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 (1,166 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!

4 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
10 of 12 people (83%) found this review helpful
1 person 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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21 of 33 people (64%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
31.8 hrs on record
Posted: May 22
Very much still a beta. After around 7 attempts to play a game with friends, we still haven't managed to finish a single game.

The game looks fun, but check back in 6 months to see if it's worthy of being a release version.
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10 of 13 people (77%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
163.1 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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11 of 15 people (73%) found this review helpful
52.0 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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29 of 49 people (59%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
22.4 hrs on record
Posted: May 22
Would be a great game if it didn't crash every 5-20 turns. At one point I would open the game, play for 2 turns and it would crash, after restarting 5 times I gave up and didn't play for a few days. Now it lasts about 20 turns. Another review indicated that it happens if you try to do anything during the wait for turns, however, for me it just randomly crashes. And while it is software and waiting a few days shouldn't have any effect (not like it's an overheated computer or something waiting to cool down) it randomly started lasting longer after waiting. Makes me feel like it's saying "Oh, hey you've been playing too much, go do something else."

I've resorted to setting the autosave feature to save every single turn, which keeps me from losing anything (aside from any major actions I take on a turn which I then have to redo), but I still have to go through the whole relaunching and loading the game and have to put up with even longer time between turns with the saving.

Overall, I like the game itself, it's a good addition to the series. But it would be nice if I could actually make it through a game. You can see I've put in 22 hours in the past 2 weeks and I've yet to finish a game, conquer a single empire, or even find all the civilizations on a large map. I'm about to shelf this game and give up on the $50 I spent until it's patched up some.
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8 of 11 people (73%) found this review helpful
15.8 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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11 of 18 people (61%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
79.9 hrs on record
Posted: May 21
When it works without crashing, it's a great game. Very similar to GalCiv 2 but with more bells and whistles, so fans of the previous games won't be disappointed.

Unfortunately, the early versions seem to be having problems with random crashes which don't appear to be avoidable when you reload an auto-save file. The crash might not always happen at the exact same time, but you seem to get to a point where having one becomes close to unavoidable. The fact that it doesn't always happen at the same time is disconcerting because it could mean it will take a while for the devs to pin down the exact cause.

Very good game, but I'd recommend waiting until a few patches have been released (the first one didn't fix this).
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14 of 24 people (58%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
119.8 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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7 of 11 people (64%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
9.9 hrs on record
Posted: May 25
As a former player of Gal Civ I, i was expecting alot more from this game.
For an AAA Price I expected way better graphics and game play

This game feels like a 10 year old game engine, with some updates

Waste of Money, this is a <19.99 game

Can I have my money back?
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15 of 27 people (56%) found this review helpful
2 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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3 of 4 people (75%) found this review helpful
22.6 hrs on record
Posted: May 28
Pre-Release Review
They released this game way too early. I played in the beta, and when I saw the release date I was thinking there's no way they can fix all of this in such a short time frame. I wanted to be wrong, because I loved GC2, but unfortunately I was right. Disappointing that they would release it too early with so many bugs.
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6 of 10 people (60%) found this review helpful
7.7 hrs on record
Posted: May 23
Disappointing sequel to the highly regarded Galactic Civilizations II. Does not feature any real innovation over the previous installment, while many of the elements that were implemented so well in that game somehow seem to lack the proper polished and are poorly executed.

You'll get much more enjoyment just going back and playing Galactic Civilizations II, an older but still much superior game.
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6 of 10 people (60%) found this review helpful
21.5 hrs on record
Posted: May 25
After playing few galaxies I'm bit frustrated. The feeling is simply that the game was prematurely released.

Few issues:

1. Fleet movement
No planning button (showing the possible route instead of moving them right away)? Auto-movement at the end of the turn? No "move my fleets" button?
Seriously, what has the quality assurance person/team been doing??!
This is the single critical interface that renders the game from good to frustrating in just a few turns...

2. Technology trading
The technology tree have permanent choices (great feature!). However due to the lack of "no thank you" option during the diplomatic technology gift exchange it can seriously make you mad. It could no-thank-you or choose-yourself is option. Either one would make do.
As a result I switch off the technology trading for all my games.

3. Balancing
It just feels greatly unbalanced and fast-paced (playing on the slowest options possible) game. It was suppose to be a 4x game of planning and choices with micro and macro management and yet I feel no choices did matter and the faster I produce ships the better.

4. Unfinished?
What was the point of this "tactical battle view." It's just auto-resolve with animation - an average one at that. No option for the ships just an animation.

5. Ship designer
Biggest disappointment of all. It's not an option, it's obligatory since the auto-made-ships are useless. No "upgrade my ship" option. Buggy (crashed the game more than once). Hard to control - the "part" is not easy to select once on a ship and even harder to place where you want it.

Bottom line. This game feels more like an amateur attempt rather then a game from established developer. At this time a strongly not recommend it. Maybe if the price drops below 10$ as for an indie game. For almost 50$ it's not worth it.
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7 of 12 people (58%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
38.0 hrs on record
Posted: May 23
Like Galciv 2 when it came out, this one is still highly prone to crashing. It will crash given the slightest opportunity. If you play I recommend you set it to save your game every turn or you will lose a ton of work. Its obviously still beta tarted up as a release, but don't be fooled. You'll see either the black screen of nothingness (with sound effects and music!) or the spinny ring of doom from Windows letting you know it just dropped dead because it felt like the time was right for you to feel the frustration and futility of your existence.

I'd like to review more of the game but sadly it keeps crashing far too much for me to make an informed judgement on it. Maybe after a dozen or more patches it will be playable but now, not so much. At the current rate of patching, maybe by autumn it will go more than 20 minutes without crashing.
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8 of 14 people (57%) 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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9 of 16 people (56%) found this review helpful
18.8 hrs on record
Posted: May 22
I'm a huge fan of the civilization franchise and have been playing it for years. CIV5 remains the best! GCiv3 is a disapointment. The game launches and leaves you on your own to figure out the mechanics. There are no manuals or in-game help files. The technology tree is overbloated and again leaves you guessing what they mean. After a few days, you will realize that just about the only strategy is to rush early on empty planets and that pretty much locks the game. I have uninstalled the game on day 4 and wished I could get a refund :(

This game is not worth the high price - you are clearly paying for the name and nothing else.
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14 of 26 people (54%) found this review helpful
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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17 of 32 people (53%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
14.8 hrs on record
Posted: May 22
i dont write reviews for games but this game is so poorly implemented at launch i needed to warn people away from it.
i do not understand how a complany in this day and age can launch a game that is so unplayable - if this was still beta I might accept the awful loading time, constant freezing whenever zooming in or out or if changing screens..As a fully priced game its just disgusting - if this was any other shop brought commodity I'd return it to the store unfortunately cant do that once weve payed our money theres no refunds for an awful slow. laggy game that is unplayable from day 1.
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2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
16.9 hrs on record
Posted: May 28
At first impression this game is quite underwhelming and seems to be nothing more than a re-skin of Gal Civ II but as is often the case, first impressions can be very wrong. After you get your rear end handed to you in the first few games and once you start to "get" what is going on this game really comes together and shows its abundant depth and fun. It may lack that level of super polish and marketing bells and whistles that some other recent 4x games have, what it doesn't lack however is pure unadulterated PC space strategy goodness. This game has so many systems all working together at once it can become exceedingly complex but never seems to bog down and become a chore. Decidedly old school in its interface and gameplay (a good thing) but with a nice snappy modern engine backing it all up, the game can handle a huge universe with tons going on without seemingly batting an eye. Gal Civ III is the first 4x to truly bring out that "just one more turn" feeling for me since CIV IV. With a bit more fine tuning and some Steam workshop addition of races, mods etc (Star Fleet Command universe I am waiting for you) this game will undoubtedly stand as a space strategy classic.


Pros:
+ Massive levels of customization, from races and ships to game settings you can play this game how you want.
+ Huge maps that could setup some truly lengthy and involved games, or small skirmishes if you so prefer
+ Has Multiplayer (but is bare bones)
+"Feels" comfortable for anyone who's played Gal Civ II or M.O.O. before, yet adds new systems and depth.
+ Turns are very fast. even in late game with tons of units and things going on. Huge plus
+ Steam workshop support coming soon in patch 1.1 (not currently implemented in 1.01)
+ AI does a respectable job of making you feel like you are playing real humans (or aliens)
+ Good writing, even amusing at times

Cons:
- Default races are a bit bland.
- Battle viewer is somewhat simplified
- No planetary invasion animation or battle viewer
- $50 price tag
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3 of 5 people (60%) found this review helpful
7.4 hrs on record
Posted: May 28
While a good game at the core, it is currently still riddled with bugs and issues.

Perhaps after a few updates, this game will be the game that will truly be a Civilization 5 in space.
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