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Galactic Civilizations II - opinions?

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Dr_Avalanche:
I'm in the mood for something strategical, and something that isn't Civ. Has anyone tried Galactic Civilizations II and has an opinion on it?

Name Lips:
It's been dominating my gaming for about 2 weeks now.

The biggest obsticle you'll face is the learning curve. The manual is inadiquate, and the in-game tutorial is terrible (just a sequence of movies).

There's no multiplayer, if that matters to you. (I read a justification for why not on their boards. Mostly it's because, typically, multiplayer consumes a tremendous wedge of the budget, and is only used by about 5% of the buyers).

I highly recommend the game.

Features include:

An extensive tech tree with niche technologies that can be researched independently of all others. For example, you could focus entirely on diplomacy and never touch a weapon tech, or focus on warfare and totally ignore trade and diplomacy. You can specialize in engine techs, or sensors, or just generalize and have a well-rounded civ that doesn't excel anywhere. I like this because it really lets you focus on your strengths, if you want. A civ with research and economics bonuses can really capitalize on the research and economics tech trees, and become a real powerhouse in those areas.

The second feature I'm just in love with is ship design. From a few basic hulls, you can design whatever ships you want. You can stick extra engines on them for speed, or focus on life support modules for range. You can make a slow, clunky ship loaded with weapons, or super-fast colony ships. There aren't many pre-made ship designs because there's no way to know what techs you'll have. So you really have to mold your fleet personally around what techs you've discovered. Also, there is a whole mess of purely decorative pieces you can slap on the ship to customize its appearance. Some people on the GalCiv forums have gone way overboard, sculpting huge battlemech-shaped ships or equally complex designs, just for the hell of it.

I could go on, and probably will if you ask any questions.  :p Just about the only thing I wish was there that isn't there is a 3d-galaxy map, with a Z-axis. But I don't think they want to confuse people too much - most people think in 2-d much easier than 3-d.

Berger King:
I honestly didn't get into it. I know a lot of people really like it, and it is very polished and it seems like I should like it...but I don't. It just doesn't grab me like Civ IV does. Now I'm holding out for Space Empires V this summer. I liked SEIV and I didn't like GalCiv I, so maybe I'm more of a Space Empires kinda guy.

Name Lips:
It's a particular style of play. I couldn't get into Civ4, for instance, even after having my life dominated by Civ3 for several months back when it came out.

I like the nitty-gritty of running an economy. I like handling the fact that, if you have a massive fleet, its' time consuming and expensive to try to keep it up-to-date with the latest technologies. Often you'll have a few "prototype" ships with the latest techs supporting your old, grizzled, veteran (but outdated) fleets.

I like the various ways to win the game. I hate games that make you conquer, and in Galciv, it's totally viable to win the game playing as a commercial powerhouse, or an arms dealer. I like that flexibility of playing styles.

darkfire:
Highly recommend it, and if Oblivion wasn't consuming all my free time then this game would be, plus the support from Stardock is mindblowing, have a look what they've done for the latest upgrade

Would post the changes, but it runs to nearly 5 pages, but the AI apparently is truly awesome now, including how it gangs up with you to take out other computer players and how it scales with difficulty.

Best £18 ever spent.

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