Advanced Civilization Retro Strategy Review
Avalon Hill's Advanced Civilization is the PC adaptation of the original Avalon Hill game Advanced Civilization, an expansion pack to the original board game that inspired the best selling Sid Meier-designed game.
Avalon Hill's Advanced Civilization was reviewed using the DOSBox MS-DOS emulator for Windows XP. Installation was quick and simple using DOSBox.
Storyline and background
Against the backdrop of the melting pot of human civilization – the Mediterranean – Advanced Civilization is a faithful recreation of the board game, down to the execution. The player takes control of one of the ancient civilizations, starting out in North Africa, the Middle East, and the areas now occupied by Turkey, Spain, Greece, Italy and Germany.
Setup and Gameplay
Setting up the game is quick and straight forward, requiring the player to pick his civilization, number of opponents (both human and computer controlled), computer AI type and even has the option of setting up a play-by-email game!
Like many strategy games, the game follows a turn-based pattern, with the player able to make various decisions about movement and the territory he wishes to take command of.
The aim of Advanced Civilization is to guide your chosen civilization from the Stone Age, through the Bronze Age and finally to the Iron Age – with the first civilization to make the progression winning the game.
Gameplay takes place in phases. First of all there is the settling phase, at which point the initial tokens are distributed among the players and a starting territory is selected (based on historical proximity). From here, it’s time to build ships and begin trading with other civilizations, with the major traders more likely to proceed through the civilization advance chart.
At some stage during the game, conflict with one or more opponent is likely – this is handled on a strength and movement basis, with the stronger units able to move fewer times per turn.
The intro soundtrack to Advanced Civilization is remarkably good for a game of this vinateg - but the grandiose synthesized strings are quickly let down by poor in-game sound which becomes quickly repetitive.
As with many games of this type from the 1990s, Advanced Civilization features a basic layout that is fit for purpose. Graphically it is competent, serving the purpose of a straight board game conversion.
The blocky nature of the graphics - coupled with a small screen (based on the old 800x600 resolution that DOSBox recreates) - makes the game difficult to play with the labels and images on each token lost in a blocky retro haze.
Advanced Civilization is not a conflict strategy game, nor is it a game that can be approached lightly, to dip in and out of. It requires time, patience and awareness and anticipation of how the other civilizations might or might not develop. The key to the game is in the trading, and the collection of tools which demonstrate the civilizations progression.
Sadly, however, for a game that was once a serious Sid Meier's Civilization alternative to hardcore strategy gamers, Advanced Civilization has dated badly, with its narrow scope and basic graphics letting down the proud name.