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File:Colonization 7422.jpg


Sid Meier's Colonization is a Turn-Based Strategy game from 1994. In Colonization you colonize the New World as either England, Spain, France or the Netherlands.

In many regards it resembles its spiritual predecessor, Civilization, as you build cities, grow your population, wage war with other factions and in general guide your faction towards an end goal, in this case independence from the mother land. However, the main difference with the Civilization games is that your population consists of different specialists. You have lumberjacks, elder statesmen, fishermen, blacksmiths, indentured servants, gunsmiths and tons and tons of other types. To get a productive empire, you need to have a combination of all these specialists. Another important feature is that the player can get "founding fathers" like Washington, Cortez or Simon Bolivar, who give unique benefits to your country.

In 2008 a remake named Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Colonization came out. There's also an open-source Fan Remake of the game, called FreeCol (you can switch between "Classic" and "FreeCol" rules).



This game presents examples of the following tropes:

  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: Averted, as Adam Smith enables you to build very useful factories. On the other hand, key manufactured goods do get more expensive over time, but this is probably the game's not-so-subtle way to force you to develop your own economy.
  • Boxed Crook: Petty Criminals, also a nod to indentured servitude.
  • Command and Conquer Economy: A better-justified example than most, considering that you're a viceroy governing on behalf of a mercantilist empire.
  • Easy Logistics: Mostly. Equipping troops pick up Muskets and/or Horses, Pioneers carry Tools and spend them when doing any work, but that's all. While a colonist eats food, it stops eating the moment it steps beyond the colony's stockade, and there's no ammo to spend even for ships and artillery.
  • Faction Calculus: They don't exactly map to any of the archetypes on the trope page, but each of the four factions possesses a certain global bonus that affects their playing style. The Spanish receive Field Promotions more quickly and are better at attacking native settlements, the English get more immigrants at the docks, the French have better relations with native factions, and the Dutch get bonuses to trade.
    • Additionally, the French start the higher difficulty levels with an experienced pioneer (making infrastructure development that much faster for you), the Spanish start with a veteran soldier, and the Dutch starts with an upgraded ship.
    • FreeCol has selectable advantages and adds optional nations with their own defaults -- Portugal (Naval: ships get +1 move, the starting ship is Merchantman), Sweden (Building: Lumberjack and Carpenter bonus, first settlers are these experts), Denmark (Agriculture: farming bonus, first settlers are expert farmer and colonist) and Russia (Fur trapping: Fur Trapping and Fur Trading bonus, first settlers are these experts).
  • Field Promotion: If a unit wins a combat, there is a chance that it improves in social/skill rank (petty criminal -> indentured servant -> free colonist -> veteran soldier).
  • Fog of War: As with many turn based games. What makes the fog a bit more special is that there are ruins hidden randomly in the fog, offering goodies or problems when explored by a unit.
  • Fountain of Youth: You can explore ruins in the Fog of War, each giving a random bonus or calamity. One bonus is that the ruins were a fountain of youth, causing a rush of colonists to come to the New World.
  • Here There Be Dragons: The intro movies shows your ship crossing the Atlantic ocean on a Ye Olde Map, which is populated with all kinds of fantastic sea monsters.
  • I Kiss Your Hand: Every time your king (or stadholder) rises taxes, he demands that you kiss his pinky ring to comply. You can hold a {insert trade good here} party and refuse the tax raise, but then you can no longer sell that particular good in Europe.
  • Inexplicable Treasure Chests: Lost Cities, which are this game's take on the classic "goody huts."
  • Instant Militia: You can arm any unit with muskets for a quick military force, and / or give them horses to make them Scouts or Dragoons. Of course, they don't perform as well as Veteran Soldiers or Seasoned Scouts in these roles. Also, if a colony with no garrison but a musket stockpile is attacked, the citizens will automatically arm themselves and "Man the stockade!"
  • La Résistance: When you declare independence, this is essentially what you become.
  • Money Spider: Aztec and Inca settlements will always yield a galleon's worth of treasure when sacked.
  • Naming Your Colony World: When you first land in the New World, you can name it.
  • Politically-Correct History: Even for an old and abstract game, its version of events leaves big hole. A gaping hole. A black hole, if you will.
  • Privateer: For the owner, Resource Gathering, for everyone else, unidentified pirates, shoot on sight.
  • Randomly Generated Levels: While it is possible to use a map of the Americas, you can also play with a randomly generated New World.
  • Refining Resources: Most of your economy is based on this.
  • Summon Bigger Fish: As the Americans did in Real Life via France, in the original Dos version of the game you can summon a bigger fish during your Revolution (exactly which country supports you is somewhat random, though I could be wrong on this point). Sadly, this is left out of the modern remake.
    • Then again, with enough Arm Twisting and dealmaking, the Natives can lend a hand to your Revolution, as well as other Players jumping in on the fun...
  • Tech Tree: Surprisingly for a 4X game, averted. There is no research in the game. The Founding father mechanism could be seen as a substitute, as you get Founding Fathers who give you various bonuses.
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