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One of the best strategy games ever made is yours for less than $1

Between Cities Skylines 2, Total War Pharaoh, and Crusader Kings there are some great strategy sims, but ahead of Civilization 7, one true icon is less than $1.

Civilization 3 sale: Mao Zedong as he appears in Firaxis strategy game Civilization 3

This is a good time for the strategy genre. Cities Skylines 2. Crusader Kings. Total War Pharaoh. Ahead of Civilization 7 – and also newcomers like Ara History Untold and Millennia – one of PC gaming’s greatest genres seemingly keeps getting bigger and better. But we can’t forget the games that made all this possible in the first place, the pioneering, classic strategy sims that helped transform the act of pointing and clicking into some of the greatest experiences we’ve ever had on PC. If you want to celebrate the best the genre has to offer, or have a blast while waiting on the big hits of the near future, one of the best strategy games ever is now available for less than $1.

Originally released in 2001, Civilization 3 is one of the defining entries not just in the Sid Meier and Firaxis strategy game series, but in the history of the genre overall. Often overlooked alongside the pioneering Civ 2 and the more refined Civilization 4, Civ 3 has one of the best – if not the best – map editor of the entire series. It’s also the first game to introduce culture as one of your civilization’s characteristics – build magnificent wonders, attract great people, and research the arts, and you can convert surrounding cities to your own society, eventually winning the peaceful cultural victory which has since become a Civilization mainstay. If you want something to play ahead of the Civilization 7 release date, this is perfect.

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It’s definitely one of the harder Civilizations, too. Opponents develop technology and new cities quickly, and can often overpower you during military conflicts. In retrospect of Civilizations 4, 5, and 6, what I like about 3 is how it represents a kind of middle period or sweet spot between the series’ origins and where it is now.

Trying to get into Civilization 6, you can be forgiven for getting quickly overwhelmed, as the mechanics and features have become increasingly complex. Civilization 3 has a lot of depth, but not so much that you’d become lost.

Available now for just 92¢ / 79p, Civilization 3 is a vital addition to your grand strategy game catalog. The complete edition which is currently on sale also comes with the two expansion packs, Play the World and Conquest.

Alternatively, try some of the other best 4X games ever made, or the best management games that you currently dig into on PC.