Play Example #2

by Brad Wardell (Designer)

In the first game play example, I lost. This was obviously a bit embarrassing given that that it was my job to write the AI. I had made a few mistakes that caught up to me. This time, I started a game and decided to play as the master diplomat...

Put points into influence and diplomacy mainly.  Influence helps me in the United Planets (votes are based on influence) as well as in winning over alien populations. Diplomacy helps me in dealing with other players and makes them tend to like me more. My goal here was to win through an alliance victory.

The computer players are set to normal intelligence. In the name of disclosure, I should be able to easily beat the AI at this level since this is a level that most experienced players will be able to win. It's designed to be challenging but in the end winnable for people familiar with the game for awhile.

The difficulty levels in GalCiv mean a lot btw. Intelligence levels mean just that -- intelligence. Each computer player has its own AI engine. The higher the difficulty, the more AI features get enabled. It's not just a matter of "give AI more gold" or something like that. Normal means some features are on and some are off.

Here's my starting point.  If you don't like your starting point, you can hit Ctrl-N and it'll instantly crank out a new galaxy. Yea, I know that some may think that's cheating but I suspect I'm not the only one who exits out of games where the world hasn't generated what you want and restarts. So we just took it to the next level and made it a hot key.  That said, I didn't do that here since at normal difficulty I should be able to overcome any obstacle.

Loading up for colonization.

I tend to go for deflectors pretty early on. The reason for that is that it allows me to build defenders. Having some basic defenses helps discourage opportunistic aliens.

Naturally as I land on planets I run into various issues. But being the good guy, I choose to take the penalty.

Now that I'm going into debt and I have trade technology, it's time to build freighters. The aliens look at your importance to them economically when deciding how they should feel about you.

My neighbors are the Torian Confederation. This race had been enslaved eons ago by the Precursors. Shortly after they broke free, the Precursors disappeared from the galaxy.

I begin trading with the Torians. I want to have good relations with them.

Now at this point I have a lot of planets to deal with. I happen to be one of those people who finds 4X games fun for the first hour and then they bog down in micro management.  So in GalCiv we put in governors. Now, a lot of beta testers were surprised that we didn't put any AI behind governors. After all, good AI is what Stardock is known for. But in our view, micro management issues are a UI problem, not a game mechanic problem. The governors are there so that you can order groups of planets to do things at once.  If you use the options menu you can even have finished projects from governors not even come up anymore, they're totally automated at that point. I don't choose to do that since I sometimes will override a governed world and have it build a wonder or trade good or something. But at this stage in the game, I don't want to have to keep telling my dozen or so planets to build entertainment networks. Hence the governors.

The Arceans, at this point, are the most powerful civilization in the galaxy. They got an excellent starting position and have taken over the top portion of the galaxy. Not surprisingly, they are using their position to screw over the rest of us. I give into them since I'm trying to stay out of war.

Unfortunately, a little over 14 months later, they return. This time I tell them where to go since I can't afford to keep paying them off.

To combat the Arcean menace I increase my defense spending.

As you an see, I'm at war with the Arceans now (they're yellow, I'm blue). The mini map makes it look like I'm doing well but don't be fooled, I control a lot of empty sectors. Whoopie.

Out in the depths of space, the Arceans and the USS Valiant (incidentally you can rename your ships and star systems) do battle. I win!

Unfortunately, I'm slowly being overwhelmed by the Arceans. While I am an expert at this game (really!) this particular game has one particular issue going against me -- there were no galactic resources near me. The Arceans, by contrast, control several at this point and are using them to be considerably  more powerful. I'm holding them off but no where near able to take the fight to them.

Until... The Torians join the war on my side.   All that trade I had been doing with them made them realize that if I were snuffed out, so would 30% of their economy.

The news report says it all. The tide has been turned. The Arceans are no match for the combined Terran / Torian team up. Note that I am not allied with the Torians at this point. They're just a friendly race helping us out.

I successfully invade one of the outer colonies of the Arcean Empire.

Yea yea, Arcean, tell it to the judge.  I give them peace but it costs them a lot in reparations.

Meanwhile, even though I lack galactic resources I have built up a series of star bases encompassing my territory and the Torian territory. The goal has been to increase my economic output. As you can see here I am getting a lot of bonus production (the +'s in the readout). Not quite as good as having resources but at this difficulty level more than enough.

My culture is also spreading throughout the galaxy. But it won't be necessary to have to go for a cultural victory. Not to mention, not really doable since I control no cultural resources.

Ultimately, I ally up with the Altarians and the Torians. With my financial backing, they take out the Drengin Empire and the remains of the Arcean Empire.

I win via the political victory. I successfully allied up with the Altarians and Torians. Allying is not easy to do. It's not hard to have friendly relations. But moving up to the point where they are willing to ally with you is quite difficult. I wanted to try to save the Drengin but it just wasn't possible. I was ethically good, they were evil, there were simply limits to how much I could sway them.

But in the end, a new order in the galaxy had been forged. Unfortunately, the Drengin and Arceans did not live to see this new order. Admittedly, I was tempted before the end to switch to a conquest strategy to see if I could take out the combined Altarian / Arcean alliance but I suspect that wouldn't have gone over too well. I was so dependent on trade with the Torians and my star bases were not very well protected. But like I said, I was tempted... ;)