Surely, it is the best game. I have played it for a whole year, until realized that on the hard levels the computer cheats. After that, the fun somehow was lost. Afterwards I found out that at the hardest level there are 10 tanks assigned to each city. The tanks are travelling but the city prospers, under democracy .
A wonderful concept and great economy and science of the game combine with:
1. Absolute imbecility of the computer opponents;
2. Presence of random events like villages and barbarians;
3. Stupid diplomacy;
4. One and the same artificial "tree" of sciences (everything is discovered according to the same scheme, though for an inexperienced person science might seem totally incomprehensible);
5. Absence of normal and purposeful military action (especially in the beginnig of the game);
6. Absence of simultaneous turn capacity, though there is a network play capacity;
7. On difficult levels the computer openly hates the human player;
8. Everything is randomly defined. You have had bad luck - no problem, just reload the game!
Plus several annoying trifles. Like this: We advance science by 100 bulbs per turn. 10 bulbs are left. If you do nothing, you just lose 90 bulbs. So, the only thing you can do is to change that turn the proportion Science/Tax, in order to get 90 additional coins. Such things require little thinking capacity, but are an awful time waster.
In the second version of the game there was only better graphics, new sciences and military units, but none of the real drawbacks of the first vesrion were amended. It's a pity...
As for Alpha Centaury: Plain rubbish. I've played the Russian version, it's even worse. Funny: Russian version is for sale, but there is no normal English version. The game is too difficult to control. I don't think it is going to be popular. It sure has some sound ideas like constructing new units like in Master of Orion, and the concept of borders. But there is also a concept of resources. They've been renamed, but their essence stayed the same. The question is why do we need then to get used to the new name... The drawbacks of the previous versions this game has corrected by 30 per cent. But now there are new nasty things, like the worms, all they can do is crawl and disrupt the game balance. WE DON'T WANT Alpha Centaury, we want Civilzation, BUT WITH AMENDMENTS AND ADDITIONS. Now everybody is writing articles about it. They agree with me, that warms my heart.
I've played Call to Power, the guys have made a thourough job of it. A good thing. But it has a drawback, still: I didn't like playing it .I don't quite understand why. Probably others like it?