Galactic Civilizations III is the largest strategy sandbox ever made. Start with a single world and expand across the galaxy through diplomacy, trade, cultural hegemony or military conquest in this single-player or multiplayer 4X strategy game. How will you rule your galaxy?
User reviews: Mostly Positive (1,250 reviews)
Release Date: May 14, 2015

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Recommended By Curators

"More of a refresh than expected, but still hands down the best modern way to conquer unknown space."
Read the full review here.

Recent updates View all (39)

May 27

Galactic Civilizations III v1.02 Opt-in Available

The second patch for Galactic Civilizations III is now available as an opt-in. This patch adjusts the balance, improves AI priorities, fixes bugs, updates the UI, and speeds up performance.

Read the full patch notes here:

To opt into the patch, do the following:

  1. Open your Steam client
  2. Right-click Galactic Civilizations III, select Properties
  3. Select the Betas tab
  4. In the drop-down menu, choose “Opt-in”
  5. Close the properties window
  6. Your game should patch automatically
Thanks for your support, and happy conquering!

13 comments Read more

May 21

Galactic Civilizations III v1.01 Available

The first post-launch patch for Galactic Civilizations III is live, bringing custom faction support to multiplayer, adding several Steam achievements, and fixing high-priority bugs.

The upcoming 1.1 patch, due out in the coming weeks, will add Steam Workshop support among other things.

Read the full patch notes here:

Thanks for your support, and happy conquering!

13 comments Read more

Reviews

“The new gold standard in 4X space strategy”
9/10 – GameWatcher

“Such a wealth of victory conditions and customization options that the experience feels new with every playthrough.”
8.6/10 – IGN

“A mix of familiar mechanics and new ideas that can keep both fans and newcomers occupied for a frighteningly long period of time.”
9/10 – Softpedia

Design your own ships!

About This Game

Galactic Civilizations III is the largest strategy sandbox ever made. Start with a single world and expand across the galaxy through diplomacy, trade, cultural hegemony or military conquest in this single-player or multiplayer 4X strategy game. How will you rule your galaxy?

CORE FEATURES:

  • Never the same game twice: Play in the ultimate sandbox where each game has a unique map, unique worlds and new challenges to face.
  • Multiple paths to victory: Win through military conquest, cultural domination, technological ascension or political alliance.
  • Story-based campaign: Galactic Civilizations III includes a campaign that brings players up to date on the 20-year story arc behind the rise of humanity in the 23rd century.
  • Massive technology tree: Research a technology tree with immense breadth and depth. Player choices determine the capabilities of their civilization.
  • Custom ship design: Players have total control over how their starships function as well as how they look. Any ship you’ve ever imagined can be created or downloaded.

NEW TO GALACTIC CIVILIZATIONS III:

  • Massive scale: The new, 64-bit, multi-core engine increases the number of possible opponents from 16 to 128 with a similar explosion in maximum map sizes.
  • Ideology: Player actions advance their empires down the path of various ideologies, which unlock unique abilities, planetary improvements, and other bonuses.
  • Multiplayer: For the first time, Galactic Civilizations is a multiplayer game with full support for custom civilizations, saved multiplayer games and much more.
  • Unique technology trees: Players can play as any of the eight major galactic powers (or design their own), each with their own unique technology tree, ships, colony improvements and abilities.
  • Faction Creator: To encourage massive gameplay, the game includes a faction creator that allows players to create a civilization with its own look, ships, technologies and even options for how the AI will use them.
  • New Battle System: Players assign their ships specific roles to play in combat. You can now view fleet battles in a cinematic style to see your designs in action.
  • New Colony Manager: The location of a planetary improvement now matters. Adjacency bonuses and planetary resources make a major impact on what a planet is strong (or weak) at accomplishing.

System Requirements

    Minimum:
    • OS: 64-bit Windows 8.1 / 8 / 7
    • Processor: 1.8 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo / AMD K10 Dual-Core
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: 512 MB DirectX 10.1 Video Card (AMD Radeon HD5x00 Series / Nvidia GeForce 500 Series / Intel HD 4000 or later)
    • DirectX: Version 10
    • Network: Broadband Internet connection
    • Hard Drive: 12 GB available space
    • Sound Card: DirectX Compatible Sound Card
    Recommended:
    • Processor: 2.3 GHz Intel Core i5 Processor or Equivalent
    • Memory: 6 GB RAM
    • Graphics: 1 GB DirectX 10.1 Video Card
    • Hard Drive: 15 GB available space
Helpful customer reviews
36 of 50 people (72%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
173.5 hrs on record
Posted: May 27
Update: The game was updated to version 1.02 sometime during the last few hours. Several bugs were fixed and there were several game balance changes. This should bring the game one step closer to gold quality, but several issues remain to fix, including fully implementing some features. I'll update my review when I've spent a reasonable amount of time with the new version.

A promising game which currently can be viewed as a playable public beta. Recommended only if you want to start learning the game mechanics, and explore possible tactics and strategies, while waiting for all the features to become fully implemented, and if you can stand the various bugs and unfinished balancing of the game. It'll take some time to master all the aspects of this game, so playing it now can be considered as preparation for the gold version in the near future. The developers listen to feedback, so posting in the Gameplay Feedback forum is recommended.
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25 of 33 people (76%) found this review helpful
35.4 hrs on record
Posted: May 27
Decent Space Strategy that has great potential but still lacks some polish to truly shine. Definitely worth a try if you like strategy games though.

+ Ship Designer
+ Huge Tech Tree
+ Enough Flavor Text to give the game life
+ Supports massive maps
+ Quite easy to get into but doesn't lack depth either

- Some strange AI behavior (like the enemy launching all ships protecting a planet and leaving them sitting one by one just as you are about to attack or the opponent self-destructing in the second Campaign map)
- Resource loading isn't very smooth, quickly scrolling over the map while zoomed in is quite choppy
(have the game on SSD but possible that 8GB RAM and 2GB graphics memory isn't enough to smoothly run this game)
- Campaign is little more than a tutorial scenario (could be intended though)
- Minor problems with the UI, some elements are hard to see (like selected Ideologies and researched Technologies)
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30 of 44 people (68%) found this review helpful
6 people found this review funny
24.8 hrs on record
Posted: May 27
A fun game with loads of content and stunning graphics, but I would not recommend running this on a PC with anything less than a 6GB RAM, a 2.3 GH processor, and a dedicated gpu. I need to upgrade if I want to enjoy this damn hog without frame-rate issues! Play Endless Space if you don't meet the recommended system requirements for this game.
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21 of 29 people (72%) found this review helpful
53.2 hrs on record
Posted: May 27
I have purchased every Gal Civ title and expansion since the original. I find Gal Civ 3 was released about 3-6 months premature IMO. A lot of small bugs and I find the AI lackluster in many fields such as diplomacy, combat and economics. Overall it is still an excellent 4x.
I hope they bring back the races from Gal Civ 2 that were omitted and improve the AI.
Overall I give it 8/10. I could care less about the battle animations as I never watch them. This is 4x strategy and it is all about the AI getting it right.
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12 of 16 people (75%) found this review helpful
38.7 hrs on record
Posted: May 30
This game has promise but desperately needs additional balance, polish and AI work, so I cannot fully recommend it at the current time.
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14 of 20 people (70%) found this review helpful
12 people found this review funny
27.4 hrs on record
Posted: May 29
So apparently Galactic Civilizations 3 is trying to each me a lesson about life. I tried to play the good guy, not declaring war, only wiping out invasion fleets, then offering peace, if no peace, then I invade, if no peace, then I conquer, then I still offer peace. So after wiping out 1 race and having a 2nd make peace only after capturing their home world. So 11 hours into the game my ally decides to declare war on me. It makes a sneak attack on every system in my space, conquering some and just causing a super huge pain in my ♥♥♥♥ as my fleets were closer to my former enemy. I hit the retire button, lesson learned. EVIL is the only way win at life. Conquer all or be conquered. Peace is an illusion. God Send Death.
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37 of 64 people (58%) found this review helpful
6 people found this review funny
34.9 hrs on record
Posted: May 25
I really want to like this game, because it has everything I ever wanted in a 4x MoO clone. On top of that it looks good, is modable and has a great community of players.

But (at least at this time) this game is a single endeavor of frustration for me.

The AI is of palpable incompetence. Due to focus on expansion I had next to no military fleets and a "Godlike" Drengi race declared war on me (finally!) and then did not attack me for 20 turns. Even then their attacks amounted only to some unorganized probing attacks, while they wasted their time churning up a minor race at the other end of the map. That is not "Godlike", but rather stupid.

The diplomacy is hit and miss. I have seen worse and you can work out some nice deals with neighbors. However, as soon as you even start to build enough ships to defend just your core worlds (and not every nook and cranny of your empire) they get worried about your militarism and even the best relations decline rapidly.

The worst? Bugs, crashes, crippling gameplay issues that bleed all the fun totally dry.

Right now I am +15 hours into building an empire. Am allied with two minor and a major race and at war with two majors and a minor. I do have roughly 20 starbases deployed. Whenever I now hit "TURN" for the next turn, a battle between two Drengi fleets and two of my scouts happens. Which always ends with the scouts getting destroyed. Right when that happens, my game crashes. Regardless if I chose "Quick Battle" or decided to watch it.

So I load the last save. Which was done JUST before hitting "TURN". And I have to "Upgrade Starbase" again for half a dozen Starbases where I just had said "Pass" to refuse the updating as I am waiting for a more worthwhile update later on. So after clicking through that AGAIN and hitting "TURN", the battles take place again and the game crashes yet again.

When I destroy the two Scouts myself, another space battle (a minor against one of my Survey ships) takes place and results in yet another crash.

So .... looks like the +15 hours I poured into that "Empire" are lost. Do I want to start over yet again? Not until these crippling bugs are ironed out.

Stardock has not done itself a favor selling a beta as a "full" game. I do mind paying for a full price game and then having to play guinea pig for blatant and show stopping bugs.
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8 of 10 people (80%) found this review helpful
56.4 hrs on record
Posted: May 30
I've been playing this game for over two weeks now, I finished the campaign, and I'm about halfway through a sandbox match. So far, this is the best space strategy game I've ever played. The ship designer is amazing, the adjacency system is easy to learn and extremely useful for specializing planets, and the ship combat is very well detailed. It was a little jarring to no longer see an invasion battle screen anymore, and the gameplay mechanics were a little hard to get the hang of at first, but in my experience the transition wasn't any harder than it was to transition from Dread Lords to Twilight of the Arnor and Dark Avatar. The only bug I've ever had with this game is the ship designer crashing occasionally, but it seems to have stopped with the recent patches. There's still plenty of features pending for this game in the future, but I'd rather play them as they're added than have to learn them all at once at the end of this game's support.
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11 of 17 people (65%) found this review helpful
58.4 hrs on record
Posted: May 30
Sadly, another release too early. Beta I could go with the flow with bugs etc. Now with full release, that's not happening... Multiplayer still is plagued with bugs and worst yet the AI has no fog of war in that they know where every planet is, their ships seem to have unlimited range, and worst of all, they know where every one of your ships are. This is NOT the way to make AI "Challenging"...
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3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
87.5 hrs on record
Posted: May 30
Qualified recommendation. If you have GC II I recommend waiting until they 'finish' III. It still misses some key features such as governors, and espionage.
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6 of 9 people (67%) found this review helpful
4.0 hrs on record
Posted: May 30
It's Galactic Civilizations 2.5

Would I recommend it to newcomers to the series?

Absolutely! It's a fantastic game, the best 4x TBS space game.

Would I recommend it to people who have played GalCiv1 and/or 2?

Hmmm hard to say.

This game is currently like Age of Wonders 3. It's a good 'base' which will improve with expansions and content, and will overtake its predecessor in time, but at it's current state there isn't a lot of change from GalCiv2.

It has better graphics, battles are better(though still not tactical MOO2 style unfortunately), the races are decent albeit there are fewer, and there are countless other improvements to the gamer.

However, there isn't anything particularly huge content wise that makes it stand out from GalCiv2, no big new mechanics or new features that weren't in GalCiv2.

If you're a fan of the series, you could get the game now and have fun, but don't expect anything dramatically different, otherwise wait for expansions.

GalCiv2 is my favourite game of all time, and although I love how Stardock stuck to their roots with the game, I feel they didn't do enough. Though I will admit that's better than adding new features that don't work into the game.
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6 of 9 people (67%) found this review helpful
29.7 hrs on record
Posted: May 30
The approach I take when I review any 4x game is to evaluate whether I feel drawn back in to finish "one more turn". Unfortunately, with this game that is not the case. In pre-release videos developers lauded tools that would help players more effectively manage their empires, however this game is filled to the brim with micromanagement once you build the massive empires that the game advertises that you can build. That is, if you can build a large empire. Currently the "large empire happiness penalty" is extremely crippling and really hurts the ability to build the large empires that most people love building in a space game. I don't mind building a small, extremely efficient empire, but if I want to do that, I'll simply play Civ V, because right now that game does that better. People want to play a space 4x because you don't want to have the same constraints as a game like Age of Empires, Civ, or Rise of Nations. Instead, you want to build an empire that has hundreds of planets and hundreds of ships. At this point, it's best to keep playing GalCiv II until they get the game balancing figured out. While it is playable if you have a good machine, it isn't very entertaining at the moment and instead of me telling me self "just one more turn" I think "ugh, another turn". (5/10)
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6 of 9 people (67%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
15.6 hrs on record
Posted: May 31
The AI has an IQ equivalent to an egg
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
5.2 hrs on record
Posted: May 30
Very good. VERY FUN!!!! It's what Sid Meier's Starships should have been; Great customization, in-depth, but not too much. Great cutscenes, so badass. Perfect if coming from the Civilization games, wanting to get into space 4x games.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
26.0 hrs on record
Posted: May 30
Enjoying it so far. I'm a lifetime subscriber so I'll be playing this for a very long time. Looking forward to watching it grow and improve. I've turned into a pretty big Stardock fan of late. Probably my second favorite developer after Blizzard.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
10.1 hrs on record
Posted: May 31
Just finished my first match learned some things, trust no one to start and for some reason time seems to accelerate when playing this game, i am sure i was only playing for an hour(5 hours later). This game is epic i started out with a manufacturing focus hoping to build a fleet to crush everyone. Did not work, turns out that massive fleet costs a ♥♥♥♥ load of money to keep running. So started to make trade deals and slowly my culture started to spread that seemed to ♥♥♥♥ off everyone, just as well i had that fleet waiting had to fight almost everyone apart from one minor race,who sucked up to me every chance they got sending gifts and money. Any way after what the game said was 5 hours which is wrong i was only playing for a couple of hours i sure it was only a couple, I won which is lucky because my fleet got decimated in my last attack note to self point defence is a must against missiles. This was all on the small map as well i am looking forward to trying the extreme size, knowing full well i am not going to last without friends this time. So is this game worth it damm right it is. Probebly best to have a timer set though or before you know it its 4 in the morning......lol
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
39.9 hrs on record
Posted: June 1
Great Game!
Best 4x in space yet!
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
27.0 hrs on record
Posted: June 1
Fair sized learning curve. A lot of patience is needed for a new game, but hang in there, it gets good!
Graphics intensive, my laptop gets realy HOT, but its three years old.
Kudos
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2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
10.7 hrs on record
Posted: May 31
I would give the game 9/10.
The game is a bit difficult to understand at first but after you developed a strategy, the game is extremely fun.
GC3 includes interesting races, graphics, and campaign.
The ship designer and race designer a allow you to have your own play style and swag.
Definitely worth buying!!!
I would most recommend this to people who like Endless Space or Civilization.
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2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
107.3 hrs on record
Posted: June 1
When they say insane galaxy size, they mean insane. Spent the last two weeks playing through a game where i was filled with a manifest destiny impulse to have one big unified empire spread to each of the six corners of the mini map. Sadly playing against max ai, they not only got in the way, they treated me like space North Korea and eventually like space Iraq...maybe should be more diplomatic next time...

Oh and spent at least 20 of those hours in the ship designer fine tuning each of my designs with the little lego man in my head screaming "SPASHAP! SPASHAP! SPASHAP!!!"
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