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Sid Meier's Civilization: The Boardgame» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Meier's/Eagle's Civilization -- AASGC Review rss

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Timothy Smith
United States
Edgewater
Maryland
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Sid Meier’s Civilization
Glenn Drover, Eagle, 2002

AASGC Game Review
Tim Smith, Annapolis-Area Strategy Gaming Club
November 2016

Eagle’s boardgame adaptation of Sid Meier’s computer game ‘Civilization’ is an abstract, semi-historical strategy game. Like most Eagle games of that era, it is a an excellent design that did not undergo development, providing instead a munificent box of bits accompanied by ‘rules’ that actually are nothing more than sketchy conceptual notes developers can use to produce their own finished rules set. The materials and basic concept were so good, however, that I decided to invest the time and develop it into an actual game. However annoying at first, this proved to be easy since many of the rules represent no historical or technical causal factors in the rise of civilization and can simply be ignored, while the wholly unsatisfactory military rules could be fixed with no original thought and less than a page of text (see ‘Civilization Military Rules_ TJS’ in the Files section). The AASGC now has one of our most popular staples, a huge draw when we have it on the docket.

Eagle games of that era are ideal for an outfit like the AASGC, helping us create a learning laboratory for student discovery of the forces governing history. This game is huge and colorful, with 750(+) excellent minis, a sprawling, artistic mapboard, and hundreds of colorful cards displaying numerous complex data points. Our lads really enjoy the visual and tactile experience of ‘hands-on’ history.

‘Age of Mythology’, ‘Civilization’ and ‘History of the World’ provide complementary discovery-learning experiences by emphasizing different historical dynamics. AASGC treats them as a unit, commencing each fall semester with the three in succession.

Civilization offers an excellent treatment of the role of cultural knowledge and technology in fostering the rise and growth of societal capacity and viability across four epochs: ancient, medieval, ‘gunpowder’ and modern. It offers numerous alternative strategies for civilizational development and continental and maritime expansion and defense. It is complex enough to challenge players of varied age/experience levels and poses a demanding optimization challenge, with a robust portfolio of investment options with varied return horizons (technology advancement, city growth and productivity enhancement, military capabilities).

‘Civilization’ strongly conveys the role of cultural and technological development in the advancement of society. Many games depict the value of economic infrastructure and defense; this one emphasizes the underpinnings of philosophy and science in enabling societies to achieve more, and delineates these in extensive, specific detail, including agriculture, architecture, metallurgy, writing, law, weapons technology, etc. They grow more diverse and specific as epochs march on; in fact, it is culture/technology development that moves the game up through its epochs.

Reviewers often quip about ‘being sure there must be a game in here somewhere’. With ‘Civilization’, there is, but for our club purposes it had to be both found and created. Nonetheless, with raw material like this, it was worth every bit of it.
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Ivan Kosak
Croatia
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Can you share your house rules then?
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Darrell Hanning
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All I can say is that it pleases me that someone, with some effort, found a way to salvage this miserable expenditure of petroleum. For myself, I buy games for the system and not the components, but it isn't surprising others make omelettes with broken eggs.
 
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Ivan Kosak
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I got this for only $14 only because I'm fan of Civilization PC game from version 1. After I found out that rules aren't so good as this game looks. But I would like to play it
 
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David Deuel
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Yes, I'd be interested also, can you attach the rule PDF? Thanks David
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