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Civilization 4

Game review by
Jeremy Gieske, Common Sense Media
Civilization 4 Game Poster Image
Strategy game for tweens & up spans world history.
Popular with kids

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 14 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Players make many choices for their civilization. For example they can choose to enact slavery or not, or institute a state-religion or not.


Players can see armies in battle but only from a distance.






Part of a series of games.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking


What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this game doesn't contain much objectionable content, but it is a challenging game that may be more enjoyable for tweens and teens. The game encourages strategy and teaches some history, politics, and civics. Parents should note that the game is very time-consuming -- be sure to set time limits before playing. Also, the game can be played online, which could slightly alter the content of the game --Common Sense Media does not recommend online play for kids under 12.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byCuriousGerbil November 12, 2009

A brilliant strategy game!

This game is about as well made as you will ever find in the strategy genre. It isn't too difficult to pick up and play, but if you want to get good at it... Continue reading
Adult Written byTheExcitingBore April 9, 2008

One of the few great games of 2005

Civilization IV, in my opinion, is the greatest strategy game ever created. Unfortunately, due to its slow-paced nature and steep learning curve, it's gen... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old July 31, 2010

Perfection on a disc

This game has one flaw-if you put computer player in your game, they are REALLY GOOD, but this can be sidestepped by ussing Hot Seat and playing against yoursel... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written bybradeblo March 14, 2013


little violence but no blood and gore. I say 4+ cause i started playing it at 4 and it only took 1 day too learn how to play it. but it's a little educatio... Continue reading

What's it about?

CIVILIZATION IV, like its predecessors designed by legendary Sid Meier, is a turn-based strategy game, making it slower and more methodical than time-based games. Playing as a historical leader -- like Gandhi -- players start a civilization and develop it through the ages, hoping to eventually rule the world. Players interact with neighboring civilizations, either choosing peaceful trade agreements or to go to war.

Is it any good?

There is a lot of strategy involved. Players must carefully consider how their decisions will affect their civilizations. Enact slavery? Choose a state religion? Some decisions influence culture, others productivity, and others military strength.

But players learn more than strategy. Historical quotes are scattered throughout the game, and an interactive Civilpedia defines various civil and government structures. Firaxis' Web site has an area for educators, since many use the Civilization series of games as a tool to teach politics, civics, and history. With a 200+-page manual and a steep learning curve, Civilization IV can be daunting, but players who stick it out will be rewarded with a deep, challenging game that even weaves in some educational material.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the use of video games like this one in the classroom. Are they effective teaching tools, even if they are not specifically designed to be educational? How can teachers enrich the experience for their students?

Game details

  • Platforms: Windows
  • Price: $49.99
  • Available online? Available online
  • Developer: Firaxis
  • Release date: January 16, 2006
  • Genre: Strategy
  • ESRB rating: E10+ for Violence

Our editors recommend

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Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

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