I talk a lot about boardgames and RPG on this blog, so it is long past time I talked about video games. Truth be told I don’t play them that often, usually in intense bursts over about a week and then they get powered down whilst I remember what socialising in the real world is. The reason for the intensity over a few days is partly due to my personality and partly due to the type of game I favour. Strategy. I love civilization builders, like Civ. I enjoy strategy war games, like Total War: Warhammer. And I love the game Galactic Civilisation 3.
Gal Civ 3 came out a couple of years ago, when I was taking a sabbatical from Uni working in the Students’ Union. The work was fun, but taxing, and I needed a release. Gal Civ 3 provided this, by allowing me to play a civilisation, build up their technology, culture and military and spread across the galaxy. (That is a vastly simplified overview of the 4x genre of game).
There have been a number of DLCs, most of which I didn’t care for as they did not add anything that interested me. Crusade came out last week. Crusade interested me.
Gal Civ 3: Crusade is the first DLC I would actually say qualifies as a proper expansion. It adds content to the game, along with changing some of the existing mechanisms of play. I am going to go through all of them as best I can, though this is only a first impression review as I have had limited time to play.
As with the original game you can build and customise your civilisation to meet your personal style of play, however, things are considerably more detailed. The first thing I noticed (and i’ll admit, it may have been added in another update) was one of the portraits you can choose for your Civ Leader.
The portrait I settled on/opted for was the guy shown above. I chose him because he looks like me. If you need proof go check my About page. First photo, I am the one on the left. The other is Scooby Doo. So, there was a character portrait that looks like an older, angrier version of me. That was a bonus. And as I mentioned earlier, you can customise in significantly greater detail than before. You can apply traits, bonuses and behaviours as before, however you can also individually customise what every single ship in a potential fleet looks like.
I didn’t bother, but I can see it being a fun thing to do. Building up a new civ, writing their brief history and philosophy and then tailoring their fleet to look exactly as you want, either by designing their ships (if you are good at it), or using designs from the steam workshop.
As of now, I can find no major overhaul on the strategic map. You can move ships along in their hexes as before, finding reseources, planets and anomalies.
There are a lot of changes in the economics and infrastructure of the game. The first addition is that of Citizens. Citizens are specially trained people in your civ that are generated every 10 turns, that can be sent to do various jobs. I must admit, when I read about this part of the game, I just thought Starship Troopers. It isn’t exactly the same thing…
You can see on the screenshot, my Civ had the option to generate 4 types of citizen from the start. Scientists are used to boost science civ wide by 3% or one planet by 30% and Workers do the same for production. Mechanics were a bonus as a result of my Civ traits; they enhance the speed of my ships as they are basically cyborgs that improve the ship’s drives. And Administrators; administrators add a new logistical dimension. Each administrator adds 5 administration points to your Civ. These points are required to build colonies, survey ships and starbases. This was an interesting idea to me as someone who habitually builds legions of starbases in the game to boost his colonies, and swarms of probes to find anomalies. This was made me have to think a bit more, as the game now doesn’t let you get overstretched. That was realistic, but a nuisance. I hoped there would be something to balance it out.
The beneficial payoff came in the starbases themselves, and the resources they mine. In the original version of the game you could use a constructor ship to build a starbase, and depending on how advanced your Civ was dictated how many modules you could complete with only one constructor unit on your ship. As my technology grew, I would have to build loads of constructor ships to build my starbases to their full potential and it was taxing to remember which ones needed upgrade. Now, you don’t need to build fleets of constructors (Or constructor ships the size of a Super Star Destroyer with 40 construction units). You simply pay for the upgrades, so long as you have the cash, requisite tech and the required resources. This was great, but the requirement of resources can prove challenging. So, in my let’s play video, my advancement on Economic Starbases was stymied for a long time by my inability to find Anti-Matter. Which neatly leads me on to the starbase resources. In Gal Civ 3 there are a number of resources you can find on the galactic map, such as Durantium, Elerium and Anti-Matter. In the original version of the game, each node counted as 1 unit of that resource. As your mining tech got better, the node’s value improved. However, buildings and ship enhancements often used these resources, and once that flat value was gone, it was gone. Now, each node produces 0.1 units per turn of that resource, and increased mining technology increases the production level meaning there is a constant flow of raw materials to your Civ. However, now, many many things use those resources whereas before only some of the advanced weapons or buildings did. So, to upgrade my industry I needed durantium and so on. This constant flow decreased the value of the strategic resources when using them as trade goods, but it added another level of realism to the game. Your buildings and space based facilities cannot advance without these resources meaning you do need to have solid infrastructure, meaning that destroying starbases in warfare will have a strategic and economic effect on your opponent. It made the game more challenging, but I love it.
One of the Citizen types you can train is the Spy. I have one spy, currently, embedding himself with the most belligerent race I have encountered. Spies accumulate levels whilst on assignmt, and I am reliably informed he will steal tech for me as time goes by. Currently I know the size of my opponent’s empire and their cashflow. I am in trouble. Fortunately, I also trained a diplomat and am schmoozing them too.
I haven’t engaged in any battles yet. Citizens can become fleet commanders or generals, and the empire can construct/train legions. I have not reached this stage yet, though on of the options on the construction screen is to build a garrison using legions already trained, I suspect the Garrison will not take up a tile, and I suspect the planet that trains the Legion will lose population to the army. I will update when I have more information.
Finally, I have started a let’s play series on youtube It is my first ever, and it is recorded on a laptop so please be patient with the sound quality. If you want to see me casting about looking for trading partners and anti-matter, then watch the series.
Galactic Civilisations 3: Crusade is an enjoyable expansion that makes the game just a bit more challenging. My favourite improvement is the starbases and their resources, though the fact that there is a Civ leader that looks like me is appealing too. I highly recommend this game and expansion to fans of the 4x genre of video game as an enjoyable experience.