I used to play MOO2, along with other 4X (eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, eXterminate) space strategy games, like Stars!, Space Empires III & IV, and my long time ‘love-hate’ game VGA Planets, so I thought, “hmmm, I’ll give it a look-see”, and downloaded the demo. Nearly 6 hours in I sprang for the digital download of GalCiv II Ultimate Edition on Stardock (less than £25), and 30+ hours after that I finally went to bed 🙂
I know what my fascination is with these types of games. They used to be derided as ‘spreadsheet’ games, and I spent most of my working life in Finance roles, so balancing population against production, against technology advances, against resources, etc, appeals to the micro-manager inside me. Mini-maxing is something that I had to avoid in roleplaying games so as not to be a boring munchkin but it is a required skill in 4X strategy games.
GalCiv II isn’t really like any of the other games, it exceeds all of them. The AI is well balanced and each alien race has a unique AI structure so that they don’t all act the same. The technology tree/development structures lists are huge and slightly different for each race offering a lot of scope for different ways of playing the game. An element of humour appears occasionally, such as when you are playing low-level AIs and start doing obvious moves. It just has something the others don’t (although doesn’t have something some of the others do, multi-player).
StarDock is a fairly unique software company nowadays in that they support their games over a very long period of time (GalCiv II is over 3 years old with 2 expansions) and the CEO, Brad Wardell, actively engages with people on both the StarDock and external forums to take on board user requests for patches/updates. He’s demonstrated that a game publisher can be successful without oppressive Digital Rights Management (DRM) and that keeping customers happy IS a valid strategy.
Well worth a try if you like 4X games.