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GalCiv IV: Supernova Dev Journal #57 - Doctrine: Operational Abilities

Published on Tuesday, May 7, 2024 By BATTLEMODE In GalCiv IV Dev Journals

As we’ve seen in the past couple of developer journals, Ship Classes in Galactic Civilizations IV: Supernova consist of a Ship Type plus a Doctrine. I’ll summarise it again in case you didn’t read those.


The Ship Type is a kind of model organised around its hull size and suggested combat role: for example, a Cruiser is a medium hull-sized Type and has an inherent bonus of +10% Weapon Range, as opposed to the Destroyer, the new medium hull-sized Type added in Warlords with its -10% Weapon Cooldown bonus.

All else being equal, the Cruiser will generally engage targets more quickly while the Destroyer puts out more firepower over the course of the battle. With the Warlords expansion, each hull size, from Tiny to Huge, now has two Types.

These Ship Type abilities don’t change but further performance of each Ship Class can be customised quite extensively with both its components, a standard feature in most space 4X with few exceptions, and with our new Doctrine system.

A Doctrine has two player-selectable settings: an Operational Ability and a Targeting Priority. With the Warlords expansion, you can change both of these settings on a Class by Class basis, with more options available to each over the base-game too.

Today we’re going to look at a few of the Operational Abilities available in Warlords and suggest some hypothetical scenarios where they might be useful, in tandem with the other mechanics that constitute a Ship Class. To make this clearer, we’ll look at just a single Ship Type the Destroyer, and see how varying its Operational Abilities drastically alter how it performs in a battle.


Here’s our base-line Destroyer Ship Type.

Let’s say we’re being swarmed by lots of small, hi-tech Bombers which are proving difficult to destroy because of their advanced Armour or Shielding components, and are killing a lot of our larger ships. Furthermore, we don’t have a lot of shipyards to justify building a lot of Fighters, which are cheap to build in terms of the Construction Cost but are inefficient in terms of Shipyard turns: with our two Shipyards, we can build two Destroyers over two turns, or four Fighters…


Looking through the Operational Abilities available, there are a few options but the best one for targeting Bombers is Sentinel, with it’s +75% Attack Against Bombers ability. This will help reduce shielding and armour, and do more HP damage once they’ve mitigated those protective measures.

Set an appropriate Targeting Priority and field just enough weaponry to be able to reliably kill even an advanced bomber in a couple of rounds, and you’ve got yourself a bona fide anti-bomber warship. The Destroyer is a reasonable pick for this role as the rapid weapon cooldown rate gives it an edge over the Cruiser (although in some cases the extended weapon range on the Cruiser might work better here, it’d depend on the relative loadouts on each Type in play).

Alternatively, if the civilization fielding these bombers had skipped the Evasion boosting techs, but were instead fielding them as part of very large swarms, Skirmisher might be a better bet: the Destroyer here would be less accurate when it fired, but wield a massive -85% Weapon Cooldown rate, almost doubling its fire output.

Pair this with Kinetic weaponry components and you’re putting out a hell of a lot of firepower very quickly: the -25% Accuracy penalty here will hurt and so it’d be essential to boost it back up with two or three Targeting Computers: at just 2 Mass and 5 Manufacturing Cost each, you’ll kill those Bombers in almost half the rounds any other ship could.


Throw in substantial shielding (hope you’ve found some Elerium!) and an Ion Canon to negate the Bomber’s evasion and now those big swarms of terrifying capital ship killers are going to be easy prey for your deadly Destroyers!


Remember that a Ship Class’s doctrine can be changed at any point during play using the Edit Doctrine button in the ship designer, without the need to redesign the ship itself, meaning you’re free to experiment and repurpose the role of your Classes to adapt to an ever shifting battlefield.

I hope this quick overview gives you some ideas on how Operational Abilities complement your Ship Type’s natural abilities, and use this knowledge to face the various tactical challenges GalCiv IV will throw at you during the course of a game.