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See the INSTALL file included with the Freeciv distribution for up-to-date information on requirements. GNU/Linux and Windows are the primary target platforms. Note also that many OS distributors provide pre-packaged, ready-to-use distributions of Freeciv, and some more are available on the Download page.

The following platforms have been reported to work at some point (outdated):

Platforms reported to work

based on X:

without X:

For more info about installing refer to the INSTALL file, included in the Freeciv distribution.


Follow these 4 steps (configure, make, start client, start game) and you will be playing Freeciv in no time!


Windows users, see Install-Windows instructions.
MacOSX users, see Install-MacOSX instructions.
Ubuntu users, please update Install-Ubuntu.

Install the software on your local computer:

  • If you downloaded a precompiled binary package for your platform, install it using the method of the packaging system.
  • If you downloaded the source code, unpack and compile it. On Unix-like systems, this can be done as follows:
    1. Change to the directory where you want to perform the installation work; /tmp is often a good choice.
    2. Unpack the file you downloaded (see unzipping). The files are put into a subdirectory; cd into it.
    3. If you're too impatient to read and follow the INSTALL and other documentation to be found there, try the command
      ./configure && make install
      and hope for the best. However, you will probably need to pass some options to ./configure, call gmake instead of make, or install some auxiliary software packages first.

Some examples of package requirements by distro:

  • Mandrake/Mandriva:
    • libgdk_pixbuf2.0_0-devel
    • libpango1.0-devel
    • libatk-10._0-devel
    • libgtk_2.0_0-devel
  • CentOS/RHEL 5:
    • gtk2-devel

Start the client[]

Start the client by executing the command freeciv-gtk2 (or whatever GUI Freeciv is built against).

This must be done from your GUI (X) interface. If you installed a precompiled package, it may provide a shortcut in the form of a Freeciv icon or something similar. A dialog window appears with the following alternatives:
  • Start New Game lets you start and customize a new game and launch a server to host the game.
  • Start Scenario Game lets you play one of the scenarios which are available.
  • Load Saved Game allows you to continue playing on a saved game.
  • Connect to Network Game gives the possibility to search for a server using an Internet Metaserver or search for a server on your Local Area Network. Internet Metaserver allows you to select one of the current available servers elsewhere on the net. Searching for servers on your Local Area Network uses multicast to locate other Freeciv servers, and will not detect servers properly if your server is behind a firewall. If the server is in Pregame state, it still accepts new players. If the game has already started, you can only connect as an existing player.

Start the game[]

If you play alone, on your own server:[]

  • To play with 4 computer players, type set aifill 5 on the server prompt.
  • On the server prompt, type start to start the game.
  • Change back to the client window and pick your nation.

If you play with others:[]

  • On the server prompt, you can issue the command cmdlevel ctrl so clients are allowed to give server commands.
  • In the client window, you can type /start. You may want to wait for players and discuss the setup with them first.
  • Pick your nation and wait for others to pick theirs. If you leave now, you will be removed from the game.
  • If someone won't or can't pick a nation (use the /list command to find out), you can /ai them or /cut them from the game altogether.

More details and options can be found elsewhere on the site.

Now that you've gotten it running, you'll want to play your first few games. It is recommended that you try playing solitaire a few times, so that you can get a feel for how things work, but this is not necessary. You can learn by playing with others as well.