Games in Review: Civilization (1980)

Welcome to the first review from the Macaroni Report’s “Games in Review” segment. Let’s Get Started. [Side Note: This game is played in Greenville by High School Senior Gabriel Patterson, and some other nerds that thought it would be like Risk. They are open to setting up games with new players.]


In this 1980s board game phenomenon, players take control of ancient civilizations. The main goal is not to conquer the earth, as some may expect. No, the goal of the game is to become the most advanced civilization in the shortest amount of time. Does it sound nerdy? It really is


The main plot of the game is the quest of several young civilizations to not be crushed by the armies of Africa. The tyrannical ruler of Africa, Gabe, has proven to be dangerous as an enemy, and even more dangerous as an ally. By making flimsy temporary alliances, Civs such as Egypt and Babylon attempt to hold off the elephant hordes for just one more turn. A decent plot, but our heroes seem rather hopeless most of the time.



The game board and all related pieces were manufactured in the 1980s, so they’re a little faded. A few coffee stains and pen marks here and there, but nothing too bad. The illustrations on the cards and chits are charmingly drawn. The map is pleasing to the eye and easily understood.

Also, the stock (currency) of the game is carrots. Gabe may claim that they’re pictures of pots, but they’re clearly carrots. Very well drawn carrots.



The gameplay is very simple.

Players follow a turn order, and AST order to make about 10 different actions every turn. Players keep track of population size, after of course doubling their population, but not if you have more than two in a space, then you only add two. Also you can build boats at some point. And you have to pay for your boats. Or sacrifice your children to the boat gods in exchange for one, although the location of the boat may be unsatisfactory. And don’t forget to collect taxes.

Then, based on population, players are awarded cards. Then players engage in a rousing game of sadistic treachery-based Go Fish. Civil Wars and Earthquakes break out. Millions die of starvation and floods destroy cities. Also, I have a full set of Ochre. And… aw man! I forgot to reduce my population!

Then after the game of Old-Maid, you don’t have enough to buy things. Even if you did though, you would never buy Music. Music is worthless to all Civilizations.

Did you get all of that? Does it make sense? Don’t worry, you’ll learn by watching.



I for one have played the game multiple times, trying to reach the ultimate achievement:

Finishing the game.

Takes forever.



It’s a board game, there are no bugs.

Wait, some of the cards are misprinted? What? How does that even happen? Didn’t people proofread them? Wow, that’s annoying. Nothing a little pen can’t fix.



Conflict is pretty fun, even though it’s incredibly simplistic.

And it’s fun to make actions that don’t make sense, but aren’t technically against the rules. I hope you Egyptians enjoy watching that empty Italian Boat float around aimlessly in the Red Sea.


Final Verdict:

This game is a great time to have with your friends. You’ll learn how long each of them can commit to a peaceful mindset. Everyone breaks eventually, no exceptions. Conflict is inevitable, and you should be prepared for violence both in-game and after someone trades a calamity to their “ally”.

Some small problems here and there, and Gabe makes the difficulty pretty high.

But all in all. A great time to be had.

Final Score: 91/100

Thanks for playing.

–Mail Room VP

Games in Review: Civilization (1980)

3 thoughts on “Games in Review: Civilization (1980)

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