I had a couple idea for a game, unfortunately I see it in a war context as well;
Idea 1. People have a game engine on sourceforge and on the web based around the RTS Command and Conquer called openra (Open Red Alert)
There are also ports of freecol and freeciv.
Idea 2 I had some ideas, maybe we could make a game based on the mayflower compact using freecol. We could have the player win when they reach a certain objective and have Full Motion Video; sometimes people do cosplay/Renassance Festival Re-enactments, we could have them perform re-inactments for the game. We could possibly have alternate timelines... We could acknowledge God throughout the game. The Freecol they have now IMHO is hard to get into
You also wouldn't have to know a lot of programming, for most items you could just add to the content that is already there with scripting and artwork. It might be fun to add historical documents in there as well. If your a custom artist, etc.