Emperor (the game, not emperor) turned awkward on me and I had to do a bit of rethinking (and a lot of reading - the full manual is 140+ pages in PDF; the paper thingie is fine as a broad brush, but it skimps on detail) and then decided to scrap my first essay at building a Chinese city and restart. I just don't understand the relatively dismissive reviews that this Sierra historical city-building game received, unless the reviewers just didn't have time to give it more than a cursory inspection. It may look and begin to play like the other games in the series, but you don't have to go far in before you discover how much more intricate and thorough it is. To anyone with hours to burn and a little money - and certainly if they're interested in the rudiments of Chinese history - I'd recommend it. There's a playable demo available free, along with patches and downloads (yes, you can build your own campaigns) here, and the game itself is discounted to £14.99 new, 2nd user from £3.72 at amazon.co.uk - just be sure that if you do get it, you a) apply the patch to version 22.214.171.124 before playing, and b) go to the Emperor Heaven site which is full of good material which will well repay reading.
Now, I think, tea and toast. With pâté, or with cheese?
 In full: Emperor: Rise of the Middle Kingdom
EDIT: I can't imagine how I forgot to mention this, but it's the first city-building game that I know of with multi-player capabilities. I haven't looked at them yet, but... wow, eh?