• This page documents the classic ruleset.
  • The civ2civ3 ruleset is also featured in recent releases.
  • The multiplayer ruleset is for multiple human players. You may also wish to view the following resources:
  • These manually maintained pages might be a bit outdated at times. There are also some autogenerated manual pages, that are likely to be more up-to-date:

  1. Classic - The Classic ruleset is the original Freeciv ruleset, with the majority of the DNA emulating Civ2. If you are familiar with Civ2, reading the changelog is the quickest way to understand the differences.
  2. Civ2Civ3 - a "cheat sheet" comparing civ2civ3 to the classic rules in this manual. Civ2Civ3 currently has no manual so you will need to use this manual plus the linked changelog here.
  3. Multiplayer Game Manual - same as this manual but for the multiplayer ruleset.
  4. Multiplayer II Game Manual - the most developed multiplayer-branch ruleset (using an advanced pre-release v3.2)

If you need other information, like how to run the game on your machine, or what windows and menus it will present on your screen, please browse the other manuals and tutorials that are available. You can also have a look at the FAQ.

Overview (Game Manual, Classic ruleset).[]

In Freeciv you compete against several opponents to found cities, use them to support a military and economy, and finally to complete an empire that survives all encounters with its neighbors to emerge victorious. Each opponent may be either another human or be controlled by the computer. All players begin at the dawn of history with a handful of units - typically with an explorer and a couple of settlers in 4000 BC — and race to expand outward from those humble beginnings.

Most of your map will be blank when the game begins, save for the terrain adjacent to your first settlers; only as your units travel and discover the oceans and continents of the world will the rest of the map be revealed (though players may share their maps by arranging a pact). Note that your map is only the record of the terrain and cities your units last encountered in an area — you will not learn about changes in an area until your units visit again, nor can you observe the movement of enemy units that are out of sight of your units and cities.

Though the game is played in turns, the players themselves do not take turns but are all allowed to move at once. At the beginning of each turn all units are assigned movement points, which are spent as they move and act. Using up movement points early in the turn may leave a unit without the ability to respond if an opponent approaches later in the turn. Units cannot carry extra movement points into the next turn; any movement points left when the turn ends are lost (unless the unit has been given an order like fortify that only takes effect at the end of the turn). Turns can either be of unlimited length, ending only when all players have pushed their turn done button, or can have a time limit when the turn ends regardless.

Criteria for Victory[]

Achieving success requires a balance between economic expansion, military strength, and technological development. Not only must you develop all three in concert to both expand and successfully defend your empire, but any of the three may provide victory over your opponents:

  • As in other games of conquest and expansion, you are declared the winner by default once the last city and unit of every other civilization is destroyed.
  • Once technological progress has brought you into the space age, you may launch a spacecraft destined for Alpha Centauri; the first civilization whose craft reaches the system wins..
  • In the absence of other means to determine victory, the game will end after 5000 turns if no spacecraft have yet been launched. The surviving civilizations are then rated, and the one with the highest score is the winner.


In Freeciv there are three rules levels:

  • hard-coded rules
  • rules from the ruleset
  • rules from server options.

This manual describes the basic rules which Freeciv supports out of the box. After learning this version of the rules you will be able to play in other situations by learning the ways in which those configurations differ from the vanilla rules described here. See the Server Manual for instructions on selecting alternate sets of rules — Freeciv comes with several, and others can be found on the Internet — and for documentation of the many parameters that make more minor adjustments to the course of play.

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