Interactions with other civilizations

by malinhustvedt

I was assigned the task to find parallels between the game and the real world around the topic interactions between other civilizations, and find factors that influence the relationship between me and other leaders. I have stated several similar  factors, and one factor that is more discreet in the game than in the real world.

Several factors affect my relationship with other leaders in the game. Culture, religion, resources and the area I own, are some of them. The resources or geographic area I own, can lead to conflict or cooperation. This depends on the other counterpart’s culture, and so it is in the real world as well.

Religion is an important factor in conflicts of value. If a civilization has another religion than I have, it could convince me to convert. Conflicts of value may occur if I refuse to convert. A conflict of value occurs because of moral disagreements, and that’s why conflicts are more common between different religions. So it is in the game, and one can draw parallels between the real world and the game.

There may occur war if the resources or the geographic area I own is interesting to other civilizations. Conflicts of interest are conflicts about distribution of a limited resource.

An example of a conflict of interest and a conflict of value is colonization. Even though Norway never was a great colonial power, people knew how to take advantage of their opportunities. The entrepreneur Thams and several other Norwegians took control over 40 000 natives in Mozambique. This conflict is considered as a conflict of interest because the Norwegians wanted slaves and land; resources. To start a slavery is possible in the game, as well as colonizing and conquer other civilizations. To be a colonial power is no longer a possibility in the real world, because it’s no longer legitimate among the population. If the majority of the population accepts something, it is considered legitimate. The Norwegian colonization of Mozambique took place over a hundred years ago, as well as the action in the game. The colonial power, which in this case was Norway, and the area that was colonized, Mozambique, did not have the same culture or religion. This can cause moral conflicts, also named conflicts of value.

It could be possible to start a cooperating relationship with another leader, if the civilization I interact with has a culture that implies the negative consequences of war. Trade is a good example of cooperation between countries, or civilizations. This way, both of the civilizations will get a part of a limited resource, without a conflict of interest. A trade agreement is normal and useful. Trade agreements are possible made in the real world as well. European Trade Organization was founded by Norway, Denmark, Portugal, Great Britain, Switzerland and Austria. Because of this agreement, the members have free trade. This will raise the trade between these countries especially. Trade agreements can help poor countries if they were to be included. Several countries have resources, but a lack of knowledge on how to take advantage of them. Free trade can be a good base to better their economy. This applies to the game, as well as the real world.

There are factors that exist in a smaller form, or not at all in the game, but do exist fully in the real world. Globalization is probably the one that affects us the most. Globalization is a term for an increasing level of interaction and affection between the world population. The word globalization describes an increasing “flow” across borders. In the real world, technology and mostly the Internet have increased the globalization. Internet does not exist in Civilization 4, but other technologies like the alphabet etc. do. This applied to the real world as well in this time period. Before the Internet, the globalization was lower, but it did exist. Letters, papers and books affects us the same way as the Internet, but in a much more discreet way.

There are several factors that affect the relationship between me and other leaders. These factors can lead to war or peace, conflict or cooperation. Norway’s current relationship with other countries is morally neutral, but it hasn’t always been this way. Colonization has been a problem, and so it is in the game. There are many parallels between the game and the real world, but globalization is not one of them in the same way as for example conflicts.


This text is based on my experiences with Civilization 4 and my knowledge within social science.