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By: Katherine Nelson
Colonization (Microprose) is a game brought to us from the makers of
Civilization, as long-awaited sequel. There was some question as to
whether it would be released on the Amiga, but fortunately, Microprose came
through for us. Only an ECS version is available, but it could almost pass
for AGA because the graphics are very well done (similar in quality to
Settlers, another ECS game).
Another mark in the positive column for Colonization is the fact that it
runs straight from my hard drive on my 4000/040. I was never able to get
Civilization to run without using its boot disk, and I tried everything.
So the less hassle for me to play this game translates to a happier
Basically, Coloniztion is a game of (surprise) colonization and revolution.
You are the leader of the colonial presence of one of four European powers,
the English, French, German, or the Dutch. Your goal is to create colonies
that prosper, and evenutally, to declare independence from your parent
nation, and survive (and win) the onslaught that ensues.
Three different world options appear after the playing language is
selected. These are: Start a Game in NEW WORLD, Start a Game in AMERICA,
and CUSTOMIZE New World. Any of these are good for play, but I prefer not
to choose America, simply because in order to trade more efficiently,
colonies need to have access to the ocean. There is a lot of coastline in
the America version, but that is the only surface available for all four
European powers. Many medium-size islands seems to work better.
After selecting where you want to play, a difficulty requester appears. I
am not a master strategen, so I chose the easiest: Discoverer. I'm sure
some of you out there could cope with the fifth level, Viceroy, but I think
this review would never have been completed if I had tried it. There is a
cheat , however, to make it easier.
The greatest challenge of the game is to balance your manpower between
food-related work, defense, and the cash crops that help put money in the
coffer. Beyond that, you have to deal with the colonies and colonists of
the other three nations, and you have to deal with the Indians (Native
Americans) through friendship and appeasement or through force. All in
all, a lot of things to manage.
I have found that it is a good idea to have at least one solider or dragoon
(mounted solider) in each colony. Unlike Civilization, these military
units are formed from existing people, plus they do not consume any
In reference to goods that can be traded with the Indians or brought back
to Europe, it seems best to process all raw goods except Ore. Ore is worth
more money unprocessed than converted to tools or muskets. It is a good
idea to stockpile the tools and muskets anyway, though, because they are
needed for creating roads/plowing fields, and for fighting in the war,
respectively. But with respect to cotton, furs, sugar, and tobacco, you
may as well create cloth, coats, rum, and cigars.
Trading with the natives can be useful, because the crown does not charge a
tax on those trades. Also, sometimes a real good deal will crop up.
However, sometimes the natives do not offer good prices, and refusing them
can increase tension. Trading in Europe is more consistent, but prices
fall if you glut the market.
In Civilization, the emphasis was on creating shields to build things,
including Wonders; wheat to feed the people; coins for purchases; and light
bulbs for discoveries.
In Colonization, in order to build things, you have to have someone working
as a carpenter and possibly a blacksmith. You need trees for the carpenter
and ore for the blacksmith. They create hammers and tools, which are used
to create the building or item.
To get food you need a farmer and/or a fisherman. The farmer will grow
corn, and the fisherman (after you build Docks), will catch fish to feed
the people. New colonists are available in the colony when the food
reaches 200 or on the European docks when enough crosses (symbolizing
religious freedom, go figure...) are generated. Crosses are generated in
the Church (which you have to build), and increased by assigning someone as
a priest in it.
Money can only be obtained through trade, or conquest of other colonies or
Combining the ideas of Discoveries and Wonders, in Colonization you put
people in the town hall to increase the generation of liberty bells. When
enough have been created, you choose a new member of the Continental
Congress. Each possible member has different advantages, with pluses under
one of several subjects: Trade, Military, Political, Religious, or
Exploration. You get extra points when you retire for each member of the
Continental Congress, but it is not necessary to have all of them.
Generating the liberty bells is also extremely important during the War of
Independence because they keep people in the Sons of Liberty, which gives
production and defense bonuses. Also, another European power will
volunteer to aid you if you can create enough liberty bells, and these
added forces can make a great deal of difference.
On the subject of the war... You cannot declare war until there is at least
50% rebel sentiment (created by the liberty bells) in your collective
colonies. You may still have individual colonies that support the crown
when you declare, but this makes the war more difficult. Immediately upon
declaring war, your enraged European monarch lands the troops near your
colonies. This is pretty fast moving, considering they take no travel time
between Europe and the New World. You always spend a few turns sailing
between, but it seems that either their ships are faster, or they knew the
kind of rebel scum you were, and were prepared.
The british forces have many attack bonuses. They are better trained, but
you have an advantage when both of you are in open terrain. These bonuses
are still not stellar. The best idea is to have a large number of troops,
and hope for power in numbers. Having some artillery helps a great deal,
as long as it is in a colony, and not out in the open.
The War can last a great deal of time, and you will need money to support
it. This can be obtained either through trade with the natives (which is
one reason not to wipe them out, if you don't go with the moral one), or
build a Customs House, which lets you trade with the other European powers
without sailing all the way out there. There are a lot of fees on this
type of trade, though.
At any rate, if you win the war (by fending off a great deal of troops or
re-capturing all of your colonies), you see your number of points, look at
some pretty screens, and then the game suddenly quits. I would prefer that
it went back to the opening screen so you could play again, but I'm just
Another strange "feature" of the game is that while you are at war with the
crown, you can still buy ships from them. I don't know if they just
assumed there would be some sympathizers in the Mother/Father country, or
if they just didn't think that the Crown would mind selling weapons to the
Finally, I'll end on some good points. The sound is excellent. You can
turn it off, too. This is good, because although there are several good
songs you can choose to play, if you're playing for hours and hours like
you need to, it gets repetitive anyway... Maybe they need a sing-along
version to keep my attention longer, I don't know. But it is really good
for as long as you can listen. Also, a good change from Civilization, the
saved games are not in the main directory. They are buried within the game
directory, and that keeps them out of the way. Did I mention it ran
straight from my hard drive? :)
Colonization is a great game for Civilization lovers. It has a great deal
of strategy involved, though, so probably is not for the light of heart
unless you cheat (See the button above). It looks and sounds impressive,
and is one of the better games I've seen for the Amiga.