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The Possible Leaders for the British

Sid Meier’s Civilization has undergone several iterations over the years, but the core format has remained the same. The popular turn-based strategy game mixes history with dark humor & open-ended gameplay. The results can get wacky, with civilizations often extending far beyond their historical duration or interactions between leaders that were hundreds or thous&s of years apart. It can lead to the Sumerians starting a nuclear war… with G&hi. For some, this mixing & matching of history might be immersion-breaking & jarring, but for many players it is all part of the fun.


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Each civilization a playable historical figure who acts as the “leader.” While the game might not follow their life exactly, their real-life accomplishments are often used as an inspiration for gameplay. Although not yet confirmed, the popularity of the series does make Civilization VII a possibility. That leaves the obvious question of what historical figures might make good leaders. In the case of the British, this has usually been a king or queen. Elizabeth I was featured in Civilization V, while Queen Victoria appeared in VI. But there are many historical figures that could lead the British in Civilization VII.

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5/5 Henry V

Historical Context

Monarchies seem to have a history of not being very creative with names, as can be seen in the history of British royalty- throughout the middle ages & into the Renaissance there were eight different kings named Henry. The best-known today is probably the last one, Henry VIII, but the second-most iconic would probably be Henry V. The story of Engl&’s “warrior king” was popularized by Shakespeare’s dramatization Henry V, which heavily influenced later depictions. Henry V’s Enormous claim to fame was starting a ruthless military campaign against France, during which he managed to conquer most of it despite rampant disease & his own men literally sinking in mud.

In-Game

Considering his reputation as a warrior king, Henry V should be tailored to players interested in military conquest. His famous story of battling through France when the odds were stacked against him could be the basis for an in-game special ability. A simple way to do it would be a combat strength bonus for units when they are outnumbered or outgunned, balanced with the cost of a defense penalty. The idea would be that outnumbered combat units can do significantly more offensive damage than normal but with the trade-off that they take damage a lot more easily. Depending on the players’ tactics this could either be a tremendous advantage or a crippling weakness.

4/5 Henry VIII

Horrible Histories Henry VIII Cropped

Historical Context

Henry VII is probably one of the most iconic British monarchs in history. He is easily recognizable, & his exploits have been dramatized on many occasions. Perhaps the most infamous story is how he went through six different wives, two of whom he beheaded, all in pursuit of a male heir. But he is also known for his campaign to replace Catholicism as Engl&’s state religion, mainly so he could justify divorcing his first wife. The lengths he went to were brutal, to the point where he was robbing Catholic monks & selling off stolen artifacts. He also took part in a number of wars that backfired in various ways.

In-Game

Obviously, it would be hard to incorporate Henry VIII’s marriage history into a Civilization game, but his interest in religion could certainly be a source of inspiration. One of the various tactics players can use in Civilization is creating & spreading a religion- & getting that religion into other players’ civilizations, something Henry VIII would not be thrilled about. The logical ability for Henry VIII would therefore be a resistance to influence from other religions, especially after the player has created one of their own. This would create a challenge for anyone looking to get a religious victory in the game.

3/5 Oliver Cromwell

Horrible Histories Oliver Cromwell Cropped

Historical Context

During the reign of Charles I, he was in constant conflict with the British parliament over the extent of his power. He wanted absolute authority while parliament wanted to reign him in. Things eventually escalated into what became the English Civil War, during which Cromwell led the “roundheads-” a faction that sought to remove Charles I & replace him with a king-free government. This effort succeeded in 1651, when Charles was captured & publicly executed. Oliver Cromwell then took office & attempted to reform the British government, though some would argue he was basically a king in all but name.

Unfortunately, for Engl&, Cromwell was also a devout Puritan- a Protestant-derived form of Christianity that in its simplest form saw anything fun as evil. All popular forms of recreation were banned. Music, theater, sports, & even celebrating Christmas were all made illegal under Cromwell. This made him extremely unpopular, & ultimately resulted in his reforms being thrown out in favor of fully restoring the monarchy, ironically putting the son of the man Cromwell killed on the throne.

In-Game

Due to his notorious Puritanical beliefs, the logical direction to take Cromwell would be as a leader who prioritizes faith & the institution of a state religion. This could include bonuses to faith output, maybe even a headstart on other players &/or discounts on faith-based purchases. Cromwell’s puritanism could also be reflected in his interactions with other civilizations. Players who do not put enough focus on religion or too much emphasis on recreation may receive criticism from him, possibly to the point of him declaring the player corrupt & going to war.

If they really wanted to reflect Cromwell’s values, the game could experiment with disabling recreational production all together. This would mean that anyone playing as Cromwell would be unable to build a theater square or entertainment complex, requiring them to find less obvious means of producing amenities for citizens or to earn their loyalty through faith.

Due to his major part in the English Civil War, the obvious unique unit for Cromwell would be a roundhead soldier, possibly replacing the man-at-arms or the musketman.

2/5 Charles II

Horrible Histories Charles II Cropped

Historical Context

Oliver Cromwell’s attempts at a King-free Engl& were so poorly received that many began to wonder if getting rid of Charles I was really such a great idea. When Cromwell died, his reforms were thrown out in favor of a full-on monarchy restoration that ironically instated the son of the man Cromwell overthrew, thus beginning the reign of Charles II. He probably was not the greatest King Britain ever had, but at the time he seemed to many a huge step up from his predecessor. This was probably helped by him undoing Cromwell’s attempts to ban fun, but he did make some major strides during his reign.

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In-Game

Charles II would make a good alternate for Oliver Cromwell. Where Cromwell famously hated fun, Charles II would be the opposite. As a leader, a lot of Charles II’s talent would be winning his citizens over through entertainment & recreation. This could Advance in the form of advantages on building recreational spaces. Perhaps entertainment complexes & theaters could cost less or be constructed faster than they would for other leaders, or they could produce amenities at a faster rate when completed. Of course, this would also impact his interactions with other leaders-he would probably be more critical of leaders who fail to provide adequate recreational opportunities.

Considering his background & connections to the English Civil War, the obvious choice for a unique unit would be a cavalier- possibly as a replacement for the knight or musketman.

1/5 Winston Churchill

Horrible Histories Winston Churchill Jim Howick Cropped

Historical Context

Britain has had a lot of famous monarchs, but not all of its great leaders were kings or queens. Some were elected officials. The most famous of these would be Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who was a major figure in British politics through both World Wars & the start of the Cold War. But he is probably best known for his time as Prime Minister during the Second World War, during which Britain was faced with the encroaching Nazi regime. Though it is far from the only factor in play, one cannot deny the impact Churchill’s leadership had on turning the war around. Although he was voted out of office shortly after the war ended, he is still remembered as one of Britain’s greatest prime ministers. Civilization has often used monarchs to represent Britain, so a prime minister might be a nice change.

In-Game

Churchill’s most famous accomplishment was his role in inspiring his country to fight back against overpowering odds. In a Civilization game, this could translate into an ability that offers an advantage whenever another country declares war on Britain. A simple way to do it would be to have an increased rate of production for military units, or a bonus to combat strength while on the defensive. Churchill would have to be the kind of leader who would normally avoid declaring war but is always prepared to fight back if provoked. His agenda would have to be based on being prepared for invasion, which might leave him critical of players that do not prioritize their armies.

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