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Do you still think GalCiv 1 is fun even with GalCiv II out?
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What am I doing wrong?
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by Citizen Mage246 - 8/26/2005 12:26:53 AM

I'm an experienced strategy gamer, but for some reason the gameplay for this game just leaves me at a loss. I've looked around online and read all sorts of tips about what to do when you first start out, but short of cheating I can't figure out how to beat the AI at anything above normal.

The governmental style that I've been trying to use is speed +20 Pop. Growth +20 with the Industrialists +20 Mil +20 Social. The way I generally start out is that I pump up my spending rate and prioritize it for research and military, cranking out as many colony ships as I can until I've filled up all the habital stars within range. However, even by then any AIs I meet seem to be far ahead of me in terms of tech (and if I'm unlucky they are ahead in star systems too).

This problem only becomes worse as time passes, as it seems as those the AI gets 2 techs for every 1 I research. And, since the AI generally picks weapons tech that it will barely ever trade, I have no real way to catch up militarily. Eventually one of the AIs declares war on me, and since I have by that point realized the futility of building a tin-can fleet I have very little in the way of defenses.

Also, the AI builds a great many starbases in addition to military ships, and I can't help but wonder how they manage to build all of these ships simultaneously and with such speed. I've read tips that say I should try to buy items as much as possible, but my budget is never large enough that this becomes feasible. Should I be scaling back my spending rate and focusing exclusively on a slect few star systems? I've considered this option but in my mind it seemed more efficient to be able to build from many colonies at once, so I've never seriously attempted this option. Also, from what I've read online, the AI doesn't "cheat" until difficulties much higher than "normal", and so theoretically if the AI is able to play that way, I should be too.

Can anyone tell me how I am supposed to be playing this game (keeping in mind that I'd rather not go for a diplomatic or cultural victory if there's any other options)?

#1  by Diplomat Peace Phoenix - 8/26/2005 1:54:04 AM

First, in the strategy section of this site, there is a spoiler on how to win fastly at maso here Link

And I warn you it is a real spoiler: it may considerably spoil your fun at learning this game.

Now for your strategy:
- social and military bonus are paid. They don't give any free production. So if you can't stay at 100% spending rate, you won't see any benefit of having them
- moral is the key in this game, as planet with 100% morale has their growth doubled (better than using a +20 pick)
- at the beginning of the game, if you put 100% spending rate with 100% military, you should be able to produce colony ships every 3 turns
- speed is very important to grab system before the AI
- diplomacy is your friend as it allows you to better bargain on diplomacy. And one important thing to know is that AI tends to echange diplomacy a lot. So if you share a tech with an AI, you better share with all others
- try to focus on tech that aren't researched by the AI. And you can safely bet that military and defense techare high on their priority list

#2  by Diplomat Peace Phoenix - 8/26/2005 1:55:09 AM

And I forget:
- don't rushbuy social project unless few BC are involved
- trade is very nice to boost your income

#3  by Citizen Walldorf2000 - 8/26/2005 7:55:29 AM

Hi Mage246,

check the Strategy forum. There are a lot of tips. e.g. in Link

And yes, do not rush buy. It's way to expensive and not necessary.

#4  by Citizen InfernalRS - 8/26/2005 3:20:58 PM

Aye, ditching the production bonuses is a good idea- they don't really help unless you can maintain a 100% spending rate. The same goes for research bonuses- I never need research bonuses since just one developed Research resource is usually enough to force down the spending rate.

Indeed, that's a very key difference between GC and many other stragegy games- you don't have a dedicated "Production" resource class. Instead, you have a production base that can be streamlined (with manufacturing improvements) and increased in capacity (relative to population and starting bonuses), but it all comes to naught if you don't have the funds to pay the workers and buy the invisible raw materials. In essence, your production isn't actually production, but a massive maintaince cost that you can control via the spending rate.

On more specific tips, +2 speed is probably too many points tied up in one ability. +1 speed is certainly worth the investment. Morale and Diplomacy are both important to get, Diplomacy more so since there are very few methods of getting diplomatic skill that aren't tech-related (meaning that the AI can match you exactly). Merchantile is quite useful with its +20% Trade, as that's a major part of your income. Trade is actually more important than your base economy, so make sure you can start up trade routes the moment they become available!

Once you've got all the planets grabbed that you can grab, you'll have to monkey around with the spending sliders considerably more than you likely ever have in any other game. You'll want to tweak the research rate so you can grab techs in one turn, then barter them to the minor civs for more technology before you do the same with the majors. I've found that military technology can be safely ignored- just keep up decent realtions and you can go shipless. I've actually played a few games where I hit Excalibur Technology before getting Dreadnaught Technology. The key is to keep the AI fighting itself- it doesn't like to fight multi-front wars, so as long as you keep it fighting itself, it won't be fighting you (plus, it'll end up doing most of its trading with you- improved realtions and cash flow as a result).

And a note on starbases- unless you're grabbing a resource, there's usually little point in building a starbase early on. However, you will want to dump into military production and build a horde of constructers for some production enhancing starbases in your home sectors before long, pretty much anytime after you have Manufacturing Centers, Fusion Plants, and Antimatter Plants on most/all of your planets is a good time to do so.

#5  by Citizen Mage246 - 8/26/2005 3:48:45 PM

Thanks for all the advice, but what I'm wondering is how I can play like the AI, not necessarily how to work around the AI. I've already played a few games where I've achieved diplomatic success, but at all times I seem to be at the mercy of the kindness of alien civilizations. I guess what I mean to say is that I want to be more proactive, I want to be the guy that gets to do some invading, not the guy who is constantly being threatened with invasion.... Does anyone know how the AI manages to succeed technologically, economically, and militarily at the same time? All the advice given so far emphasizes one of those three at the expense of the others, but from what I've witnessed in gameplay I can't believe that the AI plays the same way.

#6  by Citizen Walldorf2000 - 8/26/2005 4:34:46 PM

When you follow the tips you can catch up with the AI up to "Intelligent" without problems. The keys are:
- keep moral at 100% at the beginning to get the doubled population growth
- diplomacy. i.e. only research what nobody has and exchange it clever (trade with the minors first, then try to get techs only one AI has etc.)
- at the beginning concentrade your little ressources i.e. 100% military until you got enough colony ships, when you need a tech try to get it in one turn etc.
[Message Edited]

#7  by Citizen InfernalRS - 8/27/2005 2:36:55 PM

Well, the AI does get some advantages- the most notable one being a PQ boost at higher levels. This is a substantial advantage at incredible, so you will have to give on something to keep up.

However, a lot of that military power you see isn't obtained well- I've watched the AI completely kill its economy with rush bought ships, sometimes going multi-thousands into the hole. They tend to take those "most up front, part per month" deals, since they seem to drag on the recovery even with 0% spending. You can match their military through the same process, but it'll cripple you just as bad. Warfare is amazingly futile unless you have a truely overwhelming technological or resource edge (the military might measure is rather pointless except in diplomacy- one Overlord is worth several times its military weight in Star Fighters). Thus, it's better to focus on building up your economic->production might so you can crank out the newest and best warships should it come to war. If you really want a high military score, enhance your starbases with additional defensive modules, add shipyard facilities (note that such plantary items will enhance all ships built at that planet only as long as the facilities exist- destroy a facility, and all ships that came from that planet lose that much capability), and invest in a few Terror/Trade/Party Stars.

#8  by Veteran Wulfer - 8/27/2005 7:23:50 PM

You've got a lot of great advice already.
IMO, the following are usually the best for initial abilities:
40 Diplomacy (populists and +20 diplomacy ability)
(better trades, very important at higher difficulties)
5% Planet Quality (after colo rush, colonize level 14s,
After the 1st PQ improvement, boom, L16 planet)
+1 speed (specially on the larger maps, on small or mini maps, I'd probably forget this one, perhaps grab
some economics)
Have fun and good luck, Mage

#9  by Diplomat Arturus Magi - 8/28/2005 2:29:22 AM

All the advice given so far emphasizes one of those three at the expense of the others, but from what I've witnessed in gameplay I can't believe that the AI plays the same way.

Alot more planning and calculation than people have the patience for, mostly. (At above normal level, the AI is still being penalized to offset the simple fact that a human can't keep track of everything, like a computer does.)

The AI knows how to work with fine details to balance all of his planets at once and maximize production. That sort of micromanagement would take a human sevreal hours per turn on anything but the smallest of galaxies.

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