Galactic Civilizations II

By Shamus
on Feb 28, 2006
Filed under:
Game Reviews

The proliferation of RTS games has led us to the point where the term “strategy game” is usually used to mean a tenth-generation variant of the classic Warcraft recipe of unit management and resource gathering. If you’re like me and you’ve had your fill of that type of game since – oh, I don’t know – 1999-ish, then the world of strategy gaming is pretty small. What few titles you can find, very few of them are turn-based. It follows that turn-based space strategy games are even more rare. We’re talking about a part of a subgroup of a segment of a sub-genre here. A type of game that has probably seen less than a dozen titles in the last decade. Strike that. Less than a dozen titles ever.

The last game of this type that I tried was Master of Orion 3, (sadly nicknamed “MOO 3”, which is an awful nickname for a game of strategy and conquest) which was a miserable failure in every way that can be measured. Critics were cool, but after I played the game myself I concluded that they were being unduly generous. The only other explanation for the fact that the game wasn’t universally panned was that perhaps the critics found the elusive “stop sucking so bad” option buried somewhere in MOO 3’s vast expanse of inscrutable menus. This was a tragic end for a game that people had been anticipating for something like half a decade. MOO 2 is, as far as I’m concerned, the absolute pinnacle of space conquest games. To date, nobody has released anything that comes close.

But now CalCiv II is coming out, and I have hopes that it can re-capture that highly addictive gameplay that MOO 2 offered. Mark has his hands on it, and shares his first game experience.

I’ll be picking up the game in the next week or so, once I get some of these side projects cleared out. I fully expect the game will consume the time I usually spend on stuff like terrain engines and so I need to put things in order before I embark on something like this.

Hopes are high.

Please don’t suck.

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5Five easy comments.

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  1. mark says:

    Well, I’m certainly no expert when it comes to such games, but I do enjoy this one a lot. I think the neatest thing about the game right now is the ship-design functionality. It has a somewhat clunky interface, but it’s damn addicting once you get started building your own. It made me want to start wars in the game, which is nice because my general strategy tends to be: Expand (get as many planets and starbases set up as possible), set up trade routes, research the crap out of the technology tree, then win on influence. This is a somewhat boring way to play the game, but with GalCiv II, war is much more fun and approachable… though I’ve always been the initiator so far. It’s generally more difficult when an opponent attacks you…

    Anyway, I would recommend it, despite my lack of experience in turn-based strategy games like MOO or Civilization…

  2. Shamus says:

    I have a very similar approach to playing the game. Sometimes I start a game with the intention of conquering my way through the game Borg-style, but I get caught up in research and infrastructure along the way. I keep holding off the attack until I get the next big tech, or the next planet completes some critical improvment, or until I just get a little more cash, or a few more turns, check out these worlds, wait for this new ship design, get this new weapon…

    Next thing I know the game is nearly over and I never got around to the conquest end of things.

    I’m getting the game for sure. I enjoyed the original quite a bit, and the running Dev Blog at Stardock has made the game irrisistable to me. Even if you told me the game sucks, I still just have to get it.

  3. john says:

    moo3 rules! It just has a high learning curve. The manual sucks so its learn as you play.

  4. BucketMouse says:

    GalCiv is pretty awesome, I just wish that you could control the freakin space combat. Just watching a movie of ships shooting is dull.

    I ‘get’ that they wanted ‘other options than kill or be killed’ but that doesn’t mean you should take all the fun and advantages of killing out of the game! Plus- what’s with those freakin aliens that start off with like Laser XXXXXXXIV second round!?! That’s a bunch of crap! I’m like the buzzing of flies to them! I’m not going to ally with a bunch of Klingon wannabees just to compare in technology. And don’t get me started on political interaction.

    GalCiv II maybe the best we got for intergalactic space conquest, but if you ask me, “The One” has yet to be invented.

  5. Schmidt says:

    You Want good RTS?

    Look no further than the Space Empires series.

    I got started on IV Gold, and what you can do is simply staggering.
    First you got your world. Wanna explore space? Design your first ships, a Population Hauler is a good idea, and a scout of some sort. Research missles, lasers, engines of many types, satelites, orbital defenses, Space Stations, asteroid farmers, ringworlds, a Dyson Sphere if you were truly bored.

    And if them BEM’s are irritating you, you can harm them in so many ways, from simply shooting them, up to and including Blowing up their sun.

    And while I haven’t gone too deep in SE V, I can only hope for even more.

    With Regards,

    Serr Schmidt

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