FreeCol is an open source clone of Sid Meier's excellent turn-based strategy game, Colonization.

The story starts in 1492. You lead a tiny band of settlers who've just arrived in America, with just one goal: to make the country your own. But these are challenging times. You'll need to earn money by producing goods and sending them back to Europe. There are cities to build and manage, and new technologies to learn. And there's another complication: you're not alone.

Other European powers are building colonies of their own, expanding their borders and becoming all too powerful. War can't be too far away.

And then there are the native Americans. Will you become their friends, learn new skills and trade with them? Or attack their villages and take what they have by force? It's your call.

The ultimate objective is to become powerful enough to declare your independence from Europe. The King won't like it, and an attack force will be sent, but if you've prepared well, and are strong enough to defeat it, then congratulations are due - you've won the game. And now you've mastered the basics, you can try the multiplayer features, and pit your skills against other players.

What's new in 0.11.5?

•Major improvements to map scaling, suitable for higher resolution displays BR#2726.
•Overall scaling of most text, icons and many panels in the GUI is a new feature to help users with high resolution displays. This can now be set at the command line with the "--gui-scale percentage" option. See also BR#2726.
•The monarch now sometimes provides troops and gold when declaring war PF#4.
•Native nations may support the REF or the player following a declaration of independence PF#5.
•Added attack animations for artillery, damaged artillery, privateer and frigate BR#2722.
•Added Col1-compatibility game option to auto-disembark units in colonies, PF#54.
•Multi-season year mods from Fenyo.

Verdict

FreeCol is a Java project, which means performance is below average, but this remains a compelling and addictive strategy game