Sid Meier's Civilization is a turn-based strategy "4X"-type strategy video game created by Sid Meier and Bruce Shelley for MicroProse in 1991. The game's objective is to "Build an empire to stand the test of time": it begins in 4000 BC and the players attempt to expand and develop their empires through the ages from the ancient era until modern and near-future times. It is also known simply as Civilization, or abbreviated to Civ or Civ I.
Civilization was originally developed for DOS running on a PC. It has undergone numerous revisions for various platforms (including Windows, Macintosh, Amiga, Atari ST, PlayStation, N-Gage and Super Nintendo) and now exists in several versions. The N-Gage version was the last game released for the system in North America.
Civilization is a turn-based single-player strategy game. The player takes on the role of the ruler of a civilization, starting with only one settler unit, and attempts to build an empire in competition with two to six other civilizations. The game requires a fair amount of micromanagement (although less than any of the simulation games). Along with the larger tasks of exploration, warfare and diplomacy, the player has to make decisions about where to build new cities, which improvements or units to build in each city, which advances in knowledge should be sought (and at what rate), and how to transform the land surrounding the cities for maximum benefit. From time to time the player's towns may be harassed by barbarians, units with no specific nationality and no named leader. These threats only come from unclaimed land or sea, so that over time there are fewer and fewer places from which barbarians will emanate.
Before the game begins, the player chooses which historical civilization to play. In contrast to later games in the Civilization series, this is largely a cosmetic choice, affecting titles, city names, musical heralds, and color. The choice does affect their starting position on the "Play on Earth" map, and thus different resources in one's initial cities, but has no effect on starting position when starting a random world game or a customized world game. The player's choice of civilization also prevents the computer from being able to play as that civilization or the other civilization of the same color, and since computer-controlled opponents display certain traits of their civilizations this affects gameplay as well. The Aztecs are both fiercely expansionistic and generally extremely wealthy, for example. Other civilizations include the Americans, the Mongols, and the Romans. Each civilization is led by a famous historical figure, such as Mahatma Gandhi for Indians.