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Tropico 1 is an addictive political / strategy sim game, more in the spirit of Sim City than Civilization. They did a great job of making every individual citizen of the island interactive, so you could, for example, assassinate or imprison someone who leads one of the opposing factions. The Caribbean island setup is clearly based on real historical places and leaders, but you have plenty of flexibility in mixing and matching or creating your own character. It's one of those games that makes it enjoyable to be the 'bad leader.' Most of the time, there's no combat (only in some scenarios, or if the opposing factions get out of hand). It's more about building up your island's economy while keeping the capitalists and communists and everyone else in check. It has a fantastic soundtrack, to boot.
Tropico 2 is a completely different game, that in some ways seems like the younger brother of Tropico. It's set in the same place, but several hundred years earlier. You take on the role of a pirate and build up your pirate's cove while sending ships out to prowl on the European colonial fleets. Unfortunately, the most interesting aspect of the game -- the pirate ships' missions -- isn't very interactive. You can set some options and tell them where to go, but once they leave port you don't have any control until they return. It's also annoying how the ships will often get captured or sunk, leaving you without any real source of gold until you construct another one. The pirate economy is much simpler than the island economy in Tropico 1, and rather than dealing with multiple competing factions (which is very interesting), you're just dealing with pirates and prisoners. It's a fun game in itself, but for the low price of both of these, it's really more of a lagniappe.
Buy them and enjoy!