Parents' Guide to

Civilization 4

By Jeremy Gieske, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 11+

Strategy game for tweens & up spans world history.

Game Windows 2006
Civilization 4 Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this game.

Community Reviews

age 8+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 5+

Civ was a geat part of my childhood

This is a strategy game that spans human history and will expose young children to a sense of grandeur in world exploration, and a number of concepts that have been important over time. Gameplay is nothing like real life, of course, but the concepts of war and peace, wonders, technological development, and cultural growth are all positive. The 'civilopedia' is a great way to have your kid reading about the Hanging Gardens of Babylon or the development of railroads or somesuch enriching topic during their play time. And Leonard Nimoy will read them quotes from great works of literature, too. My Dad got me Civ I when I was nine. I couldn't quit playing. That may sound terrible but getting engrossed in a topic of interest can be a good experience, and this was for me. I learned plenty and had a lot of fun--a very wholesome game. If your child is completely unfamiliar with concepts like war or barbarians, or the variety of religions in history, you may want to provide a little guidance on those topics.
age 10+

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 it takes a lot of time and thought. Not really much to worry about for kids. On a positive note it might just get them interested in history...or maybe that's expecting too much. Either way it's a great game that will eat up loads of your time. You've been warned. :)

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2 ):
Kids say (10 ):

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.

Game Details

  • Platform: Windows
  • Available online?: Available online
  • Publisher: Firaxis
  • Release date: January 16, 2006
  • Genre: Strategy
  • ESRB rating: E10+ for Violence
  • Last updated: November 4, 2015

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