Civilization IV Tournament at the International HIstory Olympiad

From July 9th to the 15th, bright minds of all ages competed in various history-based tournaments at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia as part of the International History Olympiad. Firaxis was honored to find out the founders of the event wanted the Civilization series featured alongside the other exciting tournaments and competitions set up to test the most brilliant of young historians. Firaxis would like to congratulate the winners; you can read more about them in the event recap below.

Civilization IV Tournament Held at Inaugural International History Olympiad

For decades, subjects such as physics, philosophy, and geography have featured international Olympiads for the best students in the world. History, however, had to wait until July 2015 when 111 students from 16 countries met at The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA for the inaugural International History Olympiad. Along with exams, quiz tournaments, sightseeing, and other events, one of the highlights of the week was an official Civilization IV tournament!

Olympiad founder and Executive Director, David Madden, grew up playing Civilization and Civ2, while staff members Brad Fischer and Ted Wysor had spent hundreds of hours playing the more recent versions. We decided to use Civilization IV as the version for the tournament as it ran optimally on the laptops we had purchased, and students were able to learn how to play in a short amount of time. The students who competed were split into three different age divisions: middle school, junior varsity and varsity.

By all standards, the tournament was a complete success. From the initial gasp of the audience when we announced that copies of Civilization IV: Beyond the Sword (autographed by Sid Meier!) would be awarded as prizes to the smiling faces of the champions on the medals podiums, the tournament was a highly anticipated and extremely enjoyable event.

Each of the three age divisions played a separate Civ4 game, with each using a real-world single player custom-designed game. The Varsity division students played as the Khmer Empire, which was quickly cornered in Southeast Asia by a combination of powerful Indian, Chinese, and Mongolian AI opponents. The Junior Varsity division students, who played as India, and the Middle School division students, playing as Greece, enjoyed more relaxing starting locations. All three divisions fought the AI as well as the clock in a race to create the largest and most successful empire within the time limit.

As each student had their own single-player game and identical starting conditions and opponents, the competition was fair and fierce. Nevertheless, beginners to the game helped each other figure out the controls, and experienced players answered strategy questions for everyone from all across the room. Score updates were frequent, and when a player was conquered by the AI, he or she scurried over to a friend's laptop to watch their game progress. The cry "Asoka just nuked Pericles!" quickly became the inside joke of the week.

The top three winners in each division received medals (US students played for their state; foreign students played for their country) and the winners were as follows:

Varsity:
Gold – Kevin Huang, Canada
Silver – Hunter Wotruba, Ohio
Bronze – Josiah Trinidad, Northern Mariana Islands

Junior Varsity:
Gold – Alex Boltz, Hong Kong
Silver – Kevin Chen, Tennessee
Bronze – Gareth Thorlakson, Canada

Middle School:
Gold – Chansol Park, Hong Kong
Silver – Gabriel Worthington, Virginia
Bronze – Joshua Replogle, California

All of us at the International History Olympiad would like to thank Firaxis, for its support of our competition and providing us with the opportunity to share this amazing game with the next generation of history buffs!

-Brad Fischer, Ted Wysor, and David Madden, Williamsburg, VA, July 2015