by Todd David Brady
The following rules are designed to permit more than one person
to play MPS Civilization. Ideally, these rules are designed for
3-6 players, though the rules structure places no particular upper
limit, and may indeed be suitable for even larger groups.
Each player will be in control of some of the cities in the
civilization being created by the players in the game. The
decisions regarding what each city builds and what to do with
the units created by those cities usually rests with the player
deemed in control of that city. The decisions affecting the entire
civilization, such as tax rates and type of government, are usually
made by a voting procedure. Each player has a number of votes
corresponding to his or her population points (the number appearing
in the city icon on the map). Additionally, the players will elect
some of their number to become the Diplomat and the Treasurer, along
with some other temporary positions explained below, and these persons
may also make decisions affecting the entire civilization (and
sometimes affecting the entire world!).
The net result of this structure is that each player has absolute
control over his cities and the units created by them, giving him
a certain degree of freedom to do as he pleases, including starting
wars (under despotism and monarchy), trading, deploying garrison or
sentry units, etc. This freedom is limited by the larger decisions
like government type, tax rates and treasury expenditures which must
be arrived at through the voting procedure. It will be possible for
players to sabotage the efforts of the civilization if he doesn't
like character of the overall decisions, or the general flow of the
other player's decisions regarding their own cities. However, groups
of uncooperative players may find that the computer-controlled
civilizations may grow more powerful than their civilization as a
result of their deleterious efforts and soon threaten the vitality
of the whole of the civilization they represent.
A player wins by having the largest number of votes at the end of
the game and by achieving either of the two ways for his civilization
to win: conquering the world or landing on Alpha Centauri.
2. Getting Started
The goal of this initial phase of the game is to wind up with every
player in control of at least one city as soon as possible. Since
most games start with only one or two settlers, the other players
must have the power to force the settler-owning players to build a
city, and to force that city to produce a new settler which they
can then control, and with which they can build their own city.
Before beginning, the players should select one of their number
to become the Treasurer, and another to be the Diplomat for your
team's civilization. This is normally done by voting, but since
no one has any population points at the start, these selections
should be made randomly. Of course, once a city is founded, the
player in control of that city has all the votes, and may immediately
elect himself to one of these positions. Since the Treasurer cannot be
the Diplomat, the player with the only city cannot be both, but he can
select who will hold the position he cannot.
Since the players' civilization has only one or two Settlers at the
start of the game, the players must decide, by whatever means, who
shall be in control of the starting unit. If there are two settlers
at the start of the game, each settler should be designated as under
the control of one of the players such that one person does not
control both of them. Designating control may be done by mutual
agreement or by random. Each player who does not control a settler,
and thus controls nothing at all in the beginning, shall be given a
priority level. The priority level shall determine among the non-owning
players who will have the right to force production of and assume
control of a newly- produced settler in the future, after the owning
players have founded cities. The priority levels shall be assigned
either randomly or by mutual agreement.
The player who starts with control of the first settler is responsible
for setting the tax rates, and may do so freely for as long as he
controls the only city or cities on the map. Once other players
control cities, setting the tax rates or determining the type of
government must be done by voting as described in the appropriate
section of these rules. If there are two setttlers at the start of
the game, one player should be designated the leader (by any means)
and will be responsible for setting the tax rate. The leader may set
the rates freely without reference to the other players.
The purpose of the priority level will be to designate in what order
the remaining players shall be given control of additional settlers
which will be later produced.
Example: There are three players and one settler at the start
of the game. One player is given control of the settler, the
other two players are designated priority one and priority two.
The player with the highest priority may force any player in control
of the starting city to produce a settler, but only if the starting
city has two or more population points. When the starting city produces
this settler, or at any time produces its first settler, the player
with the highest priority takes control of the settler and whatever
city is founded with it becomes his. Only one player with priority
may engage in this procedure at a time. After the player with the
highest starting priority has founded a city, the player with the
next highest priority may force any city with two or more population
points to produce a settler, which he may take control of upon
production. This process is repeated until each player has a city.
Once a player has his first city, that player's priorities are lost,
and if the player loses his only city he loses the game.
Note: the player who wishes to force production of a settler
should take note of the security of the civilization and the
surrounding area. If producing a settler (instead of, say, a
militia unit) will endanger the civilization, the player forcing
production may be responsible for everyone losing the game.
This is particularly true if your team is playing with alot
of computer civilizations and many of them are on your continent.
Additional Note: The player who has the right to force production of
a settler may use this right to extract promises from the players who
own cities, such as election as treasurer (see below), in return for
his forbearence regarding the production of a settler. These agreements
are not binding and completely negotiable.
If a player has forced production of a settler and/or has taken control
of a settler and lost the settler before founding his first city, he
retains his priority and may then use his priority again to gain control
of another settler, even one currently under the control of another
player (if he allowed a city-owning player to produce one which he
didn't assume control of).
3. Noble Domain
Each player has total control of each of his cities. Each player has
total control of the units produced by his cities, and of units which
are designated by the game as under the control of or originating from
any of his cities. Thus, enemy units which are bribed by a diplomat and
are designated by the game as originating from a player's city, are
under the control of the player who controls that city. It would be
possible for a diplomat produced by one player to bribe an enemy unit
which is near the city of another player, which the computer will
designate as under the control of or originating from the nearby city,
whereupon the player with control of that city will then own the unit
for all purposes. Bribing enemy units requires the approval of the
Treasurer (see below).
While playing the game, a player has no right to hide what he is
doing from the other players. Every player, or all the players,
may watch every other player at the screen and keyboard executing
the commands for their cities. This tends to discourage the
inadvertent(?!?) purchasing of units without Treasurer approval,
and, by the same token, discourage Treasurer corruption.
Correspondingly, there is no requirement that a player execute
his moves or commands only in the presence of the other players.
Mutual supervision is an option to be exercised only in the absence
of trust, presumably.
Players should keep a written record of which cities they control
and how many population points they currently have, and which of
their cities are in disorder. This should be done at the beginning
and end of every turn (The end turn option should be on).
Units may be traded between players. This may be done by moving the
unit to be traded to any city under the control of another player and
hitting the 'h' key. The unit information box will then show the new
'home' of the traded unit, and this unit will be owned by the player
who controls that city.
Players may lend units to one another without doing the above process,
but this requires careful track of the units on the map and it will be
easy to get confused as to who controls which unit. In the event of
doubt, the player who controls each unit is the player who controls
the city listed in the unit information box.
Players may establish new cities by creating a settler unit and
founding a new city. The new city is treated for all purposes as
under the control of the player who founded it. Players may also
aquire new cities by subverting enemy cities with one of their
diplomat units. This requires the approval of the Treasurer for
the expediture of gold pieces necessary to bribe the enemy city
Players may trade cities. Any player may agree to give one city
to another player, and such agreement is binding for all purposes
so long as it is intended to be of immediate effect, and the players
take action to change their lists of controlled cities. Agreements
made to trade cities at some time in the future are not binding.
If players agree to trade a city and immediately change their lists
to reflect the trade, the agreement cannot be revoked by one of the
players. A new agreement to trade cities, however, may be entered.
The important point regarding the trading of cities is that any
agreement to trade which is not effected immediately is a future
tense agreement and non-binding. A player cannot be forced to give
a city to another player on the basis of an agreement which was
made on a prior game-turn.
4. The Collective Good.
The following decisions in the game must be made by way of a vote
of all the players. Each player has a number of votes corresponding
to the total number of population points (the number appearing on
the face of each city icon on the map) of each of the cities under
his control. If a player's city is in disorder, the number of votes
attributable to that city cannot be counted by that player for any
purpose. In effect, a city is disorder is not counted in the voting.
It is important for players to keep careful track of their votes and
any disorder changing their votes, since at some points players will
not be able to look at the map to verify their totals.
The luxury, tax and science (LTS) rates:
The initial LTS rate is set by the player who controls the settler
at the start of the game. If there are two settlers at the start of
the game, one of the players in control of one of the settlers (or
the settler) is designated the leader (by any means) and that player
is responsible for setting the tax rate and may do so freely without
reference to the other players as long as he is the leader or controls
the only city. Once more than one player has a city, setting the LTS
rate becomes a matter for voting.
The voting procedure to set the LTS rate is to designate one player
to set the rate. A vote to designate a player to set the LTS rates
may only be called and implemented once per turn. The rate may only
be reset once per turn. Any player may be designated to set the LTS
rate, including the Treasurer or the Diplomat. Before the vote, the
players may discuss among themselves what rates they think are appropriate,
and following that the players will vote to designate one of them to
actually set the rate. The player selected is not bound to set the rates
at the levels he promised or led the others to believe, but he is in
control of the rates for that turn. Once the rate is reset, no more votes
on the subject may take place until next turn. Obviously, if a player
has a history of proposing rates and then reneging on his promises, he
will not be selected by the other players very often. Moreover, a vote
can be called the next turn which can reset the rates to those favored
by the other players. The vote to designate a player to set the rates
is done by simple majority. If no majority (50+%) is achieved, the rates
remain the same and cannot be changed.
Each time a technology to research must be picked, the players must
elect someone to make that selection. The choice of a person to make
that selection is based on plurality vote (whoever gets the most votes).
This is a temporary position, in effect only for that turn. The player
who is selected is not permitted to select the researched technology
next time, only for the current decision. For the purpose of choosing
the person to make the research selection only, the Treasurer's votes
count double. The Treasurer may vote for himself.
Note: This is one point in the game where up to date and well
maintained lists of the number of population points under the
control of the several players is critical. No opportunity will
be given by the game to check the map, so all voting must be based
on the players' up to date lists. If there is a dispute as to the
validity of any of the players' lists, the dispute should be noted.
At the first opportunity, the players should verify each player's
list and, if it turns out that one player got more votes on the subject
than that to which he was entitled, he shall be excluded from voting on
this subject the next 2 times.
Note: The rule about the Treasurer's votes makes the choice of
Treasurer problematic (see below). Players may tend to elect a
Treasurer who has lower than average population points to lessen
the effect of this rule. The rule is included because of the belief
that he who controls the purse strings should have a greater say in
how money is spent, and any money given to research counts as less
taxes and, therefore, money spent. Just ask Congress.
Any player may once per turn call for a revolution. Upon a 2/3
majority vote, a revolution is in progress and revolution must be
selected from the menu. The vote only concerns whether a revolution
will be carried out, not what type of government is to result, though
the players may discuss that before the vote.
Government: After a revolution has been carried out, after a few
periods of anarchy, at some point a box will appear asking the players
what type of government should be instituted. At this point, a vote
must occur to make this determination. This is another one of the
points where careful track of the cities in disorder will make or
break the validity of the game. When this box appears, players may
not look at their cites on the map to determine which are in disorder
and which are not; the game requires that a government type be selected,
and no browsing about the map is permitted. Moreover, a Revolution and
the ensuing anarchy usually entails disorder in some of the civilization's
Of the types of government available, each player should cast his
votes for one type, or may split his votes among the types. The type
of goverment receiving the most votes shall be selected as the new
government. This is not a majority vote; the government type getting
the most votes wins. In the event of a tie, the government form listed
closest to the top of the selection box among the types for which
there is a tie wins. For example, in a tie between Monarchy and
Republic, Monarchy wins. In a tie between Republic and Democracy,
Republic wins. In a three-way tie between Monarchy, Communism and
Despotism, Despotism wins because it is at the top of the list.
There are all kinds of opportunities in the Revolution/Government
selection process for player diplomacy, duplicity and deviousness.
A player may know, for example that his cities would do much better
under a republican form of government because he has provided plenty
of marketplaces, banks and the like which will make his citizens
happy under a republic. He may have towns which would greatly benefit
from the increased trade. His cities may be so well positioned for a
republic, in fact, that they will grow by one population point every
turn for some several turns or longer, elevating his power in the
voting procedures far above his compatriots. The player may also know
that the other players, or perhaps only the most powerful player, have
cities which are stable under the current form of government but which,
under anarchy, will be in disorder for several turns. Thus, armed with
this knowledge and some clever diplomacy, a player could vault from
being low man on the totem pole to the most powerful faction of his
civilization by convincing the others that a revolution is necessary
and then when the time came for government selection he would have
the largest block of votes and be able to select a republic, even
though under normal circumstances he was a minor faction.
Who Shall Have The Purse:
All treasury expenditures must be carried out by the Treasurer. The
players must appoint a Treasurer by majority vote. Once the treasurer is
elected, he holds a term of office for 5 turns. At the beginning of the
6th turn following the election of a Treasurer, a new vote may be called
at the request of any player, and a new Treasurer elected by majority
vote. A Treasurer may also be cashiered in the middle of his term.
A call to cashier a Treasurer may be made once per turn by any player,
but only one vote to cashier may be made each turn. Thus, while any
player can request a vote to cashier the Treasurer, once a vote
has been made, no other such calls can be made that turn. Obviously,
it will slow the game down if one of the players makes a call to
cashier a Treasurer every turn. Thus, the Treasurer should try
to make decisions which please everyone. Cashiering a Treasurer
requires a 2/3rds vote. The vote issue is whether the Treasurer
should be cashiered, not a vote for another player to be Treasurer.
Once a 2/3rds vote to cashier is achieved, a new vote to elect a
new treasurer must be made, except that the just cashiered Treasurer
is prohibited from being a candidate, though he may vote for
one of the other players (or abstain, if he wishes).
Expeditures and Corruption:
The other players may request that the Treasurer approve his purchases,
but the Treasurer is obligated only by his sense of what is the fiscally,
militarily or technologically responsible thing to do in each case.
Any player who purchases something in his city without the approval
of the Treasurer immedietely loses control of that city to the player
with the fewest population points, or, if such player was the violator,
to the next lowest. If the losing player loses his last city as a result
of the application of this rule, that player loses the game and is out
of the game for all purposes. If a player bribes an enemy city without
approval of the Treasurer, control of that city reverts to the control
of another player, and the violator loses control of one of his original
cities per the rule above. If a player bribes an enemy
unit without the approval of the Treasurer, he loses control of the
city to which the bribed unit is attached in accord with the rule above.
If the bribed unit has no city or is attached to a city not in the
control of the violator, the violator loses control of one of his cities
per the rule above, and the player with the smallest number of
population points gains control of the unit, or, if that player was
the violator, the next lowest.
A Treasurer cannot force another player to buy something which that
player does not want to buy, nor can the other players vote to force
a player to buy something he does not want to buy; remember the rule
of the Noble Domain. Finally, the other players cannot vote to force
the Treasurer to make any kind of purchase, they can only elect a new
Treasurer -- if they have the votes.
Corrupt Treasurers may purchase improvements or units in their own
cities without informing the other players, but they may, over time,
notice what is happening to the treasury and cashier him. If some
players are unhappy with the Treasurer but unable to force him out,
they may put all of their city workers into resource squares, instead
of trade squares, and refuse to build banks or marketplaces until the
Treasurer starts favoring them. Additionally, a player that cannot get
rid of an unscrupulous Treasurer may yet get himself appointed to set
the LTS rates and cut off the flow of funds to the treasury for a while.
As with city improvements or the purchase of units, subverting enemy
cities or bribing enemy units is the decision of the Treasurer. A city
which is subverted belongs to the player whose diplomat initiated the
bribery sequence. Which player controls bribed enemy units has been
Inevitably, the players' civilization must deal with the computer
civilizations. Interaction with the computer civilization must be
done by one of the players who has been elected Diplomat. The Diplomat
is in total control of all interaction so long as he is Diplomat.
Diplomat Selection: After more than one player has cities, the Diplomat
must be elected. The Diplomat cannot be the Treasurer. Election to
Diplomat is accomplished by plurality vote (whoever gets the most votes).
The Treasurer cannot run for or receive votes for the position of
Diplomat. The Diplomat can be selected only at the beginning of the
turn, not during the turn. Any player may call for a new vote for
Diplomat at the beginning of any turn, but once moves have been made
by player units, no vote can be called and whoever was Diplomat is
secure for that turn.
Note: Since the Treasurer cannot be the Diplomat, in the beginning of
the game the two players who have cities should simply split up the
jobs by agreement. Once three or more players have cities, there should
be a vote, assuming the other players wish to change the Diplomat.
Additional Note: The Diplomat has alot of power. He can, under
Despotism, Communism and Monarchy, start wars without consulting
the other players. Of course, the other players can also start wars
without declaring war by making a sneak attack or by bribing an enemy
city (with approval of the Treasurer), but it is more difficult than
simply insulting or ignoring computer emmisaries. The Diplomat also
can prolong wars and delay peace. Thus, the Diplomat should be a player
who clearly has the interests of the whole civilization at heart
The player who gets the first settler (in a game where the players'
civilization starts with only one settler) may appear to have a
tremendous advantage, since he can grow and quickly dominate all
the votes and, consequently, the appointments to Treasurer, Diplomat
and the other temporary positions. However, any advantage the first
player has is dissipated by the rights of the other players to force
production of settlers. The first player will find himself, early
in the game, forced into producing settlers instead of growing.
Subsequent players, those who build cities after the first player,
will usually not be burdened to this extent, and can focus more
upon growing (and thereby gaining votes and power). The net effect
of the rules regarding the first settlers is that by the time every
player finally has a city, there is probably some serious horse-trading
going on among the players; no one person has a clear advantage
resulting from sheer population point power.
After each player has a city, there will usually be a period of
peaceful development, as each player focuses upon their own domain,
free from the distractions of large treasuries or enemies. The break
usually comes when the players, or some of them, feel the need to
change goverments. Some players, who have cities well-sited for
trading, will want the more liberal forms of goverment, while those
resource rich will tend to opt for more monarchial or absolutist forms.
The players may then try to undercut each other in order to gain the
kind of government most advantageous to their faction, even to the
point of initiating wars or refusing to build useful road networks.
The players here must walk a fine line between helping their neighbor,
helping themselves, or placing the whole civilization at risk by devious
The crux of the game is that it removes the unified spirit that tends
to motivate single player games. The history of real civilizations is
one of the clash of competing interests, both internecine and
extra-national or cultural. Real civilizations have to deal with
seriously competing, even divided, interests within their own domain,
as well as external threats. The computer civilizations are generally
very good, but not as good as a unified human-controlled civilization.
The competition between players will reduce the efficiency of the
civilization in the short-run, but may acutally improve it in the
long run. (One of the factors behind this belief, aside from the
general idea that competition serves and benefits all, is that in
a single player game, after the civilization grows to encompass
many large cities and lots of units, the single-player's attention
becomes divided. He does not pay as much care and attention to each
of his cities as he did when he had only a few and the result is
that while the civilization itself becomes large and powerful, the
individual cities could generally be run more efficiently by persons
who had only a few or a portion of them to care for.) It is in the
short run that the players' competition with each other runs the
risk of catastrophic ruin at the hands of a computer-controlled
civilization. It is certainly more interesting.
Winning the game is problematic. It will be rare that a single
player in a multi-player Civ game has the power to conquer the
world single-handed or reach Alpha Centauri on his own, without
the assistance of either research or production from the cities
of other factions. Civilizations which have been characterized
by acrimony among the factions, but which have nevertheless
succeeded in reaching the modern era, will probably be unable
to muster the necessary cooperation to achieve either. The players
may attempt to conquer the world, but if attempted in the same
acrimonious way as has characterized their civilization, they will
probably fail. Reaching Alpha Centauri is probably easier for
multi-player Civs, but it requires massive cooperation if not
acutally quixotic goodwill on the part of some. Some players
may realize that there is no way for them to win if they cooperate,
leaving those who stand a chance for victory in a quandary. In the
final analysis, it may be better to lose as part of a victorious
civilization, than to lose as part of a losing civilization. Think
of it as a consolation prize, of no small achievement.
Send comments to:
Todd David Brady
842 Maxwell Dr
Niskayuna, NY 12309