Sid Meier’s Civilization II is an empire-building turn-based strategy game. The game starts at the Old Stone Age in 4000 BC. Your tribe begins with a Settlers unit and has no knowledge about the surrounding area. As you found new cities and explore the surroundings, you may find hostile barbarians, villages, and other competing cultures. Once you have discovered another culture, you can adopt a policy of co-existence by signing a permanent peace treaty with that culture; you can even form a military alliance. But for those who like to conquer, you will find great satisfaction in deploying more than 50 different military units and crush your enemies. However, military is not the only aspect of this game. You will also need to concentrate on trade, science development, and make your people happy in order to avoid civil disorders.
Throughout the game, you need to research technological advances, one after another, closely following the development of human civilization. To stay ahead in the science race is one thing that could lead to success. In your long reign, you can set your cities to build Wonders of the World, which are huge projects that require tremendous amount of labor and resources. Owners of these Wonders enjoy everlasting glories and benefits.
You can choose from six different types of government: Despotism, Monarchy, Fundamentalism, Republic, Communism and Democracy. Each of these government type has its distinct advantages and disadvantages. They represent how your empire will operate and have profound influence on your empire.
Civilization II also excels in the multimedia front. Every time you completed building a wonder, there is a short but representative movie. If you need help in administering your empire, the animated advisors are always available. Your advisors present you with their ideas and also some comical relief. You can watch your advisors arguing with each other based on their own principles. Also, you meet with ambassadors from other empires face-to-face. Your reply sometimes is enough to incite an ambassador to take out a knife, howling, and threaten to destroy your empire! In other cases, your reply may please the ambassadors and they will bow cordially, pay you tribute, or share their knowledge for your peaceful nature.
Diplomacy is improved in Civilization II. Your bad attitude toward other empires will ruin your reputation. Although the final score calculation does not take reputation into account, walking around with a stained reputation can really hurt your diplomacy. Other cultures will remember your treachery for a longer period of time. Reputation recovers at snail speed.
Many people complain that some computer games offer no challenge. This is not the case in Civilization II. There are six levels available: the Chieftain level, Warlord level, Prince level, King level, Emperor level, and finally the Deity level. The deity level is most difficult — even expert players are subject to destruction!
Civilization II can be played over and over again and you may never see the same thing since the maps are randomly generated and the whole game requires many decision makings.
For all these great features and innovations, Sid Meier’s Civilization II is absolutely the best strategy game, unprecedented, and it will be a long time before you will see such a unique and fun strategy game again.