I used to play a game called.....well...its initials were NS. It was fun....for about a day. And then it got old. Fast.
So, I forgot about online, interactive nation-building. Until Ranson sent me a link to my newest form of gaming net-heroin: Cyber Nations.
Actual wars with actual meaningful outcomes. Meaningful gorvernment and religion choices. Resources and the ability to trade. A real economic system. Build-up of land, infrastructure, technology and military might. Nukes! All of it interactive, and synergistic. It's beautiful. My only problem with it is that there's not more of it. It only takes a few minutes a day to keep everything up-to-date, so it's good for the casual gamer, but you can spend hours just tooling around the Google Maps screens and checking out other players for that tiny advantage, so it's good for those of us who....obsess...a bit, as well.
All in all, Cyber Nations rocks! Like I said, it's not time intensive, but it's very fun. Check it out.
Disclaimer: I am linking to this site for shameless personal gain, but I don't care. This game rocks.