Longturn is not so much a different variety of Civilization game as much as it is a different playstyle. Basically, the only official difference between LongTurn and any other game of Civilization is that one game turn lasts one day. So, not 30 seconds or 2 minutes or "whatever the players agree", but exactly one day (or, in most cases, 23 hours due to some minor specific technical reasons). This means that the server is running constantly and all players connect to it during the day - when they get the time - make their moves and adjustments, and then log off to continue with their lives.
This, however, has drastic consequences for the flow of the game and the overall gaming experience.
Firstly, when you wish to play a game of Civ with other people, one of the main obstacles is getting everybody together at the same time. If you are playing it on the internet, most of the time there will be someone ready to play, but not too many people at once. LongTurn games, on the other hand, have been known to gather many tens of players. LT37, which is running at the moment, started with 31 players which was low compared to the previous games due to a long period it took to set up that game. Needless to say, a game with so many players offers unlimited possibilities when it comes to diplomacy, war, peace, alliances, cooperation and hostile behaviour.
Secondly, another obstacle is finding the time to play. Even the shortest game of Civ requires a time investment and nobody can do it in breaks between other things. If you don't have at least half an hour of 100% concentrated attention at your disposal, it doesn't make sense even to start. LongTurn, on the other hand, can be played relatively casually and, if you can't spare a large block of time, it can be played in small chunks throughout the day. So, basically, if you are a working adult with a number of responsibilities, but you would still like to play a world leader in your favourite game, and do it with or against other people, this is the variant you want to play.
Thirdly, unlike the short and fast games usually played on FreeCiv servers arount the net, you have a lot of time at your disposal to think through your every move, investigate every line of research and analyse everything you weren't able to analyse if you were playing a fast game.
Fourthly, and for me this is the most important aspect of LongTurn, diplomacy is a blast. You can make alliances, negotiate detailed deals, squabble about individual tiles, twist arms, weasle out of agreements in a way you were never able to if you were playing fast multiplayer or just ordinary single-player games. And you have all the time in the world to negotiate, persuade and find the right words to do so.
Longturn is currently being played at freeciv.org and longturn.org communities that run several series of games. For more information, feel free to ask here.
Planning and discussing Freeciv Longturn gaming
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