I recently gotten myself copies of Civ IV and its expansion pack Beyond the Sword. I played about three Civ IV games seriously, gave up on the first, the second one I muddle through on victory, and the third one, my French empire was going the way of the Western Roman empire as I was rich conquests but not rich enough to have garrisons everywhere.
Then I got BTS, and so far I been addicted to playing the Final Frontier space mod. Its a pretty interesting and good quality mod that also tells the story of how humanity got to this point. But what I find interesting is the concept that is always seems to be vogue in future history of a period of expansion and technological progress, quickly followed by rapid decline and collapse.
On the mechanics of Final Frontier, you actually feel like you're moving space ships around as oppose to army units in space. My one complaint is that the barbarian err, space pirates keep on ramping up in force till one turn today I was attacked by a space pirate first upgraded battleship. Which was a bit of a odd moment, but luckily my defenses held out.
The game takes a paper rock scissors approach which I think works, its a game where you really want to have balance forces. Already I see, there are mods seeking to build upon this mod to make more classic franchise games, and it shall be interesting to see how well they do that.
In other news despite rereading it several times, the Inspector-General is still hilarious play and it shows that Gogol knew what he was doing. Its a shame he went crazy and starved to death, but it appears that the line between genius creativity and madness is a very thin one indeed.