Sid Meier's Colonization

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Sid Meier's Colonization is a computer game developed by Brian Reynolds and Sid Meier and published by MicroProse in 1994 . It is a turn-based strategy game that deals with the settlement and subjugation of the American continent by European immigrants. The game was originally developed for MS-DOS . It was later implemented for Windows , Amiga (1995) and Mac OS (1995).

The gameplay is very similar to the Civilization game, also developed by Sid Meier . However, a civilization is not accompanied through the centuries, but a colonial empire is established. Four European powers are competing in the “New World”: England , Spain , France and Holland . The player embodies the governor of the colonial empire and has to build up the colony, defend it against the other European powers and indigenous peoples and at the end wage a war of independence against the fatherland. In contrast to civilization , colonization puts more emphasis on production and trade because there is no research.

In 2008, under the title Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Colonization, a revised new edition of the original title was published on the technical basis of Civilization IV .

Game flow


The game is carried out on the basis of game rounds, whereby first the player can move his characters, then the computer (other Europeans and Indians ). One game round initially corresponds to a calendar year, from 1600 there are two game rounds per year (spring and autumn). The game begins in 1492 (the year America was discovered ) and usually ends with the successful Revolutionary War. The declaration of independence must be made in 1799 at the latest and the War of Independence must be won by 1849, otherwise the governor will retire.


At the beginning of a new game, the player can choose whether he wants to colonize a randomly generated map or the American continent. After choosing the level of difficulty, the player must choose one of the four named colonial powers, each of which receives a specific bonus. For example, more immigrants travel to the colonies for England because of sectarian conflicts , France has a friendlier relationship with the natives, Spain receives a bonus in the fight against the Indians, and Holland benefits from better trading conditions with the homeland and initially receives a larger merchant ship.

Each of the four nations begins the game with a pioneer (to establish the first settlement), a soldier (to protect it) and a ship (to trade with the homeland).

Building the settlements and economy

By establishing settlements, it is possible to mine raw materials and ship them profitably to Europe or sell them to the indigenous people. This makes it possible to buy goods and ships in Europe and to recruit new immigrants. The goods can be divided into four groups: raw materials ( wood , iron ore , tobacco , cotton , sugar , hides , horses , silver ), processed goods ( tools , muskets , cigars , cloth , rum , coats ), food ( fish , grain ) and values ( hammers , crosses , freedom bells ). The goods are processed in factories , some of which the player still has to build. For example, a settler can make coats out of furs in a fur trading post and hammers out of wood in a sawmill .

Goods are brought with ships from the colonies to Europe, to the indigenous people or to other settlements, where they can be sold for money. Later it is also possible to sell goods directly from the colonies via customs houses . With processed goods, particularly good prices can be achieved in Europe, with prices falling quickly if there is an oversupply . Conversely, the prices of goods increase if the player purchases them in Europe.

When trading with the European metropolitan area taxes are due, which the respective ruler of the country increases randomly over time. Here the player has the choice of accepting the tax increase or protesting against it by destroying a certain amount of goods in a colony (based on the Boston Tea Party ). The latter promotes the separatism of the population in the colonies, but also causes a state boycott of the respective goods, which the player is no longer allowed to trade in Europe. A boycott is only lifted against a fine, or by Jakob Fugger joining the National Congress . Despite the boycott, goods can be sold directly to Europe via customs houses.


Ships and specially trained scouts can scout the entire country on the map. They meet Indians , other European powers and sunken cities, among others . The contact with the indigenous indigenous population is initially peaceful. The Indians often give you generous goods and help a settlement with grain over the winter. With the expansion of the settlements, however, distrust grows and leads to conflicts. Indians can occasionally be lured into the European settlement by missionaries . The European powers compete for good settlement sites and enforce their interests with armed force. Wars can also spill over from the European continent to the New World. The sunken cities often contain valuable treasures that have to be transported to Europe in a galleon , but also traces of old colonies or the legendary fountain of youth that attracts numerous settlers.

Combat system

Conflicts with villagers and residents of the colonies of other European powers are carried out with soldiers and dragoons . To do this, settlers must be equipped with muskets and horses. Artillery can also be bought from Europe or produced in developed settlements. The combat system is very simple and is based on the offsetting of bonuses and penalties. A defeated dragoons first loses his horses, then his muskets and thus his fighting ability. An artillery is completely destroyed after two defeats.

The naval war is similar. There are two offensive units here: the strong frigate and the weaker privateer . However, this has the advantage of sailing under a black flag and robbing other ships without immediately provoking war with European powers. An additional aspect of naval warfare is that the cargo passes from defeated ships to the victor. The losing ship is randomly either damaged or irretrievably sunk. In the event of damage, the ship is automatically moved to the nearest port with a dry dock and repaired. It can then be used again without restriction. If a dry dock is not yet available in the new world, the ship will be transferred to Europe.


A special feature of colonization is the concept of different professional skills. The settlers can learn these skills and become specialists. A lumberjack can cut twice as much wood, a trained missionary can lure converts out of the villages twice as fast . Preachers and “ statesmen ” play a special role : the first “produce” crosses to lure more settlers from Europe to the new world, the second freedom bells to strengthen the colony's self-esteem towards the king.

Other special characters are Indian converts, who are better at extracting raw materials than Europeans but cannot receive further training, indentured servants and prisoners who have been forced to travel to the New World and therefore produce fewer goods. However, they can later become free settlers and specialists.

Professional skills are imparted by friendly Indian tribes or through the establishment of schools and universities in which a settler of the relevant profession is employed as a teacher. Seldom and by chance, settlers who are employed in particularly rich resource fields also acquire such a skill through experience.

National Congress and Thought of Freedom

An important element of the game is the recruitment of founding fathers such as Adam Smith , Pocahontas or Hernán Cortés for the so-called National Congress. If enough bells are produced, these people will join the congress and unlock further bonuses or new features. For example, customs houses can later be built in order to simplify the laborious transport of goods to Europe, or trade with other Europeans is made possible. At the same time, the proportion of sons of freedom increases thanks to the freedom bells and makes the production of goods more efficient. The king counters with increased tariffs and an armament of his army.

Freedom struggle

Ultimately, in order to win the game, complete independence from the fatherland must be achieved. To do this, at least half of the colony residents must belong to the Sons of Freedom . A revolution can now be proclaimed and the Continental Army must stand up to the mighty army of the homeland. The player is usually supported by the other European powers and the Indian tribes. If the victory over the royal army follows, independence can then be celebrated on all streets. The game ends with an ending sequence. Depending on the player's performance, a street, a hospital, a fast food chain or an entire continent is named after the player .


The usability of the game was exceptionally good for its time. The game manages with three menus - the main map, the Europe map and the colony view - and is quickly understandable for beginners. A detailed encyclopedia reveals everything there is to know about settlers, buildings and goods. Colonization is particularly convincing because of its novel concept of being able to assign different professions to the inhabitants of the colonies, but also because of the varied gameplay and the high replay value .


Occasionally there was criticism that colonial crimes are played down in colonization , such as the burning of Indian villages, forced evangelism , the deportation of European prisoners and the looting of cult and grave sites. Above all, the extermination of entire Indian tribes is not questioned in the entire game and appears as a normal game element that has no negative effects apart from a small deduction of points in the final evaluation. The role of slavery in opening up America (see: History of Slavery in North and South America ) is completely omitted from the game. However, in the game there is definitely the possibility of living peacefully with the Indians, but this approach is more difficult to carry out.

New edition

On September 26, 2008, Sid Meier / Firaxis Games and Take 2 Interactive / 2K Games published a new edition of Colonization under the title Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Colonization (CivCol). The remake uses the game engine of Civilization IV . However, it is a so-called stand-alone addon; that is, Civilization IV is not required to run the new colonization .

The new edition is based on the original and has additional improvements in the diplomacy system, a new interface and modding support . Some game mechanics, e.g. B. the combat system and the transport of military units have been adapted to Civilization IV.

In gaming magazines, the title was received mostly benevolently. In particular, it was praised that the basic features of the original game are still recognizable and that the game world is graphically appealing. In fan circles, however, the criticism was more restrained. The main criticism was that the title provided little long-term motivation and wasted potential. The settlement of the game world can only take place in rudimentary form, because the limit of 300 rounds is set too low and the import duties in the motherland made foreign trade unattractive after a short time. In addition, the graphic design of the information screens is disappointingly sparse. It was also criticized that it is possible to use an exploit - a blunder in the game mechanics - and win the War of Independence with only a few troops and settlements.

With The Authentic Colonization (TAC), fans of the game have released a complex German-language community modification that brings the remake closer to the original, graphically enhances the title, improves the artificial intelligence (AI) of the computer opponents and stretches the gameplay. After almost four years of development, the final version was published in August 2012.

TAC in turn serves as the basis for Religion and Revolution (RaR) , the most extensive modification to date. It reintroduces many of the features of the original and provides other new game elements, goods, structures and random events as well as improved gameplay with more intelligent AI.

See also


  1. ^ Rob Foreman: Sid Meier's Colonization. (No longer available online.) June 21, 2006, archived from the original on May 1, 2014 ; accessed on November 5, 2009 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  2. Dr. Esther MacCallum-Stewart, Justin Parsler: Controversies: Historicizing the Computer Game . 2007, p. 207 ( PDF, 519 KiB ).
  3. various discussions in Latin American blogs:
  4. Michael Graf: Classic in a new graphic guise. Retrieved January 25, 2011 (German).
  5. Survey and discussion in the largest German fan forum. Retrieved January 25, 2011 .
  6. melcher shorter: Discussion about the game mechanics including a mini-story for illustration. Retrieved January 25, 2011 (German).

Web links