The Authentic Colonization - A Mod For Civ IV:Colonization

Does it work with the authentic mod, Jellyfish, or only on its own?

Sorry, should’ve clicked through, it’s based on TAC, I see.

I don’t know how I feel about that mod’s decision to implement slavery, including the purchasing of African slaves. I mean, it’s certainly historical, but…there are reasons games tend to shy away from including that.

We all have to face our skeletons at some point, and games are pretty good ways of dealing with them i find. Slavery and Genocide are as much a part of american history as the Constitution and North vs South, so jump in and see what it feels like to buy and sell slaves to make a profit.

I remember being really bad at the original Colonization as i just did not want to be bad to the native american’s, i’d trade and try to be peaceful etc. But that left me with a huge disadvantage to win the late game, so i never did. But i did feel better playing it that way, even if i lost the game. I really wanted mechanisms to completely change the way you interacted with the native americans. I wanted to make them fully inclusive a part of the america i was forging, with equal say and status etc, but the game just didn’t give me that ‘diplomatic’ option. It was the prime reason i never did like it as much as Civ or other strat games of the era, it was forcing me to re-enact history and crush the native americans.

Are you talking about the implementation of actually buying slaves, as in this mod, or the representation of slavery? It seems to me many historical games don’t, in fact, shy away from representing slavery in some form or another.


You and me both! It’s like playing an evil character in an RPG, isn’t it? :) I have a similar issue with the traditional “kick the puppy” options.


Hmm. Can’t think of many games that actually represent slavery as such, unless you’re thinking of games letting you take over the cities of other cultures wholesale as also representing slavery. Master of Orion, perhaps (I think they had explicit captured population who needed to be assimilated)? Any others?

I had the same dillemma when I was designing “Pirates and Traders” (which being set in 1650-1700, is pretty much in the heyday of the slavetrade) and ultimately had to give it up because I couldn’t think of a way to do it that wouldn’t end up feeling utterly distasteful to me.

I’m currently replaying fallout 3, and slavery is quite prominent. One quest line has you obtaining slaves for Paradise Falls, if you want to swing that way, and you there’s a specific reward for enslaving a particular small child.

Fallout 3 is not a historical game, though (which - for that matter - MoO isn’t either, so that was a poor example too wrt original question). It’s a good example of a morally ambiguous implementation, though. The Scifi/fantasy setting does makes the context lose a lot of its punch however. To put it in another way, would Bethesda have dared implement slavery in this way, if the player was playing a wild west Cowboy in the early 1800s?

When I say games tend to shy away from including slavery, I particularly mean the African slave trade. (Although I can’t think of that many, strategy games especially, that are willing to touch on other historical forms of slavery.) I’m not saying it’s automatically bad to include it (I also have concerns about whitewashing history by -not- touching on those sorts of issues), but it’s certainly a potential minefield. And much more so than fictional slavery in a fantasy or science fiction setting, particularly if (as AFAIK it universally is handled where it comes up) it’s done only by factions or races explicitly flagged as evil.

I haven’t found it on the Steam Workshop, yet, but is there an effort somewhere to bring the Colonization mod to Civ 5?

Malk’s comment was about the historicity of slavery, and the primary history strategy games that come to mind for me are Civilization and the EU series, both of which have slavery. It’s certainly part of the Victoria games. There’s a really cool boardgame I play called Endeavor which has slavery as a risk/reward decision based on whether you think Europe will be enlightened enough to abolish it.

My experience, malk, isn’t that games “tend to shy away from including [it]”, and any game trying to model that period of history would be foolish to simply ignore slavery.


Really? I’m mostly with malk on this one. EU, for example, deals with slavery by having provinces “produce” slaves as a trading commodity, and that’s about it, no?
Having the subject as some kind of thematic background noise is still shying away from it. Has a game really allowed you to make an informed decision to start getting african slaves, and then subsequently decide how to deal with them in great detail?
And if you treat them (historically) harsh, confront you with the consequences?
I think most games did/do, in fact, shy away from doing so (probably not without good reason).

You mean like, say in a game about WW2 it would be foolish not to deal with concentration camps, like the HoI games (and basically all WW2 games I know of) do, right?


Really, rezaf? You want to do this? Okay, let’s do it. :)

His assertion, which I was very careful to reply to specifically, was that games shied away from “including” slavery. As you noted, EU “includes” slavery. You might not like how it’s modeled, but you can’t say it’s not included. Similarly, trading two points of population in Civ to rush a building is pretty silly, but it’s clearly labeled slavery. Hence, it’s included.

Good question. Not what was being discussed, but if you’d like to delve into that, it’s certainly an interesting topic, especially when you concede that Malk was wrong to claim most games “shy away from including slavery”. I’ll say again that my experience is that historical strategy games do include slavery when it was present.

Okay, but that’s not what was being claimed.

Heh, that almost Godwins the discussion. But it’s a pretty tired parallel and I’m surprised you’d bring it up. Concentration camps were of no strategic importance in World War II, which is why developers don’t include it when they make World War II strategy games. You can’t very well ignore the atrocity of slavery if you’re modeling the social and economic conditions when slavery was a prominent part of those conditions.


Well, I do hope I made it clear that it was not my idea to start a lengthy discussion about slavery (or even concentration camps) and whether they should be in a game.

If you find having the word mentioned somewhere or the issue being represented by some very abstract mechanic counts as “including”, well, fine by me, I just feel otherwise. Games “shy away”, and - I can only repat myself - they have good reason to do so.

Btw., your point about concentration camps having NO strategic importance is arguable, I guess - my idea is that forced labor played an important role in keeping the german economy going (stronger than before, even!) in the late years of the war - before everything fell apart.

Personally, it would not disturb me to play a game which includes either of these things in greater detail - it’s all history now, to me, and a game is a game - but I can understand why developers rather chose not to do that, and I don’t begrudge them their decision. It’s the sensible thing to do.


is it correct to say that slavery is represented as an item of a ‘generic’ game system like commodities? How would a slavery system be represented on its own with cons and pros for practicing it? Pros are easy (cheap labor) but what would be the negative impact?

Wait, what? What is your criteria for a game “including slavery”? So it doesn’t count if it’s represented by “abstract mechanics”? By your reasoning, historical strategy games don’t include diplomacy, colonization, or trade.

The historical strategy games I play – Civilization, Europa Universalis, Victoria, and Endeavor, for instance – include slavery. You and malk are flat-out wrong to assert that historical strategy games shy away from including it. If you want to talk about how it’s modeled, that’s fine. But at that point, you’re conceding that it’s included in the game.

One of the cool things about strategy games is that they have an easier time modeling uncomfortable historical truths than other genres.


That’s mostly how it works in EU, although I haven’t played them in a while. I seem to recall you could take slaves out of Africa, but once slavery was abolished, it basically shut down that commodity. Slavery is a much more integral part of the Victoria games, which are all about the social demands of your population. You can imagine how slavery is represented there, especially given how those games model the American Civil War. The negative impact in Civ is just an unhappiness penalty, and maybe a financial disincentive to take competing civics (I’d have to look at the labor civics to verify this). Malk, how does it work in the Colonization mod? Is there any drawback to using slavery, given that abolition wasn’t really a consideration in the setting modeled?

The brilliant Imperialism games, as near as I can recall, absolutely shied away from slavery. Does anyone remember if there’s even a reference to slavery in those games?

I really like how Endeavor handles slavery. From the article I wrote linked in the reply above to rezaf:

Hey, it’s a pretty good thing, Endeavor suggests. If you can get away with it, Endeavor adds. The basic idea is that it’s an effective jumpstart to an economy. Early slavery cards will add to your industry and finance. But someone who controls Europe can pull the rug out from under nations that embrace slavery. Basically, the player who runs Europe gets to decide whether Enlightenment happens, because he’s the guy who can dig deep enough into Europe’s treasures to reach the Emancipation card. This inflicts a potentially painful victory point hit on anyone who bought into the early game’s “it’s a pretty good thing” opinion on slavery.

I like this longer term view much more than the simple loss of population you suffer when you hurry production in Civilization IV. Your city was size four. Now it’s size three and you have an extra frowny face for a few turns that your theater will offset. There. Slavery. In Endeavor, it’s a risk/reward proposition, with the potential to get away scott-free, but a game-long vulnerability to being held accountable for your transgression against humanity. Because sometimes history doesn’t punish the people who do terrible things. That’s as sad a truth as ever a strategy game could teach you.


Ah, never played the Victoria games much, so forgot those. To me, the way EU deals with it is what I would describe as “shying away” from the issue, but I wouldn’t contest that it is actually included. I would say that there are plenty of historical strategy games that don’t include it at all, though (unless your definition of strategy games is pretty narrow): pretty much every historical trading strategy game ever made (understandably so), every historical city builder, and pretty much every non-Paradox pre-modern game I can think of (e.g., all the Total War games except perhaps the Roman one).

Do the Crusader Kings games include slavery in some subtle manner that I haven’t noticed? Slave trade was significant during in the middle ages, and pretty much the core of Norse/Viking economy in the 800-1100 period (becoming Christian simply meant that one did not take Christians as slaves). I’m quite curious to see how the new Viking expansion will tackle that.

Endeavor sounds fascinating; will have to keep an eye out for it.

“Struggle of Empires” is another boardgame that does the slave trade in a very effective manner - basically they provide “free” population for players expanding to the Americas, so players who want to stay competitive in that sphere are forced to send their ships to Africa (pops are a very limited resources); a brutal, but fairly accurate representation of the historical drivers. I wouldn’t say the matter is much treated in historical boardgames in general, though - if it were, I doubt there would be such BGG controversy over exactly what the little brown “colonists” in Puerto Rico represent.

My experience, malk, isn’t that games “tend to shy away from including [it]”, and any game trying to model that period of history would be foolish to simply ignore slavery.

Is it foolish to shy away from unnecessary controversy? Seems quite wise to me, and colonization worked quite well simply ignoring the issue.

Man, blame it on me not being an english native speaker - of course ALL mechanics in a game are abstractions to some degree.
What I meant is that the games shy away from going into details - and, once again, I fully understand the reasoning.

The board game mechanic you cite is neat, but in computer games, it’s all VERY much abstracted, like the population reduction in Civ.

With something more recent like concentration camps/holocaust, do you think any game would even dare to go that far?
For example in HoI4, have an “imprisoned jews” counter that slowly but steadily keeps decreasing (for whatever reason not specifically spelled out), but gets a bump if you seize new territory, and you can “spend” 1000 of them to speed up any construction project?

Never. Gonna. Happen.

I’m not even sure a computer game could get away with implementing the example with negros you can import and then “spend”. This is far too realistic, already.


I think that if you really want to tackle the immoral aspect in slavery in games, some other mechanic should be used that doesn’t just involve taking away cheap labor. Point hit is too abstract.

Instead, you may find that some countries won’t trade with you. Also, as third world countries become independent, slave aren’t as easy to get, and at the same time you discover that your native population’s productivity is lower then average because they are a bunch of degenerates who relied on slavery all their life.