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Overview

Sid Meier's Civilization II is a PC turn based strategy game released in 1996. The game was met with critical and commercial success and is considered by many publications (such as IGN) to be one of the greatest games of all time. The object of the game is to create a civilization that can stand the test of time. Expand, conquer, trade and spread your culture around the world with the ultimate goal of either conquering all other nations or being the first nation to colonize another world.

Although the title bears his name, Sid Meier actually had little to do with creating Civilization II. The game was designed by Brian Reynolds, Jeff Briggs and Douglas Caspian-Kaufman.

Gameplay

Civilization II is a turn based strategy game. Each game starts off on a randomly generated map in the year 4,000 B.C. The player is given one settler unit which can be used to build cities. Cities in turn can be used to bolster scientific development, generate tax income, and produce units such as more settlers, military units, and trade units. The game puts over 50 military units at a players disposal. Once a player has moved all of his / her units, the players turn ends, time progresses and other nations take their turns.

Making a civilization.

As a game of Civilization II progresses, the player will discover more and more technologies, build more and more cities as well as explore more of the map. As a player explores more of the map, he or she will encounterbarbarians as well as other Civilizations vying for dominance in the world. An interesting aspect about the Civilization series is that a player can choose to play the game peacefully, one does not need to be a warmonger in order to be successful. Players can sign cease fires, peace treaties, alliances and share technology / military units with other nations. If a player is being particularly aggressive, his reputation will take a hit and other nations will react accordingly.

Governments

There are seven government types a player can choose from, with each government offering numerous advantages / disadvantages. Much of the following is taken from the ingame Civiliopedia:

Despotism: A despotism is a government in which the ruler has absolute power, usually enforced by the military. In Civilization II, Despotism is the default government, it is usually best to change government types to Monarchy as soon as possible.

Overview of the city.
  1. Each unit above the city size costs one Shield per turn.
  2. Settlers eat one Food per turn.
  3. Up to three military units in each city institute "martial law". Each of these units makes one unhappy citizen content.
  4. Despotism has a high rate of corruption and waste. The farther a city is from your capital, the higher its level of corruption.
  5. Under a Despotism, Tax/Luxury/Science rates cannot be set higher than 60%.
  6. Any terrain square that ordinarily produces three or more of any resource (Food, Shields, or Trade) produces one less.
  7. Because of Despotism's high rate of corruption, it is almost always an inferior form of government. Try to switch to a Monarchy as soon as possible.

Monarchy: A Monarchy is a government ruled by a King or Queen. In Civilization II, a Monarchy is a good government to have for a small, new civilization.

  1. Each unit beyond the third unit costs one Shield per turn.
  2. Settlers eat one Food per turn.
  3. Up to three military units in each city institute "martial law". Each of these units makes one unhappy citizen content.
  4. Monarchy has a moderate rate of corruption and waste. The farther a city is from your capital, the higher its level of corruption.
  5. Under a Monarchy, Tax/Luxury/Science rates cannot be set higher than 70%.
  6. Monarchy is an excellent form of government for a young civilization.

Fundamentalism: Fundamentalism is a form of government centered around a certain set of beliefs, usually religious. In real life, this would be akin to a theocracy. In Civilization II, Fundamentalism is a good government to have if one goes on the war path.

  1. Each unit beyond the tenth unit costs one Shield per turn (except Fanatics, which never require maintenance).
  2. Settlers eat two Food per turn.
  3. Under Fundamentalism, no citizen is ever unhappy.
  4. Fundamentalism has a very low rate of corruption.
  5. Under Fundamentalism, Tax/Luxury/Science rates cannot be set higher than 80%.
  6. Under Fundamentalism, all Science production is HALVED.
  7. Improvements that normally convert unhappy citizens to content citizens produce "tithes" (money) equivalent to the number of people they would normally convert, and require no maintenance.
  8. The diplomatic penalties for terrorist acts committed by Diplomats and Spies is reduced.
  9. Fundamentalism eliminates all happiness problems and provides excellent revenue, although research tends to languish.

Republic: A Republic is an assembly of autonomous city-states under the control of a central government. Although the central government has the ultimate say in matters that affect the society as a whole, the city-states are given a certain amount of latitude in the governing of local affairs. In Civilization II, a Republic is a good government for scientific advancement and is usually a good fit for a medium sized empire to have.

  1. Each unit costs one shield per turn.
  2. Settlers eat two Food per turn.
  3. Each unit beyond the first unit that is not in a friendly city (or in a Fortress within three squares of a friendly city) causes one citizen in its home city to become unhappy.
  4. Republics experience a low rate of corruption and waste. The farther a city is from your capital, the higher its level of corruption.
  5. Under a Republic, Tax/Luxury/Science rates cannot be set higher than 80%.
  6. Your senate may force a peaceful solution in a conflict.
  7. Switching to a Republic can give an astounding boost to your Science and Luxury revenues, although you will probably be forced to shift some Trade to Luxuries in order to prevent unhappiness.
  8. Republics make it difficult and expensive to keep a sizable army in the field, but building certain Improvements and Wonders can help to alleviate this problem.

Communism: In a true Communist system, all property is owned collectively by the people, and labor is organized to be equally advantageous to all people. In Civilization II, Communism is a good government to have a nation on the warpath.

  1. Each unit beyond the third unit costs one Shield per turn.
  2. Settlers eat one Food per turn.
  3. Up to three military units in each city institute "martial law". Each of these units makes two unhappy citizens content.
  4. Under Communism, state control of the economy eliminates organized crime. Your cities, therefore, experience no corruption.
  5. All Spy units produced under Communist governments are Veterans.
  6. Under Communism, Tax/Luxury/Science rates cannot be set higher than 80%.
  7. Communism is best for large, far-flung empires that need to maintain a large military.
  8. Use your powerful Spies to steal technology from the capitalist pigs!

Democracy: A Democracy is ruled by a president elected by the people. In Civilization II, Democracies are great for peaceful empires who wish to pursue research and generate money.

  1. Each unit costs one shield per turn.
  2. Settlers eat two Food per turn.
  3. Each unit that is not in a friendly city (or in a Fortress within three squares of a friendly city) causes two citizens in its home city to become unhappy.
  4. Democracies experience no corruption or waste.
  5. Tax/Luxury/Science rates can be set to any level desired.
  6. Under a Democracy, each square that ordinarily produces at least one unit of Trade produces an extra unit of Trade.
  7. The units and cities of a Democracy are immune to bribery in any form.
  8. Your senate may force a peaceful solution in a conflict.
  9. Democracies can produce spectacular amounts of revenue and scientific research. However, because of the severe happiness restrictions on military units, this form of government tends to be viable only for large, advanced civilizations.
  10. Increasing your Luxury rate and building Improvements and Wonders can help alleviate unhappiness.

Anarchy: Anarchy is a lack of government, and occurs in Civilization II when a nation is switching from one government type to another. Under Anarchy, many cities become unhappy and no money or scientific research is generated.

Civilization II also features live action actors that serve as a council of advisers. The council will comment on how you're doing and fight with one another on what matters are more important for your empire.

Playable civilizations and their color

There are 21 playable Civilizations in Civ 2. The following is a list of playable Civilizations and their ingame color

White: Romans, Russian, Celts.

Green: Babylonians, Zulus, Japanese.

Blue: Germans, French, Vikings.

Yellow: Egyptians, Aztecs, Spanish.

Teal: Americans, Chinese, Persians.

Orange: Greeks, English, Carthaginians.

Purple: Indians, Mongols, Sioux.

Red: Barbarians.

Civilizations who are the same color cannot appear together in the same game. For example, the Romans and Russians cannot appear together because both are the color white. A little known fact is that the color of your civilization determines in what order your starting location is picked as well as how much you are handicapped in scientific research. The white civilization gets their starting location picked first, the green second, so and and so forth. Because the purple civilization has its location is picked last, every civilizations scientific advancement is either helped or hindered depending on how many more or less technologies one has when compared to the purple Civilization. For example, if the Romans have 10 more technologies when compared to the Indians, the Romans will research at a slower pace then they would normally. The purple civilization will always research at a normal rate. This is why if one plans on being a technologically advanced nation, it is best to pick one of the purple Civilizations.

Community

The Civilization series has a strong online community. Players have come up with a number of ways to keep the game interesting, such as succession games (one player plays for a set number of turns, passes it onto someone else to play for a set number of turns, etc.), GOTM (game of the month; One of the big fansites creates a scenario every month for people to play, allowing players to directly compete and compare their results to one another). While the focus of this community tends to shift towards the newer releases in the franchise, particuaraly Civilization IV, there is still an active GOTM for Civilization II. There is also a large number of guides and strategies to be found on community fansites, as well as mods and scenarios.

The two main fansites for all things Civilization:

www.civfanatics.com

www.apolyton.com

Expansion Packs and special editions

There were two expansion packs released for Civ II. The first expansion pack, Conflicts, came with 20 new scenarios, 12 created by makers of the game and 8 by fans. The second expansion pack, Fantastic Worlds, came with 19 new scenarios as well as a variety of editors for the game.

In addition to expansion packs, there were three versions of Civilization II released. Civilization II, Civilization II: Gold Edition and Civilization II: Test of Time.

Civilization II: Gold Edition is a slightly updated version of Civilization II. The game features multiplayer and includes both expansion packs. Civ II: Gold Edition also features slight tweaks to gameplay, of note being an extremely hostile AI when compared to that of the original version. Many believe that this makes the game more challenging, but much less enjoyable than its predecessor as it is nearly impossible to maintain any type of peaceful relations with the AI.

Civilization II: Test of Time contains the original Civilization but with different graphics. It also contains a modified fantasy version of the game.

Console Releases

Civilization II was released on the Playstation console towards the end of 1998. While the core gameplay remains intact, there is no option to utilize the playstation mouse and the low resolution has led to some users complaining about the text being hard to read. To compensate, the entire user interface was rebuilt, though Gamespot reviewer Vince Broady criticized the redesigned menus as seeming, "thrown together". Additionally, the game speed was reduced from that of the PC version, with AI turns take multiple minutes to complete.

In 2006, Gryphondale Studios ported the game to the N-Gage platform as "Civilization". The user interface was again entirely redesigned, this time making extensive use of shortcuts via the phone's keys. The core game, graphics and sounds remained essentially unchanged, but the videos for the various wonders and instances of ingame music were removed to conserve space.

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