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Civilization IV
Posted: 25/11/05 by Chris Stavros | Comments (90)

About 15,000 years ago the race of man first began to give up the life of nomadic hunter and gatherer for the life of farmer and planter. His early efforts are lost in antiquity with only a handful of ruins to mark the passing of those early farmers. After some 7,000 years the early farmers began to band together in settlements and form the world's first cities and more importantly, the birth of what we call civilization. On the banks of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers the first civilization we know was born, the Sumerians. The best game ever to simulate the struggle from the founding of that first civilization to the modern era was Sid meier's Civilization. Now Firaxis has debuted the forth instalment of this great series in Sid Meier's Civilization IV.

For those unfamiliar with this series, Civilization is a turn based simulation of all recorded history where players start with only some nomads and found a city and a civilization then study technologies and build great cities an empires. Players select from a choice of different ethnic groups with appropriately named cities and set out to be the greatest civilization in recorded history. From the second installment multi-player options were added allowing players to pit themselves against each other in the race for world dominance through the ages. Players improvement the land, found new cities, build roads and military forces and construct improvements in their cities to make them more productive and better protected from the elements and other races. As the series progressed in ovations were added to each version changing and expanding some things and eliminating others.

So after four editions what is new in this product? Quite a bit as I will discuss as we go along. The game begins the same as each game in the series with the player having a settler and a unit to explore the hidden map, and a few technologies. The first thing that you notice is different is the game is now three dimensional and has full zoom in and out. You must choose where to found your first city, and where you start there are usually good choices. The game will indicate what it believes is the optimum location by placing a blue circle in the best square for the city when you highlight the settler unit.

Once you select the spot and choose to build your city you will now be given a series of choices. Civilization four is all about choices in that the path you choose will dictate how your civilization will advance through the ages. The game will offer you several suggestions as to what it considers the best builds, and the reason why. Other choices can be highlighted through the scroll down menu, and each includes an explanation of what it does and what benefit it provides and well as how long it will take to construct. More complex items and units will take longer and better choices may be available. The best choice at first is to build a defensive unit to protect the city or if you are daring you can construct a worker first to improve land or even a barracks to make veteran units and experience plays a huge roll in this game.

One of the next new things you will see in this game is that there are more then just the other players and roving barbarians in the world. There are also wild animals such as lions that can and will kill unprotected units. As you explore the map and time advances wild animals cease to appear and only barbarians are seen. As in every version of the game there are villages, which veteran players often referred to as 'goodie huts' sprinkled about the map. moving a unit on one of them may give cash, a technology or bad events like barbarians.

Now that you have built your city and selected to what to build the next choice is what technology to study. Techs are the heart of this game as learning will provide better units, world wonders and city improvements. It is imperative that players never fall behind in the technology race lest they be overwhelmed by more advanced races and lose the game to them. The best choice of what to study is again highlighted as well as anything else you can study.

   
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