Civilization 3 is an empire building game where you build and command a given race through history. You are essentially their leader and God, deciding on exploration routes, harvesting natural materials, developing technologies, and interacting with the other races that inhabit your planet. Practically every aspect of human civilisation is touched upon in this game.
The most important new features for Civilization 3 have to be the new ways to win. The Civilization series has always adopted an open-ended approach to gameplay, leaving it up to the players how they choose to complete the game. New ways to win include diplomatic finesse, cultural domination and economic might. There are new combat options to increase the ways in which you deal with the war scenarios, if your diplomacy breaks down of course.
In the turn-based strategy to end all turn-based strategy, you choose from one of 18 tribes. Each of the tribes has its own characteristics, with some exhibiting peaceful tendencies, while others are veritable warmongers. Start off scratching at the dirt with sticks and stones and advance headlong towards mastery of terrifying modern weapons like H-bombs, helicopters and aircraft carriers, proceeding of course via bows and arrows, swords, muskets and warships. The AI of the civilizations you're up against has been improved oon previous Civ games, and as time progresses, you'll come up against some of history's most famous rulers. Boring micromanagement has been minimised to make the game more exciting, but you'll still uncover a wealth of subtlety. Not only can you expand by use of force, as ever you'll be able to use diplomacy and a web of alliances to safeguard your interests. You'll also have more control over your country's religion and form of government than ever before.