Today, I am going to talk about video games, particularly, one of my old favourites. I have been a fan of strategy games since I was old enough to point a mouse and direct a space fleet or tank division at an enemy. And one of my favourites has to be Imperium Galactica 2: Alliances.
Imperium Galactica2: Alliances is quite probably one of the most fun 4x (eXplore eXpand eXploit eXterminate) games of all time. Certainly when I talk to video game geeks who enjoy strategy, IG2 always comes up. I had the game many years ago on disk and thoroughly enjoyed it. And then, technology moved on. Computers got better at doing stuff, and some games didn’t keep up. IG2 was one of those games, at least for me. Don’t get me wrong, when I found the app for IG2 on my phone, I got it (hard to play strategy 4x on a Galaxy Note – but I managed!), and years ago I even managed to get the app on my PC and fool my PC into thinking it was a phone. Neither was as good as I remembered (The PC fooling app might have been, but it wouldn’t save 🙁 )
So, when I got the email fro Good old games (www.gog.com) telling me it was available, I was downloading it as soon as sleep cleared from my eyes.
It didn’t work. No mouse pointer appeared on the loading screen, and that made me sad. I contacted support reporting the fault and asked for help. The response I got was a checklist to work through. That was irritating, but I realise that problem diagnosis requires it. So, I started working on the checklist. It wasn’t easy. Just because I like video games doesn’t mean I understand tech speak. The checklist was full of jargon, which was unhelpful. Since the person who wrote the list obviously didn’t see the problem, I figured they probably wouldn’t be helpful in solving my jargon issue. I did the best I could, looking up terminology on google and whatnot. I completed 80% of the list, ultimately not resolving my issue. I contacted tech support once again.
I confess, I probably wasn’t what people might call polite. I wasn’t rude, but normally I might be more civil than
“I have no idea what that means. Speak clearly.”
I got a refund from GoG. Better than nothing, but not what I wanted.
A week or so later, I checked Steam. IG2 was there. There was even a patch. A patch addressing the problem I had experienced. For the second time in a fortnight I downloaded IG2 with excitement and anticipation. It worked this time!
So, why was I so excited? There are certainly plenty of other 4x games out there to choose from.
IG2 has an open space map. Ships aren’t confined to boxes, they go where you point.
Radar range is a thing, so it is theoretically possible to station fleets just outside range of planetary radar in a kind of open space ambush. And I love that. When fleets meet, you control them. I love that (perhaps the only thing I dislike about Galactic Civ 3 is that you don’t control ships when engaged).
Some images of a space battle. At setup you can choose a formation. During battle you can control individual ships or groups, you can have them auto-fire or you can press the trigger yourself. You can research ship upgrades, and then design ship payloads. So, a cruiser could have light guns, main guns and shields, or maybe it will drop the shields in favour of torpedoes. I never understood why it was either/or with shields and torpedoes. It is the same with tanks. So, you can have a mega tank with guns aplenty and rockets, or replace the rockets with an air/fleet strike uplink allowing your invasion force to rain fire from above. I really enjoy doing that.
I get the feeling tactics do work in the ground assaults, but I am lazy and tend to go for overwhelming numbers and fleet bombardment.
You start battle by deploying your tanks by dropship and then sending them to destroy enemy tanks and fortresses. Once a planet’s military is gone, the planet falls and it is yours.
More than just warfare, you get to manage your empire on a grand scale. Colony governors can auto-build for you, but I say, where is the fun in that? So, you build ships and tanks on the main galactic map, when the appropriate world is selected. And, you can zoom in on your colonies and build individual structures. When you are flush with cash, you can build loads, but switch them off if you don’t have enough workers or power. It’s a balance.
You get to manage the empire, and also the colonies within it
And, if that wasn’t enough, you do get a story with your campaign. You aren’t just sandboxing like you do in some games. I was playing the Solarian Empire campaign earlier (Humans). You are expanding your empire, engaging in diplomacy and espionage with your neighbours, whilst also fighting pirates (The Pirates wanted surrender, and their leader offered his daughter’s hand. He got offended when I asked for a dowry…), dealing with a religious sect and even natural disaster story lines.
I am seriously considering finding the time to do a let’s play series, what do you think?