Sid Meier's Civilization III is a turn-based strategy video game by Firaxis Games, the successor to Sid Meier's Civilization II and succeeded by Sid Meier's Civilization IV. Also called Civ 3 or Civ III for short, the game is the third generation of the original Sid Meier's Civilization. The game offers highly evolved gameplay in terms of both mechanics and strategy. Unlike the original game, Civ III was not designed by Sid Meier, but by Jeff Briggs, a game designer, and Soren Johnson, a game programmer.
Sid Meier's Civilization III, like the other Sid Meier's Civilization video games, is based around building an empire, from the ground up, beginning at start of recorded history and continuing beyond the current modern day. The player's civilization is centered around a core of cities that provide the resources necessary to grow the player's cities, construct city improvements, wonders, and units, and advance the player's technological development. The player must balance a good infrastructure, resources, diplomatic and trading skills, technological advancement, city and empire management, culture, and military power to succeed.
- 1 Gameplay
- 2 Units
- 3 Victory conditions
- 4 Differences from Sid Meier's Civilization II
- 5 Reception
- 6 Expansions
- 7 References
- 8 External links
The game focuses around a core of cities that provide the necessary production to advance the player's empire. The cities contain a certain number of citizens that draw production from the surrounding land.
Shields (units of production) are used to build improvements, units, and wonders.
Food is used to grow the player's cities. Each citizen requires two food units per turn to survive, and excess food is stored. Once the food storage fills up, it is emptied and the city gains a citizen. Some food may be stored in the optional granary city improvement, which does not deplete when the city grows, effectively halving the amount of food to grow.
Commerce is used to generate money for the player's economy. The player can take a certain percentage of their economy each turn and allocate it to scientific research, to the happiness of his or her citizens or to the save it in the countries treasury.
Each city's citizens have a certain mood (happy, content, unhappy, or resisting). If there are more unhappy than happy citizens in a city, the city falls into civil disorder and all production ceases and no food is stored; if a city remains in civil disorder for too long, improvements may be destroyed by the unruly mob. On the other hand, if a city has more happy citizens than content ones, and no unhappy ones, the city will throw a celebration for the ruler called We Love the King Day and economic benefits ensue. Any commerce that is not allocated to scientific research or to happiness is placed in the treasury as gold coin.
The worker unit is used to improve the land by building various improvements on terrain squares. Mines increase shield production, irrigation increases food, and roads increase commerce and reduce movement costs (to 1/3 of a point) for all allied land units using them. Later in the game the player can build railroads, which provide almost unlimited movement for all allied land units, as well as increasing the commerce output of the same tile.
One of the major features of gameplay is scientific research. Completing the research of a new technology will make available new units, city improvements and wonders of the world, as well as special bonuses and abilities, that are related to the technology.
The technology tree is divided into four ages (Ancient Age, Middle Ages, Industrial Age, and Modern Age); each age requires the research of specific technologies to advance to that age. Additionally, there are technologies that are not required to advance to the next age, but which provide useful bonuses that are often essential for good empire management, or may provide different alternatives to it.
A science slider is used to allocate money from the economy to scientific research, and can be set at 10% increments. City improvements such as libraries, universities, and research labs also increase scientific research, as do some wonders (such as Newton's University).
Technologies can also be traded to and from other civilizations in return for money, resources, luxury goods or other technologies. Technologies acquired in this way can in turn be exchanged (also called 'technology brokering') for other new technologies by contacting one or more other civilizations. In this way a civilization may, in one turn, experience a considerable jump in its technological development.
Citizens are the people who work in a city. There are four kinds in Sid Meier's Civilization III: Laborers, Entertainers, Tax Collectors and Scientists. All citizens are created as Laborers. Laborers work the land tiles within the city radius to produce food, shields and commerce. A Laborer changed into an Entertainer reduces production by removing a Laborer from working a city tile, but increases happiness (or reduces unrest) in the city. Tax Collectors and Scientists function in a similar manner; taking a citizen away from working a city tile and re-dedicating them to produce money or science. If there are more citizens in a city than available land tiles to work, the extra citizens automatically become Entertainers.
The second expansion, Conquests, adds two new types of citizens to the game: Policemen (reduce corruption) and Civil Engineers (enhance building and wonder production).
Civil disorder is caused when more citizens are unhappy than are happy. During Civil Disorder, the city does not produce any commerce (and thus science) or shields (meaning no unit/building production), but food production continues. Civil Disorder continues until additional sources of happiness are added to the city, or the riots are subdued by reinforcing the military garrison in the cities.
One of the primary distinctions between the difficulty levels is the ease with which cities fall into civil disorder. On a given difficulty level, a certain number of citizens are content by default, and all others produced in excess of that number become unhappy. As the difficulty level increases, the number of content citizens decreases from 6 to 1, making city management more difficult and forcing one to sacrifice resources to entertainment, either by having citizens specialize as entertainers (and thus producing no resources) or by detracting much-needed funding from scientific research.
Culture is a new feature in Sid Meier's Civilization III; it did not exist in previous versions of Civilization. Each city in Sid Meier's Civilization III has a cultural rating, which is the city's influence over local terrain. Essentially, the culture's outer edge, or "border", acts as the boundary of each civilization's empire. When a city is created it has a culture rating of 1, which allows influence over the closest 8 squares only (a sphere of influence 1 square in radius). As the city's culture rating increases, so does its sphere of influence, bringing more territory under the player's control.
In addition to influencing territorial borders, culture serves two other purposes. One is allowing the peaceful takeover, better known as 'culture flipping', of nearby foreign cities by influencing its citizens with another civilization's culture. This 'flipping' could happen in Sid Meier's Civilization, but the process is easier to perceive and influence in Sid Meier's Civilization III. Conquest through culture is preferable to military conquest as it does not affect a civilization's reputation in the global community, and also leaves all of the buildings in the city intact. In addition, a civilization can win the game by having a very strong culture total.
Culture is increased each turn based on what city improvements and wonders, such as a Temple or the Hanging Gardens, have been built in that city. Cultural buildings are important as they can also prevent unhappy citizens and thus prevent civil disorder.
Every civilization starts with certain special abilities, specifically two traits that give them bonuses that help in corresponding areas of gameplay; they also determine what two technologies the civilization begins the game with. Each civilization has a special unit that is unique to their civilization and is typically a slightly improved replacement of a standard unit; these units usually have a historical basis (for example: the Japanese unique unit, which replaces the standard knight, is the samurai).
|Colour||Civilization||Qualities||Starting Advances||Special Unit||Leader||Capital|
|F-15 (replaces Jet Fighter)||Abraham Lincoln||Washington|
Religious (in Conquests, Agricultural)
|Jaguar Warrior (replaces Warrior)||Montezuma II||Tenochtitlan|
|Bowman (replaces Archer)||Hammurabi||Babylon|
|Rider (replaces Knight)||Mao Zedong (in the Chinese version of the game- Taizong)||Beijing|
|War Chariot (replaces Chariot)||Cleopatra VII||Thebes|
|England||Expansionist (in Conquests, Seafaring),
|Man-o-war (replaces Frigate)||Elizabeth I||London|
|Musketeer (replaces Musketman)||Joan of Arc||Paris|
|Panzer (replaces Tank)||Otto von Bismarck||Berlin|
|Hoplite (replaces Spearman)||Alexander the Great||Athens|
|War Elephant (replaces Knight)||Gandhi||Delhi|
|Iroquois||Expansionist (in Conquests, Agricultural)
Religious (in Conquests, Commercial)
|Pottery, Ceremonial Burial||Mounted Warrior (replaces Horseman)||Hiawatha||Salamanca|
|Samurai (replaces Knight)||Tokugawa Ieyasu||Kyoto|
|Immortals (replaces Swordsman)||Xerxes I||Persepolis|
|Legionary (replaces Swordsman)||Julius Caesar||Rome|
|Cossack (replaces Cavalry)||Catherine II the Great||Moscow|
|Impi (replaces Spearman)||Shaka Zulu||Zimbabwe|
Wonders of the world
As in previous entries of the Sid Meier's Civilization series, there are Great Wonders that are unique throughout the world and can only be built after the prerequisite technologies have been researched. Wonders provide a variety of major benefits to a specific city, all cities on a continent or to an entire empire. In each different age there are different wonders available.
Sid Meier's Civilization III also added Small Wonders, which can be built once by each civilization. Small Wonders have, for the most part, a sociological requirement to construct them, as well as a technological requirement. Battlefield Medicine, for example, requires that five of the player's cities have hospitals before building, as Wall Street requires 5 banks in the player's cities in order to begin building.
When a civilization captures a city with a Small Wonder, it is automatically destroyed; Great Wonders in captured cities are only destroyed if the city is razed. If a Great Wonder is destroyed, it can never be rebuilt. Some examples of wonders are the Pyramids, The Great Wall, and The Colossus, and some examples of small wonders are Wall Street, the Forbidden Palace and The Pentagon.
Improvements are things that help cities grow. However, all improvements need a certain technology to build them and have a maintenance fee. An improvement can be destroyed when the city it is built in is bombarded. Fortunately, it can be rebuilt, unlike wonders. Some examples of improvements are: Granary, Barracks, Temple, Harbor, University, Bank, Hospital, Factory, Recycling Center, and SAM Missile Battery.
Citizens have a nationality based upon the civilization under which they were 'born.' Citizens have a 'memory' of their nationality and will consider themselves members of their previous civilization until they are assimilated into their new civilization. The time it takes for this change to occur is based upon the relative cultures of both civilizations, taking less time the more the culture of the new civilization is stronger than the previous civilization's. For example, if Persia captures a French city, its citizens will retain their French nationality until they are assimilated into the Persian culture, although they will live and work under Persian control. Foreign citizens become unhappy if their ruling country is at war with their country of birth and may remain so for some time afterward. This gives recently-captured cities a high potential for rebellion. Otherwise, they are equally productive. Units that are captured, such as workers and artillery, also retain their nationality. Workers are less efficient than 'native' units, and artillery are unable to be upgraded; they have no upkeep cost, however.
Combat is an important aspect of the game, and, although not required to win, it is nearly impossible to go through a full game without experiencing warfare at least once. Each unit begins as a "regular" (with 3 hit points) and can gain experience and be promoted through battles. Below regular is "conscript" (with 2 hit points); barbarian tribes will occasionally generate conscript units, and a city may also institute a draft to produce conscript units at the cost of some of the city population. Above regular is "veteran" (with 4 hit points) and finally "elite" (with 5 hit points). If a city has a barracks (or harbor for naval units, or airport for air units), it will produce veteran units instead of regulars.
Each unit has an attack and defense value that is compared against another unit's appropriate value (attack vs defense) to determine the winner of each battle. Certain terrain types, as well as large cities, defending across a river, and fortifying a unit provide additional defensive bonuses (e.g. a mountain has a 100% defensive bonus, so a unit with 3 defense will be considered to have 6 defense when defending on a mountain). Ultimately, a random number generator (RNG) determines the outcome of each battle, so it is therefore possible (although rare) for a Bronze Age Spearman to defeat a Modern Age Modern Armor, a fact that was very highly criticized by fans and was partially the reason that led to a total redesign of the combat system for Sid Meier's Civilization IV. This issue was supposedly dealt with in Sid Meier's Civilization II with the addition of firepower and hit points.
Another important aspect of combat is bombardment, which can be done by artillery units (catapult, trebuchet, cannon, artillery and radar artillery), air units, and more advanced naval units (destroyer, battleship, etc.). Bombardment can soften a target before it is attacked, and, if attacking a city, may kill some of the population or destroy certain city improvements. Certain units have the ability to kill other units through bombardment (known as "lethal bombardment").
When an elite unit wins a battle against an enemy unit, there is a small chance that it will produce a Great Leader. A Great Leader has the ability to create an Army, which has the ability to "load" up to three units (four if the player has built The Pentagon). An Army fights as one unit and combines the hit points of all the individual units loaded into it. Once units have been loaded into the Army, however, they cannot be removed or upgraded, but they do gain additional battle experience - however, an elite unit in an army cannot generate leaders. A Great Leader can also be used to hurry the building of a project; this is the only way to hurry production of a Great Wonder.
In Sid Meier's Civilization III, there are three types of resources. Each type of resource can be found only on certain types of terrain and can provide a bonus to shields, food, or commerce if found within the city radius and worked by a citizen. Bonus resources exist specifically for this purpose, while luxury and strategic resources provide other benefits as well; luxury and strategic resources may be traded, while bonus resources may not. Resources must be 'connected' to a civilization's infrastructure (via a road or railroad) and must be within that civilization's cultural border to be utilized; a resource outside of the cultural border can still be utilized by connecting a road to it and building a colony (colonies are easily destroyed and are targeted by barbarians, so they must be defended).
Luxury resources contribute to a civilization's overall happiness; each luxury makes at least one content citizen happy per city. The effects of multiple luxuries of one type do not stack, for example, if a civilization has two wines connected, only one will provide a bonus; the other is available for trading. Building a marketplace greatly increases the effect of luxuries on that city beyond the second luxury. Keeping citizens happy is important and prevents the city from falling into civil disorder.
Strategic resources are resources required to train certain units or construct certain city improvements or wonders. A certain technology is required to unlock these resources, and they are often necessary for good empire management. Perhaps the most important resource is iron, which is useful from the moment it first appears on the map until the end, as it is a prerequisite for constructing railroads along with coal. Like luxuries, strategic resources do not stack and can be traded.
Though corruption existed in Sid Meier's Civilization and Sid Meier's Civilization II, it has been made much more severe in Sid Meier's Civilization III. In addition to the commerce-decreasing corruption, Civilization III includes waste (Note: Sid Meier's Civilization II included waste as well, but it is considerably less severe), which decreases a city's productivity. The productivity of a city, measured in 'shields', is used to build units, city improvements and wonders, with each unit or structure costing a certain number of shields. Shields can have two colors: blue or red. The blue shields represent actual production, while red ones represent production lost to waste. In general, the farther a city is from the capital, the greater the waste will be. It is not uncommon for far-flung cities to have red shields that far outnumber the blue ones. The levels of corruption and waste are dependent on the system of government of a civilization and the distance the city is away from the civilization's capital city. Uniquely, in the communist system, corruption and waste are essentially spread equally amongst all cities. Also, depending on the map size and difficulty level, each civilization has an "optimal city limit." Once a civilization exceeds this limit, it will also gain corruption and waste overall for every new city it possesses. This feature was added to prevent total global domination (a typical result in the previous editions) by making it impossible for a global civilization to function.
There are a number of ways to combat corruption which include building city improvements, such as the Courthouse and the Police Station, connecting each city to the civilization's trade network (e.g. roads, a harbor or an airport) and by building two Small Wonders, the Forbidden Palace and the Secret Police Headquarters (Communist governments only). Originally these wonders functioned as second palaces in the cities in which they were built, but subsequent patches removed that function for corruption and merely made them reduce overall corruption in every city. Corruption will never reduce shield production to zero, but one shield per turn is virtually useless (at least in the later parts of the game as completing the production of many units and improvements requires many shields).
Units can be soldiers or civilian units. Civilian units include workers, heroes, and settlers. All units (except for Warriors and some civilian units) have technology requirements that need to be met before they can be built. Spearmen, for example, need Bronze Working technology.
Attack and Defense Rating
All units have attack and defense ratings. The spearman, for example, has an attack rating of 1 and a defense rating of 2. This means that the spearman is better at defending than attacking.
All units have levels of experience, which affect the game in terms of their durability in combat. Each unit has a certain number of hit points appearing in its vertical health bar. When all of its points are lost, the unit dies; thus a unit with more hit points has a better chance of surviving any given battle. The different experience levels are listed below:
- A conscript unit has the least experience. Only barbarians, either hostile ones or those that have joined a nation's army, and units drafted from cities are conscripts. Conscript units have two hit points.
- A regular unit is also not very experienced, but they are much better than conscripts. Regular is the default level of experience for all units produced by a civilization in the normal fashion. Regular units have three hit points.
- A veteran unit is moderately experienced. Veterans can be produced by either building the unit in a city that has built the Barracks improvement, or from regular units that are victorious in battle. Veteran units have four hit points.
- An elite unit is extremely experienced. Elite units are only formed from veteran units that are victorious in battle. An elite unit that produces a Leader (see Combat) may be renamed by the player and is thereafter designated as an "Elite*" unit (rather than merely "Elite"); however, this has no effect on the unit's competency in battle. Elite units have five hit points.
There are several ways to win the game, some of which recur from the previous Civilization games. A player needs to meet only one of the victory conditions to win a game. They can each be enabled or disabled when setting the game rules at the beginning of a new game (except for the histograph victory).
One of the most straightforward of the victory conditions, a Conquest victory is achieved when no civilizations besides the player's exist, a civilization being eliminated when its last city is captured or destroyed. Despite the simplicity of concept, Conquest can be difficult to achieve as other civilizations will, naturally, resist. Along these lines, there is the "settler on a boat" problem, in which the final conquered civilization places a settler unit on a boat and takes to the high seas. The player then spends centuries tracking this boat down. Another difficulty is that Domination (below) is almost always achieved long before Conquest could be achieved, unless the Domination option has been disabled, or if the player razes most of the opponent's cities rather than capturing them.
A player wins a Domination victory by controlling two thirds of the world's land and population. 66% of the world's land area must be within the civilization's cultural borders, and 66% of the world's population must reside within the civilization's cities. Exactly how the player achieves these two conditions is irrelevant and largely open-ended; any method of achieving the two conditions triggers the victory.
By having a culture so powerful that its civilization controls the world through others' longing to be a part of it, a player can win a Cultural victory. The Cultural victory is achieved when either one city the player controls has 20,000 or more culture points, or if the entire civilization meets a certain threshold (100,000 on a Standard map) and has at least double that of any other culture. The latter is more difficult as it's unlikely that any of the other nations will have less than half of the player's total rating unless they have been weakened by war.
By building the United Nations wonder, a civilization opens the possibility of a Diplomatic victory. The civilization that built it will be periodically offered the opportunity to hold elections for U.N. Secretary General. To be eligible for election, a civilization must control 25% of either the world's population or its territory, although the civilization that actually built the UN is always automatically a candidate. If there are no qualified candidates other than the one who built the UN, the civilization with the next highest population is put on the ballot. The civilization with a majority of the possible votes wins the election, and therefore the game. Because the player's reputation matters a great deal to the voting AI civilizations, it is of paramount importance to a player seeking a Diplomatic victory to maintain a trustworthy status throughout the game.
Just as in the previous two games, a civilization not seeking domination through world conquest can build and send a colony spaceship to Alpha Centauri to win the game. Unlike the previous two games, however, the player does not decide how many of several different types of components to build, but rather, builds ten specific spaceship parts ranging from Thrusters to the Stasis Chamber to the Interplanetary Party Lounge. The parts may be built in any order the player desires, but the player must first research the required technologies associated with each part. This method of victory favours a player with several powerful cities as the parts cost many shields to produce, and each city can only produce one at a time.
While the previous games had incorporated elements of speed and survival chance (a player could build fewer parts and thus launch sooner, although at increased risk of it not making it to Alpha Centauri), the game is won immediately once the colony ship is launched, the ultimate success of the colony either being assumed or irrelevant.
The histograph provides a relative indicator of each civilization's score, power, and culture at any given time. When the game timer runs out (at the year 2050 C.E. by default) if no civilization has met any of the other victory conditions, the civilization with the highest score wins the game. (The player may continue the game beyond this point, but no additional score is counted.) A civilization's score is calculated based on its number of happy citizens, its number of content and specialist citizens, its territory, and any future technology researched beyond the normal technology tree. Each of these factors is weighted, and the score is the sum of weighted numbers. A civilization's overall score (which is the one that matters for histographic victory) is the average of its scores for all the turns.
Differences from Sid Meier's Civilization II
Most game rules remain the same from Sid Meier's Civilization II. Here are some major changes:
- Resources: The resources of Sid Meier's Civilization II only increased local production, and did not affect happiness or production options.
- Ages: The tech tree of Sid Meier's Civilization III was divided into ages, while the one in Sid Meier's Civilization II was continuous, although in Sid Meier's Civilization II the city images on the map changed according to what could be equated to ages.
- Civilizations: Unique units and civilization traits. The civilizations of Sid Meier's Civilization II were not particularly unique except AI, artwork and the set which the AI would chose the starting technologies.
- Workers: Terrain improvement was done by Settlers in Sid Meier's Civilization II. Sid Meier's Civilization III introduced Workers for this purpose.
- Diplomatic agreements: Sid Meier's Civilization III has a bargaining table where leaders can work out diplomatic agreements.
- Forced labour: Under Fascism, Despotism and Communism, the player can use forced labour - sacrificing citizens for production.
- Culture: The concept of Culture is new for the series, though cultural dominance could lead to city defection even in Sid Meier's Civilization.
- Caravans: The Caravan unit has been removed in Sid Meier's Civilization III as a more advanced method of trading has been added.
- Diplomats and spies: Diplomat and Spy units are replaced by a menu system.
- Small Wonders: One National Wonder can be built per civilization.
- War weariness: In Sid Meier's Civilization II, a leader trying to start war under Republic or Democracy could be overruled by the Senate. Sid Meier's Civilization III has no Senate - instead war under these governments cause unhappiness the longer it lasts.
- Visibility range: Units on high terrain can see further across low terrain.
- Armies: Units can be grouped into armies.
- Unit support: Units no longer have a home city. Instead they are supported by the national treasury.
- Bombardment: Siege units no longer engage directly in combat, instead they bombard their targets. Ships can bombard coastal tiles.
- Air missions: Aircraft perform one mission each turn (within their range), instead of moving step by step across the map.
- Experience: Units winning a combat have a chance to increase their maximum hit points by one. The concept of "fire-power" is removed.
- Upgrades: Units can be upgraded with money and proper resources. Upgrading units in Sid Meier's Civilization II did not require resources.
- Barbarians: In previous games, barbarian gangs contained a leader, who could be defeated for ransom. These are gone and instead barbarians are spawned at camps, which can be raided. Barbarians never capture cities.
The initial release of the game had some bugs and glitches. Some of the features that Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri had but were not carried forward included elevation, a working United Nations-esque system, a social engineering system and a 'group movement' command to simplify managing units on the map.
The first patch came very soon after the game's initial release and other patches were released subsequently, improving gameplay significantly. The patches also managed to add in certain features, such as the aforementioned group movement command. Most complaints about features and bug fixes that were added later, however, are countered by the fact that having them from the onset would have delayed the game's release by months. Sid Meier's Civilization III, like many games, exemplifies the dilemma of game developers who must balance a timely release of the game against a more polished product.
Overall, the reaction to Sid Meier's Civilization III has been very positive. It has won several "Game of the Year" awards such as the Interactive Achievement Awards 2002 Computer Strategy Game of the Year and continues to win new fans, even after Sid Meier's Civilization IV was released..
Sid Meier's Civilization III: Play the World added multi-player capabilities, eight new civilizations and some new units to the original release.
Conquests offers nine more historical scenarios, ranging from Mesopotamia to WWII in the Pacific. Many of these scenarios have resources, improvements, wonders, music, and even government types that are specific to the scenario, especially the Mesoamerican and Sengoku Japan campaigns.
The stand-alone version is Sid Meier's Civilization III: Complete, which includes the two expansions and several patches. (This version came after Sid Meier's Civilization III: Gold Edition and Sid Meier's Civilization III: Game of the Year Edition.)
- This is a default setting and can be altered with scenario editor.
- The actual title of the ruler may be changed according to the current government type, e.g. "King" for Monarchy or "President" for The Republic)
- Two civilizations must have Right of passage treaty signed to benefit from each other's roads
- This is affected by Combat bonus vs. barbarians game setting.
- Civilization III for PC Review - PC Civilization III Review
- IGN: Civilization III Review
- Civilization III review for the PC
- Squire, Kurt; Constance Steinkuehler (2005-04-15). Meet the Gamers. LibraryJournal.com. Retrieved on 2007-01-28
- Official Civilization III website
- Sid Meier's Civilization III at MobyGames
- Sid Meier's Civilization: The Boardgame
- Civilization Modding Wiki