The Best Type of Government

No game of civilization 4 is complete without taking advantage of the game’s many civics. Civics are ways to organise different aspects of civilization. They provide the civilization with unique bonuses that vary in realism.

For instance converting a civilization to a police state makes each city produce military units 25% faster and massively reduces the unhappiness during wartime, while adopting universal suffrage, which gives every citizen the right to vote, enables the player to speed up production by spending money and gives the civilization a production bonus from towns. Through the selection of civics it is therefore possible to organise a civilization to suit its current struggles.

Choose your style of leadership - Will you be a tyrannical or benevolent leader?

Choose your style of leadership – Will you be a tyrannical or benevolent leader?


I am currently running universal suffrage, bureaucracy, serfdom, state property and organised religion. There are mainly two reasons for this. Firstly, I am at war and the production bonuses from universal suffrage, bureaucracy, and state property are increasing the production of war units in my cities. Secondly serfdom and organised religion are providing a production speed bonus for improvements and buildings. Furthermore the state property civic decreases the cost of running far away cities, which enables increased focus on technological development rather than gold production.


My decision to utilize universal suffrage is to a certain degree realistic. For instance the production bonus from towns is something one might expect form a country where everybody, at least indirectly, participates in the country’s decision making. After all, if a major part of the population agrees with the decisions being made or at lest believes that the government is making decisions on their behalf, they would surely be more engaged and involved in society, which would result in a higher production and GDP. For instance an average Norwegian would most likely show a greater commitment to building a children’s hospital than a concentration camp for use during the holocaust.

On the other hand it is hard to imagine how paying a significant amount of gold would in any way speed up production to such a momentous degree. Surely paying money to direct attention and finish something faster is not in any way farfetched, but there is no obvious reason why only governments with universal suffrage would be able to do this, and in such an exaggerated manner, and is therefore not relatable to real life.

When relating the civics to reality I observed that the game does not make connections between civics, which is often the practice in our society. It is therefore important to notice that even though people are able to vote, it does not guarantee a democracy. Take Russia for example. Even though their constitution guarantees universal suffrage, the country is classified by the economist’s democratic index as an authoritarian regime and the same leader has been elected as the president or prime minister since 1999 (Britannica School, 2014 ) (The Economist Intelligence Unit, 2013).


Still, the game does miss a connection between civics in the game. Having universal suffrage, emancipation, free speech and free religion should in most cases highlight public opinion and result in a system of checks and balances that insures that power lies with the people. Then an additional happiness bonus and a prohibition from starting unprovoked wars would be expected. This is due to the fact that a population does not always want to go to war and often does not care about the leader’s ambitions of world domination. Therefore unless a strong version of nationhood or police state was adopted it would be hard to start wars. Therefore if I was waging war against a nation that wanted peace, universal suffrage is not the civic I would use

On the other hand, if my civilization was attacked. There is no doubt what kind of civics I would use. As seen during world war two, being the last protector of democracy comes with a great moral benefit. Therefore I would probably go with all the civics that are associated with a high degree of liberty. Even though democracy is often associated with a slow decision-making process, my field generals would take most of the decisions.

Churchill was one smart cookie.

In addition if all states were democratic, there would be greater understanding of the importance of human rights and the likelihood of wars world decrease (NDLA, 2010). This would in turn benefit my citizens and ultimately my civilization and the global community.

This way the game disappoints in realism, it fails to portray connections between civics and focuses too much on balancing the game through numbers and percentages. Although the bonuses sometimes are realistic and comes with graeat observatios, such as a production bonus from universal suffrage, it fails to render the limitations and combinational advantages. Therefore civics that seem useful in the game aren’t always the best in real life.




Written by Alexander – 1STA


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