Pre-built zip files now available. Quickest and easiest method to run Freeciv on your Mac.

These files are intended for folks who don't want to deal with using the terminal command line. May not work for everybody - if it doesn't work for you, you'll have to use the package managers like Homebrew, Fink, MacPorts, as described below. Which package manager should you choose? Homebrew requires MacOS 10.15 or later, and gets you the latest freeciv version with the gtk3 client. MacPorts gets you the latest freeciv version with either the gtk2 client or sdl client. Fink gets you freeciv version 2.5.9 with gtk2 client, and appears to be abandoned. For building from source, see Build-MacOSX.

Install From Zip File[]

As of 3.1, official release is on Requires MacOS 11.x or later.

For earlier versions of MacOS look on Dropbox here [1]

Choose the version of freeciv and MacOS version from what's available. Download and un-zip the file, then read the "readme.txt".

Please share your experiences on the Freeciv forum [2]

These are not official release from

Install from Homebrew[]

As of Dec, 2021, Homebrew does not support MacOS 10.14 or earlier. The gtk3 client is what you get.

Note: The commands below need to be copied and pasted into a terminal!

Head here to install Homebrew:

This is the current command to install Homebrew (check the site to make sure it hasn't changed):

ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL"

The Homebrew base repository hosts a variety of games, too, like Freeciv. To install it, run:

brew install freeciv

Note that this downloads quite a few software development packages and command line utilities as prerequisites to the game. It can take a bit under 5 minutes to complete the overall process and uses your full CPU, so it makes sense to brew a cup of coffee in the meantime.

On Yosemite if you get error "dyld: Library not loaded: /usr/local/lib/liblzma.5.dylib" then install xz library

brew install xz



Install from Fink[]

Apr, 2021 - I was able to successfully install on a Mac running 10.12 Sierra. You need to have X11 and XCode installed, see this link -[3]

When you have X11 and XCode installed, you can install Fink. Instructions here -[4]

I used the helper script from the source install instructions. That script is interactive, and requires you to answer questions about various options, which may be over your head unless you're a Unix expert. Luckily they provide default answers, so I just accepted all the defaults. The install took about 2 hours. The fink executable gets put into /sw/bin. If you're a Unix expert you will know how to set up your PATH env to include /sw/bin, they include a helper script file /sw/bin/ to help. Otherwise, use a Terminal window and enter these commands -

cd /sw/bin

./fink install freeciv

That took about 40 hours. The freeciv-gtk2 is also put in /sw/bin, so when you are in that directory you can run it by entering -


If you did the Unix PATH magic you can run it from anywhere. The gtk2 client is what you get. Fink does not have a gtk3 package avail, so no gtk3 client is possible. The version of Freeciv is 2.5.9, it looks like no one is now maintaining it on Fink , so 2.5.9 may be the last version you can get there.

Install from MacPorts[]

MacPorts is a distribution channel for all kinds of open-source software to macOS computers. It is an alternative to Homebrew or Fink on macOS. You operate it using command-line tools via the Terminal application, so you will need to be comfortable with that.

MacPorts calls the instructions for installing a piece of open-source software a "port". A port consists of some instructions in a configuration file, and maybe some patches. It does not contain the full source code for the software — MacPorts downloads that directly from the upstream project's servers.

You interact with MacPorts through the command-line application port. Read the MacPorts Guide to learn how to use it. Type man port and port help at the command-line to learn more.

Install MacPorts[]

Before you can install Freeciv using MacPorts, you must install MacPorts itself.

Follow the Quickstart instructions at

First, install Xcode, Apple's software development tools. Second, run an Xcode command to accept Xcode's license agreement. Third, download a MacPorts installer appropriate for your version of macOS, Fourth, run the installer.

Read more about installing MacPorts and operating it at .

Choose subsets of freeciv[]

MacPorts delivers Freeciv in one of two combinations, called the freeciv port and the freeciv-x11 port. You may install one or the other, but not both. Each gives you a different subset of the full Freeciv complement of applications and data.

The freeciv port gives you the freeciv-sdl2 client. This is a command-line app which puts up a macOS-like UI. It also installs the command-line modpack installer app freeciv-mp-cli, the freeciv-server, and various man pages and documentation.

The freeciv-x11 port gives you the freeciv-gtk2 client. This is a command-line app which uses the Gtk2 UI library. It is probably more powerful and easier to use than the freeciv-sdl2 client. This port also installs the Gtk2 GUI modpack installer app freeciv-mp-gtk2, the command-line freeciv-server, and various man pages and documentation.

Gtk2 originated with Gnome on Linux. You provide it by installing port gtk2. If you install variation "+quartz" of gtk2, then Gtk2 puts up a macOS-like UI. If you install variation "+x11" of gtk2, then Gtk2 puts up a UI via the X11 window system. (It was probably the X11 UI from gtk +x11 which led to the freeciv-x11 port getting its name.) You provide the X11 window system by installing the x11 port. If you install port freeciv-x11 without first installing gtk2 or x11, MacPorts will install them automatically.

The best clients in Freeciv 2.6.4, as of May 2021, are the freeciv-qt and freeciv-gtk3.22 clients. Neither of these are supplied by MacPorts at the moment. However, MacPorts ticket #62984 may lead to this situation improving. If you want these clients, you must Build-MacOSX yourself.

Install freeciv[]

To install the freeciv-x11 port, enter the following command:

% sudo port install freeciv-x11

To install the freeciv port, enter instead:

% sudo port install freeciv

Once the install is complete, you can see the list of executable programs installed using the command (with the portname you installed):

% port contents freeciv-x11 | grep /bin/ 

Read man pages using these commands:

% man freeciv-client
% man freeciv-server

(The next version of freeciv after 2.6.4 will likely offer and overview via man freeciv as well.)

Discover Freeciv documentation using these commands (with the portname you installed):

% port contents freeciv-x11 | grep /share/doc/
 … …
 … …

These are all plain text files, which you can read with any text editor.

Install from Source[]

This subject is complex enough that it has moved to its own page Build-MacOSX.