Galactic Civilization

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How Influence Works

How Influence Works

by Brad Wardell (Designer)


Influence is a major part of Galactic Civilizations. Not surprising, it's not discussed in near enough depth in the user manual. If there were a strategy guide for GalCiv, at least I could say it's due to greed. But in fact, it's just sheer incompetence on my part that it's not discussed enough.

As the manual discusses, each star system you control gives a base amount of influence that is then modified by the size of your population and what planetary improvements you've built. Each month, the influence you generate goes into a sort of influence bank that is then used up each time you go to the United Planets to vote. Between United Planets sessions, you can buy and sell influence. Now, when we designed this there was concern that people would find the concept of being about to buy votes at the United Planets unrealistic.  I mean, the idea that you could do back room trading to buy and sell votes in an international organization is very far fetched..

But influence also affects sector control and whether planets defect. That is where this document focuses.

Sector Influence

Here is how sector influence is calculated:

  • 1st: Your civilization's total monthly influence (i.e. all your star systems added up) / (Number of sectors in the galaxy).

  • 2nd: Then it looks at how far away from a starbase or star system that sector is and the further away, the weaker your influence is.

  • 3rd: It looks at what starbases are doing in a given sector. I.e. are they magnifying influence there.

  • 4th:: Then it multiplies that amount by 5 (you'll see why in a second).

  • 5th: Then it does adds the influence from the adjacent sectors to the total without mutiplying them by 5 (this way, local influences weigh much more strongly but what's happening in other sectors matters some too).

Changes in GalCiv 1.01:

Your civilization's influence is also affected by your diplomatic relations. The idea being, if everyone hates you, that's going to put a damper on your ability to culturally influence everyone. Similarly, if they've never heard of you, that's going to have the same impact. So when you meet civilizations, your influence will take a big jump. And as your relations improve, so too does your influence. But warfare will bring a damper to it.

Also, if you are at war with a major civilization, you will not be able to win via cultural influence. You'll have to come to peace terms.

Changes in GalCiv 1.03:

Starbases were proving to bee too powerful as a way to spread your civilization. So now we take into account how far away your nearest star system is too. Before, it was "whichever is closest". Now it is "whichever is closest" averaged in with how far your nearest star is. And we made it expensive to colonize crummy star systems to where it costs large amounts of maintenance to maintain life support. $5 per turn for less than class 15 and 10 X the government level if the quality is less than 10 (so a federation colonizing a class 4 planet to extend their civilization's influence would be paying 5 + 10X4 per month = 45 per month).


Here's a 3x3 grid in which you have a star with 10 influence in each sector.


Now, what would be your influence in the middle sector roughly?

It would add all the adjacent influences (80 total). Then it would take the middle sector and multiply it by 50. Total sector influence would be 130 in that case.

That's a simplification still since I didn't include your total civilization influence per turn (in this example it would be 90 total influence per turn
/ 9 sectors = 10). So in reality each of those sectors would be giving off 20 influence each.


So then when it comes time to try to see if someone is going to defect, it checks to see if there is a big difference between your influence and
theirs. I.e. if they have twice as much influence as you do in a sector and you have a planet you start to have to make a "saving throw" on your
influence. The bigger the difference, the harder it is to make your saving throw at which point you'll get a warning and a little skull and crossbows
shows up by the star system. Miss your saving throw twice and the system defects.

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