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 (1,208 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!

6 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
51 of 78 people (65%) found this review helpful
4 people found this review funny
131.1 hrs on record
Posted: May 24
This is hard for me to write - I am a big fan of Stardock in general and the GC franchise in particular. I have literally thousands of hours clocked in GC1 & 2, and feel I have given GC3 a good chance.

Somewhere in there is a great game, but it is going to need a lot of help getting out. The problems are too numerous to list in total, so I'll just point out the worst examples:

1. If there is a textbook telling designers how not to create a UI, then GC3 UI designers have followed it to the letter - constant moving from one side of the screen to the other with the mouse, as buttons / clickable options just seem to be randomly placed. Very limited keyboard shortcuts. Completely unsortable lists of ships / planets / starbases etc. You can't even change what a planet / shipyard is producing from these lists (like you could in GC2). The whole thing is a recipe for carpal tunnel!

2. Micro-management hell. The production wheel is a nightmare - setting anything to 100% is a game in itself, trying to drag the pointer on to the one pixel on the screen that does so. You can't progress to the next turn until every planet / ship has a valid order (even if that is just do nothing). Really useful when an AI surrenders to you and dumps you with 800+ ships. Yeah, thanks for that - quit game!

3. Diplomacy is so broken, it is beyond hilarious. As an example of what you can do... I just started a Suicidal difficulty game, gigantic galaxy, all stock AIs on "Godlike" intelligence. I researched Universal Translator, then set 100% economy and built nothing. No ships, no planetary improvements, nothing. By turn 35 I had 182 planets, 54 starbases, and was earning 14000bc per turn - yep, the godlike AI just gave me everything they had as soon as they met me.

Time to move on - hopefully Stardock will fix this game, but I'm not sure I'll be back to check or not.
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20 of 25 people (80%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
164.3 hrs on record
Posted: May 27
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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22 of 29 people (76%) found this review helpful
4 people found this review funny
7.0 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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17 of 23 people (74%) 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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15 of 20 people (75%) found this review helpful
26.5 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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18 of 27 people (67%) found this review helpful
74.9 hrs on record
Posted: May 25
I am writing this review after playing through the game a couple of times, rather than after a limited amount of game play. Overall this is a simple strategy game which is easy to play however it has a number of flaws. Firstly you have no tactical control over battles which I found increasingly annoying. Secondly if you build a large empire you wind up with a miserable population as there is a massive penalty for having a large empire and no matter how many approval boosting buildings will overcome this. Equally if you have a large empire winning by conquest is very easy as the other empires aren't large enough to oppose you. The introductory graphics seem to suggest large fleets and this is simply not possible. I tend to find I have Capital ships facing a few small ships and it's then like dropping bombs into barrels of fish so easy victories. If these issues can be addressed it would be a decent strategy game but as it stands not recommended
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26 of 43 people (60%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
34.7 hrs on record
Posted: May 23
Huge let down. They played it "safe" and made a less interesting, slightly more pretty gal civ 2. Many of the features of gal civ 2 are absent and most everything else is exactly the same. Fleet battles look horrible and are a joke. They are exactly the same as in gal civ 2. The ships aimlessly float toward eachother and then off in all directions. Invasions? No different than before. Just one screen and thats it. Overall the game is heavy on hardware for no apparent reason, boring, without soul or nearly any entertaining qualities at all. Sad I wasted money on this garbage.
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5 of 6 people (83%) found this review helpful
2 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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10 of 16 people (63%) found this review helpful
34.5 hrs on record
Posted: May 27
Wonderful Game. It's only going to get better as patches come out.

The only problem is that some of the mechanics are a bit opaque. I really wish there was a 200-page manual explaining how all the little things work.
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26 of 47 people (55%) found this review helpful
5 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 13 people (62%) found this review helpful
0.7 hrs on record
Posted: May 23
The game feels like an early access at this point. Poorly optimized, unstable with massive loading times and other performance issues. The game is not worth it at this stage. I strongly suggest you wait for it to get patched before purchase.
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3 of 4 people (75%) found this review helpful
53.2 hrs on record
Posted: May 29
CIV is SPAAAACE! That is what i would describe Galciv III, and if building huge sprawling empires and the attendant self narrated space opera that comes with it, this is your cup of tea, and more. Large tech trees, random pick me ups in space, culture, warfare, science, it's all here. BUT! if you are the impatient sort and want things to go down the RTS way, this might not be your cup of tea, as the turn based management can be rather long and tedious mid game. Either way, it is a good iteration of the Galciv franchise, and IMHO, a worthy successor to the game's lineage.
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7 of 12 people (58%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
1.6 hrs on record
Posted: May 29
More of the same. It's prettier.. It's newer.. But it's the SAME game with irrelevant updates. I've tried hard to find some way to appreciate this, but it always comes down to the same game as the last version. There's just no innovation here. It's just a new paint job. Don't waste your money. Support real innovation.


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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
21.3 hrs on record
Posted: May 30
Great 4X game with loads of customization!

pros:

- custom races (you can even add your own portraits + logos).
- ship designer (put your own ships together with a wide variety of ship parts and modules).
- diplomatic actions matter more than in other titles (imho).
- good amount of customization of galaxies and game difficulty.
- mod support.

cons:

- needs a good amount of RAM, I'm using 8 gig and it runs without a scratch but often slows down my system significant if I exit the game. (might be just me)
- I'm not that impressed by the battle camera, it's either.."where's my ship?" or "it's so small" maybe I'm just doing it wrong but there could be some improvements for the viewpoint.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
48.4 hrs on record
Posted: May 30
Unfinished, buggy as all hell, no real improvement over Gal Civ 2, don't waste your money.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
84.0 hrs on record
Posted: May 30
Yet another game with so much potential, but ultimately in the end, the bugs, the cheating AI, and other nonsense that comes with the game does not make for an enjoyable experience. In another year, and 12 more patches, there might be enough game here to change my opinion, but I'm going to shelve it at this time.
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1 of 1 people (100%) 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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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
23.3 hrs on record
Posted: May 30
GalCivIII is unfinshed. The game contains many interface bugs and will randomly crash after after a few turns or when performing certain actions. Most of the issues are well know but remain unfixed.
I don't know when it became OK for game devs to treat paying costumers as beta testers...
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
102.3 hrs on record
Posted: May 30
I paid full price and so I am writing it based on that. It just isn't finished. There is virtually no help it is unclear what most of the tech does until after you do it and puzzle out what it does. After playing for hours I have no idea how the ships are supposed to match up. Is there a point to a lot of little ships or big ships? Does one type of ship do better against another type? I have no idea the point of military starbases. Do you need to attack one? It seems that you can just completely avoid starbases. Then as to the other races and diplomacy. It is the standard model of rediculousness. Every 5 turns they ask or demand something of you. If you give them what they want every time they will still eventually go to war against you anyway.
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1 of 1 people (100%) 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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