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If I had been born in the same era as Christopher Columbus, without a doubt I would have been a famous explorer too. Unfortunately, the end of the twenty first century did not leave me any unexplored lands to be discovered except for the all new game from Sid Meier, the long awaited "Colonization".

Choosing a nation is the first choice you have to make in the game. Four European countries are proposed: France, England, Holland, and Spain. Each one of these nations possess their own characteristics which can be the determining factor in the follow through of operations. The French, for example, have a remarkable gift for diplomacy (very useful with the Indians) whereas the English, assisted by extensive immigration, benefit by a better growth rate of the population in their colonies. As for the Spanish, they receive a supplemental bonus at the time of attack against the Indians and their villages, and the Dutch have a more stable economy which guarantee, more or less, the prices in Amsterdam.

Once the choice has been made, you set out to conquer the New World. Still another alternative is proposed to you between a world generated at ramdom and one more faithful to reality. At this time, the race will be engaged between you and the other European powers. After you discover the New World, you will have to establish your first colony. This should be placed ideally near the Ocean shore (for ships originating from the Old World and for fishing), be well situated in a prosperous area (don't choose the Arctic or the Desert!) and be near special sites (silver deposit, ore deposit, mineral deposit or trapping area). Some other areas are well suited for the cultivation of cotton, tobacco, sugar cane, agriculture involving food like corn and beans, and even production of timber.

As soon as your first colony is established, men from the community will start discussing problems concerning all of the citizens. Divided into five categories (Political, Trade, Military, Religious, and Exploration), these problems will be viewed by the Founding Fathers who form the Continental Congress. During the game, other individuals will join the Continental Congress and bring their ideas and suggestions which are susceptible to modifying your development.

Once the colony is established, you will have to manage its resources to provide for the needs of the inhabitants. The population will increase during the course of time, and the first priority will be food. Fishing is a good way to provide food for the colonists, especially if one of them is an expert fisherman (which will produce more than a soldier converted to a fisherman!).

The type of relationship you will have with the natives depends on you. You will decide from the beginning to attack or make peace. The last option will permit you to trade and even send missionaries to create missions. With this said, the peace is fragile and if during one of your explorations you violate one of their territories, they will make sure you pay the consequences.

Trading is a very important part of "Colonization" because it is the link between the Old and New World. With your ships, you will ply between your port of origin and your colonies scattered here and there all over the American continent. But first, start with your first ship (with limited cargo) and make many voyages. Your country of origin will buy your produced products like cigars, coats, rum, clothes, etc... and you will buy, for example, tools and muskets.

You can also recruit soldiers, equip them with their horses and weapons, and also people from different corporate bodies. To list just some of them, you will have the choice between tobacconists, distillers, preachers, sugar or tobacco planters, ore miners, pioneers, etc... The price you will pay will depend on their skill in the field. If the continual voyages of your ships between Europe and your colonies get you weary, there exists a possibility to automate these movements by selecting departure and arrival cities with the amount and type of merchandise transported.

The soldiers evidently have an important role to play in the game, because it is a rare allusion in history to conquer without combat. This will also be a determining factor. Whether it be against the natives or the other colonial powers, it is preferable to have genuine soldiers than sugar planters in uniform. Also, you will raise enough funds to pay the soldiers that have come directly from Europe to ensure the defense of your colonies. Each city created can build fortifications from a fort made of wood to a fortress made of stone (each one offering a greater defense).

Returning to the colonies, your new settlers will be available for different tasks. The constuction of new buildings go through a few steps which we will explain here. To produce hammers, you need lumber which comes from the Lumber Jack. Then, you manufacture tools from the ore produced by the ore miner. Finally, for each building that you want to build, a certain population level is required. Be assured, all this information is gathered up in a "building chart" which is very practical.

Some of these buildings have other functions than to simply improve production. Schools and universities, for example, allow the settlers (some without any education) to be trained in new disciplines like the cultivation of cotton, tobacco, or even the making of cigars, coats, tools, etc...

To build new ships, the construction of shipyards is necessary. You can then sail on larger armed ships in order to avoid attacks from the Privateer or the Frigate.

The churches produce crosses which when their number increases during the game, immigration increases from the Old World. (which explains the countless religious persecutions that the population of Europe suffered during this period).

Finally, the Town Hall produces it's Liberty Bells, a symbol of independance. The more colonies that possess Liberty Bells, the more desire for independence will be pronounced. This is done by the Statesmen, the press and the newspapers. This number determines the rebel sentiment which represents the percentage of people who favor the declaration of independence. Once this reaches 50%, you will be able to secede from your country's origin and declare your nation independent. Once independence is declared, the king, deciding not to lose a good source of significant taxes, will try everything to reconquer his old colonies. Prepare yourself for many battles against a powerful and decided adversary (It would be wise to fortify your colonies with cannons and soldiers before the independence!).


Colonization is a captivating game by the many facets that it presents. Strategy, economy and exploration are mixed intimately and offer the player many hours of long intense interest.


386-33 Mhz or better,
Min 1Mb memory, MS-DOS 5.0,
Hard drive,
VGA 256 colors graphic card and monitor,
Mouse recommended,
Ad Lib, Sound Blaster, Roland, Pro Audio Spectrum sound cards supported.

                                   MicroProse Ltd.
GRAPHICS------------------- 75%    The Ridge, Chipping Sodbury,
SOUND   ------------------- 75%    Bristol BS17 6AY, England.
MUSIC   ------------------- 80%    Tel: +44-(0)454-326-532
GAMEPLAY------------------- 90%
INTEREST------------------- 95%    MicroProse Inc.
                                   180 Lakefront Drive,
                                   Hunt Valley, MD 21030-2245
OVERALL ------------------- 85%    Tel: 410-771-0440
                                   BBS: 410-785-1841


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