Well, here's my horror story.
Athlon 2800+, Abit KT7-MAX2, 1 GB ram, Chaintech GF4 4200 Ti, SB Live! Gamer, DX 9c installed fron the game. XP pro SP1 (all of which more than meets the minimum specs for the game)
first time I got it running with little - no problem, except for the video files. All of the video playback have a stuttering sound problem - the splash screens, the intro movie (Go Leonard!) and all of the various wonder movies. I played through the tutorial all the way (thanks Sid!) with a little annoying bit, slow response time. I turned the graphics all the way down and started it up again. Played only marginally better.
after about an hour or so of gameplay, it crashed hard. I mean BSOD hard - the bluescreen of death was telling me to check my video drivers, which weren't the most recent, so I downloaded the newest ones from Nvidia's website (81.85 I think) and got it up and running again.
this time i was able to play for a couple hours before it crashed on me. not to a BSOD, just boom, you're not playing anymore and here's your nice desktop.
Today when I started it up I got to play for an hour before it crashed again as before, but now it won't go back into the game (gives me the infamous render error) without a complete system re-boot.
and for a nice bonus, when I go into display properties after the most recent crash?
my "settings" tab appears to think that I'm running at 640x480 resolution with 4 bit color!!!!!
Firaxis, I appreciate the civ franchise - I've been playing for ever like most people here and love the games in general, but you should NEVER fall to the pressures of the Publisher and put out a product as buggy as this one appears to be.
I patiently await a patch. Thanks.