Gaming WorkshopRules for Civilized War

When I was a lad, way back in the days of Ronald Reagan's first presidency, I saw some guys at GenCon playing a game of Avalon Hill's Civilization, but with all kinds of wacky building and army pieces all over it. There were roads and fortifications and soldiers; it looked pretty cool. I don't know what rules they used, but years later, I thought up these additions to incorporate warfare with detailed battles into the game. Whether or not it makes sense to have tactical combat in a game where a turn lasts centuries is another matter.

Rules for Civilized War

(These rules are incomplete.)

1. Summary

This document describes rules for adding military units and warfare to Avalon Hill's classic board game Civilization. It would require extra cards for advancements and a set of counters for the units and constructions of each civilization.

Military units are treated similarly to ships, with taxes or levies being used to build and subsequently maintain them. Ship rules change slightly, as ships are considered a type of military unit (though still used to transport population tokens). Population tokens can no longer be used to attack enemy cities; instead military tokens must be used. There are also rules for conflict among military units, which are resolved on a small battleboard. Conflict among population tokens still takes place, and the presence of military tokens in the same area can affect the outcome. Roads may be constructed to expedite the movement of military tokens and to some degree that of population tokens.

2. Military Units

Military units are constructed and maintained in the same phase that was once reserved for ship construction and maintenance. Each type of unit has its own cost, and most can only be constructed by civilizations posessing a specific technology.

Each unit has a movement class, which determines its speed on both the mapboard and the battleboard, as well as certain other restrictions. Units can be armored, in which case attacks against them suffer a penalty. Each also has an attack hit number, defense hit number, and possible ranged attack hit number.

3. The Battleboards

Battles are fought on one of three battleboards - the open ground battleboard, the siege battleboard, or the naval battleboard. Each has slightly different arrangements of spaces or special rules.

4. Changes to the Game Round

There are considerable changes to the game round to accomodate the new military tokens.

1. Collect Taxation (Revolts)

Whenever a revolting city changes hands, all military tokens in the same area and owned by the same player also change hands. If the receiving player doesn't have the tokens to claim them, they are lost.

2. Population Expansion

There is no change to the population expansion rules.

3. Census

The census is conducted only on population tokens. Military tokens do not factor in the census.

4. Construct Ships (Remove Surplus Ships)

This phase becomes the "Construct Units (Remove Surplus Units)" phase. The rules for maintaining ships are no longer used, though they do still cost two taxes or units to build.

Units are constructed by paying for them with taxes or levies. At this phase, mercenary units can be purchased with gold trade cards.

Units are maintained by paying one token (tax or levy, again) for every three units, including ships. This changes to one for every five for civilizations with Coinage. Any units not maintained are removed from the mapboard. A player may have at most three units per city at the end of this phase; excess units are removed from the mapboard (even if maintained). This changes to four or five units per city if certain Civilization cards are posessed.

(Missing are rules for building roads and fortifications.)

5. Movement

This phase is now divided into two subphases-

5A. Regular movement phase

A normal movement phase of population tokens proceeds, using the regular rules.

5B. First Military Campaign Phase

Players move their armies in order of largest to smallest army (with A.S.T. order breaking ties). Ships can carry military tokens instead of population tokens, up to five at a time. Ships may only move military tokens if they did not move population tokens in phase 5A.

After all players have moved, there is a chance for any armies in the same area to declare battle against other armies, or siege against cities. Armies on ships can do the same. (There need to be rules for three or more players, alliances included.)

Battles are fought on a battleboard, for as many battle turns as it takes for one army to retreat off the board or to be eliminated.

(What are the combat rules?)

6. Conflict

Conflict for population tokens proceeds.

In this phase, as well as in phase 8, it is possible to use military tokens to reduce the population limit of an area to one half, rounded up. This is done after the bonus for Agriculture is factored. To do this, a player must have three or more units of certain types, providing no other player's military tokens are in the same area. In the latter case, the other player may prevent the reduction if he has at least three units. However, only some types of units may cause this reduction - legion, cavalry, elephants, and mercenary (any type may prevent the reduction).

7. Build Cities

Players may not build cities in an area inhabited by enemy military tokens without that enemy's permission, unless occupying the same area with more military tokens. If multiple enemies' tokens are present, the player building a city only needs to exceed the number of tokens owned by the enemy with the most tokens, not the total of all the enemies' tokens.

8. Remove Surplus Population (Reduce Unsupported Cities)

As in phase 6, players may reduce the population limit of an area using armies.

9-10. Trade

There is no effect on trade caused by military units in play.

11. Acquire Civilization Cards (Return Excess Trade Cards)

There are two new civilization cards-

Riding - orange (craft), costs 80, needed for Cavalry, Elephants

Tactics - green (science), costs 110, needed for Captain

12. Resolve Calamities (Reduce Unsupported Cities)

Military units effect or are affected by all of the calamities.

Volcanic Eruption or Earthquake

Any military units in an area affected must make a morale check or be destroyed.


In every area in which losses are taken from Famine (by any player), each player with military tokens in that area must lose two.

Civil War

Any armies in the same area as a city taken over by another player are also taken over by the same player. If a player doesn't have the tokens to claim them they are lost. Any armies in areas without cities remain in the original player's control, even if all his population tokens in the area change hands.


Military tokens on flood plain areas may be used to exclude the area from the flood; there must be at least three of the correct type. The types useable are militia, phalanx, legion, and garrison. They may not be used to spare cities on white city spaces. Military tokens are never lost because of Floods.


In every area in which losses are taken from Epidemic (by any player), each player with military tokens in that area must lose three.

Civil Disorder

A player may declare any city with at least four military tokens in the same area as "secure" from reduction by Civil Disorder. No city which is secure may be lost to the disaster, so if more than four cities can be made secure, the effect of the calamity is reduced.

Iconoclasm & Heresy

If military tokens are in the same area as a city reduced by this calamity, half of them, rounding down, are lost.


Just after the cities to be lost are declared, but before this is resolved, the player under attack can send out one ship load of forces to fight the pirate (the ship must be able to reach one of the ships which is part of the pirate attack calculation, and all units must be in the same area as the ship). Resolve the battle on the naval battleboard, against the pirate units, controlled by the player who traded away the Pirate card. If the player beats the pirates, the card is cancelled. Otherwise, it has its full effect.

13. Alter A.S.T.

There is no change to this phase.

5. Unit Characteristics

Unit Attack (shock) Defense Ranged Attack Mvmt Class Tech Required Cost
Militia 2 2 - Infantry - 1/3
Slingers - 1 2 Infantry - 1/2
Archers - 2 3 Infantry - 1
Phalanx 2 4 - Infantry Metalworking 1
Legion 3 3 - Infantry Metalworking 1
Charioteers 1(4) 2 1 Harnessed Metalworking 1
Cavalry 2(3) 2 - Mounted Riding 1
Elephants^ 3(4) 3 - Mounted Riding 2
Garrison - 2,4 in city - Infantry Law 1/2
Catapults - - -,2 in city* Wheeled Literacy 2
Siege Engine 3** 2 1 Wheeled Engineering 3
Captain# 2 2 - Infantry Tactics 3
General## 2 3 - Infantry - +
Mercenary 3(4) 2 3 Mounted - gold
Mercenary Cpt# 3(4) 2 2 Mounted - gold
Pirate 3 3 1 Infantry N/A N/A

Shock attacks take place when a unit attacks another on the battleboard after having moved at least one space already. Only units with shock attack hit numbers may move and attack on the same turn.

Movement Classes

  • Infantry - move 2 on the battleboard & mapboard.
  • Riding - move 3 on the battleboard & mapboard.
  • Harnessed- move 3 on the battleboard & mapboard, can only move in open & city.
  • Wheeled - move 1 on the battleboard & mapboard, can only move in open & city.
  • Notes

    ^When an elephant unit is disrupted, all adjacent units must make a morale check.

    *A catapult may only be deployed in the reserve of the battleboard. It may only attack during a siege, in which case it may roll a ranged attack against any space on the battleboard other than a reserve.

    **A siege engine may only be used to attack city walls in an effort to breach them. It must be adjacent to the wall in order to attack it. When a section of wall has been hit successfully by siege engines three times, it is destroyed. The siege engine may be used defensively in any battle.

    #Captains and Mercenary Captains can give a +1 to the hit number of any attacking unit in an adjacent space. They can also regroup units as the generals do.

    ##Generals can regroup one adjacent unit (or one in the reserve with the general).

    +Every civilization gets one general so long as it has at least two cities.

    Related Sites

    Civilization and Advanced Civilization, the Board Game

    Gaming WorkshopThis page by Steve Barrera 2001-2013