The first time I played the computer game Civilization was back on the Commodore Amiga. It was an epic game back then and that did not really change throughout the years. While I did not like all sequels that came out, I always enjoyed playing the game nevertheless.
FreeCiv has been a community project for many years. It is not a remake of the classic Civilization game but is very similar in style to it. Think of it as an advanced version of the game that introduces many new features and improvements over the original game (like up to 126 player worlds and 300 nations).
The cross-platform game has been released as a browser version recently that you can play in any HTML5 capable web browser. Just point your browser to the Play FreeCiv website to get started.
Options are provided to start a tutorial, single- or multi-player games, or a scenario game. You can customize the game before you start it. Here you can change the number of computer players and their skill level, the map size and the nation that you want to play in the game.
You start your civilization with a single settler unit that you can use to build your first city. A couple of units appear in the city afterwards that you use to explore the land, improve terrain around your city, build roads, or found new cities.
Cities can produce units and buildings mostly. You do not have that much choice in the beginning though considering that you have not researched any technologies yet. While you can recruit the most basic fighting unit, the warrior, and barracks right from the beginning, you will have to research technologies first for anything else.
The HTML5 version of the game has a couple of shortcomings which can be especially bothersome for new players. There is for instance no terrain indicator available, so that you sometimes do not really know on what type of terrain you are standing, or which specialty good you could be producing here. You can look it up in the manual though which is excellent in this regard.
Another shortcoming is the action system. It is sometimes difficult to find out if you have given orders to a unit as the game does not highlight units without action different from units that you can still order around.
It is easy enough to overcome those issues though, especially if you played a game or two already. The game can be saved at any time and loaded at a later point in time.
It takes some time to get to know the game and it is probably best to start playing against computer opponents before you fire up a multi-player game.
The game is well done for an HTML5 game even though it could use a couple of improvements in regards to controlling it. If you do like Civilization, you should definitely give it a try.
Advertising revenue is falling fast across the Internet, and independently-run sites like Ghacks are hit hardest by it. The advertising model in its current form is coming to an end, and we have to find other ways to continue operating this site.
We are committed to keeping our content free and independent, which means no paywalls, no sponsored posts, no annoying ad formats or subscription fees.
If you like our content, and would like to help, please consider making a contribution:
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.