Civilization IV: Colonization

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Civilization IV: Colonization
North American cover art
Developer(s)Firaxis Games
Designer(s)H. Edward Piper
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X
ReleaseSeptember 21, 2008
Genre(s)Turn-based strategy
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Colonization is a remake of the 1994 turn-based strategy game Sid Meier's Colonization.[1] Players control settlers from one of four European nations – Spain, England, France, and the Netherlands – that are trying to conquer/colonize the New World in the period 1492–1792. The victorious player is the first to build up his colonies and army, declare independence from the mother country, and defeat the military force that the king inevitably sends to crush the rebellion.[1][2][3][4][5]

The Windows version was released on September 21, 2008. A Mac OS X version was released in December 2009.[6] Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Colonization does not require the original Sid Meier's Civilization IV in order to play.[7]


Gameplay screenshot

To build their cities, players must balance negotiations with several groups: the natives of the Americas, colonists from the player's home country and other colonists from the old world. Players may also recruit founding fathers to join their cause, each with a specific bonus that helps throughout the game. The player influences the direction of his colony through choices in diplomacy, recruitment and city management. Additional colonists from Europe or converted natives can result in population increases after food surpluses exceed a preset level.

Economics and trade come into play when the player makes finished goods and sells them in Europe or trades with the natives for other goods or gold. By harvesting natural resources, skilled craftsmen can convert them into finished goods for sale or trade. Additionally, silver can be mined for direct trade and ore can be mined to turn into tools and then in turn guns. Skilled craftsmen produce twice as much as regular workers and specialist buildings can be built to increase overall production as well.

The player's selection of nationality, made at the start of the game, affects the colony's standing in the world: the English receive an immigration bonus, the Dutch enjoy trade bonuses, the French diplomacy edge encourages more favorable relations with native tribes, while the Spanish Conquistador bonus favors conquest against the natives.[4]

List of civilizations[nb 1]
Civilization Leader(s)
New England John Adams
George Washington
New France Louis de Frontenac
Samuel de Champlain
New Netherlands Adriaen van der Donck
Peter Stuyvesant
New Spain Simón Bolívar
José de San Martín
England King of England
France King of France
Netherlands King of the Netherlands
Spain King of Spain
Apache Mangas Coloradas
Arawak Agueybana
Aztecs Montezuma II
Cherokee Oconostota
Incas Huayna Capac
Iroquois Logan
Sioux Sitting Bull
Tupi Cunhambebe

In addition to single-player campaigns, the new game has a multiplayer component.[1][4]

Civilization IV: Colonization has many new gameplay mechanics. When starting the game, in addition to choosing a starting European nation, a player chooses between two governors, each with different advantages.[8] In addition, national borders is a gameplay concept taken from Civilization IV. This means that rivals cannot pass into each other's land unless they have an open borders agreement — or they have declared war.

Unlike the original Colonization game, nations cannot recruit the same founding fathers. Each founding father is recruited by one and only one nation/player. Moreover, founding fathers will only join nations with certain criteria, namely a certain level of "points" obtained in various categories (political, military, exploration, religion, and trade).[9]

After the player declares independence, players draft a constitution determining the government style of their independent nation. For example, if a nation chooses a monarchical system, then it can still trade with Europe during the war for independence.[10]


The game runs on an upgraded version of the Civilization IV engine with changes including enhanced graphics, streamlined code, and redesigned interfaces. With these enhancements, Colonization requires video cards that support Pixel Shader 1.1 (Direct X 8.0).[1][11]


The single victory condition – declaring and winning a war for independence – has been both criticized[9] and accepted[23] by reviewers. Another criticism of the game is that it only has four playable colonial powers. The exclusion of Europe's other prominent colonial powers has been called a "limiting" factor in the game.[4]

Variety video games reporter and reviews editor Ben Fritz criticized the concept of the game in his blog because of issues such as the depopulation of Indigenous Americans and the Atlantic slave trade that occurred during European and American colonization.[24][25][26] Firaxis has responded to Fritz's blog post with the statement, "the game does not endorse any particular position or strategy – players can and should make their own moral judgments."[27] Trevor Owens contributed to the conversation in an article that considers the game's usage of different, arguably problematic elements, asking "wouldn't, and shouldn't, any game about that period in the Americas be racist and offensive, if it were even remotely faithful to that time period?"[28]

See also[edit]

  • FreeCol, an open source Colonization clone


  1. ^ The only playable civilizations are the colonies.


  1. ^ a b c d "Firaxis Games Coming Soon". Firaxis Games, Inc. Archived from the original on August 28, 2008. Retrieved June 17, 2008.
  2. ^ "2K Games Announces Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Colonization for Games for Windows" (Press release). 2K Games. June 9, 2008. Archived from the original on June 10, 2008. Retrieved June 9, 2008.
  3. ^ Keiser, Joe (June 9, 2008). "2K Games Revives Sid Meier's Colonization". Archived from the original on January 15, 2013.
  4. ^ a b c d Miller, Jon (June 26, 2008). "Civilization IV: Colonization First Look". Archived from the original on December 7, 2008. Retrieved July 2, 2008.
  5. ^ "Civilization Colonization Updated Hands-On". GameSpot. August 19, 2008. Retrieved June 28, 2012.[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ Brown, Christopher. "Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Colonization". AllGame. All Media Network. Archived from the original on November 14, 2014. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  7. ^ "Firaxis Games: Games: Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Colonization". July 23, 2009. Archived from the original on August 28, 2008. Retrieved June 28, 2012.
  8. ^ "Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Colonization Dutch Faction Profile". IGN. August 21, 2008. Archived from the original on August 25, 2008. Retrieved August 23, 2008.
  9. ^ a b Kosak, Dave 'Fargo' (July 18, 2008). "Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Colonization (PC)". GameSpy. Retrieved August 23, 2008.
  10. ^ Park, Andrew (July 15, 2008). "E3 2008: Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Colonization Updated Impressions — New Information and Details". GameSpot. Retrieved August 23, 2008.[permanent dead link]
  11. ^ Thorsen, Tor (June 13, 2008). "Q&A: Meier on revolutionizing Colonization". Retrieved June 15, 2008.
  12. ^ Chick, Tom (September 25, 2008). "Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Colonization (PC)". Archived from the original on December 21, 2008. Retrieved September 27, 2008.
  13. ^ Meer, Alec (September 22, 2008). "Civilization IV: Colonization Review - Computer and Video Games". Computer and Video Games. Retrieved September 23, 2008.
  14. ^ Clare, Oliver (September 22, 2008). "Civilization IV: Colonization Review - EuroGamer". EuroGamer. p. 2. Retrieved September 22, 2008.
  15. ^ Hunt, Jonathan (September 23, 2008). "Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Colonization (PC)". GameSpy. Archived from the original on January 10, 2013. Retrieved April 3, 2011.
  16. ^ Biessener, Adam (September 22, 2009). "Civilization IV: Colonization Review - Game Informer". Game Informer. Archived from the original on January 3, 2010. Retrieved April 3, 2011.
  17. ^ Kosak, Dave 'Fargo' (October 2, 2008). "Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Colonization (PC)". GameSpy. Retrieved April 3, 2011.
  18. ^ Watters, Chris (October 3, 2008). "Civ IV: Colonization Review". GameSpot. Archived from the original on December 1, 2008. Retrieved October 4, 2008.
  19. ^ Butts, Steve (September 26, 2008). "Civilization IV: Colonization Review - IGN". IGN. p. 3. Archived from the original on September 29, 2008. Retrieved September 27, 2008.
  20. ^ "G4 X-Play Review: Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Colonization". G4. September 23, 2008. Archived from the original on January 10, 2013. Retrieved October 15, 2008.
  21. ^ "Civ IV: Colonization". GameRankings. Retrieved December 17, 2008.
  22. ^ "Civilization IV: Colonization Review - MetaCritic". Metacritic. Retrieved December 17, 2008.
  23. ^ Butts, Steve (September 26, 2008). "Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Colonization Review". IGN. [this winning condition] should appeal to strategy gamers who are unhappy with the less structured victory paths in Civilization IV
  24. ^ "Civilization IV: Colonization... Wow that looks offensive". Variety. June 25, 2008. Archived from the original on June 27, 2008. Retrieved September 10, 2008.
  25. ^ "Civilization IV: Colonization Called 'Morally Disturbing'". The Escapist. June 27, 2008. Retrieved August 18, 2008.
  26. ^ "Variety Troubled By Sid Meier's Next Game". Retrieved August 18, 2008.
  27. ^ "Firaxis responds to my Colonization post". Variety. June 27, 2008. Archived from the original on September 30, 2010. Retrieved September 17, 2008.
  28. ^ "Sid Meier's Colonization: Is it offensive enough?". Play The Past. Retrieved October 14, 2016.

Further reading[edit]

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