Galactic Civilizations is a space-based 4X strategy game set in the 24th century starting when humans have discovered a faster-than-light travel called Hyperdrive. Humans and aliens compete for domination of our galaxy.
The player begins with only their home planet and must research new technologies, explore the known galaxy, colonize new worlds while keeping their people at home happy. At the same time, players engage in trade, diplomacy, intrigue and war with alien civilizations.
New in Galactic Civilizations IV
Building on the strengths of the previous entry in the series, Galactic Civilizations IV includes the biggest changes we’ve ever made to the series. These new features include:
We abstract game elements such as population, diplomats, leaders, generals, etc. with Leader characters. Each of these characters has their own set of attributes, strengths and weaknesses and relationship with the player. Leader characters give the player a lot more flexibility and agency in how they run their civilization.
Galactic Civilizations IV introduces star sectors. Each sector is akin to a map in Galactic Civilizations III. Most of these sectors are similar to tiny to large GalCiv III maps that represented a section of the overall galaxy that the player was trying to conquer. Now, there can be anywhere from one to dozens of star sectors to explore.
A New Combat System
Previous GalCiv games resolved combat in a single turn regardless of the scale of forces. Now, once the forces get big enough, a turn of combat may not destroy all of a fleet, allowing players to alter tactics, retreat or call in reinforcements.
A New Invasion System
Depending on the population and defenses of the world, invasions no longer necessarily resolve in a single turn. This allows for more strategic choices for players as a player cannot simply sneak in and conquer a capital world in the middle of an enemy empire.
By default, planets aren’t managed at all. They simply provide resources (tech, minerals, wealth, food) to the nearest “core” world. Players can then decide if they want to manage a world by assigning a governor to it, which turns that colony into a core world. The governor doesn’t manage anything but instead provides a series of bonuses to the planet based on their character. Of course, have too many colonies feeding a core world and that governor may decide he or she doesn’t need you anymore and rebel.
Unlike in Galactic Civilizations III where multiplayer was simply a single player game with other people instead of AI controlling things, GalCiv IV’s multiplayer will include a robust set of features that make it possible to play a GalCiv IV game with multiple people in mind. This includes better support for co-op, as well as scenarios where the game could be won in less than an hour.
Rather than having a campaign, the sandbox game is instead getting story-driven missions. These are events and anomalies that generate a mission for the player which provides various benefits and challenges, as well as ensures that each game feels like its own epic story.
Now, the number of technologies to choose from at a given time is limited to the top 5 (which can be upgraded to 7 later on).
During the early game, this won’t be any different than it was in previous games. But later, it requires the player to make some tough choices since every technology has an “innovation rating,” which determines how likely it will be picked as one of those 5 technologies.
Players can press an “inspire” button which will select a new group of 5 techs, but the cost for those techs goes up for each time the inspire button is pressed.
Because populations are now abstracted into leader characters (as in, instead of having a population of 5 on a planet you now have 5 citizen characters), it means that when you conquer a planet (or assimilate it, or trade for it, or simply get immigration) you can end up with alien characters on your worlds.
Different species have different strengths and weaknesses, as well as different levels of xenophobia (i.e. living on planets with other species) that allow players more control and flexibility and challenge for dealing with their worlds.
Galactic Civilizations IV has a 4-axis system: Collectivist, Authoritarian, Individualist, and Libertarian. Player choices in the game will give them points in one of these 4 areas, allowing them to unlock new ideology perks that give them new features and bonuses (as well as penalties).
Galactic Civilizations IV introduces the concept of “Control”. Control involves how much direct authority you have over your civilization. Control acts as another resource you can use to make direct decisions on the map.