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While on vacation at Outer Banks, I’ve been playing Civilzation Revolution on my iPod touch and got an idea to create and article sharing the few lessons that I have learned from it. The first thought in your head might be that I’m crazy for not laying at the beach and enjoying the windy breeze. My reply is: If you were burned to the point where you can barely sleep, you would try and find something fun to do as well.

If you didn’t know by now, Sid Meier’s Civilization Revolution is a 2008 iteration of Civilization developed by Firaxis. The game was designed for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo DS, Windows Phone, and iOS. The touch screen based strategy game is disgustingly addictive and will steal your soul until you finish the entire game. Which from my experience, takes about two hour to do so. While trying to figure out what ways I could successfully win the game with my civilization, I started to notice a few correlations that this game has with real life business decisions. And thus this article was formed!

Introduction To The Game

Civilization Revolution

The main game of Civilization Revolution begins in 4000 BC, with a lone settler in the middle of a little-explored region. That settler has the capability to start a city, which, depending on its specific mix of geographical surroundings, begins harvesting food (for the continued growth of the city), production (for the creation of units and buildings), and trade (that can be then turned into either research points or wealth). In the early stages of the game, you will encounter uncivilized villages consisting of primitives such as barbarians and friendly villages.

  • Over time, further settlers can be created, forming new cities
  • Buildings can be built to improve each city’s overall productivity
  • Military units can be formed, focusing either on defense, offense, or exploration
  • Technologies can be researched, allowing for newer buildings and units

Buildings in a final category, “Wonders,” provide major advantages to the civilization that builds it, either across their entire empire or just in the building city, depending on the Wonder. Meanwhile, rival civilizations are encountered, which can be both valuable trade partners, strategic allies, or dangerous enemies. Ultimately, each civilization competes for land and resources with the purpose of eventual military, technological, cultural, or economic domination.

Civilization Revolution is a turn based strategy game, with every “turn” representing the passage of several years within the game, which changes from 100 years in the beginning to two years by the end, reflecting the faster pace of contemporary society made possible by technological advancements. Later-era units and buildings are also more “expensive” to build (in terms of production points) than earlier ones, which is matched with cities’ increased efficiency and population. Where the early game tends to be focused on exploring and expanding one’s empire, the later game is dominated by the interactions forced upon the player by rival civilizations.

A victory can be achieved in four different ways.

  • Domination: The player must capture all of the other civilizations’ capital cities and hold them for one full round, but they do not need to destroy or capture every city.
  • Culture: Obtain a total of 20 great persons, wonders, and/or converted cities in any combination, and build the United Nations wonder.
  • Economic: Acquire 20,000 gold and build the World Bank wonder.
  • Technological: Research all technologies necessary to build and launch a space ship, and be the first to reach Alpha Centauri.

Unless specified in a scenario, all four victory conditions are open to be used. Different civilizations have distinct advantages over others depending on their “bonuses”. If the player’s civilization is nearing one of the above mentioned victory conditions, all other civilizations will declare war on them in an attempt to delay or stop them from winning. The construction of the World Bank, the construction of the United Nations, and the launching of the ship to Alpha Centauri can all be stopped by capturing the enemy’s capital and palace.

Players can control one of 16 different civilizations, each with a different leader. Each civilization starts the game with a different special bonus that can be either a technology, a Great Person, or a special ability. As the game progresses through time, the civilizations also obtain new abilities after researching a specific number of technologies. In a given game each civilization can have up to four bonuses that vary from civilization to civilization. Many of the civilizations have specific specialized units that only they can build but unlike previous installments, these are for looks only. Special units do not possess stats beyond the normal unit but may have varying abilities.

Finding Your Niche

At the begining of the game you are required to select your civilization. Each leader has benefits that you will gain if you play as them. This sort of scenario can easily be found in the business world. Just like any business, you are the leader that gets to make the choice of what you want to do. Every single industry has it’s pros and cons.

I would personally suggest you start your own business based on your passion. Money does not bring happiness, and tends to come and go. If you think that you’re going to make a daily deal clone like Groupon and succeed then…..good luck with that. As easy as the idea might seem, think about everybody else who has thought of this. I often see people going after easy businesses where they barely have to use their brain or work hard. The cold hard truth is that all successful people had to work hard to get to where they are today.

Being a copy-cat is nothing to be proud of. Being a competitor that sees an opportunity where another company is failing, is a great thing to be proud of! When starting a business you have to look into the future and see how the business will run.

  • Will you run it?
  • What will the daily operations be like?
  • Do you need to hire people?
  • Do you need financing?

Those kind of mental questions are just 4 out of thousands that you should be asking yourself. Feeling inspired is one thing, working on an idea and putting your sweat/tears into it is another. All I’m trying to say is that you need to evaluate your future goals and bring something new to the table. Outing your competition in their own craft will lead you to success no matter how small you are.

Designing your Destiny

Civilization Revolution iPad

The wide variety of choices that you can take in the game is overwhelming, just like a real world business.

  • Do you want to research and undercut other civilizations/businesses with your technology?
  • Do you want to win with culture, by providing your civilization with an incredible experience that they will want to write home about?
  • Do you want to destroy other civilizations/competition and take them out of business?
  • Do you want to accumulate wealth with your civilization/business so you can afford and acquire anything you desire? (Nice verse, my Hip-hop career is finally taking off!!!)

While running your business you will have to face difficult decisions. This is not a “shocker” to most entrepreneurs, because they understand the risks that they took when they started. One thing for sure is that playing it “safe” is extremely risky. Don’t ever let fear discourage you or crumble your goals. Nothing is Impossible, if you put your mind to it, desire it, and work your ass off to get it. If you’ve previously read Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, you will know exactly what I’m talking about.

Dealing with others

Unless you’re a pioneer, every market has competition. You are fighting for the customer and trying to sway them to purchase your product instead of the theirs. This is a common business practice and you can see it currently happening with the technology industry. With new phones coming out almost every 6 months or so, the cut throat business is scary. Once upon a time everybody had a Nokia phone, but now…

Apart from competing with other civilizations, as you do with other businesses, there comes a time when partnerships provide financial gain to both parties’ included. Teaming up with another company may happen when you both share a common enemy and want to eat their market share. This proves that being a lone-wolf is not always a great idea. Join a wolf pack!

Having a clear vision


If a captain on a ship doesn’t have a map, he’s floating nowhere. Yes that’s a horrible analogy, but you get the drift. Write down your business goal and set a specific date you will achieve them by. Some of you reading this will think that it’s elementary to do this, but you could not be more wrong. Saying and going over your goal every single day will help you reach them faster. This does not mean they will just spontaneously happen. It means that you must also do your part and work hard on the goal at hand.

Seeing is believing. Therefore if you see yourself accomplishing that goal, it is more than likely to happen. Don’t ever get sad. Stop letting negative things rule your life. Stop letting other people criticize you, that shit gets in your head and now you have manifested unwanted fear. Create a mental wall that blocks out all the negative things in your life and always stay positive. Not only will this help you with your business, but it will also change your life.

Fill your life/career with desire for success, faith in what you’re doing, love, enthusiasm, romance and hope. Kick out fear, greed, revenge, superstition, anger, and jealousy. Don’t hate on others success, they have worked hard to get there. Evaluate what other business owners did right and replicate. Find flaws and avoid them at all costs.

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Posted by Igor Ovsyannykov

I'm a digital nomad and entrepreneur bouncing around South East Asia. When I'm not working here, I'm out taking photos for Follow me on Instagram: @igorovsyannykov

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