Taking a break from Civ 4 and want the classics?
The free open-source Civ game now works well on Windows and has improved AI compared to previously. Much more like real Sid Mier's Civ.
It is still necessary to modify the default rules to prevent "smallpox" - nearly always building settlers and not developing cities, from always being the winning strategy. There are also two rulesets - Civ2 and Civ3 included in the Windows binary download to more closely match the Civilization games.
To make it a more development game and not who can churn out the most size 1 and 2 cities with the default rules change these settings when you setup a game.
These play best on the small maps - earth72x36, earth80x50, random size 4 and below, can be changed for larger as long as you keep penalties for size 1 and/or 2 cities.
This causes players to develop infrastructure to manage unhappiness and prevents size one cities from helping toward progress. Technology slows down in the early years - no more end games before 1 AD. This does have the early Civ 3 feature where once you expand beyond your limit conquering cities gives no benefits.
Very worthwhile download, if you like Civ 1, 2 and 3 try FreeCiv out. The game keeps improving, is very customizable, has online play, and plays on old PCs.
Download FreeCiv. - Manuals and articles.
Graphics are not up to Civ 3, let alone Civ 4. Most online games are smallpox friendly because kill, kill, kill and conquer are more popular than keeping citizens happy and also makes for faster games.
Meanwhile progress on C-evo is very slow as one guy is doing nearly all the programming and wants it that way. This was an attempt to have accurate non-cheating A.I.'s which the game treated just like human players. This is very biased toward strategy not simulated random gameplay which I applaud but not the slow devlopment.
Another team is also making progress on better AI in a Civ type game which is a major limitation on strategic computer games now.
Clash of Civilizations