Thanks kryo you are right it was indeed 'foreign edition, but plays in english', and was from eBay. However, there is no copy protection so bootlegging would not be so hard while, if so, it goes as far as having not only foreign loading instructions and option boxes but, if the 'gibberish' language installation option is used, some of the texts in the game itself are in the same lingo! - Stardock Support also suggested it could be the Russian version.
By the way kryo, is Snowball just the registration team for Stardock, or could you provide the the address if it deals only with the Russian version?
The eBay advert did state that it was used, but it was possibly misleading to state that the game had been registered because, although registration is not required to install or play, the registration of the keycode cannot be transferred without a fee and this is needed for updates beyond 1.3 or to play on line, and of course the difficulties with entering the key itself were not mentioned either.
So I would still like to ask about entering the Cyrillic key to get v.1.3, which Stardock says can be had without transferring the registration; they haven't yet provided the answer to this so I would still be grateful for any other help with it