Ever since the early I’ve been playing Sid Meier’s excellent Civilization series. Civ 3 didnt really do it for me, but the now released Civilization 4 really plays even better than Civ2 :). Games take quite a while so I’ve only been playing 2 games at the lower difficulty levels, but it’s been a lot of fun. Sid himself appeared on the Kojo Namdi show of WAMU 88.5 (American University Radio) . The link has an hour long program where Sid talks about the new game and recent trends in the gaming industry. Also read the excellent review at gamespot.
Also check out the CivFanatics website and forum for great strategy tips and chitchat on civilization.