I LOVED IT! I own both the original and then the Windows compatible version that was made later (under the name Merchant Prince, I believe). However, I am not sure that either one works adequately on Windows XP.
If you like Machiavelli, and you really would like to play something similar, you might give Patrician 2 or Port Royale a look (in fact, you can get all of them for free using Hitpoints if you are a Fileplanet subscriber). Partician 2 is set in the North and Baltic Sea during the middle ages at the time of the Hansa and the trade power of the city of Lubeck. Port Royale is set in the colonial Caribbean. Both are ship heavy trade games, but they play very similarly to Machiavelli. I do miss the turn based aspects and I miss the use of Mercenaries and the control of the Pope, but otherwise, you have some similar elements in civic offices, defense against pirates, and exploration (and of course trade). It is the closest thing I have found to modern day Machiavelli.
That is a big problem for me too. I have been looking for a good "trade" sim for a while, and just can't find one. I like Port Royale and Patrician, but I played these alot. Capitalism 2 does not run well on modern machines. Industry Giant 2/Gold does not run on modern nVidia cards. The Guild/the Guild 2 is just a mess and gets very boring and repetitive. 1701 is a bit cartoony and frenetic. I have been playing Pirates of the Burning Sea under a buddy key, but despite the rich economy, it is still a combat heavy, level grinding, MMORPG. I just can't find a good economic sim that allows me to produce, trade, manage money, and invest in new businesses (and I want the focus on trade, not say trains like in Railroad Tycoon). Anyone know of any that I should look at?
"Neca eos omnes. Deus suos agnoscet!"
(Kill them all. God will know his own.)
-- Arnaud-Armaury, the Albigensian Crusade