Sid Meier’s Civilization (1991)


Genre Period Developer Publisher Theme
Turn-based Strategy, 4X Classic (1990 – 2000) MicroProse MicroProse Historic, Flow of Time, Geo-politics, Conquests, Economy, Resource management, Military tactics, Diplomacy

Civilization is a turn-based strategy game designed by Sid Meier of MicroProse. The game intends to simulate the historical progression of various human civilizations from their birth in 4000 BC to the space age. Cities are the backbone of this game. You create cities to gather resources and cultivate technological growth. Citizens live in cities and work for you, but they have to be kept content or happy. Rival civilizations will try to crush you through war or negotiate with you through diplomacy. You ultimate goal is to survive across time till the space age, attain the adequate technological level required, and send space craft full of settlers to the Alpha Centauri system for colonization of its planets. Civilization is a game that is one of the very firsts of its kind and can be called a fore-father of the 4x (eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, and eXterminate) genre.

Game Assessment

Complexity Matrix 

Complexity Parameters Values (0, 0.5, 1)
Control Scheme 0.0: Point n click
Complexity 1: Quite complex
Story 0.0: Sandbox
Lore 0.0: Though technically historic, the in-game history is free-flowing as in it does not really follow world History; historic ingredients are there to be mixed and matched based on whatever players prefer
Immersion 0.5: Technically role-play but flaws in the presentation and the primitive graphics reduce the immersion, and it cannot be compensated with imagination either. The free flowing histroy also contributes to this and also the inaccurate geographical representation of the earth.
Difficulty 1: High
Learning Curve 1: High
Total Score 3.5/7: Mediumweight game 

Satisfaction Matrix

Needs Satisfaction Score (0-3)
Analytical 3: Well met
Creative 1: Slightly met
Mastery 3: Well met
Destructive 0: Not met
Entertainment 0: Not met
Pace 0: Not met
Horror 0: Not met
Total Score 7/21: Good Game

Game Review

TL;DR A game that has not aged well inspite of its innovation and brilliance. Only useful for experiencing the historic progression of the franchise, but that is all.


  • High strategic complexity
  • Combat has tactical aspects


  • Geographic and cultural flaws
  • Historic ingredients are used, yet history is bent too far making the whole thing ridiculous

Game suspended. I really tried to get into this, but the interface, and the presentation, and the ridiculous bending of history to an extent too far just could not keep me hooked.

Purpose – Study and Challenge

Gameplay – Gameplay is okay.

Graphics – Quite poor as expected from 1991.

Performance – Can run on a coffee-maker.

Entertainment – Absolutely nada. Even the historic characters are ridiculously portrayed.

Plot (if applicable) – Not applicable.

Replay value – Technically infinite replay value.

Immersion – Not immersive at all for me. Somehow it lacks the charm. The presentation and the interface just did not work for me. The bending of history in whatever direction you will, also did not work for me. I would have preferred some degree of historical accuracy.

Overall it is a good game in terms of innovation as it gave birth to the 4X genre, but that is also the only reason to try it out; just to experience how the root of 4x feels like. Definitely the genre has been refined a lot lot more in subsequent games.


Author: Rex Aurelius

Cogito ergo sum.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s