Build a Civilization in 10 Minutes

Got an itch to build a civilization, but don't have 8 hours to spend?

Explore the world with your hero, collect resources, build stuff, and compete against other AI-controlled civs in this short-session turn-based civilization-building game.

The Essense of 4X

CivHero scratches that civilization-building itch with exploration, resource collection, civilization expansion, combat with local monsters, and competition with other AI civilizations, all with a unique focus on a single controllable hero.

Infinite Scenarios

Each scenario is procedurally generated and seeded with random AI civ leaders.  Every session is unique.

Play on Mobile and Tablets

Playable on touch devices, including phones and tablets.

Like it?  Tell me!

Please let me know if you like the game.  If people enjoy it and keep playing it, I'll keep working on it!  Leave a comment here or contact me.


2023.04.27 - daily challenges and birds!

  • Daily challenges
  • Birds (collected through playing daily challenges)
  • Replay same scenario
  • UI/UX improvements
  • Many bug fixes and small new features

2022.10.29 - minor improvements

  • Reveal more resources on start
  • A few small bug fixes and improvements

2022.09.11 - records, many other improvements

  • A new records screen lets you track performance in various categories
  • Map generation improvements
  • AI improvements
  • Many UI/UX improvements
  • Many bug fixes and small new features

2022.05.15 - civ combat changes, misc improvements

  • Civ-vs-civ combat has changed in a few ways,
  • AI and balance adjustments
  • Misc. other improvements

2022.03.01 - rules/AI

  • Trading takes a turn
  • AI is slightly improved (including fixes to tutorial level AI)
  • Import/export progress feature (currently only applies to card collection) (useful on, where progress may be lost... ☹)
  • Misc. other improvements

2021.05.22 - combat/keyboard improvements

  • Monster Combat should be less confusing
  • Extensive keyboard support
  • Victory point changes (e.g. cities give 2 points now)
  • Misc. other improvements

2021.03.21 - improvements

  • Experimental saving feature - turn on in settings
  • Difficulty adjustments
  • Turn structure slightly changed
  • New animations and art
  • Some early placeholder audio
  • Bug fixes and improvements

2020.09.07 - bug fixes and improvements

  • Fix the issue with extra horse cards bugging out
  • Small visual improvements
  • Small AI improvements
  • Some new map styles
  • Smoother/clearer turn events

2020.05.06 - pets

  • Your favorite Collectible Cards can now be marked as Pet, and one random pet shows up in the game.  Pets found in game give rewards.
  • Added initial custom scenario option, and another difficulty level
  • Mobile usability improvements
  • Various other UI, art, AI, and gameplay improvements

2020.03.07 - all new art

  • Finally replaced a bunch of placeholder art with more final art
  • Gameplay and balance changes
  • End-of game results screen (work in progress)
  • Collectible Cards (work in progress)

2019.12.13 - lots of changes

  • Can unlock the ability to trade resources
  • Much better mobile experience in many ways
  • UI improvements - better sizing, positioning, etc.  World is more visible during game.

2019.10.10 - First prototype

Key Future Plans

Subject to feedback from players...

  • Real audio, continued improvements to art
  • Many bug fixes and gameplay improvements
  • More options in custom game setup
  • Replaying seeded maps
  • Replay feature (review how the game went)
  • Unique Civ Abilities? (e.g. Mao starts with extra science)
  • Long-Arc goals (achievements)
  • More Collectible Cards
  • Unique scenarios
  • Content unlocked through community play

... and many other misc ideas.


This project Copyright © 2016-2023 WhaleBunny and Steve Taylor.  All Rights Reserved.  It is OK to show the game in a video or stream.  It's not OK to host this game or its assets anywhere else.  If you're interested in collaborating with me on something, please  get in touch.

Development log

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Great Game!

Thank you!

This game is so good please keep on working on it!

Thank you!

I've been distracted lately.  Need to get back to it

You're Welcome, really hope this game sees more attention

A 3 way tie!

Wow! I don't think I've seen that before. Did you get credit for the win? You should have.


Mate, this is an outstanding game, well done. Magnificent work.

Thanks very much!

Awesome game, been playing it a ton. Would love to see like a "balanced start" setting where all players were guaranteed at least one instance of food industry gold and science within like 6 tiles of their spawn point. It can be kinda rough if you're missing one of those resources early on.

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Hi!  Thanks for the feedback!

The game does start you within a certain distance of key resources, but somewhat farther than your suggested 6 tiles.  The maps are varied enough that some of them simply don't have a start like that!  (I'd like to avoid softening up the map generation too much because the variety in maps, including the challenge of dealing with occasional difficult resources, is part of what keeps me having fun...)

You're guaranteed to start quite close to science.  And the game even tries to give the human player the best spot it found.  So you can at least be fairly confident the AI had to work hard or get lucky as well.

All that said, you're right that it can still be frustrating, of course, and sometimes the logic above is not perfect!  I think a lot of the frustration comes from starting off exploring in a bad direction, which is just random bad luck.

I recommend using the "show more start resources" option when you play custom games.  It's on by default in other modes.  It seriously reduces frustration for me, and gives me some good options for starting directions.  Beyond that, I find that using science to find what you're missing as early as you can also helps a lot!

[EDIT:  Woops, I forgot I had already released the improvements I mentioned, so I rewrote the above a bit.]

Some bug with extractors next to cities it seems? The extractor on the bottom left is only getting one hammer. I believe the extractor was built before the game was closed, and this screenshot is the game was reloaded. Don't remember for sure.

You're right!  This is a bug in restored games.  I just uploaded a new version that should fix that (along with some other changes).  Thanks!

Cool game! Keep coming back to it. It is quite a bit luck based, but it feels like it's possible to get better at it. 


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Love that you're continuing to make improvements! Seeing the stats/records is cool.

A fair, yet random resource gen is a tough task, so I hate to criticize. But there are spawns which seem unintended.

1. It's possible for a resource to be positioned so it's impossible to build a city adjacent.
2. With certain gold mountain spawns, it's even possible that a gold can't be reached at all.
3. There have been also cases in a 4 player Emperor game where there only 3 of a specific resource (eg, 3 hammer on the whole map). (I could see how that is intended to increase tension)

Still enjoying it, and getting a game in most days!

Thanks very much for the feedback and for playing the game!  This helps!

  1. True! That's in my list, but low priority.  I could prioritize it if everyone hates it.  It seems rare.
  2. That should be fixed in the latest build.  Please let me know if you see that again.
  3. That's intentional, but if you hate it I'd like to know.  My reason was almost entirely "more variety from session to session".  Basically, the map generation sometimes decides to make something like a gold-sparse map, just for fun.

I play the game regularly myself and enjoy more uniqueness in scenarios, which is part of why I drag my feet on trying to do a more even spread of resources.  I may reverse my position on that at some point?  Or add it as an option in custom games?

1. It's not bad at all, just didn't know if it was intended.

2. Haven't seen it again.

3. I don't hate it, but can imagine other people might. It is quite interesting to have rich and poor spawns, plus tension of not knowing whether there will be a runaway AI or not.

Someone who's expecting to be able to win every game via skill could be frustrated. But the games are short enough so it's easy to get back in. If someone has the expectation of something like Slay the Spire (you can have bad luck and it's not expected to be able to win every game), it works.

That having been said, it would be nice to have win percentage in the stats, or at least total games played. (I use pets rescued as a proxy for total games played)

It feels like I never have enough.  I think there needs to be an option to start with enough resources to start your first town (like civ).  I think the resource spawning needs to be normalized so there's always what you need within x tiles.  It is a really really cool idea but how it plays out is always arbitrary.  Oh, and it shouldn't be possible to hang out near someone else's town and steal their stuff without spending a sword.

You are guaranteed a start within X tiles of every necessary resource (and within 2 spaces of science, so you can Detect the other things you need), but unfortunately you don't initially know where things are, so you might explore in a bad direction initially.  I've added a feature (in the version I'm uploading today) in Custom games where more resources are revealed at the start.  I might make this the default in all game modes, because I like it.  It doesn't reveal all the resources you need, because that made the start boring, so some exploring (use the Detect button!) is still needed.

And, if you don't feel good about a particular start, I've tried to make it low-friction to just start a new game.

I feel like the AI is cheating somehow... I can be with in a couple turns of victory when someone in 4th swoops in at the last minute...

I'm far from a strategy master, but to lose when you're at a clear advantage doesn't leave you feeling "Oh, that was my mistake. I'll avoid doing that again." Instead, feeling more like "I was one gold away from finishing my bank!" Or "I had the dragon down to 2 HP and I had 5 war, they only started building a rocket!"

I'm enjoying the game anyway, but I feel like the AI knows something I don't? Or it could just be not feeling like I made a mistake is making me miss that I did.

Which AI difficulty are you playing?  On the higher difficulty levels (anything above Prince), the AI definitely cheats - the main way it cheats is it has lower costs for building things.  It doesn't do any kind of sudden extra boost late in the game - I would hate that.

The AI is very complicated, and I've put a lot of work into making it competitive through logic, but like many games the higher levels have to have an advantage to be competitive against humans.  I'd love to have non-cheating competitive AI, but it'd have to be human-level smart, and it's just not. 

I've also tried to reduce the feeling of sudden loss, with things like showing AI progress on certain buildings, but sometimes the AI's win is still surprising.  On advanced levels where they've built up a ton of income, they can pretty quickly progress through the stages of advanced buildings.

I feel like I'm still fumbling the early game - getting access to resources to build your first town, and then using that town to secure further building resources to build the next town, and collector(s) - it just feels like a crapshoot whether you get to the essential resources first or the computer does. You know? Like if you're not doing good in the first 20 moves then you should almost start over because you have no chance of winning 😟 I'm not sure what to suggest to balance that out though - maybe decrease the price of building relative to how far behind you are in the leaderboard or something?

It's not that I mind getting off to a bad start, but it seems like your luck really snowballs in this game, so that there's just no way to catch up, one essential resources are locked down by other players.

Any strategy to share?


Yeah, it's unfortunately more of a crapshoot than I would like.  The map generator tries very hard to put you in a fair (in fact the best) starting location, away from AI.  But the very unpredictable nature of the map generation might still mean you have a good starting experience on one map and a bad one on the next, especially because you have to choose to start exploring in some direction without knowing yet which direction is best.  There might be a beautiful valley of resources right behind you.

I agree about the snowballing, of course.  The start is crucial.  I feel the same way about every 4X game I've played, so at least I think we're still in good company.

I'm committed to the random nature of the starts (as opposed to, say, scripted or mirrored maps), but I agree it's sometimes frustrating.  If I haven't built my first town in 50 moves, I often start a new game.  The game carefully avoids any real penalty for starting anew.  Start over all you want.  It's another upside, I hope, to a game that takes only minutes to play.


  • When exploring, step on hills when you can!  You see farther from hills, which helps find crucial resoures.
  • Make sure you get 2 science quickly, while continuing to explore, and use those immediately to Detect any key resource you're missing.  Just remember you still need another science at some point to unlock Town building.
  • The map generator always starts you somewhere near a science resource, so if you don't find it right away, consider doubling back (through unexplored territory)
  • This is subtle, but:  If you're ever waiting next to a resource, killing time, use that time to do the Discover Town Building action, rather than wait until you're about to build the first town.  All actions take turns, so if you're going to spend a turn waiting for something, spend it researching/detecting/trading instead.
  • Food is (usually) far more common than other resources, so I try to avoid spending a Detect on that.  I figure I'll find some eventually.  I'm only sometimes wrong.  :)
  • Standing on a resource will mean you get it rather than an AI standing next to it.  (note: doesn't override buildings, just other AI heroes).  And in fact the AI will often give up and leave if you're standing on the resource they want.

There's a lot more that can help, but I think these are some good basics.  Feel free to sugest your own strategies here!  I find the start of the game challenging, and I'm always trying to optimize my starts.

thank you, those are some good tips! (exploring from hilltops I already figured out, as well as the "standing on a resource vs standing next to a resouce" collection precedence)

(And I get that these are issues that are kind of endemic to the genre, don't hold that against you.)

You could mitigate bad starts by one of the following (maybe as option):

- Reveal more of the map around the start point.

- Reveal the closest n resources, but not the terrain around them

- Reveal random patches around the start point

All these should, of course, apply to the player and AI.

The game is great, I just thought I'd pitch in my two cents on the topic :)



I've already been experimenting a bit with the idea that's #2 on your list.  In my opinion, if too much is revealed initially, it kinda wrecks the start, makes it more of a chore and takes away some of the magic of finding resources you need.  But revealing a few resources (not everything you need) is not so bad - it gives you some initial direction while still requiring you to explore and detect.

I'm thinking of putting that in the custom game options in a future build.

Hello, excellent game.
I have one suggestion - when I have mouse cursor over left menu (basic or extensions), try to click an action (eg. Build Town, Collector, ...), but miss it and instead click an area next to the button, my player moves in that direction. It would be better if the piece wouldn't move (so the cursor focus will be on menu area, not "under" it on the map).
I don't know if there could be a problem after this change thatsome area on the left will be unreachable - it depends how maps are generated (if there is always some water space on the left), or scrolling on the left edge can be extended a little bit, that the most left map field will be always reachable.

Thank you.

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Hi!  thanks for the suggestion.  I'll have a look at it!

Edit:  This is done.  Anything over the "action panel" on the left doesn't click through to the map.  And I needed to update the current build anyway, so there's a new version today with some other changes as well.

Great, thanks.

I have one more suggestion - remember display zoom between games. (I always zoom out as the first step in the game).

That seems reasonable!

This game is a well-executed example of how to condense the intricacies of a typical 4x game into the length of a lunch break. It's got enough going on that despite the intended short duration, I'm playing many games back to back. Would love to see CivHero on steam.☺

Thank you!  Your comment makes me happy.  :)  I intend to bring the game to Steam, and the delay is just that this is a side project for me, but comments like this help motivate me to work on it!

it won't work

I really dig this game, it's such a simple, satisfying and addictive version of what is usually a complicated and time-consuming genre. I've found myself returning to it when I need to kill some time for months now. Great job at making something familiar but uniquely approachable!

Thanks so much!  Your description is exactly what I was shooting for!



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Hmm...  Yeah, that's odd!  Why isn't that top one a full 2 swords?  I'll look into it. 

Edit:  I can't repro this at all.  Any idea what's causing it?  From what I can see, you ought to have 2 full harvest dots in the upper image and 4 in the lower.  Nobody's competing for those swords.

I get it any time I build 2 or more collectors on a resource

1 collector is okay


Very helpful!  Thanks for following up.  Turns out it's a rounding error, and happens if you wrap around like that and have 3 claims on one resource.  This is a display bug only, and won't change how many resources you actually get.  In any case, it's fixed, so it'll be in the next published version (not sure when).  Thanks!

Love how this distills things down - excellent game and great replayability; the only quarm I would have is the ability to steal resources from cities though sometimes this is a life saver when all the AIs make a beeline towards me and take all of the good spots near me forcing me to explore the whole place to get anything at all - needless to say this is rather rough going... could do with the other players doing more of their own thing - or maybe they are and just have a bias in one direction which sometimes interacts with my spawn direction to give this impression? *shrug*

Great anyways :)


Thank you!   The AI doesn't specifically target you or your space - they just wander learning about the world and then deciding the best place to put something.  When there are a lot of AI and not a lot of space, they're just also likely to find the good spots you want for yourself.  :)  You can try bigger maps in the Custom game type...

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Love the game, very addictive, it does mostly capture the essence of a civ game.

I would love to suggest a few tweaks, especially around resource gathering.

Firstly there seems to be no weighting on resource collection, so you could have been waiting for several turns for a resource, only to have the AI swoop past and "steal it", I feel this would be more balanced if it weighted the randomness towards "time spent in square / adjacent square".

I also I feel players should not be able to build towns when adjacent to another conscious player, currently again you could be waiting for several turns to build a town in a square only for the AI to swoop in and builds a town next to you. Combat here is very lack lustre, as if you both have swords, what should be a draw, actually results in the AI winning as it can still build a town as they are not impediment-ed by the draw. If they were forced to knock you unconscious it would give them motive to attack you, and make it a fairer fight. An alternative would be to ban both sides from building a town after a drawn fight, to make either side move off or pursue etc.

Lastly I feel towns / cities should attack opposite players in a similar fashion to monsters, forcing the AI when it's camping your resources (which again seems to have a favoured weighting against a town) to defend using swords, or be knocked unconscious.

Weighting resource collection by how long you've stood there:  Very interesting!  I hadn't thought of that.  How would it weight buildings, which stand there the whole time?  That logic for collection probability is already fairly complicated, but I'm interested in thinking about this suggestion more.

I agree that combat is lacklustre!  I'm planning on reworking it (yet again!) but don't have a concrete plan yet.  Your ideas here are interesting, but I've been very careful to try to keep everything as streamlined as I can and avoid introducing special cases, so I'll be hesitant to make building rules more complicated.  I might prefer simplifications like always giving resources to buildings instead of heroes, or something like that.

Towns/cities attacking:  Cool idea - I'll think about this, too.

Thanks so much for your feedback and suggestions!  This is definitely what I need.  If nothing else, then for motivation to keep making improvements.  :)


I liked it, though it does feel like a bad start can make it really difficult to move on. It also felt like it could get repetitive, but that is probably because it can go so fast you can see all of it pretty easily. If people like this they might also like War and Peace by Stephane Bura. It is a simplified one button real-time Civilization.

how to save the game? i press exit game but the game not saved :(

If you have the option checked, the game will autosave (and restore later) if you close the window or refresh the page or something.  If you exit a game, it thinks you're done playing that game and throws that one out.  I can see that being confusing.  Maybe naming that option "Quit Game" would be more clear. 

ok thanks, i know if i close the window, the game will saved, but i i press exit game it not saved xD

Loving it!

Thank you!

Like literally, everything. 

Wow... that's a lot of games played.  :)  I need to add more cards at some point and probably give fewer cards away after games.

Please add more cards.... :)

I have every card in this game B-)


What a splendid game.  Nonstop player action, many thoughtful choices for a small game, lots of exploration.  The levels get harder very appropriately - my first Diety win was a personal triumph.  :)

Thank you so much!  Still working on it, making things better, but I don't have a new build to push up yet.

I almost never win Deity.  To the point where I got really frustrated and took it out of the current development build.  I'm trying to rework the difficulty a little.

I mean, I agree - it's pretty awesome when I do win a Deity game, but sometimes it feels like a Deity loss was completely out of my control, and that's just a drag.  :-/

I don't feel so bad now for feeling the same way.  I still end up playing it, though.

Really addictive. Do any AI/game difficulties have the AI have unfair advantages at all? Like can they see more tiles than the player, or get more / need fewer resources?

Yep!  The AI cheats horribly at the higher levels.  I think at the King level, everything tries to be as fair as possible.  At the Warlord level, the AI is actually dumbed down.  At the Emperor and Deity level, the biggest form of cheating is that the AI has cheaper construction costs.

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I don't think it is possible to get the card with a dog between McGrath and Rin Tin Tin. When you get enough cards, the quantities of horses on the bottom row overflow and show as 65000+/2 (e.g. 65461/2, 65515/2, 65527/2). I think I've been playing this game too much!

Edit: 1 day later got the missing card "Pompey"

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Woops!  That overflowing should definitely not happen.   I will look into that.  Thanks for reporting it!

Also, dang, that must have been a lot of games if you have all the cards!

Edit:  This is fixed in the newest version.  Extra legendary horses wrap over to legendary dogs.

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That seems like hundreds of hours? I haven't got too far yet so idk if you get a lot more later on.
Edit: Or does it just happen when it goes over 2?

When the bottom row goes over 2 and you click on the card, the extra spills over onto the next page (e.g. extra bottom-row dogs give more cat cards), but there must be something broken there.  I've finally got time to look into the reported bug...

And yeah, to get that many cards is a crazy number of games played!

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AMAZING ! Really ! I love civ like games and your game.. WOW ! I love i, the ressource management is nice. The sprites are beatiful ( but the player could be something oder thaan what is is now. But you should implement music and sounds : its very easy to do and make the game much more enyoable. I will stay alert for newer updates !

Just one question  : what software do you use?


Thanks!  Sound is on the to-do list, of course.  I'm working on the game nearly every day and updating on every few weeks.

This is all written in JavaScript using a custom engine.

okay thanks for your reply, I'll stay tuned for further updates !

This is a great game! I've been playing it for a few months now. It's really well though out

Thank you very much!  I continue to work on it and play it myself.  Please feel free to share feedback at



Awesome stuff! I encountered a few small things:
- The Victory Progress screen doesn't go away after returning to the main menu

- The main menu button is un-marked and incorrectly placed(assuming it should be in the top right) on 3440x1440 resolution

- The main menu doesn't pop after winning, and displays behind the win text

Cool - I will fix all that!  Thanks for the notes!


I love it, and would like to see more ! But what exactly, I am not sure...
Maybe more interactions with other players ?

I'd fell that terrains change much to the game... Maybe is ther something to do there ? (Movement, bonus on cities production, or expansion costs)

Yeah, some of the terrain types are technically the same, from a gameplay point of view.  Just to review:

  • mountains, lakes, ocean :  impassable
  • hills : when you stand on one, you can see farther
  • forest, plains, desert : normal

They do produce different resources (e.g. "rare plants" vs. "nomads", but those differences are only visible in tooltips.  :)).  I may make those have some different impact at some point.

Thanks for the feedback and suggestions!

TypeError: a.system.localStorageObject.hasData is not a function c_rat.js:827:213

Hey, thank you for reporting that!  Was that on startup?  What browser were you in?

startup, Waterfox

Thanks.  I've uploaded a new version that I hope avoids that error.  I tested in Waterfox in Windows, but wasn't able to repro the original bug.  If you have a chance to confirm the fix, I'd appreciate it.  And maybe let me know what platform you're on?

didn't fix it, running on win 7,

it does run on chrome on my win 10 work pc.