Sid Meier’s Civilization series is a turn-based strategy game based on real world history. There are five major installments in the series.

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ESRB Ratings






Note: for expansion ratings, check out the ESRB site. All Civilization games and expansions are rated either E or E+10.

Sex, Drugs & Rock n’ Roll

Substance Use: The opium trade is referenced in a historical context.

Violence: Mild, bloodless, bird’s-eye-view battles are depicted.


Players may save whenever they wish. However, there is a tutorial option in Civilization V that cannot be saved.

Story & Themes

The Civilization series delves deep into real-world historical occurrences. Historical leaders such as Queen Elizabeth II, Gandhi, and George Washington lead their countries in war, trade, and diplomacy. Countries aim to build famous “wonders of the world,” including human achievements such as the Great Pyramids and the NASA Space Program. Parents should know that not all aspects of Civilization are fully accurate, particularly because of the players’ strategic decisions and their consequences.  However, they’re a great series of games to introduce kids to a variety of historical concepts and events, as well as critical, strategic thinking. Civilization is used in many classrooms for these reasons.

Conversation Starters

  • Think about how the actions of individual leaders can influence the course of world history. What happens if a world leader is a bad person? What if a leader has a mental illness?
  • Do you think leaders have to think just about war and peace with other countries, or are there other considerations? For instance, what if their soldiers are hungry? What do you think would happen?
  • What do think about the impact of scientific and technological advances on the course of world history? What happens when one group of people discovers something before another group? Does that make that group “better,” or do they just have better resources?
  • What kind of advantages does access to resources give to people?
  • If a country is strong at one time, does that mean it will always be powerful? What are some factors that might take away from their advantage over time?
  • Why do you think people go to war with each other?


Civ, short for civilization, is the term often used to refer to the Civilization series (e.g., “I play Nebuchadnezzar II in Civ V.”)


This article was written by

Keezy is a gamer, illustrator, and designer. Her background is in teaching and tutoring kids from ages 9 to 19, and she's led workshops for young women in STEM. She is also holds a certificate in teaching English. Her first memory of gaming is when her dad taught her to play the first Warcraft when she was five. You can find her at Key of Zee and on Twitter @KeezyBees.