What parents need to know
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.
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.
Families can talk 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?