Is Galactic Civilizations 3 Worth Buying?

Gal Civ III is a turn based, space based, empire building game where you establish your dominance over the galaxy through military force, espionage, and technology, just to name a few. This game is deep without a steep learning curve and has plenty of planets to colonize, enemies to conquer, and friends to make. But is it worth getting?

Galactic Civilizations 3 presents an interesting storyline for humanity in the future. With plenty of friends and enemies to make, a rich research tree, and lots of powerful ships, it will give you plenty of “bang for your buck.”

Galactic Civilizations III is a turn based space strategy game where you impose your will upon the galaxy, whether it be through force or diplomacy. From the very beginning you’ll encounter anomalies that will add funds to your treasury and aid your research. As you expand your empire from one planet to a galaxy spanning empire you’ll manage your colonies, create fleets to defend your newfound colonies while imposing your will upon your adversaries, and engage in trade and diplomacy to make both friends and profit. This in a deeply engaging game and is one of those games where hours can start slipping away without even noticing. This game has at least 15 DLCs, with the Retribution expansion being the latest as of this writing and the Worlds in Crisis DLC being the most recently released DLC.

The interface for this game easy to use and easy to master. Ship movement is point and click and making the galaxy map larger or smaller is a simple mouse scroll. The colony management screen is well laid out and easy to use and understand. Green hexes indicate where buildings can be placed, and some hexes offer special bonuses, like arable land providing a bonus to a farm.

Read More: Interested in another space strategy game that’s just as good but vastly different? Check out my Stellaris articles.


The technology screen lists what research items are available and how many turns it will take to complete the research. Clicking on the Tech Tree button provides a layout of all the research items, making it easier to plan out a long-term research strategy. Hovering over an item brings up a tooltip with a lot of pertinent data about the item you want to research.

This game is far from being the type of game with nothing to see or do. The Galactic Civilizations III universe is a gorgeous one, with plenty of stars, nebulae, and anomalies. The colony manipulation and sending fleets out to explore the surrounding regions of space are interesting and fun. Building a single colony world into a galaxy dominating civilization from scratch is a real joy in this game. Building multiple fleets of ships of various types is big fun too, and exploration of an unknown galaxy and the combat both add a lot of enjoyability to the game.

GNN news events are a unique addition to this type of game, and they spice up the game with interesting, if not useful, tidbits of information. For example, a private security firm can rate the power of the civilizations in the galaxy and list the most powerful five. Hopefully you’re one of the favored ones.

Taking a Turn

Ending a game turn is almost idiot proof (fortunately for me). For instance, if you’ve completed researching an item and need to start research on another one, the turn button turns into a research button instead. Clicking it will take you to the research screen instead of ending your turn. You’ll have to select a new item to research before advancing to the next turn. It does the same for idle ships and idle colonies, you have to take some kind of action before ending your turn, although some of these prompts can be ignored.

Special events, like a cult spreading, can result in different responses that affect the benevolence, pragmatic, or malevolent influence on your civilization, plus they can have specific effects on one of your planets, like a 5% economy boost on the affected planet. Once you acquire enough points you can choose an ideological trait from one of the ideologies. As the game progresses it takes more points to gain a new trait.


Citizens will arise every ten turns (weeks) and they will greatly influence your civilization. At the start of the game only several types are available, and they will vary depending on the race you’re playing. The Drengin, for instance, have four types available at the start of the game to choose from, an administrator, worker, slave master, and scientist, more become available as the game goes on.

Construction ships need to be built and sent out to mine those precious resources you need to field a mighty space fleet and to keep your empire’s economy thriving. There is also the Galactic Bazaar where you can hire one of several mercenary types, like an advanced scout. This ship will enable you to explore the area around you much faster. Expensive but worthwhile if you can afford it.

Usually the simple challenge of conquering the universe again through brute force is enough to make me want to play it again. Add to that at least fifteen DLCs and seven campaigns/scenarios and you have a lot of replay value. The normal difficulty setting is just perfect for a player with average skills like me or for someone learning this particular style of game.

Galactic Civilizations 3: Retribution

“What started as a Crusade has become a war of retribution.” This is the latest, and probably the last, major expansion that brings the game story for this game to its conclusion. It brings mostly new technology and new ships and structures. This expansion introduces two new technologies that affect gameplay dramatically. Hypergates can be constructed providing your civilization quicker access to remote parts of the galaxy and artifacts. Researching the right technology allows you to terraform planetary regions, making them more suitable for your empire’s specific needs. While the hypergates don’t give you instantaneous transportation they still speed the process up immensely. They are especially useful for getting your warships to the front lines quickly or to get supply ships to remote colonies that are desperately in need of supplies.

These additions change the strategy during the mid-game somewhat by allowing supply ships to be created that help the development of colonies in your far-flung empire. These additional features also make the game a little deeper and a little more thought-provoking when it comes to how to best finish the game as a winner.

Another major component to this game is the addition of two new races, the Drath and the Korath, who were previously a part of Galactic Civilizations 2 but hadn’t made the transition to Galactic Civilizations 3 yet. While the Drath are manipulative and rely more on diplomacy the Korath have only one goal in mind, the extinction of everyone else.

This expansion adds numerous new missions, with you starting out by exploring Drengin space in search of a powerful precursor artifact.

Galactic Civilizations 3 vs Stellaris

These are two very different games. Stellaris (this link takes to our Stellaris review page) is real time (that can be paused) while Galactic Civilizations 3 is turn-based. Warfare is vastly different too. In Stellaris, after winning a war, you can still only claim systems you had enough influence to claim. In Galactic Civilizations 3 you actually get to keep what you conquer.

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If you want to know what types of weapons and defenses your enemy has Galactic Civilizations does a better job at that, scouts can be sent out to the surrounding area to determine exactly what the other empire has, and they frequently survive the mission. In Stellaris that’s harder to do, and whatever you send in the direction of your enemies will most likely not survive. In Galactic Civilizations 3 you can get the satisfaction of dominating the universe. Stellaris is much deeper designed to be played for a very long time so you virtually play a game seemingly forever if you want to, when it ends is up to you. I own both games and have found both of them to be very entertaining.

Rich Gallien

I've always liked board games like chess and PC games, especially space based strategy games, which lead to the creation of this site. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed creating it and updating it with new games!

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