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Civilization 4: Civics & Global Policies

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  • Civilization 4: Civics & Global Policies

    Barry Caudill, Civilization IV Senior Producer on Civics

    Choosing your government has been an interesting part of playing Civilization since the original. In Civ IV, our team at Firaxis has really ramped up this feature and given players many more choices, which bring with them a whole new set of interesting decisions to make and strategies to employ. The new Civics system will allow players to customize their government to fit their current situation and style of play.

    In the game, when you first open the Civics page you will see 25 options divided into 5 categories. The categories are: government, legal, labor, economy, and religion. Initially, you will be limited to the lowest levels for each (making you a barbaric, decentralized despotism with tribal labor and practicing paganism), but you will unlock more of the choices based on your research. Changing to new Civic forms will have a dramatic effect on the character and success of your civilization. You’ll be able to boost or cut productivity, wealth, and happiness, make choices to increase/decrease the spread of religion, and even affect your ability to produce and maintain a large standing army.

    Of course, it’s not just as simple as picking all the highest level Civic options. A monarch needs to make the tough decisions. Every choice has an upkeep level assigned to it and you could end up with a really great government that puts you in the poorhouse. In addition, your current circumstances might make it impossible for you to use some of the higher-level choices. The good news for all the leaders out there is that you will be able to play around with all the choices and get an idea of the costs and benefits before you have to “Start the Revolution”.

    So, the choice is up to you. Will you be a despot or a king? Will your people respond better to a democratically elected ruler or a theocrat? Will you have a free market or is everything state property? Make the best choices and lead your people to their rightful place in history!

    Most of what was discussed up until now had to be managed on a City-by-City basis. There are however also settings that apply on a more global level to an entire Civilization, such as Civics and tax sliders. Tax sliders determine how the Gold income of Cities is distributed after fixed costs such as Unit support have been deducted: some of it can go to the treasury, where a player can spend it on things like diplomacy or rush-buying items, some of it can be devoted to research to obtain new Advances, and some of it can used to generate Culture and Happiness. The science tax determines what percentage goes to science, the Culture slider determines what goes to both Culture and Happiness. The remainder goes to the treasury.

    Civics are a new feature in Civilization IV and replace the governments feature from earlier games. It works somewhat similarly to SMAC's social engineering. Rather than having fixed government types such as democracy or communism, Civ4 lets you set individual policies on five different terrains: Government, Legal, Labor, Economy, and Religion. Each of these categories will have a total of five different Civic options (for a total of 25) which all have different effects on gameplay and which are unlocked by researching certain Advances. Any combination of Civics from the different categories is possible, effectively creating a total of 3,125 theoretical 'governments'.

    Some Civics are very oppressive, such as Slavery (which allows you to rush-build items with population) or Theocracy, while others are very enlightened, such as Emancipation (which causes unhappiness in nations which don't have Emancipation: oppressed people will get jealous of the freedom and civil rights your people enjoy) or Freedom of Religion. So you can be as cruel or kind to your people as you want to be. Every Civic also has an Upkeep Cost associated with it, so you may not always be able to afford every (combination of) Civic(s). Leaders with the Organized trait only pay half of this cost. AI personalities will all have their own preferences regarding Civics options and will try to convince you to implement the same ones, much like with Religions.

    Which Civics are available in Civilization IV you can see in the Civilopedia.

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