Corbeau, about the 'players can't join after a few turns' idea. I wouldn't mind it now that I know about freeciv and will join those games before the limit.. but I'm very glad that wasn't in place already. I joined all the games past the deadline you suggest but I have a real good chance at becoming a power in Game 5. Because that one I joined at turn 12 or so and got a bomb starting location.
Game 4 I inherited a weak nation that was terribly mismanaged but there was still a little room for expansion and I'm on the coast, made some allies, could still come back.
Game 3 I was real unlucky and got a 2 city nation. Tried to surrender that game and it said I can't win anymore but it didn't destroy my nation or remove control so still playing that one just for fun basically.
Game 2 I joined like turn 78 but, well, I'm right next to you in that game so you know I'm doing ok and enjoying myself. Luckily that nation had a ton a gold. I am behind many others in terrority but I can catch up some. Granted, I may not have stood a chance if my neighbors were not friendly. (Thanks for being friendly!
) But the point is I joined that game really late and I'm happy being there and you guys seem fine with me there.
Being able to join those games has helped me get deeper into this game faster than I would've otherwise. I'd be pretty frustrated really if I couldn't join any of the longturn games. Thank god I could!
I do think units without a home city slowly dying would probably be a good thing. (Not sure you said this just saw it mentioned somewhere)
And I do think a cut-off at some point in Game 5 might make sense and be a merciful act to would-be late joiners since they'll probably be so very far behind. In tech-trade games though, with a good amount of gold to late-joiners, it's much more possible to make a come back or at least be relevant and really have fun.