Sid Meier's Colonization (Win 3.x) (header background)

Sid Meier’s Colonization (Win 3.x)

Windows 3.x
Mobile controls:
Online multiplayer:
Save / load:
Game Genre:
Game Theme:
Game Perspective:
Released Date:
Game Developer:
Game Publisher:

Sid Meier's Colonization is a turn-based strategy game themed on the early European colonization of the New World, starting in 1492 and lasting until 1850

From the exoticism of overseas discoveries to the thrill of adventure and an air of mystery, the theme has always captivated me. Picture the mariners of yore navigating wooden barks, reaching unknown shores, exploring foreign landscapes, and ultimately establishing colonies.

The notion of arriving in a paradise teeming with natural riches and beauty is undeniably enticing, akin to humanity landing on Mars or a moon of Jupiter today.

Sid Meier’s Vision

Now, imagine wanting to experience a slice of that adventure indirectly through a game. The mind races with possibilities of what such a game could entail, what one would want to do in it, and, most importantly, how the atmosphere could be impeccably captured.

Sid Meier materialized precisely such a game. For me, Sid Meier’s Colonization has always been a dream, something I envisioned right after playing Civilization.

A turn-based strategy game where I could meticulously, comprehensively, meaningfully, and believably fulfill my every desire – and Colonization is precisely that game.

Sid Meier's Colonization (Win 3.x) (gallery 01)

The Unique Gameplay Experience

Beyond the Shadows of Civilization

Colonization is not merely a shadow of Meier’s Civilization. The initial visual impression might misleadingly suggest a similar approach, adapting graphics based on a specific historical period while maintaining the Civilization-style system.

However, Colonization’s rules are fundamentally different. Here, you don’t manufacture imaginary units using production shields; rather, each colonist is recruited and serves a specific purpose.

This contrasts sharply with the abundance of units in traditional strategy games, where the loss of a unit is inconsequential as another can be easily produced. Not so in Colonization.

Sid Meier's Colonization (Win 3.x) (gallery 05)

Colonist Management: A Precise Art

Colonists are not created on an assembly line within colonies. Instead, you either hire them for money in your home country in Europe, or occasionally, they may offer to escape the Old World for the New World.

Once acquired, these individuals are placed on a ship and transported. Here’s the catch – you must assign them to a specific profession. You can turn them into farmers cultivating food crops, sugar, tobacco, or cotton. Alternatively, they can become miners extracting ore, lumberjacks, or hunters for fur.

The choices depend on the fertility of the surrounding colony area and the available resources. Within a colony, you can manufacture products like rum, cigars, cotton clothing, or fur clothing, employing specific individuals for each task.

Notably, you can change a person’s profession at any time – for example, from a soldier back to a fisherman.

Sid Meier's Colonization (Win 3.x) (gallery 06)

Economic Interdependencies

The activities of these individuals impact how you sustain them through food production or what yield you get from fields, mines, and forests. If a colony lacks, for instance, a tobacco plantation, logically, you won’t produce cigars unless you import tobacco from another colony that cultivates it.

The entire economy is intricately connected, and you won’t have just one colony. You’ll establish more and more, striving to extract as many resources from the New World as possible and convert them into commodities highly valued in Old Europe.

Sid Meier's Colonization (Win 3.x) (gallery 07)

Strategic Goals and Historical Dimensions

The Essence of Sid Meier’s Colonization

Every strategy should have a clear goal, and Colonization is no exception – the colonization of a new continent. Yet, it goes beyond that. The game has a historical dimension.

In addition to engaging in battles with traditional rivals such as the English, French, Spanish, and Dutch, players communicate and potentially fight with indigenous Native Americans.

Eventually, a war for independence from the home country that sent you to the New World awaits. Native Americans deserve a special mention – you can send missionaries to convert them to Christianity, leading to their favor and occasional gifts.

Sid Meier's Colonization (Win 3.x) (gallery 08)

Struggle for Independence

The percentage of independence from the home country is expressed in each colony’s statistics. The goal is clear – achieve independence before your rivals. You must convince each colony through authorities and journalism that independence is superior to subordination to the crown.

Sail into the unknown, build your colonies, and navigate the intricate web of strategy. Play Sid Meier’s Colonization!

The crown periodically raises taxes, making the sale of commodities increasingly unfavorable. When the opportune moment arrives, declare independence, leading to a final battle against elite royal units that mass-land around your colonies. If you defend successfully, victory is yours.

Sid Meier's Colonization (Win 3.x) (gallery 09)

Precision in Management and Graphics

Meticulous Colony Management

The game revolves around meticulous management and the individual colonists you carefully count. These colonists, acquired through various means, become a valuable commodity.

Without them, there is no production, and the birth of each person is not automated but a slow process, occurring when the food surplus in a colony reaches 100.

Population growth is a gradual process, and in colonies rich in iron and wood, production focuses on upgrading buildings and eventually manufacturing rifles, cannons, and ships.

Sid Meier's Colonization (Win 3.x) (gallery 10)

A Visual Feast

The graphics contribute significantly to the overall impression, accurately depicting Caribbean and wooded parts of North America, the jungles covering South America, and the desert landscape over regions of Mexico and the western coast of South America.

On such a map, with significantly upgraded graphics compared to Civilization 1, your explorers roam, soldiers don uniforms typical for the era, indigenous people coexist, wagons laden with goods traverse the land, and ships sail the seas.

The growth of one colony after another on land further enhances the gaming experience.

Sid Meier's Colonization (Win 3.x) (gallery 11)


Sid Meier’s Colonization (Win 3.x) is a masterpiece in turn-based strategy.

In summary, Colonization stands as one of the most elaborate and fascinating turn-based strategies in the history of computer games.

Rarely will you find such a finely crafted strategic concept, colony management where nothing is automated in the background, and every colonist’s activity is determined by you with the specific goal of obtaining a commodity that you will use purposefully.

Sid Meier’s Colonization offers top-notch entertainment for many hours, and its somewhat aged graphics and overall execution are not a detriment but rather an asset.

Play Sid Meier’s Colonization (Win 3.x) online

Now you can play Sid Meier’s Colonization (Win 3.x) online, in a web browser, for free!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Can I play Colonization on modern operating systems?

Yes, Colonization: Sid Meier’s Colonization for Windows 3.x can be enjoyed on modern systems using compatibility tools or emulators.

How does Colonization differ from other strategy games?

Colonization distinguishes itself through its unique focus on colony management, individual colonist roles, and intricate economic interdependencies, setting it apart from traditional strategy games.

Is there a multiplayer option in Colonization?

Colonization primarily focuses on a single-player experience, emphasizing strategic decision-making and historical gameplay.

How crucial is diplomacy with Native Americans in Colonization?

Diplomacy with Native Americans plays a significant role, offering benefits such as gifts and alliances. Missionaries can also be sent to convert Native Americans to Christianity.