If you were ever a big fan of the Colonization or Civilization games then you might like to take a look at FreeCol.
FreeCol is free and created in the same spirit as both. The aim is to colonize the New World and create an independent nation while defying the stormy seas. The concept and gameplay is very similar to another free offering FreeCiv but FreeCol features a much improved interface and general overall graphics and presentation.
Getting going is a but tricky however because there is only a very limited help guide included with the game. There is however an extensive user manual available for download on the developer's site. While the gameplay and graphics are surprisingly good for a free game, it is hindered by a few graphical glitches and rendering problems as it goes along. It's a very good idea to keep saving your games as you go along because it is prone to instability issues at any moment.
FreeCol is a very respectable civilization-style game that offers far more than you'd expect from an open source offering.
- Several serious bugs, including a memory or reference leak that caused 0.9.3 to slow to a crawl, have been fixed. A graphical modification (mod) by misiulo adds new graphics for goods and resources. Translations for several languages have been considerably improved.