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Civilization IV Gold

Civilization IV Gold

Gaming has improved significantly for Mac thanks for companies like Aspyr. Last year we reviewed Call of Duty 4 for Mac that dominated the first person shooter market for most of the year, now it is the turn of the strategy game to invade Leopard.

I have always been a massive fan of world domination but to date it has been reserved to the screen of my computer. Command and Conquer, Civilization etc offer King like leadership from your very own desk. I have been playing Civilization IV Gold (Warlords) for the last four days and I am hooked !

I have to confess the first couple of games lasted little more than an hour due to my ability to pick a War with a nation in cahoots with the two most powerful leaders on the map. Now though, I am an expert leader, well actually more of a dictator who razes every city he invades and loves it.


My current battle / game has lasted over five hours. Civilization is the first game that has gripped me for such prolonged periods of time for a single game. Games like C&C Generals offer the ability to play a skirmish for an hour for a quick fix, Civilization though is a longer term investment. I must say I am not playing for 4-5 hours solid (although I could), I have disciplined myself to a couple of hours then save the game for later.

You start your ruling live with a warrior and settler who enable you to build your first city. From cities you gain workers who farm, mine, and build on your behalf. While all this is going on, as ruler you decide on your areas of research such as electricity, rockets, medicine and religion. As each research completes so does the strength of your empire. As you discover other empires on the world map you can trade their research and resources for your own, grow relationships and defense agreements and then ultimately go to war.

31The playing interface is brilliant, using the small ball on the mighty mouse enables you to zoom in and out of the work from a satellite style view right down to an almost a street level camera. It works a little like Google maps, it is only when you zoom out of your dominated area that you actually see the sheer vastness of the game and the size of your enemy.

The game also moves between eras really well, warriors turn to riflemen that turn to Navy Seals. Last night I was excited to have researched computers and even invented the internet which was a long way from inventing farming a few hours earlier.

It is gripping, and difficult to walk away from. I have discovered I am a particularly underhanded and dirty leader especially in my negotiations. I often found my way to force nations to go to war on my behalf in exchange for the latest technology, then when at their weakest I waged war on them both. A sly but most enjoyable past time I have to say.

As the years develop and you research more technology the weapons also improve. In my current scenario I have dozens of bomber jets and choppers talking out particularly less developed worlds. It is cruel but I love it.

As the game develops over a few hours the length of each ‘turn’ increases. This can be a little frustrating at time but I discovered you can speed this up by holding down “Shift and Enter” I would also advise you to be as ruthless as possible, the default game doesn’t continue until everyone is dead there is a set number of game plays. The number of remaining turns is displayed on screen (once you get to the last 100 turns). That said you will have many hours of play before the countdown begins.

One aspect I did find a little tricky was getting into the options to change the graphic level. This game looks good the first time it runs but it doesn’t seem to look at the specification of the computer and throws up a default graphics level. Once you find your way into the options and crank the graphics up a little the games looks stunning. There are times there is so much going on on screen you expect the mac to burst into flames !

Civilization is a great educational game. I know a number of colleagues who are massive advocates of computer gaming in education. I have always had my doubts on this, although this is more down to me seeing first person shooters or Grand Theft Auto in my head when the issue is raised. Civilization on the other hand is challenge worthy of any ten year old. My own is currently trying the game out brokering his first trade agreement swapping rice for sheep and gold, a deal he is particularly proud of.


Multiplayer Action
A multiplayer option over the internet and LAN is also available and again the games can be saved to avoid having to play for long durations. Multiplayer action is a little slower, especially if the other human forgets to hit enter (to complete their go).  We started one game with two macs and two AI leaders and after an hour hadn’t progressed past a few cities. It is refreshing to have a game you can come back to that builds over time. Lets face it for any strategy to be tested properly a game really shouldn’t be over in an hour ! This one will last weeks. [I will report the winner via t
witter, current levels 285 AI, 245 Me (Winston Churchill), 267 10 year old].

If you like strategy games then you will love Civilization IV. It look me a little bit of time to get to grips with the goings on of religion, anarchy etc but after one or two games I was an expert ruler.  The Gold Edition offers both Civilization IV and the Warlords expansion pack on one disk and  retails at 29.99.

Civilization IV Gold Edition
Official Site

Key Features:

  • Faster-Paced Fun – Gameplay has been streamlined for a tighter, faster, and more compelling experience.
  • Greater Accessibility and Ease of Play – An easy-to-use interface will be immediately familiar to RTS and action game players, and newcomers to the series will be able to jump in and play.
  • Tech Tree – Flexible Tech tree allows players more strategic choices for developing their civilizations along unique paths.
  • Grow Bigger Empires – More Civilizations, Units, and Improvements to enhance and grow your empire.
  • Multiplayer – LAN, Internet, and Play-By-Email offer players all-new strategies and ways to play when competing or cooperating with live opponents.
  • Team Play – Whether playing multiplayer or single player, team play offers a new way of setting locked alliances that result in shared wonder effects, visibility, unit trading, and shared territory that delivers a plethora of new strategic and tactical options.
  • Beautiful 3D World – Sid Meier’s  comes to life with a beautiful 3D world, dozens of fully animated units (including culturally unique units), and totally customizable armies. Cities and wonders will appear on the map. Wonder movies are back!
  • Mods and Community Tools – Designed from the ground up for modability, the game contains a powerful map editor with XML and Python support.
  • Choose Your Leader – Most Civilizations now have two leaders from which to choose, with each Leader having traits that provide various bonuses to the player.
  • Civics – With the discovery of new techs, civic options can become available. Freedom of speech or slavery? Hereditary rule or open elections? This creates endless government choices and possibilities!
  • Religion – Now there are seven religions in the game that are unlocked through researching. When unlocked, the religion spreads through a player’s empire allowing them to use the religion to help manage happiness, gain gold and create Great Prophets.
  • Great People – As the player uses specialists they gain Great People points in the city that is utilizing the specialists. Great People include the Artist, Tycoon, Prophet, Engineer, & Scientist. They can be used to get free techs, start Golden Ages, or join a city to increase its output.
  • Promotions – Each unit has a promotion path that emphasizes specific unit traits. Promotions include bonuses to Attack/Defend on specific terrains/features, movement bonuses, sight/visibility bonuses, and increased withdrawal chances.
  • In-Game Cinematics – Sid Meier’s Civilization IV has over 40 in-game cinematics.

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