Confession time: I try to stay away from games like Civilization because I can't afford to get sucked into them. I have friends who've lost entire weekends to Sid Meier's legendary series. If I'm going to carve out time to game, I need to run, gun, and be done.
You, on the other hand, have time to burn, right? So check this out: From now until 1 p.m. PT on Sunday, May 27, you can play Civilization V online for free. (Scroll down to the bottom of the page to see the offer.)
That's a first. I don't recall ever seeing a free-play option for a Civ game. The only obligation is that you need to have a Steam account, which is also free.
For those unfamiliar with it, Civilization V is a turn-based strategy game in which you try to build the biggest, strongest global empire. It's widely regarded as one of the best in its class, if not the best, which is why GameSpot rated it 9.0 and called it "yet another glistening example of turn-based bliss that will keep you up long past your bedtime."
The game is available for both Windows and Mac.
If you decide you like Civilization V's special breed of empire-building (or already know you do), you can buy the game outright for $7.49. Or, better yet, get the Game of the Year Edition, which includes a wealth of extra goodies, for $12.49 (same link).
If you'd rather not go through Steam for some reason, Amazon also has Civilization V: Game of the Year Edition for the same $12.49.
Never played a Civilization game before? Here's your chance to start the insanity for free. Been waiting for a good deal on the latest entry in the series? Here's your chance for that, too.