This Game of Avalon Hills ‘Civilization’ did commence on 4/26/09
At Black Diamond Games in Concord.
Civilization the board game created by Avalon hill games in the 1980’s stands as one of the pre-eminent history of the world tales. Certainly a inspiration for Sid Meier’s award wining electronic Computer game of the same name. It bodes the question did Sid know this and use portions plageristically or not? Avalon on Hill board game Civilization starts out in the pre Iron Age era of the cradle of humanity’s history: The Mediterranean. With three to eight players choosing Mediterranean country territories one by one in round robin fashion until all territories are inhabited. Players setting up within your chosen race nation geography: Babylon, Asia, Egypt etc…
While not a War game using the range of weapons of modern warfare. Civilization shows the basic struggle to expand in area and in population until hitting the boarders of other peoples. Thus combat began on a simple tit for tat system. Six attacking units meeting five defending units then equal one attacking unit taking possession of that territory. Certainly a far cry from the tables, dice combat, details and drama of some of Avalon Hills other masterpieces.
Natural barriers to expansion and conquest also dull the combat ability of Civilization. Ships are required to be built on costal territories for island contact. One-value Territories cause the depopulation and destruction of armies traveling thru such areas of deserts etc.. City’s built to gain more trading card draws cannot produce armies and therefore also form a barrier.
The game has reached such heights of popularity that the O.O.P. ( out of Print ) game has reached rumorus levels of 600 dollars on Ebay for a mint condition set. Even an Expansion game was produced featuring Spain, France, and England with a added game map.
But even the simplicity of the combat may be intentional because of the heavy use of other steps in the turn. Going from populating your territory based on territory land value numbers, to card trading between players, to depopulation, calamities, and technology advancement purchases to gain the familiar euro Style Victory Point success. Technology advancements such as Astronomy allowing triremes to obtain ocean travel and Engineering hardening a City against invasion shows again such a similarity to Sid Meier’s later game. Yes AH’s Civilization can be a long game!!! Upwards of 12 hours to reach victory point conclusion. .
Many other game can seem to borrow from or be inspired by Civilization, Such as’
Milton Bradley’s game master series games
Conquest of the Empire
And others I’m sure.
But I must give strengths to Civilization in its board art, detailed rules, and a good 3-8 small to large player group game is always good to have for those uninvited party guests.
And from what I see are its negatives: very long game play, un-stimulating playing chits, and difficulty contacting/combating other nations, Civilization won’t make my game shelf. But it may make yours!
Battle session report
Turns one , two and three transpired quickly for this long play game. In only two hours for four players reached population Max’s and building cites and card collection.
had sent an attack by Babylon to Assyria with players shaking fists “Well Civilization is a War game now~!” Egypt’s expansion plans fails. Egypt moves back down the Nile to begin interior City building. An alliance can now be seen between Peter and Alan. Assyria and Asia. With Asia taking territories of the coastal Turkey that would never see contact by other players from this alliance.
Asia builds boats/ Assyria and Asia now openly discussing how to cut o\up Babylon is southern neighbor. And Alan / Assyria acts to take down Babylon city! Lawrence gains poetry technology in purchase. Mike gains Mystism players move up AST time chart.
Assyria builds a large city’s another of the black sea. Also builds boat to attack Egypt. Asia boats population to island of Crete, Egypt laments he should have built a boat! Asia builds two more cites
City score Babylon 7 Asia 7 Egypt 4 Assyria 5
Asia draws calamity card : earthquake as well as calamity cards for Assyria and baboon famine and civil war.
Civil war hits Egypt
Flood hits Assyria
Babylon build city Asia buy metal; working
Assyria buys coinage
Assyrian earthquake destroys adjacent Assyrian city to Babylon opening main attack to Asia.
Lawrence attacks Asia from a hole in Assyrian wall. Lawrence losses badly in contest from poor planning. Three Babylon territories fall to Asia’s might.
With Assyria as a buffer between Asia and the other players, the diplomacy and card trading favors that helped each other allowed Asia to reach the 1000-point end game score in just 6 hours of play .. 15 minutes before closing of our game store host Black Diamond Games in Concord Ca.
Asia – Peter Wins #1
Assyria _ Alan #2
Lawrence – Babylon #3
Mike Egypt - #4
I wish again to thank Alan, Peter and Mike for bringing the board and seemingly advanced skills in helping to GM the rules for a smooth game experience.
I hope to have the opportunity to play with you guys in the future.. Until our next CCCwargamners meeting!!!
Newcastle Upon Tyne
An interesting read. Thanks for the write up. A couple of things I'd like to point out.
Civilization the board game created by Avalon hill games in the 1980’s stands as one of the pre-eminent history of the world tales.
Civilization was created by Hartland Trefoil Ltd - AH bought the rights.
Certainly a inspiration for Sid Meier’s award wining electronic Computer game of the same name. It bodes the question did Sid know this and use portions plageristically or not?
I agree the boardgame is very clearly an inspiration for Sid Meier's Civ, and an AH employee, Bruce Shelley, worked with Sid on the computer game, but there's so much different going on that any accusation of plagiarism would be wildly unfair.
Technology advancements such as Astronomy allowing triremes to obtain ocean travel and Engineering hardening a City against invasion shows again such a similarity to Sid Meier’s later game.
This is THE great innovation of the Civ game - the Tech Tree, now so widely used in many computer and board games. A stroke of genius from it's designer Francis Tresham.
Those last 2 pre-date Civilization by a good few years.
Civilization the board game inspired Sid Meier's Civilization, the computer game. TWO boardgames have since been made, entitled Sid Meier's Civilization. Another boardgame, IMHO the best ever invented, is clearly inspired by Sid's computer game and it is Through the Ages.
Many other games use the concept of the Tech Tree first invented by Francis in Civilization, such as Eclipse, Twilight Imperium, the aforementioned Through the Ages and many more.
Civilization is one of the most innovative and influential board games ever devised.
Coming soon: Peak Oil Spillover!
I spent 100 GG so you can read this.
Even if this was not the case, I can't really see where Acquire would be borrowing from or be inspired by Civilization. Apart from both abstracting a complex process in a very clear way, having high player interaction and leading to immensely tense and suspenseful situations, I see no parallels. Even Settlers of Catan borrows more from Civ.
Many other game can seem to borrow from or be inspired by Civilization,
Those last 2 pre-date Civilization by a good few years.
SIMPLY, my favourite board game of all time. Haven't played it in 20 years.
Well if you thought your last 12 hour game was long... now you can play over 9 months!
Rumor has it that Hasbro bought Avalon Hill for only one reason; to nail down the intellectual property rights to the use of the name "Civilization" for a game. The rest of AH's catalog was judged trivial in value. In fact, Hasbro has returned the rights of most of the other games back to the original game designers, free of charge.
as far as i recall, without actually remembering, I think i read somewhere about birth of sid meiers civilization that they had in that company (microprose?) rights for two different board games that they were planning to make computer versions of.
They might have both been from Avalon Hill games, I think other one was some war game, maybe to do with napoleonic wars, maybe called 1860?. Anyway, Sid Meier chose to make game from Civilization.
I think that article even had a sentence about "One can just wonder what 1860 would look like if Sid Meier had decided to pick that one instead".
All in all, if my memory serves right, we now have Civilization board game , which is based upon Sid Meiers civilization, which is based upon original Civilization Board Game.