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Galactic Civilizations III: Crusade Review

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Citizens, Expansion, and Economy:

The Galactic Citizens system is interesting and does add a new amount of depth to the game. The idea is that every so often, one of your civilization's citizens has risen to a level that they can provide special bonuses to your empire and can be given special duties. For example, engineers can increase your civilization's social construction capabilities, or can be assigned to a specific planet to boost its stats. Once assigned to a planet they can increase in level, increasing the boost they provide. There are also scientists, entrepreneurs, diplomats, celebrities, generals, commanders, spies, and I am likely forgetting some others. The first four of that list, along with engineers, are similar in that they can all boost specific stats (social, construction, research, wealth, influence, and morale), while the last three have a different purpose and design.

Generals come with legions, which are needed for invading planets, while commanders are assigned to ships, providing a boost there. Commanders can also be turned into privateers, which means they can be used to harass opponents without being associated with you. I have more experience with spies than these two, but I will save them until the Espionage section.

One thing worth noting is that you can hold onto untrained citizens, which may be quite useful as you have to unlock the specializations for training them. This way if you want a general but the research will not be completed for another turn or two, you can just wait until then to get what you want.

Chances are I have not delved deeply enough into the Galactic Citizens system to divulge all that it has to offer, but I do like it. It adds another important decision for players to make, and these citizens can swing the game, if used properly. I have also not been able to get a great grip on expanding my civilization's reach yet, at least compared to the AI, but the citizens help me maintain a presence in the game, along with how the economy now works.

For better or worse, the game feels slower to me now, but it also feels more deliberate. You cannot rush out and colonize planets or cover the galaxy with star bases anymore because both require having the administrators available to do so. Even survey ships, that explore the various anomalies you may find on the map, require administrators, and this is all to make the player decide what they want to do. You need to pay attention and consider the options available to you before doing a lot of things. Amassing fleets of these ships and pointing them in a direction is not necessarily a viable strategy anymore, or at least not for me. My habits are being challenged, and I am enjoying it.

 

 

That being said, I do hope I can figure out how to best build out an empire because I like being able to cover the map with my influence. Maybe I will find a way or I will not, but I do still appreciate this design because just as it is important to make deliberate decisions, those decisions can be very rewarding.

In one of the games I played, I was still able to claim multiple planets, thanks to an opponent declaring war on me. This meant I could invade their planets and take them for myself. Thanks to the transports no longer being expended during an invasion, I was able to grow my empire quite efficiently this way, eventually negotiating a peace that left me with much larger borders than I had before.

The economy has also seen some changes, and not just in the form of the citizens. Resources are now even more important because of how much more the game requires them. If you have them and an opponent does not, you can use it to change their opinion on trade offers they would normally reject. Also planets can now have some of these resources on their surface, though the means to exploit these resources may need to be researched before they become valuable.

The economy and expansion has been fused in a fairly interesting way that I approve of. Previously, when you built a star base, its influence would only build out from the space itself. Now if you build a star base that is setup for mining nearby resources, your influence will appear around those resources as well. This can definitely help with growing your borders quickly and capturing tracts of the galaxy for yourself. It also means your opponents can do the same.

This brings me to one, personal, thing about GalCiv3 that I do dislike, but it is part of its kind of 4X game, so I cannot and will not hold it against the game, Crusade, or any other game of this kind. Because there are no natural borders on the map, it is difficult to establish coherent borders, unless you simply do not try to expand them. In the base game this did not seem so much a problem, in part because it was not that hard to rapidly expand, but in Crusade I am seeing some oddly shaped empires. Almost everyone in my games end up with satellite worlds or star bases extending their influence. This disorder gets to me some, but I understand the reason behind it. Crusade has you trying to claim the most valuable portions of the galaxy you can, and not just directly expand your borders, collecting whatever that happens to sweep up. This is a result of making decisions like how you expand so deliberate, so resources instead of area is the priority, and I am okay with that. It makes sense too.

 

 

Something else I want to mention that is definitely nice to see, especially for how I tend to play the game, are the missions. Something I do in many 4X games is neglect building my military, or any units until I actually need them. This way I can focus my resources elsewhere, but it really is a bad habit of mine, especially in Crusade when constructing ships does not really cost anything but those resources. You no longer balance between social and military construction. Missions are things you can have shipyards work towards, so you can always keep them busy without building a ship for yourself. For example, treasure hunter missions provide something to unseen citizens, and in return you get a cut of whatever is found. This allows you to keep your resources in constant use for your benefit.




  1. Galactic Civilizations III: Crusade Review - Introduction
  2. Galactic Civilizations III: Crusade Review - Graphics
  3. Galactic Civilizations III: Crusade Review - Citizens, Expansion, and Economy
  4. Galactic Civilizations III: Crusade Review - Star Bases, Invasion, and Espionage
  5. Galactic Civilizations III: Crusade Review - Additional Gameplay Media
  6. Galactic Civilizations III: Crusade Review - Conclusion
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