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An Exercise In Galactic Xenocide - Galactic Civilizations 2

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Some of you may have heard me talk about how Galactic Civilizations 2 is in my opinion the best game of that type (at least that I've played).
I have a confession to make: I've actually only ever completed one GalCiv 2 game, and that was by being a race of diplomatic cowards who allied with everyone and got their allies to kill those who refused to ally. I didn't fire a single shot in that entire game. Every time I try a conquest game it goes poorly because I'm not actually very good at it.

So, let's try to remedy that.

The Game:

For those who haven't heard of it before, GC2 is a space civilization simulator where you try to lead your species to galactic domination. There are five victory conditions: Researching a certain technology tree to ascend to another plane of existence, spreading your influence over most of the galaxy (at which point the other species basically surrender to your awesomeness), spending enough time in control of Ascension Crystals - a resource that might spawn somewhere in the galaxy - to get the same effect as a research victory, and the more common conquering the entire galaxy or at least being allied with everyone in the galaxy.

As I said above, this game is aiming for a conquest victory. And not an allied one either - I'm aiming for complete extinction of every not-me person.

Game Settings

Most of those settings are fairly self explanatory. I keep the AI to Medium because GalCiv2 AI is very good and I am not, in addition to trying a strategy I'm unused to, so if I went for even the middle difficulty setting I would probably be swiftly crushed.
Gigantic is actually only the second-largest galaxy size in GC2, but the biggest (Immense) is truly outrageous and far too big for a reasonable conquest game. Likewise I put the technology rate to Fast to accelerate the sluggish beginnings that can occur with the planetary spread I've selected.
Blind Exploration hides the influence sphere of species I haven't encountered yet, and Tech Brokering prevents you from trading technologies that you obtained through trading - this is important because it lets species keep control of the spread of technology they've researched.


Not much to say here. I went for a war-focused build. The special ability Super Annihilator gives you access to a unique technology that lets you kill everyone on a planet. Along the same lines my technology tree is the one normally used by the Korath Clan, and focuses around being hilariously Chaotic Evil and killing everything.

There are nine other races on the map, and I'll cover them as I encounter them.

Day 1:


Everyone in GC2 starts with the same thing. Your home planet, a miner, an exploration flagship and a colony ship. Note the highlighted Neo Orléans II on the screen.
Every starting solar system has an inhabitable planet in addition to your homeworld, and they always have low quality. (Quality represents how much infrastructure you can build on a planet.) This makes them essentially a noob trap - you use your colony ship on it and then realize you wasted it.
I typically wait for some random computer to colonize it for me, then take it back with the ridiculous influence of it being next to my home world. (Planets that are covered by a race's influence will eventually rebel against their owner and join that race.)

If you look closely at the bottom right you might see the small blue rectangle in the minimap. That represents what I see on my screen.

GC2 maps get big.

We are a nice and cheerful civilization

Like in most such games, the beginning is very important but pretty tedious; I complete the Mandatory Researches and make more colony ships to look for nearby planets which I name after dragons because of course.

I do find a few okay planets (quality 9-13) but none very exciting. Still those are worth a colony ship, unlike the class 4-6 next to the home world. Luckily for me I seem to be alone in my corner of the map, giving me plenty of time to grow without having to race a computer to planet.

Sometimes when you colonize a planet you'll get a choice between Good/Neutral/Evil, usually Good being the worst and Evil the most beneficial. These influence your race's alignment, which in turn affect how the computers treat you and later some of the researches you can make.

Random Planet Event

Fortunately the choices are easy for me this game.

Near the end of my playing session today, something interesting finally happens. In fact, probably something that will shape the rest of the game.

I meet someone

Altarians are mostly human and are basically Space Paladins, which I'm sure will let us get along swimmingly. I'm a little worried about this because I was hoping to meet the Terrans first - Terrans are absurdly good at diplomacy and if I don't kill them quick I'm going to have to suck up to them to stop the galaxy from uniting against me before I'm ready.

Soon after the first United Planets Meeting occurs; this is when you get together with other races to decide a policy that everyone will adhere to. The only way to break free from those policies is to leave the council, at which point basically everyone hates you so it's a last resort option.
The United Planets will always include the player and the races they've met, never anyone you haven't met, and the decisions passed will affect anyone you meet later.

United Planets Meeting DISASTER

Gulp. This basically nixes an invasion blitz strategy, which is what I was counting on. Even worse, the Altarians barely edge me out in votes, and with only the two of us present my opinion is effectively meaningless.

So of course they pass the motion. I'll have to keep this in mind for the future.

Fortunately, the next news is better:

Good News

Being at zero military is normal at this point in the game, but my 13 Research to their 9 is an enormous advantage. If I can keep it up for next year or so I might be able to destroy them before they get any ship worth the name. Don't let the mini map fool you; it's very zoomed in. I've only explored around an eighth of the map, and a lot of it was empty space.

Overall for a start this wasn't too bad. From my experience the Altarians aren't one of the strongest civilizations at any point of the game, and since we're so incompatible a war between us is almost inevitable, which will let me spread through them.


  1. Rafflesiac's Avatar
    Teach them the love of God.

  2. Seika's Avatar
    I presume you've seen Tom Francis' war diaries from this game?
  3. Siriel's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Seika
    I presume you've seen Tom Francis' war diaries from this game?
    Yep, read them a year or two ago.
  4. Nihilm's Avatar
    Gal Civ 2 is an actually amazing game for natural story creation, I should install it and play a game one of these days
  5. Five_X's Avatar
    I love GalCiv 2, though it's been a few years since I last played and now I've got no idea how the game works at all. I loaded up an old save and found that I'd conquered half the galaxy, so... I suppose I must've known how to play well enough back in the day.
  6. Nihilm's Avatar
    Think I'll give gal civ 3 a try since it's been out and patched and DLC'd for for awhile now