Uncross those fingers, unfurrow that brow and breathe a big, candle-snuffing sigh of relief: Firaxis hasn't mucked up. The ball has not been dropped, the pooch has not been screwed, the baby's bathwater has been disposed of carefully and without any grievous consequence. Yes, it's my happy duty to report that one of strategy gaming's most sacred relics has been brought kicking and screaming into the 21st Century with minimal loss of brilliance.
But first: time for an obligatory history lesson. It was in The Year Of Our Lord Nineteen Hundred and Ninety Four that Messrs Sidney Meier and Brian Reynolds unveiled their near-perfect Civ semi-sequel. Turn-based, tile-mapped, and as lovable as a chipmunk in a Pilgrim Father costume, Colonization was all about dispossessing American Indians. Starting mid-Atlantic with a shipload of supplies and emigrants, players scrambled to grab and grow New World colonies. Independence from an increasingly greedy motherland was the ultimate goal.
En route, resources had to be reaped and processed, goods traded, indigenous tribes befriended or butchered, European rivals outstripped. Where Civ was a surreal history-mangling marathon, Colonization was a tech-tree-free 3000m steeplechase. The shorter span and tighter focus gave it a more rooted, more realistic feel. Some connoisseurs even dared to claim it was the better game.