Video Game / Civilization: Call to Power

Civilization: Call to Power, released in 1999, is a 4X turn-based strategy spin-off of the Civilization series. It is technically part of the Civilization series proper, but only by way of having "Civilization" in the title. It also had a sequel which dropped "Civilization" from the title entirely, Call to Power 2. Compared to Civilization II, then the most recent installment in the Civilization series, it has quite a few unique gameplay concepts:

  • Tile improvements, known as Public Works (or PWs), have to be placed manually by the player - there are no workers to auto-build them for you. Furthermore, PWs can't be built without PW points, which are generated by allocating a set amount of your civilization's total production aside specifically for that purpose. Aside from the more obvious uses, like improving a tile's production/gold output or building roads, you can use PW points, along with certain technologies, to terraform landmassees to your liking to get the optimum balance of food, production, and gold output.
  • Once the appropriate technologies are researched, players can build underwater and space-based colonies, with each region having its own pros and cons, such as space having absolutely no terrain whatsoever, making space-based transportation and colony-building a breeze, but all space colonies require special tile improvements just for basic things like production and food.
  • Pollution plays a major role in the happiness of your citizens; plus, if you don't keep it in check, excessive pollution can cause a variety of global disasters...
  • Combat mechanics is simple but quite advanced for the genre, with an actually shown, turn-based battle sequence featuring up to 9 units on each side and with various combat roles (shock troops, artillery etc.).

Civilization: Call to Power also had some concepts, such as waging corporate warfare using lawyers and corporate branches, which were later seen in other games in the Civilization series proper. Call to Power 2 also has a dedicated open-source development team ever since the source code to the game was released in 2003, adding new gameplay and anti-frustration features as well as gameplay automation.

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Both games provides examples of:

  • Army of Lawyers: Once you reach the Modern Era, you can literally train Lawyers and Corporate Branches to wage economic warfare on your enemies.
  • Command & Conquer Economy: The players set salaries and food rations.
  • Commie Land: You can set one.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Space bombers, which bomb targets from space.
  • Fascist, but Inefficient: Most of the more repressive governments (Tyranny, Fascism, Comunism) provide production bonuses (or in the case of tyranny, less of a penalty), but they cannot support as many cities and have a reduced economic output. Averted for Technocracy, which has strong bonuses all around (although it's still more production and less economy focused than the more open governments).
  • Gameplay Automation: None whatsoever in Civilization: Call to Power - which can prove incredibly annoying when you have a large empire or your new underwater/space colonies need to have their basic infrastructure built up. Thankfully, Call to Power 2 added some automation tasks like being able to assign production tasks to all cities simultaneously. When the source code to Call to Power 2 became open-source, the community added more forms of gameplay automation.
  • Geo Effects: Much like the Civilization games, terrain gives bonuses and penalties in combat depending on who's attacking and who's defending. Once you reach the Genetic Age, though, you can invoke this yourself (see the Terraform entry).
  • Global Warming: Since Civilization: Call To Power and its sequel continue much further into the future than a normal game in the main Civilization series, this concept is taken to its logical conclusion. The problem gets much, much worse before ultimately getting better through the use of advanced technology (and, possibly, ecoterrorism). Of course, by that point, the majority of your population will have likely already relocated to undersea cities and/or space - both of which don't suffer from pollution whatsoever - rendering the point somewhat moot.
  • Hovertank: The Fusion tank is a future military unit that fills a similar role to modern day tanks (a bit more expensive, but fast moving and strong on all combat stats.) They can travel on shallow water in addition to land.
  • Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better: Averted by way of of advanced plasma and fusion-based weaponry, available starting in the Genetic and Diamond eras, respectively.
  • Made a Slave: You can send your Slavers to capture slaves in foreign cities. These slaves will not be paid and will eat half a food ration. This also happens in the background with many futuristic dystopian improvements, such as the mind control devices to ensure civilian 'happiness' and productivity.
  • Mighty Glacier: The Leviathan unit is the ultimate example in game. Only can move 1 square per turn, even on roads, but has the highest combat stats of any unit.
  • Non-Human Head: The Televangelist units have TV sets for heads.
  • Privately Owned Society: Under "Corporatist Republic".
  • Rock Beats Laser: Played straight throughout most of the game. Your small, battle-hardened group of plasma tanks and rocket-wielding mecha can still get their butts handed to them by a large group of well-fortified, freshly-trained spearmen, though they will take very heavy losses and be at a disadvantage. Averted by anything which is in space - such units and colonies cannot be harmed by anything except units which can actually fight in space.
  • Schizo Tech: Much like in the main Civilization games, this is bound to happen when a player runs away with a science civilization. Not satisfied with crushing enemy spearmen using your rocket-wielding mecha? Build space bombers and obliterate them from orbit, safe from the effects of Rock Beats Laser!
  • Slave Liberation: You can train Abolitionists and have them free slaves from other nations. The former slaves will automatically become full citizens of your closest city.
  • Space Plane: You can build several kinds of units that can launch themselves into space, including an actual Space Plane unit, and a unit called a Space Fighter.
  • Terraform: PW points can be spent to transform the landscape to your whims - which is important since certain terrain types, such as jungles and swamplands, prevent output-boosting tile improvements from being built. It's also useful since certain terrain types, when combined with appropriate PWs, provide massive boosts to a city's production/gold or food output.
    • Once you reach the Genetic Age, you'll be able to use this to invoke Geo Effects for fun and profit. Want to protect your territory from annoying sea and land invaders? Bring their efforts to a crawl by building an entire man-made mountain range! Unfortunately, this is quite impractical at best since the PW points required to do so over even a small area are enormous, and if your enemies have access to large fleets of air transports - or worse, space transports - such an artificial barrier becomes rather ineffective.
  • The Theocracy: You can become one.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Enslave your enemies and make them eat half food rations! Make your citizens work for starvation rations and meager salaries!

Civilization: Call to Power provides examples of:

Call to Power 2 provides examples of: