Electronic empires are great no matter where you build them. But island empires? Dictatorship AND scenery all in one? That's the ticket.
Any game that starts with a server selection screen has serious promise. We like being served multiplayer combat. Upon selecting a world, you'll be dropped into a territory that's less of an empire and more of a primitive plot of grassland. You'll spend most of your early time gathering resources to construct buildings and develop your colonies.
At any time, you can zoom out to the map view and see all of the neighboring empires that belong to other players. As a measly level 1 you can't (and shouldn't) do much in the way of attacking. There's nothing stopping you from jumping into chat and throwing some verbal stones, but you're much better off, you know, building up your empire. There's plenty of time for combat and trash talking down the road!