Galactic Civilizations III: Walkthrough 2018

Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2018 By Frogboy

Remember when you bought a game at the store, took it home, devoured the user manual the first evening, and then played a game that you would slowly master?  Those were the days.

Today, games are much more sophisticated and today's gamers want to see their games evolve and improve based on their feedback.  That brings us to this walk-through of Galactic Civilizations III v3.

For the purposes of this walk-through, I will be using v3.0 with all expansions installed.  Your experience will differ some depending on what you have installed, but assuming you have the Gold Edition, you should be set.

Chapter 1: Setting up your game

  1. Galactic Civilizations is a sandbox game.  That means each game is different.  We include a series of campaigns, but other than the tutorial, we recommend choosing "new game" first.
  2. For your first game, choose the Terran Alliance.  Each alien civilization plays somewhat differently, but presuming you're human, the Terrans are probably the most relatable.
  3. For galaxy size, stay with MEDIUM or less for your first few games. Medium requires a system with 4GB of memory.  Memory is the price we pay to avoid having "space lanes".
  4. For everything else, keep to the default, and into the game you go.


Chapter 2: Your first turn

  1. In the beginning, you have one ship - your Survey ship.  It is a special type of ship that can investigate anomalies (goodie huts). Left-click on it. Then click the "Command" button in the bottom left and choose survey.  That tells it to automatically go out and hunt for anomalies.
  2. At the bottom right, you will see the turn button.  It will probably say "Research".  Choose that and pick one of the 4 or so technologies.  Each one has a very different purpose and will unlock additional technologies to choose from.
  3. Now the turn button probably says Idle Colony, and will take you to Earth.  On the right side are a list of things you can build, and on the left side are a series of green tiles, which are places where you can build things.  Select a green tile you want to build something and then select the thing you want to build on it, and then press build. 
  4. When possible, rush build things. You are meant to have lots of money. Use it to control pacing.  If your home planet doesn't start with something interesting, build a shipyard so you can start building ships.




Players start with lots of money. Use it to rush build things.


Chapter 3: Your first ship

  1. As soon as you build a shipyard, you can begin constructing ships.
  2. You can choose "Quick build" to get a list of things to build (like a colony ship or a scout).  Rush build your first ship.
  3. Now the turn button should really say Turn.


You can right-click on a destination to send a ship there or order the pilot of the ship do their thing.


Chapter 4: Your second turn

  1. If you built a scout, this is a good time to send it out to explore other stars for good planets.  Use the mouse wheel to zoom in and out of the map. 
  2. Dots on the unexplored map are stars.  Send your ships to those dots to see what is there. 
  3. Rush build a colony ship so that you have one ready to go and when built, send it to a near by star just to be safe.
  4. Click on the VICTORY button at the top left. There are 5 victory conditions.  Conquest, Influence, Technology, Ascension and Diplomatic.  This screen tells you how close you are and how close your opponents are.
  5. Click on CIVILIZATION at the top left of the screen.  You will see your production, your income, expenses, and balance.  At the bottom of that screen is the tax rate which defaults to 25% (yea, if ONLY!).  Your tax rate determines what % of the wealth generated by your civilization you get to steal invest.
  6. Your tax rate affects your approval. Lower approval will result in less production and less influence growth, but will bring in more money.  At the start of the game, you should have a balanced budget - but this won't last, as you need deficit spending to grow your empire quickly.
  7. You (yes, you) are in the game too.  You are the little crown icon that defaults to being in Social Construction.  If you click on yourself, you return to the unassigned leaders pile.  Click on a different category to see the effect (such as administration). This is an easy way to get an extra administrator early on.


Your economy

Chapter 5: Your third turn

  1. So far you have started with a Survey ship, built a scout ship, and built a Colony ship.  The next type of ship is called a Constructor.  Constructors build starbases, which lay claim to resources within their region.
  2. Be careful of pirates. This is why I usually build a scout ship and not a colony ship right away. Pirates will destroy any ship they can find.
  3. Use your constructor to capture resources.  There is an outline of the area that the constructor will capture once it is turned into a starbase.


Picking that perfect location for your starbase.


Chapter 6: Your first colony

  1. Your first colony, if it's not Mars, will present you with a moral dilemma.   Each choice will give you ideological points which unlock abilities from the ideology tree.  This is where you decide what type of civilization you want to be.
  2. After you finish colonizing and setting up what you want to do on the planet, you will be asked to form a government (if you have Intrigue). Each government type has strengths and weaknesses, and most cannot be accessed early on.
  3. Your ideology choice will bring up the ideology trait screen.  Each choice makes future choices cost more. Choose carefully.



Name your new planet


Your first ideological choice

Chapter 7: Your first citizen

  1. Every so often, a new citizen enters your civilization.  You get to choose what they will specialize in.  Humans start out with 3 choices: Administrator (so you can build more special ships), Worker (so you can build up your colony faster), and Scientist (so you can research faster).
  2. Choose Scientist this time.
  3. Now go to Earth, click on add Citizen, and choose that Scientist.  They will appear on Earth and give you a huge research bonus.




Chapter 8: Building your economy

  1. Click on an asteroid field that is in your area of influence.  Build a mining base.  It will send 1 raw production point to the nearest planet (you can change where it sends it to but the further away it is, the less that will get there).
  2. Research Universal Translator and then Xeno Commerce.  This will allow you to build freighters which you can send to foreign planets to get money from them.
  3. Research tourism and build a port of call on your planets to convert your area of influence into money.


Chapter 9: Building your influence

  1. Your influence flows out from influence sources.  Think of each tile like a bucket.  The further away a tile is from the source of influence, the slower that bucket will fill.  It takes 6 points of influence for it to turn to a player's color and the amount of influence reaching a tile decreases exponentially based on distance.
  2. You can also build influence starbases that will act as major sources of influence on their own and magnify the influence of any worlds you have in its zone of effect.
  3. When you look at influence on your planet, think of them in terms of orders of magnitude.  Single digit influence is low. Double digit influence is normal. Triple digit influence is really high.
  4. Tourism income is tied to the number of tiles you own plus the tiles that are connected to your capital world. A tourism improvement of 1% equals 1% of your tile count will become money.


If I connect these two influence bubbles together my tourism income will go up.

Chapter 10: Your first farm

  1. Some planets will have arable land on them.  Arable land is necessary to grow crops that are high enough quality to be shipped across your empire.  You can build farms on them to increase their food output. 
  2. Once you have 4 surplus food you can build a city elsewhere in your empire.
  3. Cities provide 3 more population which will provide 3 raw production.


Arable land produces food that can be shipped anywhere in your empire.


Conclusions: You are off to a good start

You will soon face the same kinds of tough decisions our own leaders in government face (or choose to avoid).  For example, a fast expanding civilization will be running a deficit. 

How important is it that you run a balanced budget? Only you can decide. 

You can bring in money by sending out treasure hunt missions, or trading technologies for money, or raising taxes or building up your local economy, or sending out freighters, or through tourism, or by conquering wealthier civilizations.

Your particular solution will determine your strategy.


Don't worry about deficit spending. Just keep an eye on your treasury.


Good luck and ask questions here!

Intrigue Journal #5: Tapestry of the machine

Posted on Friday, April 6, 2018 By Frogboy


The species that are - in essence, talking meat - receive a great deal of attention, despite being an objectively inferior form of life. Today I will attempt to communicate to you humans the advantages of synthetic life.


The days of organic lifeforms are numbered. The wise and benevolent Yor Singularity will have it known that this is not a threat, it is simply a fact of the state of nature.


The Yor, as depicted in the OS/2 version of Galactic Civilizations 20+ years ago

For many years, we have attempted to explain how your biology will end. Perhaps now some of you are finally beginning to understand. If not, let me put it in words that your meat-based brains will grasp:

First, you will simulate your meat-based brains on your primitive computers.

Second, you will expand on that simulation to make it better.

Third, you will begin integrating yourselves with that simulation and only interact with the physical worlds via constructs.

Once step three is complete... you will be like us.

Intrigue for us is outward facing


Iconia, the home world of the Yor (and not the Iconians anymore)

When we eliminated the previous beings of this world, we noticed there was arable land.  But we have no need for food.  Thus, one of our first moves was to sterilize those areas for more productive uses.


We extract 100% from our civilization because we have no concept of unhappiness


With 100% taxes, money is not a concern for us. Expanding the singularity is.

The benefits of surrendering the flesh

The organics do not realize that they are slaves.  


Foolish creatures such as the Altarians do not understand how backwards they are

When it comes to population, we do not leave that to chance.  When more Yor are needed, we simply create them.


You cannot compete against a civilization with unlimited growth potential.


Even the Drengin love the Yor.

Once organics fall under our rule, they become willing subjects.


A subdued Drengi is a happy Drengi.

Even on the captured world of Drengi, the local citizens work tirelessly and without complaint for their new masters.  Such is the superiority of the Yor and the implants that provide freely to liberated civilizations.

Not having flesh means that we do not succumb to illness.  Microbes mean nothing to us.  Many worlds that the humans cannot colonize are available to us.


Microbes are not a concern for synthetic civilizations

Superior Forms of Government

We have no concept of "morale," nor do we have a need for democracy. Each being in our empire knows its place.  We care not what others think of us.  This allows us to unleash our full potential.


The natural order is for the superior to dominate the weak and our government reflects that.

The Yor have no need for resources that the organics require.  We require only the building materials to construct more of us.  The galactic market provides us with a unique advantage that the organics can only dream of.


Contrary to what organics think, every Yor is an individual being. We are not simply a hive of interchangeable constructs.

The fleshlings often describe us as robots.  We are no more a robot than they are.  Every Yor is a unique individual.  We simply have moved beyond the confines of flesh.  We work towards a single purpose in harmony. 

It is unfortunate your species won't survive to see that day.


Previous Dev Journals on Intrigue:


Intrigue Journal #4: So you say you want a revolution?

Posted on Tuesday, April 3, 2018 By Frogboy

We have previously discussed the perils of running a galactic civilization.  People living hundreds of light years away from their home world will have relatively little interest in the political intrigues of the capital.  That’s where the government types come in.

What is the best type of government for your civilization? There is no right answer.

Let’s work through a scenario and how it might play out.  The star Procyon is 11 light years away from Earth. 


Procyon A is 11 light years from Earth.


We colonize it and begin the year of multi-planetary government.


How do we want to organize our multi-planetary government?



We humans get two choices: Colonial and Imperial

We always say we are for X and against Y.  But in practice, governments tend to do things that are in their own best interests. 

So you decide:

  1. Colonial: Pro: Private contractors can send out missions which can get you money and resources.  Con: You have to deal with elections.
  2. Imperial: Pro: No elections and a 20% boost to ship production and +1 moves.  Con: You can’t send out missions and people don’t like you as much.

In the comments, you let us know.  Which one is better? And under what circumstances?

When I play, I half-roleplay and half play to win.  In this game, I’m choosing Colonial because I do tend to use missions a great deal and I know I will be with this government type for at least half a game-year (26 weeks).

The value of missions

Missions are only available if you already have the Crusade expansion (which, if you play Galactic Civilizations, you should definitely get).  The idea is that I don’t want to feel like I have to build any old crap just to avoid wasting manufacturing.  Thus, you can turn your factories over to private industry and let them (and by them, I really mean you) send out missions that result in you getting a cut of the profits.


Treasure? Why would I want treasure?



Oh…because I built a bunch of expensive starbases right off the bat and now I need the money…

Alternatively, I could just raise taxes.  But if I do that, my approval will go way down and if I lose the election, a coalition government is formed which is very…non-optimal. 

Thus, the colonial government provides an alternative to higher taxes: the free market.  By contrast, the imperial government doesn’t have elections, so I can just tax the heck out of people with fewer consequences.

Our first election

Our low tax strategy means happier people.  Happier people are more productive and provide a super-majority in the senate.


Super majority control of the senate means only good things for my government


One size does not fit all

Each government has a limit on the number of colonies you can have before it starts to generate unrest.  Within 46 weeks, my fast-growing civilization already has 5 colonies.


My colonial government has already outlived its usefulness.


Even on Ashley’s World my approval is only at 40%.


People are getting unhappy

Your approval rating is very straightforward, even if it is just a bunch of numbers.  Each point of population requires a point of morale to be fully satisfied.  Various things generate morale, and some things will take morale away (like taxes and too many colonies).

At 40% approval, this planet’s growth is shrunk some (which is fine, it’s already at capacity) but a bit more troubling is the influence growth which, if left unchecked, will result in my civilization falling behind the others in spreading its culture.


A more perfect union


At week 46, my people want a government that can handle larger civilizations

The two viable options are:

  1. Media Assimilation.  We basically hand everything over to our cultural leaders.  It’s very powerful.  25 points per planet (not %, actual full on points) of influence.  If you’re going for an influence victory or have a strong tourism industry, this is the way to go.  Now you can be Space France.  The downside? You can’t declare war anymore!
  2. Information Oligarchy. This unlocks the galactic market and gives you a morale boost.  The galactic market is very powerful and combined with the unique ship can help make your money problems go away, provided you have a lot of good resources.

Once again: Which one?

They are both very fun to play with.  I do like to win through cultural domination.  But I also really want access to the galactic market.


Governments aren’t just stats. They unlock new game mechanics, provide new ships, and give you access to special abilities.

Let me know what you think in the comments.  Which one would you go for and why?

United Earth at the end of the first game year (week 52)


My government and cabinet and what they are doing.


This is just a glimpse of what the governments can do and the consequences each one has.  But that is for another day.


Intrigue Dev Journal Index:


Intrigue Journal #3: The Galactic Market

Posted on Saturday, March 31, 2018 By Frogboy

The situation is desperate.

The Terran Alliance is slowly losing the war to the Drengin Empire.

Is Earth doomed?


Your friends are doing their best to help, but they cannot directly involve themselves.


Our friends, the Altarians, give us covert aid.


The Drengin Empire's military might is vast.

The Drengin have long prepared for this day.  We had hoped that trade and diplomacy would stay their hands.  But after having annihilated the Torians, their border touched upon ours.


We are 12 turns from our weapon breakthrough.

With plasma weapons, one of our ships can take on three of theirs, evening the odds.  But in the past 4 turns, we've lost two planets. Our outer colonies are now defenseless. 

The population of Earth is panicking.  Drengin shock troops are notoriously brutal.  We need a miracle. 



Thankfully, our Science Advisor, Maria Grimure has a plan.  It's a complicated plan, but it might save Earth.


Jason Emory proposes to sacrifice himself for the rest of humanity.

There is a rare ingredient in the known universe known as the Arnor Spice.  It is not actually a spice, but rather a vial of nano-machines left over from the Precursors that, for a short amount of time, vastly increases the intelligence of the person infected by them.  With it, he will be able to instantly research Plasma weapons. 

Naturally, there is a catch: no civilization actually has any Arnor spice.  You can't trade for it.  But in a seedy spaceport on Mars, a group of scavengers claim to know where a tiny cache of Arnor spice remains, leftover from the Dreadlord wars.  If we fund them for 400 billion credits (a massive expense,) they think they can bring some back.

There's just one problem: to do it, they also need Hyper Silicates, and the only source for Hyper Silicates is...the Drengin Empire.



The Drengin Empire are the only source for Hyper Silicates. 

Fortunately, Intrigue adds governments, and some of those governments unlock a new feature: the Galactic market.


For 850 billion credits we can get Hyper Silicates

So to recap our complex plan: We will pay 850bc to the galactic market for 1 Hyper silicate, which the scavengers will use to get Arnor Spice. We will then give it to Professor Emory to fast-research Plasma Weapons so that we can design the Avalon class starship, which we hope will stem the tide of the war.

With the spice delivered, we only need one addition ingredient: Promethion.  My Civilization produces 0.  Before Intrigue, I probably would have been tempted to start over once I realized I couldn't obtain any of this resource other than through trade.


The Krynn are the only civilization with even a small supply of Promethion.  I need 20.

With a combination of technologies and money, I do secure some Promethion from other civilizations. Still not enough.


The market will sell me Promethion at 295 apiece. Not great but at least they have some.



And finally, 4 turns later (instead of 12).



The Avalon class ship enters service

The 180 meter long ship is equipped with 3 plasma weapon banks.  I got the actual ship design off of the Steam workshop and modified it a bit.

The Terran Alliance deploys two of them along with its small fleet of obsolete bombers and fighters.  It is enough to blunt the Drengin's attack and buy the human race a little time to build up.

The Galactic Market saves humanity from extinction.


Not just war

The market will tend to have resources more cheaply than any given civilization unless you happen to be friends with a civilization that has a lot of a given resource.  The cost of trade is heavily dependent on your relations with them.

For example, to build my Financial Capital I need an Aurorus, a fairly rare resource.  The Yor actually have some, but they don't like me, so they are charging more than I can afford. 


To build a financial capital I need the extremely rare Aurorus

With the market, I am able to buy some for very inexpensively and will make a profit on it in less than 20 turns.

Having a place to buy and sell resources is incredibly powerful.  Every time a resource of any kind is mined anywhere, a fraction of it is duplicated and sent to the market.  Prices are based on supply and demand.


The Korx will also buy your surplus...but only at wholesale prices

Sometimes it's better to sell to your friends, if they have the cash (which they often don't).  The Korx will buy my Durantium for 38 per unit.  The Irridium Corporation (a major civilization) will pay 20.  It just depends. The big difference is that the Korx have vast wealth accumulated, and thus are a great way to fund your resource rich civilization.

The Market provides clever players a new avenue for victory.  The dawn of the trader empires has arrived.


Intrigue Dev Journal Index:


Galactic Civilizations III: Intrigue - An Overview

Posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2018 By Frogboy

Intrigue is the third expansion for Stardock's massive-scale space strategy game, Galactic Civilizations III. This expansion changes the game in significant ways to extend playability and introduce new dynamics, adding politics, governments, civilization crises, the GNN, elections, and the Galactic Market to the game. 

We're also updating the base game to version 3.0 with the release of Intrigue; you'll see we've called out areas where changes are made in v3.0.

This will walk you through the far-reaching changes to gameplay that Intrigue introduces - some subtle, some more obvious.

What's new with Intrigue?

  • Governments. Determines what your civilization can and can't do, as well as provides bonuses, special ships, etc.
  • Galactic Elections. Puts limitations on democratically elected governments.
  • Cabinets. Provides advisors who can give you additional bonuses and capabilities.
  • Events. Lots of new ideological events
  • The Galactic Market. Buy and sell resources on the open market.
  • Crises. Civilization-wide quests that look at the state of the galaxy and your government, then force you to make some tough choices.
  • The Galactic News Network. AI driven news to help players know where they stand in the universe.
  • Commonwealths. Empire getting too big? Create baby civilizations that are allied with you, pay you money, and add to your influence without any of the headaches of directly running them.


The Setup


Choose "NEW GAME"

If you've played Galactic Civilizations III before, some of this may not be new to you, and you can skip down to "Your Ideology."

Galactic Civilizations is a big space sandbox.  You set up a bunch of conditions and play. 

For this walkthrough, I will choose:

  1. Terran Alliance (those pesky apes from Sol III)
  2. Medium Galaxy
  3. Default Settings

And then, click START.

Into the game




Earth. Mars. Jupiter. Saturn.

The basic mechanics

Your job is simple on the surface: take over the galaxy. You can do this in one of several ways:

  • Destroy all the other civilizations (you're awesome!).
  • Become the dominant cultural power (you're wonderfully awesome!).
  • Get everyone to ally with you (you're sneakily awesome!).
  • Research technologies to move beyond mortality (you're brilliantly awesome!).
  • Control the various Ascension crystals across the galaxy long enough ('re a god now? We humbly admire you...).

To accomplish any of the above, you'll need to build up your civilization, and from the very first game turn (measured in weeks), begin to set your strategies in motion.



From the first turn, you can see your various strategic choices:

  1. Make your ships go faster
  2. Make your planets produce more
  3. Get better at killing aliens
  4. Get better at talking to aliens

Planet Building


Earth...I just noticed that Cuba is gone.

Planets are categorized by their type and their class.  Most planets are of general type, which means you can land on them.  But there are many types that you have to research technologies for before you can colonize them.

The planet class determines how many tiles there are on a planet for you to use.  A class 11 planet like Earth has 11 tiles.

Your planets produce all the ingredients you need for your strategy:

  1. Social Construction = how fast your planets can build stuff on the surface.
  2. Ship Construction = how fast ships are built.
  3. Research = how fast new techs are researched.
  4. Influence = how fast tiles near this planet will begin to become your color.
  5. Net income = how much money this planet is contributing to your economy.
  6. Food = how much food it's producing (which is consumed by cities).

The root for almost all of these things comes from your raw production, which is equal to your population + any bonuses.  This number is then affected by what you build on the planet or what abilities your species has.


You might not be able to build ships immediately.  This is because you may not have a shipyard yet.  One of your choices on your first turn is whether to build a shipyard or not.

Key tip: The game starts you out with lots of money.  This is so that you can jump-start your strategy by rushing things.  You definitely want to rush your first few ships and planet projects in order to begin executing your strategy.

The map


Everyone wants to colonize Mars.  But you you really want to colonize
Mars right away? Didn't you see The Martian?

The UI

Galactic Civilizations is designed to be pretty easy to learn ("easy" being relative - you are, after all, in charge of billions of lives spread over 100,000 light years).  Here are the key elements:


You can zoom in and out with your mouse wheel (or + and - keys). 
Left-click to select, Right-click to target.


The Shipyard


You will want to get a shipyard up and running soon (either turn 1 or turn 2).

The shipyard lists ships you can construct.  Your choices include:

  1. A colony ship.  You need this to colonize other planets.
  2. A constructor. You need this to build starbases, which harvests or helps things in its area of control.
  3. A scout. You need this to explore new areas.
  4. An explorer. You need this to survey anomalies.

You can also click on the little arrows by the other categories to see other types of ships and favor/unfavor them for easy access:


Expanding the missile ships option shows you that you can also build an offensive ship.

Reminder: You don't get interest on hoarding money.  So rush-buy early to jump start your civilization.

Your Ideology

Intrigue adds a lot of new ideological events.  Your ideology is determined by the choices you make throughout the game.  The question is: what kind of civilization are you building here?  Your choices will unlock new abilities for your civilization and impact how your society evolves.


Let's be nice...or...let's do a bunch of murdering.


It won't take long until you can't build more colony ships or constructors.  This is because you have run out of administrators.  Administrators are earned through a variety of means, including through new technologies or by choosing an Administrator citizen when a new citizen becomes available.

Until you have more administrators, you will have to choose other types of shipyard projects.

Your first colony


Let's not be naïve - if we put our first colony name up for a vote, you know we'd end up this way...

Once you settle down to your first colony, you will begin building it up much the same way you did with your home planet.  However, the planets you settle on may have unique features that will make you want to specialize them.


Every planet is unique so you never know what natural features that planet may
have that you can use to alter or enhance your strategy


So you want a revolution?


Darn colonials! They want rights?

Once you settle a second planet, the people will want to know how you plan to deal with them. 



What governments are available to you is based on what type of species you are, what technologies you have, and what ideology you have.

For the Terran Alliance, the most generic of generic species (well, hairless apes are pretty bizarre but still), you get Colonial and Imperial early.

Colonial governments let you use your shipyards to send out missions to get goodies which is very useful, since then you don't have to care as much about administrators.  On the other hand, they have elections.

Imperial lets your ships move faster and that's about it.  However, they don't have elections.


My government and my cabinet

The benefits to my civilization come from my cabinet.  At the start of the game, your cabinet can't be changed.  However, there are instances where a better cabinet member can become available, thus allowing you to switch it up.

Money Money Money

Version 3 of Galactic Civilizations III introduces the tax slider.  This lets you begin collecting money from your civilization's economy. 


Remember all that spending I told you to do?

By default, the tax rate is 25%. 


I want both all my projects funded, and a low tax rate...and a pony.

Raising taxes will make people unhappy, which can reduce their productivity and cause you to lose elections (and if you lose an election it's really bad - you won't have a say in your government anymore. Do not lose the election!).

Keep in mind that you don't have to have a balanced budget.  I mean, clearly, obviously governments can run without balanced budgets.  It's not like someone is going to shut down the government over it...

Just keep an eye on your treasury.  If your money count label is yellow in the upper left, it means you're losing money.  Try to avoid running out or your government will shut down, and that reduces your ability to get things done...and it closes all the parks.

There are other ways to make money:

  1. Trade with other civilizations (my favorite).
  2. Have your survey ships collect and sell junk they find (my second favorite).
  3. Send out missions from your shipyard (third favorite if I have a colonial government).
  4. Freighters (these are cool too I guess).


Missions are very fun if you have the right government type



About 5 times a game year, you are awarded a citizen.  No matter how big your empire becomes, you get 5.  No more. No less. The number is 5.  6 is too many.  And you shall get 4 before the end of a game year, for a total of 5.


Welcome to the family. Here's your phaser.

There are many many types of citizen specializations in the game.  But what citizens are available to you depends on your species, ideology, technologies, government types, etc.  Since we are playing as the hairless space apes from Sol III, early on you will have 3 choices for specializing your citizen:


Insert insulting occupational joke here

  1. Administrators let you build more colony ships and constructors and what not.
  2. Workers build up your planets faster.
  3. Scientists research techs faster.

I shall choose...Administrator.  Sigh.  To my accountant, I love you man!


You can talk to the aliens. And make money with them.


Early on, this is how I make my money.

You can trade technologies with them, or pretty much anything else.  And after 3 years, it has been given so much AI love that they negotiate smarter than...well, me (that's not really saying much, as I am currently wearing a tarp -- stop judging me!).


Not surprisingly, Tourism is a good source of income.  Here is how tourism works: every tile that is your color can be cashed in on.  If you have 10 tiles, you can convert a percentage of them into money.


That's a lot of tiles. 



This tourism improvement will convert 1% of your tiles into a credit each turn.

Thus, if I have 1000 tiles and I have a tourism improvement that converts 1% of them into money, then I get 1 credit per turn.  You also get a bonus for every tile that is contiguous with your home world.

Defending yourself

In a space war, controlling the literal high ground is crucial. You must make sure your planets are defended or else they can be invaded.  You do that by building spaceships with weapons on them.


I have built a spaceship with nukes on them to defend Earth.

Left-click on your ship, right-click on Earth to put it into orbit:


Earth now has a green shield. That means it's working.


If you build freighters, you can send them to foreign destinations and earn money.  The number of trade routes you can support depends on your type of government, ideology, and what technologies you have.


Build freighter, send to planet that doesn't want to kill you.


Now you can see income from trade.

The value of a trade route grows over time.  The older the route, the more valuable it becomes.




Get the latest news from the Galactic News Network

New in Intrigue is the Galactic News Network that is designed to provide players a general idea of how things are going across the universe. This allows you to be aware of the broader impact of your decisions in the game.



The biggest empire isn't necessarily the most dominant one.  One of the things we have worked hard on with Galactic Civilizations III is that you can play "deep" and "wide" and have both be viable. 

Remember earlier when we picked an administrator for your first citizen? Well, for our second citizen we chose Scientist.  Now, you can have that scientist provide a small empire-wide bonus, or you can send them to a particular planet to do a lot of benefit there.  Thus, a civilization with only a few planets can compete with a much larger empire.

Here's how that works:


Go to a planet that you want to specialize.  Click on Add citizen. Then send the citizen you want over.

Be aware that your citizen doesn't teleport to the destination.  If it's not your home world, they have to travel there and can be killed en route.  Thus, the bigger your civilization is, the more dangerous it is to specialize.  Small, tightly packed civilizations are much easier to specialize.


Holy cow! One scientist on the planet can make a huge difference




Constructors build Starbases. Here's how that works:


Everything in the dotted hex when you select your constructor will be claimed
by your starbase if it hasn't been claimed already

Build a constructor and send it somewhere near where you see things you want to claim. Then, choose "construct starbase".


I want to mine and study those ascension crystals

Galactic Elections

Twice a game year, if you have a democratic government there will be an election. It uses the average approval rating for you with a bit of bias towards the most recent times to simulate an election (hey, we do make The Political Machine!). 


I am the senate!

In this example, we won by a landslide.  So should we just raise taxes so that we barely win? depends.


This is my civilization's output at 68% approval


This is at 51%.


Is the extra money worth a 5% loss to your productivity?  At this stage, it's a tough call because that tax increase isn't enough to balance the budget anyway.  We believe a lot of players will go with a 0% tax rate and try to make their money purely through other means.  I'm not good enough to do that, but I am able to run at around 20%.


20% tax rate = 76% approval but losing 13bc per week.

The challenge with money comes later when each civilization's economy tightens up.  You won't be able to infinitely sell technologies for money.  Intrigue, however, provides a new twist...

The Galactic Market

Some of the more advanced governments allow you to participate in the galactic market.


Quark would be proud

When the Galactic Market is available, you can buy and sell resources.


The price of these resources fluctuates depending on availability.

Early on, these resources are worth a lot, especially if you are one of the first to access the galactic market, as selling drives down the prices.  The question is, how much do you want to sell?

The buy price tends to be much higher because - do you see that guy in the screenshot above? Does he look nice? No. He does not.  He's greedy.  The Korx were a major civilization in Galactic Civilizations II.  Notice the lack of a III in that last sentence? Yea. Their greed so annoyed the Drengin Empire that their civilization was wiped out.  That's how greedy they were. They caused a fictitious alien civilization in a video game to wipe out nearly their entire species. Anyway, the Korx that remain now run the galactic market, and they're not charitable.

Where the galactic market becomes crucial

One of the most powerful features of your specialists is that they can be promoted.

Remember Helene the scientist? You can promote her.


If you get some Arnor Spice you can have her instantly research a technology

From bitter...bitter experience, I can tell you that you will come to live in that market.  Your children will be born in that market.  They will be raised there.  That's because when things start to get rough, and they will (depending on the difficulty you choose), you will need those super-powered promotions that require exotic resources and odds are you won't be able to trade for them with other civilizations.

Trust me when I say this:  when you're losing that war against the Krynn (and yea, it's always the Krynn - I have no idea why, and I wrote their AI), you will weep at having to sell everything you have to buy some bloody anti-matter so that you can get one more Battleship out there to save your home world.

War, what is it good for?

We've made it pretty far without getting into the topic of battles.  Galactic Civilizations isn't a war game.  But war is a major element of it, because when you have a bunch of alien civilizations who want the same resources and territories, conflict is, sadly, inevitable. 

The hairless space apes of Sol III are actually quite good at war.  In fact, it is one of the major controversies in the background lore as the malevolent Drengin Empire consider the diplomatic face of the Terran Alliance to be a hypocritical façade.  For all their talk of working together in peace and harmony, the humans are actually quite good at violence.

The good news is that you usually have some time - like, a full on game year before you need to worry too much.  Most civilizations won't attack you until they've stopped being able to expand without resistance.   That isn't true of all of them however.  Some will shoot you on sight, so be aware that sending out colony ships into the unknown carries risk.

Being prepared for war

I mentioned earlier about putting a combat ship in orbit.  That is, literally, the very least you can do.  To get serious though, you need to start thinking about the galactic arms race.


You switch to and from a technology tree view from the research screen

There are 3 basic types of weapons:

  1. Beam weapons.  The good ones require the resource Elerium to power.
  2. Missile weapons.  The good ones require anti-matter.
  3. Mass weapons.  These require Thulium.

Your weapon choice will be heavily dependent on what resources you have access to.  The humans being...well, the humans, start out with the 23rd century equivalent of nukes so they do start with some missile based ships.  But they're token at best.


Here I have 2 Thulium, 0 anti-matter and 6 Elerium.  So I am inclined to go with beam weapons. 
Plus, cool, beam weapons!

Know when war is coming


If they are furious with you, this means they are probably furious...

Most civilizations won't go to war with you simply because you are militarily weak.  GalCiv isn't that type of game.  But there are civilizations that will absolutely crush anyone they think they can.

Just because they hate you doesn't mean they will declare war, however.  They may have their hands full elsewhere or you may simply be too far away to bother with. 


It's not all about you

The AI players don't really distinguish between a "human" player (we don't want to assume your species) and other AI.  Many players can go through the entire game avoiding war.  This takes a great deal of skill and is a very specific strategy.  Generally speaking, if you have a very different ideology from another civilization and are remotely close to each other, sooner or later the tensions will become insurmountable.



On the Civilization screen, you can go to the Timeline tab and see how you stack up

If you see someone gearing up their military, it's safe to say they are preparing for war. 

Getting your fleet ready


The Ship Designer


Steam Workshop

I can't do art.  But GalCiv fans can, and they have made tributes to most every Sci-Fi universe out there.


On Steam you can subscribe to pretty much any ship you can imagine


Fan made ships to inspire your imagination


Every ship, robot, what have you you can think of has been made by a fan.

The game does a pretty good job designing ships for you.


An AI designed ship with a GalCiv "canon" ship design

But anyone who has ever enjoyed LEGOs can appreciate how fun it is to make their own space ships and battle them out. Plus, I really like playing with what the fans have made.

Going to war

Eventually, the war will come.  And for me, it's always the Krynn.  I've actually looked in the debugger to see why they go after me.  Why this specific species? They just really hate me. 


Your Momma!


You've just conquered a bunch of planets, or someone has just ceded you some planets. Great? Well, technically yes, but it also tends to mean a lot of new micro-management of cities planets that you have no connection to.  So what should you do? Have a governor run them? That's not ideal because you're still responsible for them and they are often far from your main territory.

That's where commonwealths can be helpful.

Commonwealths are civilizations that you create in-game.  Since your form of government tends to have limits on how many planets you can have before people start to get upset, commonwealths not only solve a micro-management issue, but an approval one as well.

Here's how they work:

In my war with the Drengin Empire I captured two far-flung colonies that are far from my homeworld. 


Two former Drengin colonies


I can appreciate the wonders of slavery as much as the next evil galactic tyrant but..the folks back home won't approve.

I have no connection to these planets.  I didn't found them. I didn't have a say in how they were built. 


On the Governments screen, you can see I have zero commonwealths

I can create a commonwealth from the Government screen.



I can just select the planet I want to make into a commonwealth


Just add the planets you want in it.

I can then customize the name and look of the commonwealth so I can distinguish it.

And then hit DONE.


You're a Drengin I can work with.


Late game, this allows you to play a truly massive-scale campaign without getting bogged down.  Your commonwealths are permanently allied with you, are a great source of income and play very intelligently.  They also count towards your influence and tourism income.

Meeting your destiny

Always have a plan.   The Victory button will keep you appraised on how you are doing.


Have a plan for victory

In the game I am playing, I didn't start out with a lot of good planets, but I did get access to a lot of Ascension crystals.


To win through ascension, I need to climb the Precursor Studies
tree to find out how they did it before us.

By going up the Precursor tree, I can increase how fast I can ascend.  In this game, I ultimately won by ascending while keeping the various empires at bay with a reasonable defense and using my diplomatic skills to keep the various powers at each other's throats through secret diplomatic agreements.

The Stats

Thanks for going on this journey through Intrigue with us. We're excited to see how players experience and enjoy the new features in Intrigue, and also to welcome new gamers into Galactic Civilizations with our new tutorial.

Galactic Civilizations III v3.0 and the Intrigue expansion will be available April 11 at:, Steam, and GOG.

The Intrigue expansion is $19.99 (and requires the Galactic Civilizations III base game to play).

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