Sid Meier’s Civilization: The Board Game

“Chris”: and his son Raphael came over last night to play “Sid Meier’s Civilization: The Board Game”: (Why did they have to give this game such a long name and one that is exactly the same as a 2002 game that no one liked? What about Sid Meier’s Civilization V or even just Civilization V?) We had four very enjoyable hours playing it. Apparently it usually takes about an hour per player.

My patience for long efficiency-engine boardgames has worn very thin, but SMC:tBG has the huge advantage of familiarity. I recently played a full game of Civilization IV on my PC and this boardgame is close enough to make learning much easier.

Michael Barnes wrote a pretty negative review of SMC:tBG, calling it a “heartlessly efficient process-driven machine”: He says:

bq. If what you are looking for is the mechanics of CIVILZATION more or less faithfully reproduced as a board game, this may be a game for you. I would be inclined to steer anyone so interested toward games where the designers have explored the CIV idea rather than bringing its literal gameplay to the tabletop.

That’s harsh. SMC:tBG does what it says on the tin and does it well. It is forgiving and accessible, unlike Through the Ages. I actually downgraded my rating of Through the Ages after playing SMC:tBG.

I would like to play again. Three players is probably best, just due to the length of the game, but four would be more directly confrontational.


  1. I detest the game for different reasons than Barnes: the map is barely a map, the spatial aspects of play (which some may claim sets it apart from TtA) are not true spatial aspects, the developments are not real developments, combat is not combat. Take away the pictures and the names of things, and you’d be hard pressed to find any Civ in there at all. It’s exactly what I’ve come to expect from the game (re)design vacuum that is FFG.

    I’ve played TtA over 50 times. I found Civ to be an absurd mockery of civilization, and an intolerable “game” in general that I will never play again.

  2. It’s not exactly the same – the previous game is called Sid Meier’s Civilization: The Boardgame.

  3. Thanks Mikko. If I were a programmer like you, I am sure I would have picked up the vital syntactical difference.

  4. Hi Jim

    I am surprised at your reaction. I had a look around to see if you had written anything further but found nothing. Have you hidden a review somewhere?

    I did not realise you run a podcast. I am queuing it up on my mp3 player.

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