Some GalCiv II nitpicks

By Shamus
on Mar 18, 2006
Filed under:
Game Reviews

A few interesting notes on Galactic Civilizations 2:

Mark has posted an account of one of his games, and it gives a good idea of what the game is all about and how it works. Read part 1 and then part 2. Also, a while back he mentioned an instance where he lost because of some confusion in the diplomacy screen. He was attempting to pursuade his enemy to surrender, but ended up accidently surrendering TO his enemy instead. My brother has been playing through the game, and he did the same thing.

I think being able to OFFER surrender is an odd thing to have on the diplomacy screen. Why would the player ever do this? It means you lose the game. I can’t think of a situation where this would make sense.

Some other diplomancy-screen nitpicks: I can’t really threaten someone. Or I can’t ask nicely. If I demand something, there is no way to differentiate between, “I would like this as a favor” or “do this or I will invade you”. Requests and threats are the same thing, as far as the AI is concerned.

Also, there is a screen here where I can get a summary of what their civilization thinks of me. This judges how sophisticated they think my civilization is. If I have massive fleets and fantastic technology, and they don’t, they are going to hold me in awe. If they have battlecruisers and death rays and I have dirigibles in space with zap guns, they are going to think of my people as a bunch of savages. So, their attitude towards me is a product of my diplomacy skill and my relative military might. Here is what the screen looks like.

However, the top item on the list always says that. It doesn’t matter if I’ve just given them eleventy billion credits or if I’ve just bombed and invaded their worlds, their people never have any opinion of me.

And finally, the bombing of enemy worlds doesn’t really work in a way that makes sense to me. You can only bomb a world as part of an invasion attempt. In order to bomb, you must have the right technology (which makes sense) and you must also send ground troops, which will attempt to sieze control of the planet once the bombing is complete. Bombing softens the world up, making the invasion easier at the expense of destroying some of the infrastructure.

But what if I don’t want the planet? There are times when I just want to cripple the enemy production and cull their population a bit, and I don’t care to send troops. Maybe their homeworld is small and useless to me, and I’d rather not be bothered with it. Maybe I’m using their worlds as a buffer against a stronger enemy. Maybe I’m just toying with them because I don’t want to end the game just yet. In any case, there are many times when I want to cripple a planet without invading, but it deosn’t seem to be possible. I COULD simply send such a tiny number of troops that they are doomed to failure. If they are outnumbered 10,000 to 1, they are going to lose no matter how much technology I have. But still, the invasion craft is wasted (I guess it gets used in the invasion) so I can’t continue to bomb them without making more crafts. This bugs me.

But make no mistake: This game is outstanding. The games blog links to this 1up article, which calls the game “Best space strategy game in a decade”. I would say that is not an exaggeration.

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2There are nearly three comments!

From the Archives:

  1. Schmidt says:

    As I stated in a previous GalCivII Article you wrote, in Space Empires 4 onward many aliens worlds weren’t even habitable by us. Damn Methane Breathers. And since it’d take ages to research proper terraforming, when I was Neck-deep in bombs I simply chose to blow their planet up.

    You’d be amazed what that does for your reputation… :]

  2. Supahewok says:

    I realize that I am very late to the game here, but that “man on the street opinion poll?” Next to certain that that is a culture thing. Giving their civilization a bajillion credits or declaring war affects diplomatic relations, which have nothing to do with culture. That bit changes when you build a bunch of propaganda star bases by their worlds.

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