TL;DR – Every single feature of Civilization Franchise (at time of posting) in one Map
Civilization: Full Map
I have been making pop culture Maps for quite a while now, but it all started when I thought it would be fun to map Civilization VI back in 2017. Since then, how I create maps has shifted and changed and dramatically improved, as has the Map I use. With the Vietnam/Portugal map being the probable last update from Civilization 6, there was a sense of completion, but also a feeling that there was one thing left I needed to do. So, I ad a random thought one day “Could I fit all of Civilization into one map?” After many months of work, I can say that “yes, yes you can” well barely, looking at you, Mesopotamia.
With that in mind, today we have a 30th Anniversary present, or Christmas present, or a combination of both. We have every feature of Civilization, Civilization II, Civilization III, Civilization IV, Civilization V & Civilization VI. This includes civilizations, cities, world wonders, natural wonders, city-states, and geographical features.
As always, a couple of notes before we start, first the Civilization boundaries on the Map are based more on clarity than anything else, so in most cases, they conform to their modern counterparts. We have also worked using the commonly implemented political borders, not necessarily what nations claim, and this means making some judgement calls which you will see below. Also, while all attempts have been made to ensure that everything is accurately placed, putting this together meant working from multiple sources, map projections, and sometimes not firm locations. As such, no matter how much you try, there might be some slight discrepancies here and there. We will be mostly going over the new additions and changes to the Map in this update. If you want to learn more about some of the location choices that we made, you can find more detail in our First Full Civilization Big Map and out Gathering Storm Update Map.
With North America, you will see one of the first significant changes we made with this Map, namely the Wonders. We used the in-game graphics for each of the wonders in previous maps, and I had planned to continue with this in the current Map. I had thought that the issue with this would be space on the Map. However, the big problem was the clashing art styles that would create an issue, and then there are those wonders that only appeared on city screens in the early game. With that in mind, I decided to depict them with an abstract symbol. My first thought was to use the Greek Alpha and Omega, but while the Omega looks nice, I forgot that the Alpha looks like a regular ‘A’. I wondered what I would replace it with since Only Connect bought out the contract on the Eye of Horus. When I stumbled upon the Phoenician alphabet, and their Aleph worked perfectly.
Indigenous North America
With the addition of all the civilizations from past games, I was able to add all the Indigenous peoples from across North America that have been in past games, including the Sioux, Iroquois, and the Shoshone, as they appear in the game. However, while these are good additions, given that Civilization is a franchise that is now 30 years old, that means that there are some more uncomfortable aspects in its past. One of those we can see here is when the game introduced a blob Native America Civilization in Civilization IV. On the one hand, having locations from across the continent is good. However, representing all of Indigenous America as the one blob is more than frustrating. Civilization has gotten better when engaging with indigenous groups, but there is still a long way to go.
One of the more depressing aspects of making this map was adding many of the locations from Indigenous America. I decided to read up on the sites because I don’t have as much knowledge of First Nations Americas as I would like. Well, I discovered the words “and it was used to make a highway” on more than one occasion, which is just appalling (note: I am Australian, and as such, I have no high moral ground here).
Central America & The Caribbean
When it comes to Central America, not a lot has changed from our Civilization VI map. However, there is one quirk here that you can see with the Maya. Each Mayan civilisation iteration has had a different capital, which you can see in purple.
When putting the Map together, I worked with the Full Civilization VI Map and went backwards in time, which meant a lot of Excel spreadsheets of cities. Once the duplicated and Civ 6 cities were removed, I had the list of all the cities that needed to be added. For most civilizations with more than two entries in the franchise, the average was between 30 and 50 cities. On the extremes, we had India with over 100 entries, and on the other, we had Brazil that had … 1 new entry.
When I came into this project, I knew there would be, well as they call them in my professional life, “pressure points”. I knew Mesopotamia would be a problem, even some of the smaller European States. I didn’t know that my first major issue was going to come from England. Across the island, we have cities for England, Scotland, Celts, Rome, and The Vikings all smashing together. All of this meant that for the first time, I had to reduce the size of the city names for the first time in doing these maps (though not the last time in this Map).
With our look across Scandinavia, we get to see Finland filled out a bit more with past Swedish city lists and the addition of Denmark back into the mix. But it also led to a question about adding the ‘blob’ civilizations that used to be a mainstay of the franchise. In Europe, these have appeared with The Celts, The Vikings, and the Holy Roman Empire. While there was space to get one version of The Celts to fit, the other two were more of an issue. The vast majority of the territory implied by The Vikings is already taken by the more appropriate constituents in Norway, Denmark, and Sweden. So to have them still on the Map, I added their cities (which the vast majority already appeared on other city lists), but their territory is more implied.
Moving into Central Europe, we find the next area I was rightly concerned about before starting. I had been struggling with that region just with one Civilization’s Germany. Indeed I had to put all of the Netherlands into an insert just to make it work. Well, I did manage to fit it all in … just.
Before we dive into the whole Europe map, I wanted to take a moment to look at what is probably the most crowded area on the entire Map. On the shores of The Mediterranean, we have Spain, France, Rome, Holy Roman Empire, Venice, Macedon, Greece, Byzantium, The Ottomans, Persia, Hittite, Phoenicia, Babylon, Egypt, Arabia, Carthage, Morocco, and the multiple City-States and Extra Cities. It would be impossible to represent all the overlapping territories, as you would also have to include The Mongols, England, Assyria, and Austria. Look, a lot is going on here.
One area where Civilization has focused in the past is Europe. Here we have the entire continent, and I was honestly surprised just how much grey there ended up being. Yes, if we moved to borders to their greatest extent, then it might be a bit different, but there is still space in there. Like maybe give Finland a chance. Though, on one note, I was able to find (with help) every city or at least be reasonably sure I have every city on this Map. Well, every city but one. At the time of writing, I do not know where the Spanish city ‘Mida’ is. I have looked, I have searched, I have asked, I have begged, and it still alludes me.
Nile River Valley
Possibly still the longest river in the world, I’m not going to get into that particular fight. In Civilization, it housed three different civilizations with Egypt, Nubia, and Ethiopia. It is the latter that cause me the most problems. In past iterations, it has oscillated between modern interpretations of Ethiopia, and others have been the Aksum Empire. I went back and forth on which one to represent and settled on the contemporary interpretation. However, I may go back and change it again later.
Another area I need to work on is representing the overlapping empires of Mali and Songhai. I went with a sort of the halfway point that would still represent most of the core territories of each side, though as you can see from the city list, there is a lot of overlap.
If there is one area on the Map that still looks barren, even with all six games added, it is Africa. While later Civilization games have tried to fix this, there is clearly a lot of work that still needs to be done.
Of all the additions and changes to the Map, I do have to apologise to The Ottomans because they got the most short-changed. With the addition of the Hittite and the Assyrians, big chunks of central and southern Anatolia had to go. But in this, we do have a winner, with the one city that appears across more civilizations than any other. It has gone by Nicopolis, Angora, Ankuwa, Ancyra, and now Ankara, but it has appeared on the Hittite, Rome, Byzantium, Celts and Ottoman City lists. Antioch might also be a contender, depending on if you count it being a city-state as well. Okay, also maybe Allepo, but like one of three, okay I think there are only three.
I am not the first to link Mesopotamia with a mess, not shall I be the last, but boy, was this one a struggle. Of all the map locations, this is the one where the city locations being just a guide rings the truest. Putting aside the crowded nature of the overlapping Assyria, Babylon, and Sumeria (as well as those other empires that have controlled the Fertile Crescent at some point). This was the one area where you have changing river courses, canals that no longer exist, a radically different coastline, and locations that are sometimes just “sort of 20km south of Baghdad”. One day I might go back and completely fix it all up, but for the moment, please take the “it’s close enough” with all the best intentions I can give.
The Middle East
The realm of many empires. If we were to show them, all the Map would be illegible, well more so than it already is. A large chunk of the World Wonders in the franchise can be found here. You can see the roads of trade, the roads of civilization, the roads of war, the roads of religion, all things the game has charted over the last 30 years. But then I look at this Map and remember we have no idea who the Sea People were, and thus there is so much more to learn.
An empire, a nation, a continent, a bit of both? Russia is many things. It is the yellow blob that dominates the Map, it might have the most geographically dispersed locations in the game, and yet it feels like even though it has been in every game, that we are still only just scratching the surface of it.
The Subcontinent and Central Asia
As I mentioned, the civilization with the most additions was not one of the blob civs, though the Celts came the closest. It was India that took that prize. Over a hundred new additions across the continent, yet there feels like there could be so much more. It was also interesting to see as I progressed just how many Central Asian cities made the Map, given that we have never had a civilization from that region before. Indeed, nearly every major city of Afghanistan made the cut in some form.
Peninsular South-East Asia
Of all the regions I was expecting not to stump me, I thought it would be here, but adding Siam was a surprising struggle. For a civilization based on a river, a river I had already added, of which I thank past-me. I thought it would be an easy endeavour. I was wrong. I am not sure why I struggled, but I had to take three cracks at it before I was happy.
In my last update of the Civilization 6 map, the only edit I made outside of the new additions was to revamp Japan. This decision paid dividends for me when it came time to update this Map because it gave me the space to add everything I needed. As well as this, it was also good to see North Korea get a little more filled out, because that was one of the surprising omissions from the Korean civilization in Civ 6.
Asia in all its glory. Looking at it, it feels both dense and Spartan. Part of this is because a lot of the continent is a known quantity, and you know that in a Civilization game, you will get China, India, Korea, Japan, and the Mongols at some point. But then, it is also an area where we don’t see the same experimentation that we got in Europe and North America. Maybe in the future, we can have India and the Mughal Empire, or Srivijaya and Majapahit at the same time.
There are not many changes this time around for this region, but hey, call it a soft sport, or call it nepotism, but I still wanted to add it.
With all the additions to this Map, I was surprised that I didn’t make more base changes to the Map. There were a couple of tweaks here and there, but nothing major. Well, except when it came to The Pacific region or Oceania, if you feel like you need a couple of lemon, lime and bitters. It soon became apparent that not only did I need to expand my Polynesia insert, but I needed to add Micronesia as well. The only problem, the Polynesia insert was currently where I needed to add Micronesia. This led to me moving Polynesia to the other side of the Map and building Micronesia from scratch.
However, when I needed to put this Map together, the dividing line became quite inconvenient. Curse trying to depict a 3D object in 2D space. So I am well aware that this Map is jank in many respects. But also because it is so jank, I kind of love it even though I can see its flaws.
Here it is, the whole world in all its glory. This is a map that, on the one hand, took a couple of months to put together, but then also, it has been a map that I have been working on now for several years. So is this the last Map I will make for Civilization? Probably not. But there is a little relief that this chapter is now coming to a close.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
Have you seen any odd maps in Movies, TV or Video Games?, let us know in the comments below, feel free to share this review on any of the social medias and you can follow us Here. Check out all our past reviews and articles Here, and have a happy day.
– The World Map that we used as a base several iterations ago was created by ‘San Jose’ which is shared with a Creative Commons Licence.
– The Nation detail maps America, Antarctica, Australia 1, Australia 2, Canada, Caribbean, China, Cook Islands, Europe Relief, Fiji, French Polynesia, Gilbert Islands, Germany, Greece, Hawaii, Italy, Japan, India, New Zealand, Netherlands, Northern Mariana Islands, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Micronesia, Samoa, Scandinavia, South Africa, Spain, Taiwan, Tonga, Valley of Mexico & Vietnam that we used for reference were shared with a Creative Commons Licence or was in the public domain. They were originally created by Aotearoa, Alexrk2, Antigoni, E Pluribus Anthony, Fut Perf, Htonl, Koyos, L. Claudel, Li Chao, Maximilian Dörrbecker, NASA, NgaViet, NordNordWest, Shadowfox, Silver Spoon, Szczureq, Tubs, Tyk, Yavidaxiu & Yug.
– The River Maps Amazon, Amu Darya, Amur, Aras, Colorado, Columbia, Congo, Danube, Dnieper, Don, Elbe, Fraser, Horn of Africa Rivers, Indus, Karun, Kizilirmak, Kuban, Lena, Liao, Limpopo, Loire, Mackenzie, Mekong and Irrawaddy, Niger, Nile, Ob, Okavango, Pearl, Rhein, Río de la Plata, Sefīd, Saint Lawrence, São Francisco, Syr Darya, Tarim, Tigris and The Euphrates, Vistula, Volga, Yangtze, Yellow, Yenisei, Yukon & Zambezi that we used as a guide for this Map was shared with a Creative Commons Licence or in the Public Domain. They were originally created by СафроновАВ, DEMIS, Emma Pease, Francis McLloyd, Hel-Hama, Imagico, Keenan Pepper, Kmusser, MatthiasKabel, Qyd, Shannon1, Sting, Ulamm & The United Nations.
Disclosure – I am a moderator on the site Civfanatics of which several staff and players are members of the ‘Frankenstein Testing Group’, Firaxis Games internal playtesting team. I am not part of this team, nor do I have any links with Firaxis Games or 2K.