PC News at GameSpot". Gamespot.com. Retrieved 2014-05-07.
- Firaxis Games: Games: Sid Meier's Civilization Chronicles[dead link]
- Sinclair, Brendan (2006-01-31). "Take-Two reveals acquisition prices, hints at future lawsuits - PlayStation 2 News at GameSpot". Gamespot.com. Retrieved 2014-05-07.
- "2K Games Conquers PCs with the Release of Sid Meier's Civilization V on September 21, 2010 in North America". 2K Games. 2010-06-11. Retrieved 2010-07-23.
- Sid Meier's Civilization V Mac Arrives November 23[dead link]
- "Freeciv - Summary". Gna! project Freeciv. Retrieved 2015-03-17.
- Steffen Gerlach (2008). "Old Versions". C-evo. Retrieved 2014-01-20.
- Bruce Geryk (2000-11-20). "Call to Power II Review". GameSpot. Retrieved 2014-01-21.
- Mike Pope (2015-03-08). "FreeCol 0.11.3". SourceForge project FreeCol. Retrieved 2015-03-17.
- "Civilization Rules of Play" (PDF). Avalon Hill. 1981. Retrieved 2014-01-20.
- Excession: A Conversation with Iain Banks (interview originally published in SFX magazine, via 'sandm.co.uk' website. Accessed 2009-01-04.)
- Civilization.com website
- Civilization and Freeciv wikis
- Civilization series at MobyGames
- Playing the Game: Civilization , a list of academic texts about the series
- GamaSutra history of Civilization