Installing Civilization II on 64-bit systems

UPDATE 7/24/16 — It turns out that these files were pretty popular. Dropbox disabled my download links for too much traffic, so I’ve updated all the links to a new cloud provider (MEGA). They should all be working now.

ORIGINAL POST 7/19/16 — I was very disappointed recently when I wanted to play some Civilization II and found that it wouldn’t install on my modern system. Apparently the game is completely incompatible with 64-bit systems, which is a shame because it’s such a classic. And, I didn’t want to go through the hassle of installing virtual machines. After a lot of digging, I found two separate methods to get it to work natively on 64-bit Windows 10 due to fixes created by enterprising fans.

A couple of notes before I get started. First, all credit goes to the following users on the civfanatics.com forums: Cedric GreenedeevesMastermindX, and starlifter. Second, this guide assumes you already have a Civilization II CD.


Method 1 | Step-by-step

Step 1
Download the following files:

MGE_upgrade (required)
64bit_patcher (required)
Civ2_NoCD.exe (optional)

Step 2
Load your disk into your disk drive. You’ll find nothing autoplays and setup.exe will refuse to run. That’s alright. Copy the entire CIV2 from the disk to your desired install location.

Step 3
Extract all the MGE_upgrade files into your CIV2 folder. Replace all conflicting files.
– These files upgrade the vanilla Civ II to the Multiplayer Gold Edition, which after a bit more work will be able to run on 64-bit systems. Plus, multiplayer!

Step 4
Run the 64bit_patcher after selecting your CIV2 folder location.

Step 5 (optional)
Download the Civ2_NoCD.exe and drop it into your CIV2 folder.
– This is an optional step. At this point, the game will run perfectly fine with the CD, but if you don’t want to use your CD you’ll need the crack. Unfortunately the sound doesn’t seem to work with the crack, but the game itself runs fine.
– An alternative to this would be to create a disk image (.iso file) of your Civ 2 CD and then loading it into a virtual disk drive (Daemon Tools, for example) whenever you want to play. This has the added benefit of saving wear and tear on your disk and that the .iso file is easy to transfer if you switch computers.

Method 1 | Known Issues

1. When starting the game you may be presented with a black screen and a spinning circle. Simply click your mouse and the menu should show up. Alternatively you can alt-tab to the main menu screen, then alt-tab to the black box on the far left of your alt-tab menu, and then click.

2. Hitting “enter” when founding a city doesn’t confirm the city name for some reason…you’ll have to click through the city-founding screen.

3. On an AI turn sometimes the game will hang up for a minute…just wait, it will resume.

4. MGE computer players are remarkably hostile. Expect to have near-constant wars.


Method 2 | Step-by-step

Step 1
Download the following files:

MGE_upgrade (required)
MGE_1.3_patch (required)
civ2_patch_project (required)

Step 2 
Load your disk into your disk drive. You’ll find nothing autoplays and setup.exe will refuse to run. That’s alright. Copy the entire CIV2 from the disk to your desired install location.

Step 3
Extract all the MGE_upgrade files into your CIV2 folder. Replace all conflicting files. So far essentially identical to Method 1.

Step 4
Install the MGE_1.3_patch.

Step 5
Extract civ2_patch_project into your CIV2 folder. Launch civ2patch.exe.
– The first time this runs a configuration file (civ2patch.ini) will be created. You can consult the included readme for how to edit the config file to customize the patch features. You’ll run the game from this file instead of the standard civ2.exe file, so I recommend you create a shortcut.
– A NoCD fix with working sound is included in this patch.

Method 2 | Known Issues

1. Some anti-virus software will really, really dislike it when you try to run civ2patch.exe; the reason is that the .exe launches civ2.exe and then loads the civ2patch.dll into the memory. You may have to create an exception for your anti-virus software in order to run the patch.

2. Hitting “enter” when founding a city doesn’t confirm the city name for some reason…you’ll have to click through the city-founding screen.

For troubleshooting the patcher, the author deeves is active in this civfanatics thread.


Which One?

Which one is the right one for you basically comes down to how comfortable you are creating anti-virus exceptions. Method 2 is superior as more fixes are included (including the NoCD patch and a fix for MGE’s overly hostile AI). But if fiddling around with anti-virus settings alarms you, Method 1 is the way to go.


Recommended Game Settings

Once you’re in the game, here are my recommendations for the game and graphic options (accessible from within a game by selecting the “Game” menu):

Game Options
– enable “Always wait at end of turn.” Otherwise you’re turn will end as soon as you have no active units.
– enable “Fast piece slide.” This will significantly speed up the game. You can speed it up further by toggling the “Show enemy moves” and “No pause after enemy moves” options, but those create nearly instantaneous enemy turns so you might not be able to see what happened.

Graphic Options
– disable “Animated Heralds”, “High Council”, and “Wonder Movies” as these have a tendency to glitch out or appear as black boxes.