I loved Civ II so now obviously I love Freeciv. I played 3 and 4, too, but I always felt that Meyer took the wrong direction after 2 so I would like to make a few suggestions for a different way to go, more in keeping with the gestalt of this original style civilization game. Let me also say that I have taken a look at the ideas here and I really like a lot of them, especially the spherical world, and interestingly they fit much better with this style of gameplay than later original style civs.
OK so here are my ideas.
- Some technologies through history have gotten in the way of the invention of other technologies. China got in the way of the invention of glass. I would like to see some technologies "get in the way" of other technologies and starting with China and Glass as technological advancements.
- I think that some forms of government can impede some forms of technological development, and even the development of other types of government. So e.g. Theocracy as a form of government can give you a lot of the advantages of a Republic but seriously hinder the development of various other technologies. So perhaps the only way to change government from Theocracy to Democracy is through say 20 turns of Monarchy. I would also put a similar restriction on Fascism and Communism, making e.g. "Free Press" impossible to get under those forms of government and various other technologies have a research penalty, too. I also think that Democracy has an inherent tendency to become more and more corrupt and collapse into one of the other forms of government unnoticed possibly at random. Which you can reduce the chances of by reseaching "balance of powers" before you institute democracy.
- I would add an idea from Civ III (IIRC) though with a twist. I would seperate "discovery" and "use" of certain resources and tie that to explorers. A technology advance allows you to discover a resource but only after an explorer discovers it can you research the technology that uses that discovery (or see it when someone else has discovered it). Democracies operating a free press would automatically share the discovery (even if at war) and allies likewise of any government types.
- Finally I would remove the "obsoletion" of wonders and make them self obsoleting. Wonders would only work on some units and resources so for instance "free upgrade" only works up to motorized units but continues to work on earler units when other people have tanks. Likewise extra ship movement always works on early ships but not on later ones. And the like.
So basically main thrust of the suggestion is that decisions made early on in the game can complicate and impede the decision making process later on. Maybe you'll take the big trade bonuses for discovering china, in the hope that it will help you steal glass later. Etc...