Since Civilization IV was initially released in 2005 and the final expansion pack, Beyond the Sword, came out on the PC in 2007, I'm going to assume that most everyone reading this review knows what the game is about; but I will give a brief summary for anyone who is new to the game. The player of this historical strategy game takes control of a tribe from the year 4000 B.C. and steers that tribe through history all the way through to the near future. Along the way, the player has to deal with many of the things real nations have always dealt with: foreign affairs like the occasional barbarian incursion, a variety of wars, and diplomacy and espionage; domestic affairs need your attention as well. Things like growing your cities, managing monumental building projects, and directing the research efforts of the nation's academic community take up as much of your time as your military adventures will. Civ IV, as the game is often called, is a turn-based strategy game that starts simply enough. At the start of the game the player usually controls a settler unit (to found a city) and a military unit to defend the settlers/city or explore the game map. From this simple beginning things slowly grow more complicated as more of the map is revealed, more cities are founded and managed, more technologies are discovered, and more foreign nations are encountered. With each completed turn, years pass in the game, and though you theoretically have as much time as you want to get things done (since a new turn never begins until you want it to), I often seem to have less and less time as the game goes along. Inevitably, I end up playing late into the night, because there are so many interesting things to do, so many important decisions to make that I simply fail to notice the time until the night sky begins to brighten into dawn. If this worries you, rest assured! The game comes with a built-in alarm clock should you wish to use it!
Civilization IV: The Complete Edition is a compilation of the original Civ IV game, the two expansion packs, Warlords and Beyond the Sword, and a stand alone companion game called Colonization. The game comes with a Quick Start Manual and a poster with the Tech Tree and other game details on it. Once installed, they are playable without the DVD. There is no DRM for this product. I wish more game publishers would do this with their older titles since I dislike dealing with DVDs. As should be expected of an older title, the games run very smoothly on the highest graphics setting on my 2009 27" iMac (with 512 MB of video memory). This game can be played solo or multiplayer (via internet, hot seat (taking turns on the same PC), LAN, or PBEM (play by email) modes). I've never played a multiplayer game through to the end. For that matter, I've not played many multiplayer games period. The game takes a long time to play solo! I love the Civilization series and I love Civ IV the best of the series. I've played the PC version of Civ IV for a few years and I have just recently picked up this Mac version. This product is well worth your time if you like turn-based strategy games. Come on! What do you have to lose? A little sleep? Who needs that!