Why Sid Meier's Civ is the best 4X game and others fall behind and what GalCiv could learn (let's talk 4X)

Posted on Wednesday, June 7, 2017

When I read GalCiv thinking of what is 4X strategy game in this article, I understood why GalCiv, although being a great game, still falls behind Sid Meier's Civilization. It is because they do not understand the greatest advantage that Civ has compared to GalCiv - as it is written by Draginol in his article "what is a 4x strategy game" - they think that eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, eXterminate phases follow each other consequently - when one phase ends, the next begins. 

This thinking is completely wrong and Sid Meiers Civilization proves that! The secret advantage that Civ has is that they make those 4X work simultaneously!

As I have already commented in this article, " It is the mix of those 4 EXes that compliment each other and that makes the game exciting, when those 4 work SIMULTANEOUSLY. This is why [early game is so interesting - because all 4eXes at the beginning are there and have not ended yet and] late game currently becomes far less interesting - because there is only 1 (!!!) EX left and that is EXtermination. But imagine if my proposal was there - if even in late stages there still was EXploration and EXpansion possible (and thus EXploitation, logically). It could be entirely different experience than that of now existing when all that is left in late stages is to manage monster fleets in monster maps.

Here is how those 4X work simultaneously for Sid Meier's Civ, throughout the whole game session:

eXploration: revealing map is only the initial phase of eXploration and even this first step is not without its challenges as barbarians always pose danger to scouts. But as time goes on, there are new and new things to explore - the strategic resources being the most obvious. Those reveal with time and effort and have huge impact in the game. It can be said, that the exploration of strategic resources is a way to continue eXploration phase throughout the whole game, because strategic meaning of the map changes. Not completely but in a balanced way, notably. The same applies to archeological ruins and, to some extent, the Compass technology, when players are able to travel ocean tiles. Since unability to travel the ocean in initial phase postpone the eXploration, there are multiple levels of eXploration that makes it a race to compete in and that have duration longer than just initial phase - eXploration takes place in multiple levels throughout the whole game. The child in us wants to explore with wonder, be amazed with new possibilities the toys/game map has, time and time again. And Civ gives us that the best way they can come up. But GalCiv... Heh... Exploration ends as soon as 1st ship travels through fog of war...

eXpansion: again, claiming territory is not a phase that starts at one point and ends in another, just to let the next phase begin. The cities grow the whole time, throughout the game in Sid Meiers Civilization, making eXpansion a phase that work simultaneously with other three X phases, throughout the whole game. Obviously, growing a city is completely different from growing/building a planet in GalCiv where a planet consists of flat, buildable tiles. Yes, there is a growing/eXpansion aspect and tile bonuses add a little spice, but it falls far behind from that Civ has, where you have multiple, MULTIPLE factors that take part into city development. In Civ, a city truly eXpands. For GalCivs planet it is less so, because number of tiles is predefined, the tiles are even in nature, understandably(?) you do not have to compete for planet tiles with neighbour civilizations and fewer factors take part in development in general.

eXploitation: obviously, eXploitation is a progressive phase in Civ when you can improve the improvements throughout the whole game, no matter if they are city districts or casual tile improvements. The same can be said for GalCiv's starbases. But, obviously and unfortunately Sid Meiers Civ is far better in its variety. In Civ you can "eXploit" [improve] just about anything, while in GalCiv you improve starbases that eXploit only strategic resources (durantium, thulium, antimatter, prometheon or etherium). Planetary resources has recently being added with Crusade, but even those cannot challenge the variety that can be improved in Civ. Yes, you can build different kind of starbases that give you bonuses, but I do not consider that eXploitation the same way a tile is eXploited/improved in Civ.

eXterminate: well, yes, that can progessively go on the whole time for sure, in all games, no matter be it Civ, GalCiv or else. And players abuse this option to full extent not necessarily because they prefer it, but also because it is the only option left in the late stages. Unfortunately.


I think I have made my main point why Civ is a game so good others can only aspire to - it is because in Civ all those 4 eXes work SIMULTANEOUSLY, an advantage that no other game has perfected so well than Civ. 


Why this post is in the "Future ideas"? Because there is a space to improve GalCiv, no matter how good we value it already. And, perhaps, there is a thing or 2 that GalCiv devs could learn from the best 4X strategy game there is - Sid Meiers Civ.

Planet (including dead) eXploration? Nebulae eXploration? There are plenty of room to invent not-so-hard-to-do features, that would change now existing 4X order to simultaneous 4X. It takes some effort, but it is possible for GalCiv to SURPASS the all time leader, the Civ, both in sales and fanbase.