As a first impression, Advanced Civilization might seem like a clone Sid Meyer’s Civilization, but it’s actually based on the board name called…. Advanced Civilization. While Sid Meyer’s classic may have borrowed from Avalon Hill’s board game, the PC version is identical to its cardboard version. And like many of Avalon Hill’s games, Advanced Civilization is almost pure strategy, relying more on the development of the empire as opposed to conquest. Military success means little if a player is determined to win the game.
After choosing the game options, such as the number of human and computer players, each player must select a civilization and starting location. You start with a single unit, or token, which doubles at the beginning of each turn. The token is the only unit (other than ships) that you will be dealing with throughout the game. Spread the tokens across the land to expand your empire. If more than one empire’s tokens reside within a territory at the end of movement, a battle ensues. A battle is controlled entirely by the computer and consists merely of each empire losing a few tokens, so it is fairly obvious that having more tokens in the territory than the enemy is very favorable.
When enough tokens are gathered within a territory containing a city site (a red or yellow marker will be present), a city may be constructed. Cities play a huge role, as they are the means by which you receive goods and are difficult for the enemy to conquer. After a few turns, most empires will wish to build ships to expand across the seas. However, ships must be maintained if they are to be kept each turn, therefore ship building is used infrequently in the early stages of the game. Depending on the number of total players, each person has a maximum number of tokens, ships and cities available at one time. Finding the correct balance is one of the most challenging aspects of the game.
Each city you hold enables you to draw a card with various effects. Sometimes you can draw useful goods, other time a natural disaster (such as an earthquake). If you have the minimum number of goods to be able to trade, you join the other empires in a round or two of bartering, especially since the computer AI isn’t all that keen on bartering. This process can be confusing, and takes some practice to acquire a profitable trade. The value of the goods can then be used to buy upgrades. These upgrades include things such as agriculture, medicine, literacy, etc.
The interface is very easy to learn, involving simple pointing and clicking with the mouse. Unfortunately, there are no keyboard equivalents to the mouse clicks. So put that mouse in a comfortable position, and prepare to click like you’ve never clicked before. If you think you made a mistake moving your tokens during a turn, you can start your turn all over and move again until you are satisfied. It would have been nice to be able to undo a previous choice without having to redo everything, but at least you aren’t stuck with an error.
In the end, players who have enjoyed the original board game will likely find the computer rendition just as addictive. Players used to the more advanced game by Sid Meier will find Advanced Civilization a bit of a yawn. As a board game to computer game offering, it’s a pretty successful product.
System Requirements: Pentium 90 MHz, 16 MB RAM, Win95 / DOS
- Buy Game