Colonization logo

Reviewed by Tina Hackett

The long-awaited Colonization has finally made its way from the PC and onto the Amiga. Developer Sid Meier already has a stack of hit titles behind him, including the game's predecessor, Civilization. Colonization is not really the sequel to this but a lot of the game's features are included. Much of the original game engine is used too.

The difference lies in when the game is set. Whereas Civilization put you back in pre-history, building your civilization up to the space age, Colonization has a more specific time span, putting you in the role of Viceroy of the New World. The American's have just been discovered in 1500 and the game continues up until the American Revolution in 1800.

You have been sent by your country to establish colonies in the newly discovered territories and deal with all the problems that the early settlers faced. Playing as either the English, French, Spanish or Dutch, you must establish your colony, learn to use the natural resources and set up a viable trade route. Relations with the natives and with the other foreign powers can also be established, either through diplomacy or war.

The game starts and you have the option to play at different skill levels. Play as a Discoverer if you've never played before and rise through the ranks up to the challenge of Viceroy. This is by far the hardest route and the natives will be less friendly and enemy powers more cunning. Help is at hand, however, though your advisers who can be consulted on matters such as trade conditions or the state of play with your rivals.

Unlike a lot of games, as well as facing the challenge in hand, you are also competing against opponents. IN this case it's not only natives but the other foreign powers all seeking dominance in the New World. You play in a series of turns - each has a strict sequence of action - and within each turn you can carry out your plans.

To win the game, you must build up enough power to successfully declare independence from your mother country. Alternatively, the game automatically ends in 1800 where your score will be calculated, although you can play after this time but without any score being accumulated.

For the more cerebral games player, Colonization comes highly recommended

The game requires you to make a vast amount of decisions on trade, warfare and colonial issues. Once a colony has been established, the most priority will be survival and collating enough of the natural resources to start a small cottage industry. As this accumulates you can start thinking about establishing trade routes and building a stable economy.

The education and religious needs of your colonists should also be addressed, and establishing schools and colleges will make for better skilled workers. All the information you may need compiled in various tables and will import things such as how many favour rebellion against their mother country, or how much religious freedom there is.

An encyclopedia is also to give you helpful information on terrain types or any particular aspect you need more detail on. Issues get debated with your colony and eventually Founding Fathers can join your Continental Congress.

With them they can bring radical new ideas that will advance the course of history. For example, John Pal Hones was a successful Scottish naval commander who served for the colonies during the war of independence and if he joins your congress your navy will get a frigate.

As the game progresses war may become necessary with other foreign powers you come across. Diplomacy can be sought and whether you wage war will depend on resources. A quick campaign can have its benefits but long campaigns will drain resources.

Those familiar with Civilization will see that this game use a similar interface. Controlled by the mouse, you can click on a drop down menu to give your orders. Keyboard shortcuts can also be used to carry out an order quickly. Some may also be surprised to see that the game uses workbench.

Although it's not a visually stunning game, the graphics are more detailed than you'd expect from this wide range overhead view and different terrains are all conveyed realistically. Other graphics worth a mention are the characters that appear throughout the game which are drawn well and add authenticity and an historic air.

Finally, there's plenty of in-game music you can choose from, so you don't get stuck with one grating tune throughout. From Indian pan pipes to jaunty victory tunes, you can take your pick.

Making history

As a player of COlonization you get to change history. Set in the period 1500 to 1800, during the discovery of the Americas, you get to change the events that took place. Whichever European power you decide to be, you'll have realistic factors that will affect the game. The French, for example, co-operate with the natives better because alliances and trade agreements were maintained with the natives for many years.

One exceptional aspect of the game is that it gives you some historical background as you go along. The manual also gives an interesting insight into the Indian tribes and various facts from this rich period of history.

Final word

Colonization is a very in-depth strategy game and it does take a while to get into. Once there though, it's a thoroughly absorbing title that has been intelligently written. And fortunately, it doesn't fall into a common strategy trap of becoming tedious or overly complex - the main objective of fun remains throughout.

Also, there is more action than you might think for a turn-based game, and it continually engages the player in planning their next move. For the more cerebral gamesplayer, this comes highly recommended.

Colonization logo Amiga Format Gold

Fourscore and ten days ago, Nick Veitch set down in this place to review another Sid Meier epic rich with promise...

America. Land of the free, home of the brave. Or actually, as you will find out when your own pilgrim fathers first shuffle nervously ashore in the new world, home of the braves.

Colonization is the eagerly awaited Sid Meier instant classic, and is, in the broadest possible terms, a themed, specific version of one of his earlier efforts, Civilization.

Just as in Civilization, your units (or colonists) must forge an empire, building cities, exploiting natural resources and defending themselves against the envy of less happy lands. The tactics are very different, though - you can easily be taken in by the familiarity of most of the game mechanics, but don't be fooled - this is not just Civ with new graphics, this is a completely new experience.

Each of the colonial powers starts with a different advantage. The English get a load of new colonists, the Dutch get a trade advantage, the French are better at getting along with the natives and the Spanish are better at killing them.

The trading aspect is much more important to Colonization than it was in Civ. There is no wealth derived from taxation - all taxes go straight to the king. To make money to buy more ships, recruit specialists from Europe or import necessary resources (particularly early in the game, when you are not able to produce things for yourself) you have to have something to sell, and that can only come from farming, mining or manufacturing in your colonies.

Trade is a major part of this game which means you must send wagon trains scurrying backwards and forwards across the continent, ferrying goods to port or raw materials to factories. This could have been tedious, but you can set up automatic trade routes which are like railways in Railroad Tycoon - a series of stops, with loading and deliveries specified at each stop.

This can bring you into conflict with other powers in the area and the indigenous inhabitants - the Indians. Several tribes are represented, each with slightly different characteristics and abilities. There are the Incas and the Aztecs, with huge, rich cities; the rather primitive but friendly Tupi; the violent (when aroused) Iroquois and the plain Indians, the Apache, Cherokee and Sioux.

This is one example of the way the game really separates into two diverging paths, depending on the strategy you use. You can be friendly with the Indians - trade with them, establish missions, learn skills from them - or burn their villages, murder their women and children and steal their gold (which can be a tempting option, especially as a raid on a rich village can produce more wealth than several years of hard trading).

The trouble with trying to be friendly is that the methods you need of colonising the continent put you at odds with the taboos of the natives. They are all over the place, so you can't put up a road or chop down a forest without upsetting someone. But if you do try to keep on their good side, they won't raid your villages, steal cargo from wagon trains and generally make nuisances of themselves. If your missionaries (and sometimes your muskets) manage to instill in them a few of Gold and light cavalry, friendly indians will floc to your colony and can be persuaded to exact extreme vengeance on your foes.

Indians can also be a very cost-effective way of training up colonists. The majority of malcontents setting sail for a new life in the colonies have no skill or trade. Some are only good at thieving and some are "indentured servants", which is a polite way of saying 'slaves'. Since the game is quite honest about how the colonists abused the trust of natives and robbed their land it seems a bit odd they didn't own up to exploiting native Africans too.

Anyway, a trained sugar planter, for example, can produce more sugar per field than a novice, or a slave, or indeed a lumberjack or farmer. There are five ways of getting an expert to tend your cane: train one up (expensive), wait for one to emigrate by choice (may take a while), get him trained by some friendly Indians (if there are any nearby, and if they are friendly), teach him in a school or college (requires an expert teacher) or just leave him to it and hope he acquires the skill (wait for a very long time). If you can get skilled colonists, it can make all the difference.

Of course, once you have manufactured your goods they still have to get back to Europe for you to make a decent living. On the high seas your Merchantman could fall prey to pirate ships, sponsored by enemy nations.

You can get in on the act too, though, and run your own privateers, looting and pillaging European cargo vessels without having to declare open war on another nation. It is a rather risky business, as players of Meier's own Pirates! will no doubt remember. But money alone won't buy you success.

The idea of the game is to settle a new, independent continent between 1500 and 1800. If you don't declare independence you won't get a decent score. You can't turn traitor until over 50% of the population want to become a nation of ingrates, and even when you do, you'll have to fight off a large number of the King's lackeys in a final, fitting end phase. Terrific stuff.

An astounding difference between this game and previous MicroProse efforts is its Amiga-friendliness. You can play Colonization in a variety of different screen modes, or on top of your Workbench if you so wish. I even managed to use EGS software with the Rainbow III card to shift the display on to an 800x600 VGA display, no problem.

The windows can all be moved around or shunted backwards and forwards, and the main screen can be resized, albeit only slightly. This makes the game much more playable - it's a marked improvement on the PC version.

Sid Meier is a hero for many, not just because his inspired games are excellent, but also because in spite of the breadth and depth, of titles like Railroad Tycoon and Pirates!, they all run on an A500 in 1Mb. How is it possible? It takes talent, I guess. Actually, Sid can't take all the credit, because the Amiga version was actually written by Scott Johnston.

The big thing people whinge about these days is how long the computer takes to make its move. Even in the latter stages of this game, the computer movement only take about a fifth of the time of your own. It's not as though you have to wait around anyway, because the calculations are usually broken up by several messages about new cargoes being ready, ships arriving in port, Indians ambushing your wagon trains - that sort of thing.

The game is rich and varied Gestalt of top colonial activity. Strategies must be divined with care, and constantly modified to ride the chaotic rapids of the thousands of interacting elements in this opus of creative genius. Perhaps. Or it could just be a damn fine game.

Colonization logo Amiga Joker Hit

Mit seinem Nachfolger zum Megahit "Civilization" hat Sid Meier die PC-Welt bereits Ende letzten Jahres im Sturm erobert - hetzt endlich ist auch der Amiga kein weißer Fleck mehr auf der wirtschaftsstrategischen Karte des Stardesigners!

Ob "Pirates!", "Railroad Tycoon" oder eben der mittlerweile drei Jahre alte Vorgänger dieses Kolonial-Epos, der Designer aus der Chefetage von MicroProse war stets für einen Geniestreicht gut. Und der ist ihm auch hier wieder geglückt, ungeachtet aller Ähnlichkeiten mit "Civilization" - die auch vor einer erneut eher unspektakulären Präsentation nicht haltmachen.

Zwischen den Jahren 1500 und 1800 soll der Spieler mit wirtschaftlichem, diplomatischem und strategischem Geschick zu Werke gehen, um in Konkurrenz zu drei Computergegnern und renitenten Indianerstämmen entweder Amerika oder eine bei jedem Programmstart neu generierte Fantasywelt im Rundentakt zu besiedeln.

Das ganz große Fernziel wäre dann ein Freiheitskrieg, der mit einem Sieg bzw. der Unabhängigkeit von der Kolonialmacht endet. Dazu wählt man zunächst eine der vier mit unterschiedlichen Startbedingungen (Kampfstärke, Handelgeschick, Diplomatie etc.) versehenen Nationen wie England, Frankreich, Spanien oder Holland, die restlichen drei Länder werden vom Rechner betreut.

Die Startausstattung des Digi-Konquestadors ist genretypisch mager, mehr als ein bißchen Geld und eine mit zwei Siedlungseinheiten ausgerüstete Icon-Schaluppe besitzt man zu Beginn nicht. Das Schiff wird nun mittels Maus und neun Richtungspfeilen über eine von oben zu betrachtende Karte gelotst, um so die vorerst eingeschwärzte (zweidimensionale) Landschaft nach und nach aufzudecken.

An fernen Ufern werden die Einheiten dann abgesetzt, um ein für die erste Siedlung geeignetes Fleckchen ausfindig zu machen: Der Standort des zu gründenden Dorfs sollte direkt am Wasser liegen, um so den Waren- und Personen-Transport von und nach Europa zu gewährleisten, zudem braucht das neun Kartenfelder umfassende Städtchen auch Wälder, Berge und Felder, um sich autark mit den lebenswichtigen Rohstoffen Holz, Eisen und Lebensmittel eindecken zu können.

In jeder so errichteten Gemeinde können per Mausklick bis zu 35 Bauwerke in Auftrag gegeben werden; da gibt es Befestigungsanlagen von schlichten Einpfählungen bis hin zu kampfstarken Forts, Sägewerken, Schmieden Schnapsbrennereien, Waffenschmieden und sogar Kirchen, die sich um das Seelenheil der Auswanderer kümmern.

Produkte und Rohstoffe, die nicht für den Eigenbedarf benötigt werden, können via Schiff nach Europa verfrachtet, bei den Indianern gegen Nützlichkeiten wie Pferde oder Gold eingetauscht oder auch an Konkurrenten verschachert werden.

Wichtig für die produzierte Warenmenge ist die Qualifikation der durch natürliche Vermehrung oder Einwanderung schnell anwachsenden Einwohnerschaft. Jeder einzelne kann nämlich eine von 20 speziellen Fähigkeiten (für Berufe wie Schreiner, Gerber, Fischer usw.) erlernen, indem man ihm entweder eine kostenträchtige Euro-Ausbildung angedeihen läßt oder ihn zwecks Schulung bei befreundeten Ureinwohnern unterbringt.

Apropos Ureinwohnern: Trotz aller diplomatischer Bemühungen wie dem Abschluß von Handelsverträgen und Friedenspakten lassen sich mit fortschreitender Expansion kriegerische Auseinandersetzungen mit den Rothäuten kaum noch vermeiden, was auch für die Konkurrenzmächte gilt - treffen zwei verfeindete Einheiten aufeinander, so wird unter Hinzuziehung von Faktoren wie Terrainvorteil oder Kamperfahrung umgehend ermittelt, wer von der Landkarte zu verschwinden hat.

Und wer ohnehin keinen Wert auf die Freundschaft der konkurrierenden Kolonialimperien legt, kann deren Frachtkähne mittels Kaperschiffen auch auf hoher See um ihre Ladung erleichtern. Weil die Eroberungen also naturgemäß nie ganz friedlich angehen, sollte möglichst frühzeitig damit begonnen werden, eine aus Kavallerie, Infanterie und Marine bestehende Streitmacht aufzustellen.

Denn nur so können die eigenen Siedlungen beschützt und zum geeigneten Zeitpunkt feindliche Städte und Indianerdörfer besetzt werden. Ein derart rigides Vorgehen mag zwar den einen oder anderen Handelspartner vergrätzen, hat aber den Vorteil, daß man die eroberten Gebiete samt Inventar und Einwohner kurzerhand überschrieben bekommt.

Verfügt ein Kaff nicht über die benötigten Ressourcen, so müssen von Pionieren Handelsstraßen zu anderen Städten eingerichtet werden, damit Karawanen das Manko wettmachen können - was aber des öfteren Überfälle mit sich bringt.

Autarke Orte dagegen erfreuen den Chef durch eine rasant anwachsende Einwohnerzahl und einen zunehmenden Freiheitsdrang; überschreitet die rebellische Stimmung in den Städten 50 Prozentpunte, so kann man versuchen, sich von der Mutternation abzunabeln, die ohnehin immer unverschämtere Steuerabgaben einfordert. Der damit einhergehende Unabhängigkeitskrieg ist allerdings nur zu gewinnen, wenn man mit einer extrem starken Armee und mit bis an die Zähne bewaffneten Siedlungen zum großen Finale antritt.

Dank der völlig problemloser Handhabung mit beliebig verschieb- und vergrößerbaren Fenstern, Pulldown-Menüs, Online-Hilfe und Hotkey-Unterstützung kann man sich voll auf die vielfältigen Möglichkeiten des Gameplay konzentrieren und die gebotene Komplexität ungestört genießen.

Die mit wenigen Animationen und mäßigen Zwischenbildern garnierte Grafik wird auch niemand vom Wesentlichen ablenken, und die Akustik aus zahlreichen Wild-West-Liedchen und Sound-FX untermalen die Kolonisation recht ansprechend. Abgesehen vom verbesserten Handling waren kaum Unterschiede zur populären PC-Version festzustellen, auch der feine Editor für Zufalls-Landkarten (für Vorgaben bezüglich Größe, Klima und Bodenbeschaffenheit) verrichtet nun auf allen Amiga-Modellen klaglos seinen Dienst.

Der Motivation sind somit praktisch keine Grenzen gesetzt, und komplett deutsch ist dieses Ausnahme-Spiel obendrein, weshalb man "Colonization" nur empfehlen kann - wer solche Simulationen mag, wird derzeit kein besseres Programm für seine "Freundin" finden! (md)

Colonization logo

"To attain all this, however, rivers of blood must yet flow, and years of desolation pass over; yet the object is worth rivers of blood and years of desolation." Thomas Jefferson

There are only a few events that have significantly altered the course of history. The discovery of America by the Chines in the dim, distant past was NOT one of them. The re-discovery of America by Erik the Viking the 9th Century was also NOT one of them. On the other hand, there-re-discovery of American in 1498 by Christoph Columbus WAS one. That's just the flukey nature of history for you, I suppose.

The purchase of Commodore by Escom in 1995 may also be a significant moment in history, just as long as the supply of quality software doesn't dry up for the Amiga. Which is why it's a delight to see Colonization being released not just on the A1200, but for All Amigas.

Colonization is fantastic. Rarely have I played a game with its depth, its scope, its dazzling vision and its addictive. The basic theme of the game is the colonisation (no, really) of America by the European powers of France, England, Holland and Spain.

Handled very simply

The aim is to achieve independence from your King. At the beginning of the game you can choose to play with the real American map, or you can randomly create a brand new one of your own> There are also five difficulty levels to choose from. Then you decide which of the European powers to play (they each have advantages: the Spanish are good at killing Indians, the Dutch start with a bigger ship...) and start with three units: a ship, some soldiers and some settlers.

The game places you in the middle of the ocean and tells you to sail left. As you move your ship, more of the map becomes visible to you, and a couple of moves later, you sight land. Your soldiers and settlers disembark. You tell the settlers to build a city and the solders to guard it. You send the ship back to your home port in Europe and start to organise your city's production of things.

Colonization works in turns. You have your turn and then the three other Europeans and the American Indians have their go. During your go your settlers can explore more of the map, can produce things (of which more in a moment), can attack enemy units and settlements or, provided they have some tools, can build roads, clear forests or plough fields.

The attacking and exploring elements are handled very simply. Each unit has one move (or possibly more if equipped with horses, travelling down a river or a road) and as it moves, more of the map gets explored and becomes visible. Moving onto a square occupied by an enemy makes you attack them and combat is then resolved depending on relative strengths, terrain, and a big glob of luck.

The main strategic element of the game is in production. Your settlers, as soon as they are part of a city, can produce various items for food (necessary to existence) to lumber, sugar, ore, furs, silver and other stuff.

Even abstract goals are achieved by this production process: statesmen in your city produce liberty bells which count towards your eventual independence, preachers produce crosses which increase the religious freedom of your colony, encouraging more settlers to join you from your home country.

Reap you greater riches

Any settler unit can be given any production job, although there are specialists who produce more - qualified types like master lumberjacks, fur-trappers and so on. As your cities grow you produce more buildings, some of which are then usable as factories to turn raw elements into more profitable items.

In this way you might build a rum distillery which allows you to turn sugar into rum, which will reap you greater riches when you transport it by ship back to Europe. You can even build schools and universities which let your skilled settlers train up raw recruits.

As your colony grows, you find more and more sophistication to the game. After producing a certain quantities of liberty bells, for example, you can appoint a founding father to Congress. There are 25 of these founding fathers and each gives you an advantage. Henry Hudson increases the fur-trapping abilities of all your settlers by 100%, for example, while Pocahontas improves relationships with all the American Indian tribes.

Eventually you must declare independence, at which point the expeditionary army of you home land sails over and attacks you. Survive this onslaught, and the game is won.

Colonization offers hours and hours of entertainment. I played it for over a week to write this review and it commanded my total concentration all the time to play it once through. Because the game can be very different every time you play it, this means that Colonization is the sort of game you could play for ever.


Political correctness, or intellectual fascism as we prefer to call it at AMIGA POWER, is slowly creeping into computer games. Colonization is still about exploiting the ("Native Americans" - Ed.)

The Aztec
The manual says: "The Aztec were one of the two most advanced civilizations in the Americas..."
The European settlers: Stole their land, destroyed their culture and butchered them.

The Cherokee
The manual says: "The Cherokee were predominantly farmers."
The European settlers: Stole their land, destroyed their culture and butchered them.

The Inca
The manual says: "Inca engineers built a vast system of roads, aquaducts and terraces."
The European settlers: Stole their land, destroyed their culture and butchered them.

The Sioux
The manual says: "For many people today, the American Indians of history are the superb horsemen of the plains..."
The European settlers: Stole their land, destroyed their culture and butchered them.


In-game music is an EVIL SCEPTRE WIELDED BY THAT VILE SNAKE OF THE NETHERWORLD, or so we believe on AMIGA POWER. In fact the music in Colonization is (the reviewer nervously checks over his shoulder, conscious that he is breaking orthodoxy - a single, pale bead of sweat runs down his cheek) not all that bad, at least for the first half an hour or so, but we still reocmmend that you turn it off and listen to something else. Here are our suggestions.

The Leaving Song - Roger Whittaker
"There's a ship lies rigged and ready in the ha-a-rbour, tomorrow for old Eng-a-land sails."
Great trading anthem.

Christopher Columbus - The Ink Spots
"Mis-ter Chris-to-pher Columbus (bom ba bom ba dom ba dom dom), he used rhythm as a compass (ba da ba da doop doop)."
Keeps you cheery while you're tyring to find somewhere to establish your first colony.

Jim Bowie - The Dickies
"Jim Bowieee, Jim Bowieee, Jim Bowieee."
Manic scouting song.

Battle of New Orleans - Lonnie Donegan
"We fired our guns and the British kept-a-coming, but there wasn't nigh as many as there was a while ago."
Inspiring stuff to keep spirits up once you've declared independence.

Colonization logo CU Amiga Superstar

Price: £TBA Publisher: Microprose 01454 326532

No potatoes! What do you mean 'No potatoes'? The Irish will starve. That does it. I'm off to discover the New World and bring back a pound of Maris Pipers!

Go and make a world" they said. "Do it by Wednesday night," they said. "And bring us back some chips. " Colonization is a fairly simple idea in theory but, thankfully, much more involved once you get going. Set sail in your little ship, bump into a bit of land that rightfully belongs to someone else, and then claim it as your own. Ah, the American way...

Of course, you're not the only one looking to adopt these new worlds, so don't be surprised to find the Spanish lving in your new back garden. And of course there's only one option available in such a situation, and that's to ebat them up. To start with they'll leave you alone, being content to just threaten you, so back off, build up your military forces, and then steam in for a good kicking. Hurrah!

Like Civiliization, Colonization is viewed using a top-down icon graphics system. This game, however, is more to do with the discovery and developments of the American continents during the period 1500-1800. This means that you can choose to either take part in the discovery of the New Worlds, or select to play over a random world - facing a totally different challenge every game.

The aims set in Colonization are a lot more focused than in Civilization, simply because you're concentrating on just one world (as opposed to Alpha Centuri!) Of coure, to succeed at this you'll need not only some impressive resource management skills, but good military judgment and a strong colonial presence to back it up.

You have to remember that the ultimate goal here is to clarify your independence by attacking original home land, and the English forces don't exactly consist of a small donkey and a bag of peanuts. If you know what I mean.

The hardest section of the game is probably at the beginning, where the task ahead appears a bit daunting. Fortunately, once you've got the hang of the system of supply and demand, along with having found occupations for all of your colonists, things settle down, and even take care of themselves (to a degree) leaving you to explore your lands and meet lots of new friends or foe.

Initially you need to use your limited supply of colonists to produce the most important products and items, so get to the town screen and make sure that you have farmers and fishermen to supply the growing settlement, while lumberjacks and carpenters supply and build facilities, respectively. Once you've got that in hand yu can start splitting extra settlers off to start up the luxury trades (i.e. rum!)

When you come to positioning towns and settlements, it's important to make sure that you build around natural resources. Forests for lumber, natural crop growth and mineral deposits will all help to get your colonies growing a lot quicker, not to mention providing them with the necessary raw materials to produce trading goods.
There are a number of less obvious resources to be exploited such as gold, horses, cotton and tobacco.

Just keeping the colonies going might seem enough to keep you busy, but you then have to think about competing with the other three computer-controlled nations who are busily trying to do much the same as you. And there are also a fair old number of tribes who might take offence if you have a quick wee against one of their sacred temples.

When it comes to combat, it all gets very strategy game-like in as much as your really have to study the statistics and work out what your chances of success are. As well as measuring how many units you have against how many your opponent has, you also have to account for bonus percentages awarded due to circumstance.

For instance, if you attacked the entire Tupi nation with a veteran soldier unit, you'd receive a fifty percent plus bonus. However, if you were attacking them over rough ground, they'd receive a seventy five percent bonus due to their knowledge of the terrain.

Your best strategy is to be as friendly as possible with everyone, until you've had the chance to train up your folks to the point at which you know you can handle any trouble. Running away is the best form of defence. Probably.

I say...
In the same way that you progressed in Civilization, as your towns grow in Colonization it's worth making sure that you have decent defences against any would-be attackers. Once you feel relatively safe from the outside world, you can start to invest in new buildings and bigger factories.

These will allow you to speed up the production of commodities such as tobacco, fur coats, and cotton, giving way to wagon tracks to villages to facilitate better trading conditions. If things get groovy, you can even invest in new ships to enable bulk trading over a greater distance with increased speed.

You need to keep track of the varying prices of commodities throughout Europe, as it's very important to set up good trading relations early in on in the game. As with any colony management game the first things to concentrate on are lumber and food, but once you've got a decent surplus, you can start to sell the stuff off for extra wonga.

You can be as organised as you want, and once you've made friends with a particularly heavy-smoking tribe, you can even build simple road systems between towns to allow for easier and faster trade route transport.

The game is shown in a fairly crude graphical style, although key moments in the game (such as major discoveries or meetings with new and important natives) are illustrated with sepia-toned stills.

This weak presentation isn't really too big a problem, though and once you've played the game for more than fifteen minutes, chances are you'll probably be more worried about how your little colonists are coping with crop rotation than their sprite scale.

The Amiga window system is utilised extremely well, and the sound is superb, featuring tons of perky tunes and authentic tracks. The loading time is also acceptably short, and it's certainly not something that's a big enough problem to make me warn you away from the product.

As the years roll by, you are offered the chance to invite certain key figures, or Founding Fathers as they're known, to join your colony. Depending on these Fathers' specialties, their presence will affect the way in which your world runs. Enlist the help of a great farmer and you can expect your crops to multiply like bonkers, while great explorers will increase the output of your fur trappers by 100 percent. Gosh.

Colonization is a relatively original slant on the god sim genre and well worth purchasing in my opinion.

Out in a world of your own...

The Amiga windows system works like a dream througout Colonization. In fact, it works so well that I'd like to take you on a little tour around one of the most important screens in the entire game. Pay attention now!

  1. Trees: You'll wanna be cutting these down if you fancy building anything during the game.
  2. Fur Trader: if you want fur coats (which are jolly handy for trading) you'll need one of these fellas. You can even extend the premises into a factory for major production fun.
  3. Tobacconist: yep, fags a-plenty in this house. If you like cancer, you'll love these.
  4. Weaver: if you have a decent supply of cotton, this location will magically transform it into cloth and textiles.
  5. Blacksmith: this can actually be expanded into an entire iron works, but even at its smallest size will be able to produce valuable tools for your happy folks.
  6. The Carpenters: why do birds suddenly appear, every time you near? Just like m, they long to be, close to you. Ahh, ah, ah - close to you.
  7. Town Hall: turn colonists into statesmen and you'll be awarded a Liberty Bell. The more bells you have, the quicker you'll attain independence.
  1. This box shows the population of your colony, their professions, and how much food you have in stock. It also gives a percentage to show how rebellious they're feeling.
  2. Any ships that come into port can adjust their inventory using this box.
  3. This panel shows all of the possible commodities, along with how many of them you currently have in store.
  4. This box shows a number of things, including the goods you're currently producing, the military units protecting the town, and any new buildings being, er, built.