Foreword: Colonization Official Strategy Guide.

How do you top one of the most popular strategy games ever created? This is the problem we faced after completing Sid Meier's Civilization, or Rome on 640K a Day. We knew that Civilization was a really good game. Plus, its topic was the history of the world-pretty all-inclusive!

What does one do next?

Well, the obvious answer is to do a computer program that writes music in the style of the legendary J. S. Bach. So we worked on CPU Bach. While doing that, though, we continued to discuss the topic of our next game. We considered the Civil War (which, by the way, is still simmering on the burner), and we talked about various other topics, including a game about the discovery and colonization of America.

This idea didn't get very far. We were thinking of a game system totally different from Civilization. We didn't really think that much more about the idea until a combination of circumstances conspired.


First, we determined to do a series of new games based loosely on our most popular existing strategy titles. Second, Brian Reynolds, one of our most talented programmers (and official Civilization champion), suggested a Civilization spin-off based on the discovery and colonization of America. This seemed like a good match. Not only did Brian suggest this idea, but he had already done some preliminary work on the game. The project soon became an official part of the Strategy Group's schedule.

As always, the game is the result of the efforts of a lot of hard-working people, and we got a lot of design ideas from many different places. The Quality Assurance department deserves much credit for their input, as do all the artists and musicians that participated. A look at the credits at the end of the manual will give you an idea of the people involved and their roles.

We'd like to thank Bruce Shelley for his work on this book and his contributions to the game. We knew Bruce before he became a famous author and hope he won't forget the "little people" that helped him along.


From the beginning, we wanted a game that played a lot like Civilization but was fundamentally different. We wanted to keep much of the same interface and that "just-one-more-turn-before-I-stop" feel. We also wanted the types of decisions the player is confronted with to vary from those encountered in Civilization, but to remain just as interesting. The problems, we concluded, should derive from some major forces in history-Native Americans and Europeans competing for resources and power in the New World.

One of the more important decisions concerned the treatment of the native population. Historically, there were several approaches: the Spanish approach involved slaughter and pillage, while the French favored cooperation and alliance; the English and Dutch showed toleration until that was no longer perceived as financially viable.

In Colonization you are given the same choices. The natives are friendly until you do something that changes their attitude. Trade and cooperation with the natives is a viable alternative for the patient player, but other courses of action may prove successful as well.

You also compete with other foreign colonial powers for dominance of the New World and its resources. The other powers are aggressive and will almost always compete militarily for control. However, a nation's ability to carry out military operations depends almost entirely on its success in the economic arena; very little direct military support comes from the home country. Instead, you must mold the resources you have at hand-including people resources-into a viable money-making endeavor.

Speaking of people resources, the experienced player will recognize already the importance of this aspect of the game. You must learn how to put the talents of your people to good use within your colonies. The colonists come with a wide range of skills that must be matched with the appropriate terrain or building to make them efficient and productive. The success of the colonial empire depends on your ability to manage your people.

Ultimately, Colonization requires you to build a viable governmental infrastructure within your fledgling nation, capable of sustaining itself without the influence or tax-ridden support of your Mother country. You want to create an empire that can survive an invasion of well-trained Europeans from your home country.


We enjoyed working on this game a great deal. Every game is a delicate balance of reality and playability. What to include and what to exclude from the scope of a design is a difficult and haunting problem which can make the difference between a successful, fun gaming experience and one that is dull, detail-ridden, and unenlightening. We thought long and hard about these issues and played the game every day, looking for that elusive element fun. We're very happy with the result and feel we have a game that is fun and engrossing, with a ring of truth and reality. We hope you agree.

Sid Meier

Jeff Briggs