Galactic Civilizations 2: Dread Lords
12/3/06 by Chris Stavros
You have some decisions to make at home too as not all
planets are created equally. They are rated from 0 to
16 (this can go higher with technology) the number
being the available squares for development. You must
decide what you want to build first, you have a
capital and a starport but little else. Should you
build a factory for better production? A market for
more money? A research center? Since the number of
squares are limited you must decide what you want.
Technological discovery will open up additional
buildings and special wonders for you to construct.
When you first colonize a new world there is nothing
there so must build everything including a starport.
Starports can in turn construct starships which is
something you will have to pay attention too. Each
ship in your fleet costs a certain amount of money in
upkeep costs so make sure to pay attention to your
The final decision is what technology to research
first. There are many techs and the game manual makes
it clear you won't get to finish them all. As in many
such games progression of techs in linear is style,
you follow a track along a number of paths and this
leads to better weapons, defenses, starships,
planetary improvements and so on. You can even win a
tech victory but this is very time consuming and there
are easier ways to finish a game.
The nicest feature in this game is the starship design
interface. As you learn new techs, default ship types
appear for construction. You can also augment this
with custom designs. Every time you learn a new tech
you can translate this into a new ship design. You
pick the hull size, shape, and then simply choose for
a list of engines, weapons and defenses you have
discovered to make the ship. Each ship can only hold
so much, so you won't be able to fit everything you
want on board. But you can study miniaturization and
with it fit more on small hulls. You can even add
cosmetic shapes to make your ships truly unique.
The diplomacy interface in the game is quite nice. As
you meet other races, you can talk to them, trade
techs, present gifts to them and make peace and war.
You can also see their opinion of you, the number
planets they control as well as the starships they
have in service. The race you are looking at displays
an animated leader that says appropriate comments for
the situation, although many are light hearted and
frivolous. One of the easiest victory conditions is
alliance with all the major races so diplomacy is
Combat is handled through a mathematical formula, you
simple engage and the game decides who wins. But you
can watch the ship battles in several modes such as
overhead, 3 D, chase a several others so its like a
little cut scene movie. Invasions are handled with two
animated armies meeting and shooting at each other
with the troop numbers drop for one side or the other.
Techs affect combat defense and offense and large
planets are harder to take than small ones.
Each race was its own set of ship 'skins' and colors
to each starfleet looks differently. The planets are
well represented with high quality designs that
actually look like real planets in space. The entire
look of the game is quite slick and modern and gives
excellent atmosphere for the game players. The music
is appropriate to the setting and there are several
different victory conditions making no two games of
GC2 exactly alike.
The game has a complete tutorial and learning campaign
but is not difficult to learn once you understand the
basic concepts. With numerous races to plat and many
different ships to design and play with this really is
a Sci Fi fan's dream of space empire builder. There is
sure to be many mods based on popular shows and movies
for it, it would lend itself well to this. The game is
fun and relatively fast moving, so its worth going out
Thanks to Darkstar for the screenshots!