Colonization for DOS

Title Animation

Title Animation

Colonization was released by microprose in 1994 and is a turn based strategy game very much like Civilization. My older brother bought it for my younger brother some years later (in 1997 I think) for Christmas and we used to play it on a Cyrix 166Mhz machine with windows 95 on it. Colonization quickly became a favourite around the house because of its deep game play, good graphics and very good adlib music.

The Title screen

The Title screen

The game is set in the new world at the time when the great empires where expanding into new and unexplored territories. Initially your job is to explore and establish new colonies, trading goods with the homeland to make extra money. The game is less focused on warfare than Civilization, your economy, trade and relationships with the native Indians are more important.

Talking to the King

Talking to the King

You can’t ignore your military need either, Indians and other European colonies all make their presence felt. So it is important to have some military forces available if the need arises, but if you have too large an army the king expands the size of the force he will send when independence is declared. You can get around this by stockpiling muskets and materials for building artillery, and deploying soldiers only when you need them.

Talking to the natives

Talking to the natives

The base of your economy are your colonies that you will try to establish in as many locations as possible. The citizens in the colonies produce good that you can sell back to the home land. Some goods you will produce to maintain and build up your colonies, these include tools, muskets and lumber to build more buildings. Once you’ve produced some valuable goods you’ll need to be able to ship them back, so organising and protecting a fleet of merchant vessels is also important to your economic success.



Combat units on land consist of musketeers, dragoons and artillery. You’ll need to keep a stock of muskets and horses to make the first two, and tools and lumber to make the artillery units. The dragoons are arguably the most useful as they are fast, musketeers are slow but cheap to produce, and artillery are more expensive but pack one heck of a wallop.

The main game screen

The main game screen

On the ocean you can have your own privateer vessels to steal cargo and destroy the ships of the other powers in the region, but the privateers don’t stand a chance against proper warships. If you were to fight an open war the ship of choice is the frigate, it’s fast and powerful enough to sink most vessels except the large man-o-war vessels the king sends.

Meeting the natives

Meeting the natives

The graphics are in VGA and are quite good, All the sprites are easy to identify and the artwork for the various factions/people you meet is crafted well. To match the time in which the game is set most screens and dialogues have a wooden motif. By the time this game was released VGA had become the standard, and older machines using EGA or older were more of an oddity.

The colony screen

The colony screen

The music in the game is excellent. Music that is from the period, and some new compositions all add to the atmosphere of the game. The music will change in some circumstances to match what is happening on screen, for instance there is a particular piece used when in contact with the native people.

The european status screen

The european status screen

Colonization is addictive in much the same way as the original Civilization was, you keep thinking to yourself just one more turn and soon find you’ve been up past midnight. The challenge is a little different in that you spend much more time managing your economy and transporting goods than you do in other games. Because you can play on a random map, each time can be filled with new exploration and new possibilities. You can still get the game on Good old Games for $5.99 (us$) which in my opinion is very well worth it.


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