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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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".
- For everything else, keep to the default, and into the game you go.
Chapter 2: Your first turn
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
As soon as you build a shipyard, you can begin constructing ships.
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.
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
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.
Dots on the unexplored map are stars. Send your ships to those dots to see what is there.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Chapter 5: Your third turn
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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).
Choose Scientist this time.
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
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).
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.
Research tourism and build a port of call on your planets to convert your area of influence into money.
Chapter 9: Building your influence
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Once you have 4 surplus food you can build a city elsewhere in your empire.
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!