It’s that time of year again where one feels one has to clean up his desktop of clutter (unused icons, anyone?) and make some room on the harddrive by deleting stuff that’s not really needed.
Then, by chance or divine intervention, you stumble upon a really old game in some forsaken folder that you used to play for hours on end. You remember how much joy the game brought you, how you lost yourself in it. Can it be? Yes, it can. It really is Sid Meier’s Colonization.
This old DOS game is even after more than 20 years since it came out still very playable. I know, I just had a go at it. And it didn’t disappoint.
You start by choosing the nation you want to play as. You’re given four choises – English, French, Spanish and Dutch. For some reason, there are no Portuguese. Whatever. Each nation has it’s pros and cons, so you have to choose wisely. Then, the King (or Stadtholder in case of the Dutch) gives you a ship with colonists and you can set sail towards the New World.
Colonization is a turn-based classic 4x game strategy. You need to explore, expand, exploit and exterminate. There’s quite a big emphasis put on trade, though. First you can trade with your mother country, later trade with the Indian villages becomes more important. But of course, you can also attack the villages for the loot. Up to you. There are a lot of aspects to keep in mind:
- you need to have sufficient resources to support your colonies (avoid starvation, support expansion)
- you need to produce goods to sell in Europe (for profit)
- you need to get more colonists from Europe (for expansion)
- you need to explore Lost City Rumors (get freebies)
- you need to keep fellow Europeans at bay (they want to attack)
- you need to keep Indians at bay (they want to attack)
- you need to keep your mother country at bay (it wants to tax you)
There are a lot of strategies you could pursue. Some of them a listed on colonizationfans.com.
The more the game progresses and the more you expand your colonies, the more you have to micromanage. That’s my biggest issue with this game. You waste a lot of time on meaningless stuff. But it’s still a great game even considering the outdated graphics, the sometimes downright stupid AI and strange bugs.
You need DOSBox to run the game on modern operating systems.