General Information

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Sid Meier is a game designer who seems to have dedicated his life to doing two things:  letting you be the boss, and getting you addicted to his games.  Civilization IV is the latest installment of the legendary strategy game that lets you build a society from scratch and take over the world, all without leaving your office chair.  The Civilization series is often copied, but episode 4 gives every contender a reason to go back to the drawing board.

If you’ve never played a Civilization game before, this is a good time to start.  The game can be a bit tough to learn, but once you get the hang of it, you will not find a more complete strategy game on the marketplace. Civilization IV lets you develop your society by focusing on one, some, or all of the core disciplines:  science, culture, religion, military, industry.  Think of the game as a colorful and vibrant ant farm, where the ants look like people and your little pets can be building a glorious, advanced empire in a matter of hours.

Plan Ahead.  No, Seriously
If you start building an armory in Civilization IV and change your mind 99% of the way through the project, you are seriously out of luck.  Unlike Civ 1 through 3, production points can no longer be transferred between projects in mid-stream.  If you want to stop building that new temple, and have your heart now set on a sports complex, you will have to start from scratch, even if you abandon your other mission.  To make efficient use of your production points, think before you start a new building project.

Draw a Line in the Sand
New in Civilization IV is the option to create strong borders around your empire.  If you select this option, you will not have to worry about random cultures wandering onto your land to build new settlements.  With borders on, only warring states will try to cross into your territory.  The thing to be careful about is maintaining friendly relations with civilizations across the border.  Harsh border policy and frequent refusals to fulfill neighbor’s requests may lead to you being isolated in an unfriendly world.  Neighbors with a grudge might spark war on your borders.

Get Some Culture
Strong armies can always be helpful in a Civilization game, but developing your civilization’s culture can make world domination a lot easier.  Feed your citizens with plenty of cultural amenities, like museums and churches, and you may find your cities growing big and strong without need for much warfare.  Another bonus of culture-building in Civilization IV is the new “great person” feature.  This special unit, like the “great artist”, can give you bursts of development and make your civilization more influential when dealing with your neighbors.

One Civilization Under God
You can soften resistance at the edges of your domain by making sure that you and your neighbors share the same religion.  Build cities in line with nearby religions, or try to convince other societies to adopt your chosen beliefs.  The religion feature in Civilization IV is new, and won’t affect the entire game, but it can be used as an extra tool to shape your diplomatic efforts.

Time Flies When You’re Taking Over the World
Civilization IV departs from previous versions by letting you set the speed at which the game is played.  Select epic mode to play the game through as you watch your fingernails grow, or opt for quick mode to conquer a world in between meetings.  You can always split the difference on normal mode.  Quick mode can take it’s name very seriously, making the game a bit less satisfying for the intense strategist.

You might be surprised to notice that Civ IV does not take in-game time as seriously as it’s predecessors.  You no longer have to develop your society’s technology “in order”.  Past versions of the game made sure that the iron age could not come before the fire age, but now you can dabble around the timeline, developing new technology as the mood strikes you.

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
Hardcore strategy gamers will sometimes want to control every tiny aspect of building up their empire.  If this detail-oriented style of play does not suit you, remember to use the game’s built-in automation.  The computer can be set to handle menial tasks like border defense or assigning labor units to deal with minor repairs, leaving you to deal with the only the grandest, big ticket projects.

Punch the Keys
Civilization games are known for an extremely complex menu, resulting in options being squeezed into tiny buttons on your dashboard.  Learn how to use the keyboard instead of the mouse for routine or repetitive actions.  Even if you’re just looking to play the game casually, you’ll move through it a lot faster if you get to know the keyboard shortcuts, rather than hunting across the screen for each menu icon.

Cheat codes in Civilization IV require you to edit a game file.  Create a backup copy of the file before proceeding. Use a text editor to edit the "civ4config" file in the game folder. Change the "CheatCode = 0" line to "CheatCode = chipotle". While playing a game, press ~ to display the console window. Enter one of the following codes to activate the corresponding cheat function:
Code:                                                                                      Description:
help                                                                                        Display all console window codes
Player.changeGold [player number], [gold]                                Change players gold; 0 is active player
Player.setGold [player number], [gold]                                      Set players gold; 0 is active player
Sound.noMusic                                                                        Stop music
Sound.reload                                                                           Reload audio scripts
Sound.stopSoundScape                                                            Stop Soundscape from playing string [filename]                                                     Play sound - AS2D, AS3D, ASSS
Graphics.FindBlackPlotsAndCities                                            Finds entities with black emissivity
Graphics.HideAttachables                                                        Hide attachables
Graphics.ForceLightingUpdate                                                 Force light update on all entities
Graphics.ReBuildTerrain                                                          Rebuild terrain and lighting
Graphics.SetHillScale [floating number]                                    Set Hill scale
Graphics.SetPeakScale [floating number]                                  Set Peak scale
Graphics.setWaterHeight [floating number]                               Set water plane height
Graphics.quadTreeDepth [integer]                                            Set render depth for quad tree
Graphics.toggleWater                                                              Toggle water
Graphics.displayTerrain bool bOn                                             Display terrain
Graphics.toggleGridMode                                                         Toggle grids
Graphics.showTexturePalette                                                   Dump texture palette
Graphics.setTextureMode bool bOn                                          Set texturing
Graphics.setWireframe bool bOn                                              Set wireframe
Profile.morphGlobe [integer]                                                    Morph the globeview count times.
Profile.rebuildCity [x coordinate], [y coordinate], [integer]          Rebuild city indicated number of times
Profile.rebuildPlot [x coordinate], [y coordinate], [integer]          Rebuild plot indicated number of times

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General Information

Ask for help in the comments below!