Galactic Civilizations 2

Turn Based space games have often been a mixed bag for gamers.

For every hit such as the original “Masters of Orion” there have been the misfires such as “Masters of Orion 2 and 3” as well as Star Wars Rebellion.

The challenge for game designers has always been to create a vast universe filled with unique and distinctive races and planets and to keep the game moving at a fun and engaging clip.

Sadly the reality has often been games that are bogged down in micromanagement of planets and resources that lack a story and an overall sense of fun.

Thankfully, Galactic Civilizations 2 is the happy exception to the recent trend, as it is a rich and deep game that is a lot of fun to play.

Players get to pick from 10 races to play as or can construct their own race from the nifty custom race creator. Once underway, players must maintain, defend, expand, and grow their empire.

This is not an easy task as new weapons, technologies, and ships must be developed and players have to decide where to allocate their precious research and construction opportunities.

Of course players are not alone in the universe and the other races are not going to sit idly by and let your empire continue to grow. As such, politics plays a large part in the game forcing players to make and at times, break alliances with other races.

This is a tricky path to walk at times but often results in some of the better moments in the game as there can be great reward in securing and maintaining an alliance that keeps the more hostile races at bay.

Of course having some firepower of your own is vital and players are able to develop and design their own ships. This is a great feature of the game as everything from how a ship looks to its combat abilities can be arranged by the player.

Another nice touch is the way the game designers worked to prevent battles from being decided simply by the size of a fleet. Now, the focus is on having the right ships for the job as numbers mean nothing if you do not have the correct defenses in place on your ships and consequently the correct firepower as well.

The ability to customize your ships for each mission is a nice touch and adds a unique layer of strategy to the game.

Of course the other races are not the only menace in the game as there are ancient races lurking that can really make things interesting in a hurry.

Combined with dazzling 3D graphics and solid sound effects, Galactic Civilizations 2 is a very strong game that is only kept from being a 5 star game by the lack of multiplay and the somewhat steep learning curve to the game.

That being said, the folks at Stardock have done it again.

4 stars out of 5