So I have been playing both Gal Civ and Stellaris.

Posted on Wednesday, July 31, 2019

So > I have been playing both Gal Civ and Stellaris. I like both games. I was hesitant at first to play Stellaris but it does have some features I do like. This is not a post to be critical of my one true favorite game but rather to let Stardockians see what I liked. I am a life long supporter of Stardock and its great games and will always line up to help on the Galactic Civilizations front.  This was to show some things I like without sounding like a paradox fanboy.

In no particular order regarding Stellaris:

  • Able to close borders and can form choke points which gives strategic options.
  • No combat view, fights are done on the same map you explore
  • Small ships are just as good as Huge Battleships if built for their purpose of swarm/fast and evasion. In fact fleets of both at end game are usually the norm.
  • Its actually preferable to grow tall rather than wide. Empire sprawl increases costs of research and raises costs on everything over time. It would be nice if there was a starbase module that eliminated sprawl “x number of sectors out from it’ so in late game you can have a reason to wage war and be expansive and conquer the galaxy. As it is I just have zero need to do so. In Gal civ its yes lets do it but by that point I dont 'need' to. In both games having a reason and ability to do so would be nice and not be penalized for doing so but rather rewarded. 
  • Turtling is a viable and usually the best option to win late game. This is meh for me but I can see folks who like this style.
  • No ship designer, for me this is a negative. Gal Civ has the best ship designer I have ever seen in a 4x space game. Colors, parts and the tools to build some of the most unique ships for your empire.
  • Its not really turn based. I don’t mind the ‘pausable’ real time. Much like Distant Worlds it seems to work but a real 4x with cumulative clicks is my favorite.
  • I hate star lanes. I really do. Gal Civ allows for freedom of ship travel and because of this I have seen Ai ships sail right past a potential colony because it did not have sensors to ‘see it’. This is a huge plus for me. I do not know how Gal Civ would be with star lanes. I would love ‘closable borders and a way to form choke points (which is because of star lanes) but there must be a solution to keep Gal Civ’s free roaming style of play and include the above. Derek & Paul get your ass on these ideas.
  • Stellaris has built in Mid game and end game crisis of which the player can adjust in how hard or when (if ever) the arrive. This is something that Gal Civ can use. I’d like to see a dread lords style crisis or Prethoryn scourge type invasion which changes the ai to work with the player and other ai to combat the threat.
  • Fallen and awakened empires which usually constitute the mid game crisis. Fun!
  • The random tech tree. While I did not understand this, I have come to really like its semi-randomness. I know Ill get all techs but ….when?
  • Psionics and the ability to adjust my race to be better at mid and late game via gene mods or go full android and be a machine instead of a meatbag. This was a huge win. Changing the feel of my race or government after I started I was something that I really liked. 
  • Ok I will admit it. I really liked reading the stories and quest/excavations that came up. I went out of my way to ‘capture’ a dig site even if it was across the galaxy. Pop up anomalies which gave a story and sometimes had a chain were cool. Having established planets pop up with ‘OMG the trees woke up and now we have to do something’ is a nice way to get me to go back and manage planets.
  • The sector system sucks in Stellaris and does nothing to improve empire sprawl or planet build. I found I still have to go in and manually manage each planet, which in turn prevent me from expanding much as I did not want to have to manage 30 planets and kept my empire to only 5. Gal Civ has the same similar issue the governors are simply not as good at planetary build choices as a player. It would be nice if we can delineate sectors in the empire screen (like actually assign planets to a sector and then tell the ai to focus on a particular part of the economy or military with that sector (increase money or research or something).
  • While I like the look of the game (Stellaris), I like how Gal Civ zooms in and up close to planets is very nice. I know you can do the same in Stellaris but I feel Gal Civ does it better.
  • Gal Civ has hands down the best maps. The insane setting is…insane. I do like Stellaris Huge (1000) stars map. It takes me about 6-8 hours after game start to see about half of this map. Contrast this to an Insane which can take me 18-20 hours to see about half depending on if I tweaked the sensors to be the old fashion sensor boats of ‘beta’.
  • Diplomacy in both games is fair. Gal civ allows me to get techs I cant have at the time which crushes stellaris in this department. The look in both games is ok. I am not a 'ui' guy and I suppose both can do better in how to present diplomacy or trades. In stellaris I can only  trade minerals or info but never tech or even 'get' anything from the ai...never. This is terrible for me and one place where Gal Civ really outshines stellaris. I can 'exploit' the ai to wage war or get tech or ships. I love this about Gal Civ and hope we can expand upon it. 


So that was my take. I like both games and I really look forward to being an Alpha Elitist in Galactic Civilizations IV when Stardock decides to start that project.