Facebook games to hold you over until Civilization Network

Sid Meier has announced Civilization Network is on its way to Facebook. But those looking to play games on Facebook can do it now. Here are some titles worth checking out.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
4 min read

After Sid Meier announced on Thursday that a new Civilization title called Civilization Network was on its way to Facebook, it had me thinking: what other games could I play until I'm ready to take on Meier's new title next year?

To determine that, I've spent some time with several games on Facebook and narrowed that list down to the titles that are actually worth playing. If you want to have some fun on Facebook, check out these games.

Get your game on

FarmVille At first glance, FarmVille might seem like a lame game that isn't worth playing. But once you give it a few minutes, I think you'll find that it's extremely addictive.

The premise behind FarmVille is simple: build a farm that grows all kinds of fruits and vegetables. When you first start the game, you'll see a few patches of land where you can start planting. From there, you need to ensure that your farm is healthy as you continue to grow the items in your inventory. The game features simple point-and-click controls, making it accessible for any Facebook user.

FarmVille's "neighbors" feature is quite fun. Users can find other "farmers" in their friends list and grow a nice, bountiful farm together. It's a great concept that adds more value to the game. And the best part is, the more people who farm in FarmVille, the more money that will go to Sweet Seeds for Haiti, a charity that gives healthy meals to families in Haiti. Try it out.

FarmVille features some fun, farming goodness. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Mafia Wars If you're as much of a fan of movies like "The Godfather" and "Goodfellas" as I am, you might have some fun with Mafia Wars.

The object of Mafia Wars is simple: become a boss of a mafia family. When you first start playing the game, you'll see several different "jobs" that you can take on. They include (pretty much) any criminal activity you can think of. That said, you won't actually engage in those activities like you would in a Grand Theft Auto game. Instead, you'll simply tell the game that you want to perform a particular job and you will. When complete, you receive more cash and credibility. Think of it as a simple role-playing game.

Like the other games in this roundup, Mafia Wars has a social element to it. Your goal is to recruit members into your own family as you fight for mafia dominance. When that social element comes in, Mafia Wars shows its value. It's a really fun game when you play with friends.

Mafia Wars
Mafia Wars asks you to perform jobs to become a mafia kingpin. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Pet Society Pet Society is one of the most addictive games I've ever played online. Yes, it's that interesting.

Pet Society puts you in the role of caretaker for a fully customizable character. You need to feed it, play with it, entertain it, clothe it, and more. The game lets you know when the character needs your help for something. It also has several games that you can play in the title to keep you occupied. At first, I was suspect of Pet Society, but after playing it, I was quite impressed. It's well worth the time you put into it.

Pet Society
Pet Society lets you take care of your pet. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Restaurant City As a concept, Restaurant City is an extremely appealing title. And after playing through the game for a while, I think it delivers on its promise.

When you start playing Restaurant City, you'll need to do some work. The game requires you to set up a restaurant, build a menu, and start welcoming patrons. But it adds a little something extra to make it interesting: Facebook friends who are also playing the game can put their own establishment on the same block, adding an element of competition to the title. You can also hire friends to be servers in your restaurant.

Overall, I was really impressed by Restaurant City. It's a fun game that's much deeper than some of the other titles in this roundup. I liked it a lot.

Restaurant City
Restaurant City gets you going on building a restaurant. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Scrabble As you might expect, Scrabble is the popular board game's online version.

You play Scrabble with your Facebook friends. Each person takes a turn at adding a word to the board. The play then moves to the next player until the user with the most points wins. There's not much more to say about Scrabble, since it's an exact replica of the board game. But I did find it fun.

Scrabble lets you find friends to play with. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

YoVille Out of all the games in this roundup, it's YoVille that does the best job of re-creating an MMORPG-like feel.

When you first start playing YoVille, you'll need to design the look and feel of your apartment. From there, you can learn how to make some cash for investment into different segments of the game. As time goes on, you can start playing with friends, who can engage with you in your world when you're in your YoVille. I spent considerable time playing some of the title's many mini-games. I also enjoyed chatting it up with friends. I liked YoVille. It just wasn't as addictive as some of the other titles in this roundup.

YoVille helps you communicate with friends in Facebook. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

My top 3

1. Pet Society: Maybe it's me, but I found Pet Society extremely addictive.

2. Restaurant City: A great concept should be commended.

3. FarmVille: FarmVille features some addicting elements you'll want to try out.