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C-evo (new)

C-evo (a.k.a. Civilization-evolution) is a free-to-play game similar to Civilization II. The game was written in the Delphi programming language, with the main programming done by Steffen Gerlach. The source code is in the public domain, but the graphics are freeware.


C-evo is an empire-building game, dealing with the history of humans from antiquity to the Space Race. This includes aspects of exploration and expansion, war and diplomacy, cultivation and pollution, industry and agriculture, research and administration. Players must constantly make decisions such as whether and where to build cities, roads, irrigation, and fortresses, whether to form an alliance with a neighboring nation or risk attacking it, and whether to devote resources to education/research/production, warfare, or the well-being of the populace.

A successful player manages to find a balance among these choices. Very early, a player develops The Wheel, and the game ends when the first player has successfully constructed the first off-planet spaceship headed out into the Solar System. As the game progresses, the player finds that the building of factories, for example, increases material output but leads to increased pollution, which reduces output and should be cleaned up and could be eliminated through development of cleaner technologies. At all stages, cities that grow larger than size 4 have reduced productivity because of unrest until suitable buildings or police are in place to keep the populace under control.

Platforms and players[]

The game can be played in Single or Multiplayer (hotseat) or Supervisor mode with a total of 1 to 15 player nations: computer-controlled players, human players, or both.

It has a limited client–server architecture, and can be played easily over either a LAN or the WWW using Microsoft's Remote Desktop Protocol when the game is run from a game server.

AIs available[]

In addition to the standard AI that comes with C-evo, a number of different AI's (programs that play C-evo) with different skills and strategies are available. Most of the following links are direct links to the zipped files to download:

Strategy and tactics[]

As with the commercial and the other free Civilization games, there are a variety of strategies possible, though the ultimate launch of a spaceship is the only way of officially winning. The game goes through several somewhat distinct phases, based on the advances a player has researched:

  1. Feudal
  2. Scientific
  3. Mass Production
  4. Race to Stars

Given that the AIs are supposed to operate in a range of map sizes and unknown environments (sea/land, hostile/friendly opponents) they often have different counter-strategies for each (overlapping) phase.

  • eXplore - Initial start, unknown extent, unpredictable opponents. Need to scout and contact adjacent nations and exchange knowledge
  • eXpand - Often an early (aggressive) land-grab where each nation tries to stake out as much territory as possible
  • eXchange - Given that AIs have same standing as humans, they are allowed to form alliances and trade amongst themselves (money, tech, unit designs, information)
  • eXploit - Once the territories/borders are firmly established, develop the cities and build an advantage, sometimes polishing off weak opponents if opportunity arises.
  • eXtinguish - The end-game relies on achieving the primary objective of assembling components for a spacecraft and more importantly surviving long enough to do so, which often involves conquering or at least fending off strong enemies.

AIs can be broadly classed into 4 basic postures:

  • Passive - Focus on peaceful economic/tech development, often surrounded by friendly allies.
  • Defensive - Keeping minimal forces in core cities but looking to out-tech competitors and build wonders.
  • Aggressive - Expansionist, looking to knock out weak/small players, especially after a major advance, but can leave cities inadequately defended.
  • Insane - Occasionally when a long way behind and little opportunity to win, goes into a fanatical spoiler mode.

Different tactics are required depending on the opposing posture and your form of government.

Technical resources[]

On the C-evo webpage, the game, its source code, AI modules, player contributions such as many additional nations, maps, mods, and utilities are available.

The game has an open AI interface, which means the player can replace the standard AI contained in the package with other AI algorithms, either for all nations or for individual nations. The documentation of the AI's DLL-interface is available from the project homepage. There is also an AI development kit.

The designer's website explains the six Design Principles:

  • Low Risk
  • Fun by Challenge
  • AI Liberation
  • Focus on Strategy
  • Compact Rule Set, and
  • Balance of Strategy and Micro Management

Game mechanics[]

  • C-evo by design, is completely deterministic: Its only randomness lies in what the map looks like, where each player starts and what the player(s) choose to do. There are no random events, goodie-huts, or random rewards for exploration.
  • C-evo by design, says AIs play by the same rules as humans and therefore AIs cannot cheat or bend the rules to favor themselves. However, one may set any of the 15 players to an easier or harder level at the start of the game and may edit the map to set AI and human starting positions.
  • C-evo by design, says military unit designs must be created by a player and then researched before that unit can be built. One must strategically choose what qualities (for example: mobility, attack power, defense, etc.) will be built into the units before designing and building them.
  • In contrast to Civilization II, a player cannot immediately gain the advances acquired from other nations or the Great Library: a reduced amount of research is still necessary to achieve the new technology.
  • In contrast to Civilization II, a player does not acquire knowledge from capturing a city unless that player possesses the Temple of Zeus Wonder and it is still active (or obsolete but restored with the Eiffel Tower Wonder).
  • In contrast to Civilization II, irrigation does not require the connection to a nearby sea or river, irrigation may be built on any qualifying tile anywhere.
  • In contrast to Civilization II, a diagonal step requires 1.5 movement points. All units have at least 1.5 points possible, the most primitive ships have 2.5, and the most primitive aircraft have 4.5.
  • In C-evo, a new city does not gain trade resources or contribute to research until it has at least a town hall or courthouse built.
  • In C-evo, a stealth aircraft is hidden and cannot be attacked unless your own spy or stealth aircraft has uncovered it in that turn, in which case your other planes can attack it.
  • In C-evo, building a spaceship requires scarce modern resources, and without access to the territories containing these resources, as well as the advancements to see or use these resources, the game cannot be won.

How it differs from Civilization II[]

Some of the differences are summarized above, but a separate article goes into detail.


See also[]

  • C-evo HowTo - A How To guide for playing C-evo geared for someone who has never played any of the Civilization games before (recommended reading even for those who have, because C-evo is NOT exactly like Civ2).
  • C-evo wiki forum - An alternative to the official C-evo forum, primarily for discussing content of this wiki, but open to all questions and ideas and more easily searchable than the official forum.
  • C-evo advances affecting units - Detailed page, with subpages for air, ground, and naval units
  • Cheating (C-evo) - Well, not really!

External links[]


Spinoffs (discussed at length in various postings on official forum)[]

  • C-evo: New Horizons - playable fork on Lazarus, by "Chronos" <robie @> (Windows and Linux)
  • C-evo Distant Horizon - Peter Blackman's fork of New Horizons with playable game; updated several times before November 2023


  • Review by Sid Gingham - very positive: "Although C-Evo might be little more than a clone of Civilization, it actually turns out to be better than its inspiration in many ways and which thus makes it more than worthy of investigation by any serious strategy fan. ... Although C-Evo doesn't really do anything that's new for the genre, it's in the execution where it scores so highly and which means this is a must play if you have any interest in such things. Right from the start, this is highly accessible, so even if you haven't played such a game before, you'll be able to leap in without any difficulty. ... does a fantastic job at getting rid of tedious micromanagement ..."


C-evo [edit]
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