Colonization: The Struggle for Empire

General Information:

  • Name of Scenario : Colonies 3.12
  • Final Score : 25/30
    (Breakdown: 0-10 terrible /11-15 Average/ 16-20 Good/ 21-25 Excellent/ 26+Best possible)
  • Type of Scenario :Historical
  • Name of Author: John Ellis
  • Name of Reviewer: Alcibiaties of Athenae

Summary of Scenario:

is a fourth generation scenario representing four major European tribes
and several native tribes struggling for control of the new world and
parts of Europe, beginning at the end of the thirty year’s war and
ending in 1800. You can play as England, France, Spain, Holland, the
Iroquois, the Souix, or the Huron. Each civ has different units and
objectives, and taking the entire map with any power is unlikely.

England and France are the star players, the easiest powers to play as,
with large base empire potential, and good trade and research
possibilities. Both grow smoothly and quickly, and can quickly acquire
powerful units.

Spain is at it’s height at start, and
will only decline, it’s financial difficulties and being handicapped
with inferior units as the game progresses makes this tribe very

The Dutch are the most difficult of the
European powers, they are a Republic at start, so science and money are
not a worry, but their cities have little production potential at
start, so producing units is difficult at the start.

three native tribes are just trying to survive, and hold off the
encroaching Europeans, and will have a tough time of it, and require a
different way of thinking, since they will never have ships or cannons
that the Europeans use to great effect.

Playability – Section Sub-total: 5.5

Were you able to finish in a reasonable amount of turns? (Score: 1 )

The turns are just over 200, so you probably won’t defeat everyone
in any game, but the author gives a breakdown of scores so you can
judge how you accomplished your goals for each tribe.

Did the scenario avoid being tedious or repetitive? (Score: 1 )

Some portions of the game, such as the long sea travel, plus the
slow city growth rate, make the game lag at points, but overall, it
moves along quite well.

Did the scenario capture the essence of what it was portraying? (Score: 1 )

Very much so. Each power has it’s own unique units and goals, and
plays differently. It clearly shows the expansion of England and
France, why Spain was a declining power in the period, and the
difficulties both politically and geographically that hindered Holland.

Were you impressed with the overall sound effects? (Score: 0.5 )

The sounds fit the units, no inappropriate sounds were heard.

Was the choice of and interaction between races appropriate? (Score: 1 )

Yes, the four major powers were good choices, and the mix of
natives is interesting as well, as the Iroquois and Huron had much
interaction with the early North American colonists.

Did you enjoy playing the scenario? (Score: 1 )

Very much so, enough, in fact to play it several times with a
different tribe each time. The unique challenge each European power and
the natives have makes each game different.

Units – Section Sub-total:  5

Were the majority of units changed from the default Civ2 units? (Score: 1 )

All the units are different from the default units. One of the
great joys of a well done scenario is to see well chosen units that fit
our concepts of what the fighting men and equipment of history
portrayed in the game.This scenario is loaded with historical color,
that will please any fan of this era.

Did you discover any inappropriate unit sounds? (Score: 0.5 )

The sounds suited each unit, and gave a good feel to the scenario.

Was the scenario free of ‘unbalanced’ units? (Score: 1 )

All units have their place, there were no useless units, nor any
super units. Even the natives can receive a unit late in the game to
fight the Europeans with.

Were there innovative combinations of special unit abilities? (Score: 1 )

There were Pirates with amphibious capability, Boarding parties
(really air units in disguise), two fine innovations. There were also
some fine triggers, such as defeating certain natives produce Slave
units, which are settlers without city support, so are "free" units.

Were Barbarian units appropriate when they appeared? (Score: 1)

The author used barbarians to represent various Pirate activity, as
well as Muslim forces in Africa and minor natives in both Africa and
the Americas, to excellent effect.

Any other unit related problems (like shield placement)? (Score: .5 )

All shield placement was correct, and easily visible.

Research – – Section Sub-total: 4.5

Was the progression of advance to advance done properly? (Score: 1 )

This is yet another area where John Ellis shines, the progression
of weapons and units, as well as civil and naval tech is very well
done, and gives excellent historical flavor to the scenario.

Were advances properly related to new units and obsolescence? (Score: 0.5)

The change over from feudal pikemen and armored horse units to gunpowder and cannon units is well illustrated.

Was the tech tree of a high level of complexity? (Score: 1 )

This area was very well done, with no errors that might cause a
game crash, and each tech plays a part in the development of your
selected tribe.

Were non-event messages amended to suit the scenario ? (Score: 0.5)

You get some nice messages, such as when you lose a boarding party, it says they have gone raiding on their own!

Was the civilopedia properly updated? (Score: 0.5 )

All units are shown, as well as clear descriptions of each wonder.

Were there dysfunctional improvements or useless technologies? (Score: 1)

The scenario is free of such technical errors, and plays very smoothly.

Map & Terrain – Section Sub-total:  3

Were you impressed by the Map in general? (Score: 0.5 )

It’s a good map, showing western Europe, from a line of
Holland/France westward, to the Rockies in North America, and from the
Faeroes/Hudson bay to the Spanish main/Gold coast of Africa, the area
that was important to the age of exploration.

Was terrain properly adjusted to fit the scenario? (Score: 0.5 )

Some of the cities are placed quite close, limiting growth, but no gross errors are seen here.

Was attention given to geography and historical details? (Score: 0.5 )

The feel in North America is quite good, a road-less wilderness
where a fortress or outpost appears. Europe seems cramped, but this is
a function of map scale.

Were you happy with the city, fortress, terrain improvement graphics? (Score: 0.5 )

The City and fortresses look quite good, however, I was less then
pleased with the farm and irrigation graphic, they are hard to see
clearly, and the irrigation is mostly orange, giving heavily farmed
areas an odd appearance.

Were city names and the placement of cities correct? (Score: 1 )

The colonies are named in their native languages, giving a beautiful historic feel to the scenario.

Care & Details – Section Sub-total:  3.5

Did you find the documentation adequate? (Score: 1 )

Fine historical documentation is included, and some explanation of the strengths and weaknesses of each power are included.

Was the events file sufficient for the needs of the scenario? (Score: 1 )

The events included some historical information on the period, and was mainly used to trigger Pirate attacks around the map.

Were you happy with the improvement and wonder icons? (Score: 0.5 )

Some nice work here, that added flavor to the scenario’s atmosphere.

Do you think a lot of effort was put into doing this scenario? (Score: 1 )

As this is the fourth version of this scenario, it’s safe to say the author has done quite a bit of updating on it.

Originality and Technical Proficiency – Section Sub-total: 3.5

Were there any sounds you had never come across before? (Score: 0.5 )

Having played so many scenarios the last few years, new sounds are rare, but all the sounds here fit the time period nicely.

Did you discover many units not used in any other scenarios? (Score: 1 )

Quite a few, actually, and the civ specific units for each tribe add much flavor to this game.

Is the theme of the scenario completely novel? (Score: 0.5 )

There have been other scenarios for this period, but this one is clearly the pace setter.

Were complex events used to carry the story line or enhance the AI? (Score: 0.5 )

Events were used mainly to trigger barbarians and special units
(like the Spanish treasure galleon, and the huge amount of cash others
receive for sinking it! )

Did the author deal with all areas which could be modified? (Score: 1 )

The terrain values are all changed, and must be looked at
carefully, colonists and slaves are limited in what they can improve,
farmers are crucial to advance (and can only be had by trading with the

Overall Assessment and Other Points of Interest:

This is a fine historical scenario from one of the best designers of Civilization 2 scenarios out there.

The level of care and historical accuracy is evident from the very first when playing this scenario.

The only real draw back is you will have trouble taking the whole map,
and forget about attacks in Europe until better Artillery is
discovered, it’s extremely difficult to take fortified cities with the
initial units provided, as it should be historically).

This scenario is highly recommended to anyone who enjoys the age of
European colonization in the Americas, or just a well done effort in