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Store:  Strategy Games
Edition:  Civilization
Series:  Civilization
Genre:  Civilization Building
Format:  Board Games


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Play Time Players
300-720 minutes 2-7

Designer(s): Francis Tresham

Manufacturer(s): Avalon Hill

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Product Description

Civilization--the game that begins when history begins! Be forewarned! Civilization is a game unlike any other game ever invented... a game of high-level player interaction with no dice and little risk of any player being eliminated.

The object of the game is to gain a level of overall advancement to which cultural, economic, and political factors are important. The winner is the player who maintains the best balance between activities of nomads, farmers, citizens, merchants, and adventurers.

Civilization is not a wargame! The game is not won by wars, although some conflicts will occur due to rivalry and land shortage, rather than as a desire to eliminate other players.

You start at the Dawn of History--at the point where agriculture has just been discovered--and lead your society through the mists of time to the age of the civilized state--8000 B.C. to 250 B.C.

Product Information

  • Designer(s): Francis Tresham

  • Manufacturer(s): Avalon Hill

  • Year: 1981

  • Players: 2 - 7

  • Time: 300 - 720 minutes

  • Weight: 1,389 grams

  • Customer Favorites Rank: #148

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Product Reviews


Average Rating: 4.6 in 7 reviews

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It is the most beautiful game in Strategy Category
May 05, 2003

There is only one unit but game doesn't lose its excitement. It is one the long games but it keeps you busy for at least 5 hours.

Strategy is so important and you definitely understand that 'horde' stays as horde, but civilized wins.

Trade is so important too. But if you want to get the game do not play perfect, otherwise all other players start to give you disasters or the worst is they can stop their trade with you, so you cannot step ahead!

If someone in Mississauga, Canada and looking for others to play this game, count me to!

by Sven
Great game, pity it takes so much time
August 12, 2001

This one ranks among my top 3 games ever! The rules are quite simple, and the basic concept might seem rather abstract (even boring), but give it a try. It will take a few games to understand the workings of this game, and you will need to get at least 5 people together for a good game, but it's worth the trouble.

I also would not rate it as a wargame. The main part of the game is trade, and that's the real fun. Five or more people haggling at the top of their voices over their Trading Cards--you will think you are at a bazaar in Turkey. ;-)

Great game. Period.

Not a WAR game ?
December 23, 2000

Civilization is NOT a war game... or is it? The great thing about this game is that it can be different things to different people. If you want to play it as a war game, you can; if you want to play as a trading game, you can; if you want to play as a building game, you can. Obviously other players' actions will have an influence on your own game, and the eventual winner is the player who more readily has all the angles covered. The great thing about Civilization is that however you want to play it, it's extremely hard to be kicked out of the game--although you can find you are 'contained' if you start too many wars. My favourite board game of all time; also my favourie War game!

Learn about history and cooperation as you play Civilization
November 21, 2000

If you are looking for a game that embraces skill and cooperation as well as the element of chance and conflict, then this is the game for you. I have played this game twice, first with 3 of my closest friends and then with 6 new people. Each time we learned how to work with people as well as how to protect ourselves.

There is no other game like it.

If it is true that this game is no longer available through Avalon Hill. I will cherish my copy forever. It may seem daunting to play such a time-intensive game, but please, it will be rewarding.

Outstanding game
January 07, 1999

When combined with Advanced Civilization, Civilization is my favorite game of all time. Even if Advanced Civilization had never come out, I think Civilization would still, after more than 15 years of regular play, be my favorite game.

What I like about Civilization is that it's based much more strongly on developing your own civilization in the best possible way than it is on preventing your fellow players from achieving the same goals. In fact, players who spend a lot of time warring with their neighbors will find themselves falling behind!

Of course, there are conflicts between players, both for territory and in the race to achieve civilization advances -- while many of these cards are available in sufficient quantity for all players to have one, some of the cards most important to victory are not.

One of the keys to success in Civilization is trading commodities with other players, which provides an additional incentive not to completely irritate your fellow players -- they may refuse to trade with you.

Because of its character, I've found that Civilization is a game that can be enjoyed by people of many different levels of gaming experience. Even if you're not winning, you're probably still having a good time, and it's entirely possible for newcomers to do well. I find that it takes about half an hour to teach a new player the rules, and that as long as they receive honest advice on achieving a good board position during the early stages of the game, they tend to do all right.

I highly recommend this game for anyone who enjoys relatively complex, lengthy strategy games, but isn't looking for a wargame.

Long but rewarding
August 07, 1999

Yes, Avalon Hill is gone and this game is out of print - but perhaps Hasbro will reprint it some time, and in the mean time you might run across a copy by chance.

Civilization is something of a classic in its genre. You are controlling a race of people in the Mediterranean/Fertile Crescent area, starting about ten thousand years ago. At first your population starts off small, but exponential growth means that soon you have occupied all of your territory. You can grow further by constructing cities, which in turn generates commodities which you can trade with other players.

It pays to corner the market in a certain commodity because the value of sets of the same commodity grows quadratically. What you do with your commodities is trade sets of them in for advances in civilization, such as agriculture or democracy or architecture. Only by collecting these civilization cards can your people advance into the iron age.

Trade is the most important part of this game, so it is vital to not make enemies or you could find yourself the target of a trade embargo. This is what makes Civilization different from similar-looking wargames such as Diplomacy.

Civilization works best with more than four players, but there are rules for as few as two. The game's production quality is not wonderful - the board is functional but not pretty, the tokens are monochromatic cardstock and the civilization cards are just perforated paper. Still, there isn't really any other game like it, so if you and four other people are looking for a classic empire-building game and have a spare five to ten hours, this is definitely worth looking for.

(Avalon Hill also put out an expansion called Advanced Civilization, which greatly improves on the game.)

Good game, if you have no life.
June 24, 2003

WARNING: DO NOT ever attempt to play this game with non-gamers. Your stock as a friend will definately go down.

Civilization is a long game. Civiliation is also a great game. It would be 5 stars if it could be played in a reasonable amount of time. As it is, plan on ordering pizza at least once in the course of a game.

Despite the comparisons to Diplomacy do not be deceived, there may be no dice in the game, but there is definately a luck factor. Calamities are randomly distributed and have the practical effect of equalizing the game in the long run. As the game progresses calamities appear more and more often as you increase the number of cities. If you find yourself trailing in the game just sit tight, a calamity will appear that will affect the leader more than you and give you the chance to make up lost ground.

Like most Avalon Hill games the rule book is intimidating but an experienced player can teach a new player in short order. Civilization doesn't play well with 2 players. If you can find at least 2 others (preferably more) who have the time and desire to play don't pass up the chance. Personally, I get to play once every couple of years, and even then we end up quiting before the game is over. Did I mention that this is a long game?

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