- There are quite a lot of people who started playing Moo2 and who tried to play Moo1 afterwards, without getting in the game at all. The sequel tells part of the story with better graphics and some catchy elements, so that you (probably) always feel something is missing in the first title.
- OTOH, very few people had problem going from Moo1 -> Moo2 (maybe it's just me, hehe). The first title is not everybody's taste, but if you fall in love, you're lost forever.
So, if you don't want potentially to miss a gem, start with 1, than move to 2.
- If you've played Civ, the second title will be pretty familiar to you. You may find inferior, though.
IF you want to know what's good about the 1, read a review of a guy called J.P.Gray on mobygames [google]. He knows his stuff.
How about some newbie tips fort 1 and/or 2? :)
1) Anybody stepping into Moo1 from a classic Civilization oriented background should start a test game with manual ready. It is necessary to grasp the planet build-up and how does the population / factories / waste mecanism work. Control is simple, mechanics are complex, easy to use, hard to master.
2) After a first few games, read unofficial FAQ [google]. It is excellent guide to the depth of this game.
3) The other necessary part is, to understand the weapon mechanics, how missiles work and what is the difference between other class of weapons (beams, bombs, specials etc...). After that, enjoy the game and discover new things on the way...
4) You need to expand quickly (tech: propulsion) and to get as many planets as possible early! Use scouts to "block" enemy scout and colony ships (they will retreat) from valuable planets - this is a key tactics.
5) Always build Missile Bases on your border systems. The MBs are one of the key elements necessary for the victory in this game. Moo1 is a game about intelligent defense + diplomacy + research, until you get the tech superiority.