WiiHD's Civilization Revolution (DS) Preview
11 Jul 2008 23:41
David MarseillesDavid Marseilles

WiiHD's Civilization Revolution (DS) Preview

WiiHD is proud to present our own Civilization Revolution Preview for the Nintendo DS. There has been more limited coverage of the DS version, and some of it hasn't been very thoughtful. We decided to fill a gap and provide newcomers to the series a good look at just how the game plays.

WiiHD will release our full review shortly, and in it, we'll be sure to note changes in the franchise for Civ veterans. Keep an eye out for it.

Now hit the break for the full preview, perfect for beginners.

Are You Ready for a Revolution (DS) page 2

1.3 Attacking

When you come upon a unit you want to attack, just move your unit into the enemy's square. It will display a special red graphic with a sword over the enemy, indicating you are about to attack, an when you press A, the assault will begin. Before you press A, check the top screen, and you will see your own attack strength and the enemy's defense strength listed. Just because you know what their unit is, doesn't mean you know their strength. Terrain, experience upgrades, base facilities and civilization bonuses can all affect their strength, so always look before attacking. There is some small element of randomness in the battles, so sometimes weaker units (even after attack defend elements are included) can defeat stronger units. So don't get overconfident. If you win the battle, but take damage, you can heal your soldier one unit by holding the next turn (pressing B without moving).


You can join 3 units of the same type together to make an army, and this is highly recommended. When they are three in the same square, press x, and they will join together so they move together, attack together, and defend together. 3 is better than one. As your unit gains experience by winning battles, it will qualify for upgrades. Upgrades include bonuses for attack and defense, and movement, among others. You'll usually be given the opportunity to choose between two bonuses.

1.4 Expansion

When you have some explorers out there, it's time to think about expanding. Extra cities can mean more resources, more armies, more culture, faster technology, and/or the ability to diversify your production, depending on how you use those cities. So you need to build a Settler. This will remove two population from your capital (starting city), unless you have changed your government to Republic or are the Romans (who start with Republic), in which case it will only take one. You may want an escort unit to go with the Settler, because they are defenseless. If a barbarian or enemy comes upon them, you just lost production turns AND population. You don't want that.

The Settler unit is one of three non-combat units you can build, and it has a special feature, in that it show you the resources on the 8 surrounding squares in any visible area that move you cursor. So before choosing a location, move that cursor over the map, and look for an area that provides a balanced resource allotment (you may have different priorities once you get more experience, but for now, look for areas that have a nice spread of Production (hammers), Food (apples), and Trade (two arrows circling into each other). Some ground has special resources with various bonuses. Resources appear as a special icon on top of the normal ground display. You can tell what most of them are, examples are cattle, silk, and incense. To see their bonuses, when you're over a unit without having given him directions, press A. If there's more than on unit in that location, you may have to press A repeatedly until a broken square selector appears. You can move this selector anywhere on the visible map and see the terrain features and bonuses.

In addition to building Settlers, you get a free Settler when you reach your first Economic milestone.

1.5 Other Special Units

Spies aren't traditional Combat units, but they can fight each other. You can take them to enemy cities, cross over border lines, enter their city, and harrass them in several different ways. You can steal Great People and get their bonuses for your own civ, you can disrupt fortifications, decreasing their defensive strength for a turn (in preparation for an attack), destory one of their buildings, steal gold, or you can disrupt production making them start over on whatever they were building. You can do one spy mission per spy, then it disappears. You can defend against enemy spies by placing spies in your bases, you should especially do this in bases where you have Great People settled to protect those bonuses, and having a spy in a base on a front line of a war can prevent you from losing some defensive strength. You can capture enemy spies with any military unit, and then use them against another civ or for defense.

You can also build Caravans that will help you increase your gold reserves. When you've built one, pressing X will give you your choice of foreign cities to send it to (if you've found any foreign cities yet). Usually, the father a City is away, the more gold you can get by send the unit there. Caravans are defenseless, so you may want to manually move an escort along with it through unclaimed territory to protect it from barbarians. Caravans are also sometimes gifted to you when you are the first to enter a Village. When the caravan reaches the city of choice, and you move it in, you get a boost of gold, but the other civilization takes a cut by imposing a tax. It helps both of you, but it helps you more. Still you might consider not trading with a civ that you plan to attack in the near future to deprive them of that gold. You might also focus on trading with the enemy of your enemy to give them a boost against a common foe.

The last Special Unit is the Great Person. You don't build these, they automatically appear as your civilization grows in culture. They provide specific bonuses similar to those provided by city buildings and great wonders, but you can choose to use them in different ways. You can either settle a Great Person in a city and they will provide a small but steady stream of that bonus, or you can choose to expend them immediately and get a one-time larger bonus. As noted above, Great People are susceptible to theft by spies, so be sure to protect them if you choose to settle them. Also if a Great Person provides a percentage bonus to a certain city, make sure you settle them in the city with highest output of that something so you get the largest bonus.

2. Conclusion

That's the game. And as you can see, it's lot more than just war. This is hands-down the richest strategy title on Nintendo's DS. Honestly, it's the richest Strategy title on any current generation console or portable. It's been streamlined from the original Civilization for PC (We'll talk about that in detail in our Review), and is an overall fun and rewarding experience. The streamlining makes a full multiplayer far more enjoyable than it ever was on the PC.

So if you've been sitting back wondering what the heck Civilization Revolution is, and how it works, hopefully this has provided a decent overview for you. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments below.

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