Title Colonization (Third Review) Game Type Management Sim Company Microprose (1994) Players 1 Compatibility 1 meg Amigas HD Installable Yes Submission Katherine Nelson This Amiga Report review appears here by courtesy of Jason Compton Review Colonization (Microprose) is a game brought to us from the makers of Civilization, as a 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 reviewer. Basically, Colonization 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 strategist, 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 resources. 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 native settlements. 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 lazy. 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 enemy. 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. It looks and sounds impressive, and is one of the better games I've seen for the Amiga.