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 (1,459 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 (40)

June 8

Galactic Civilizations III 1.03 Update Now Available

This update contains numerous bug and crash fixes reported by our awesome community. It also brings new pirate ships and starbases, random opponents, custom faction editing, and various balance and performance improvements.

See all the updates in the changelog:

Thank you for your continued support!

9 comments Read more

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!

14 comments Read more


“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?


  • 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.


  • 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

    • 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
    • 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
271 of 299 people (91%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
176.4 hrs on record
Posted: June 19
Stardock is not going to like this review. I had delayed my review, expecting to eventually write a positive one, but watching the latest dev stream I was discouraged. I know such streams are a double edged sword, and I appreciate that you do them. Unfortunately I now see what has been a long time coming: the game isn't ready.

After 176 hours, I have stopped playing. The game is not as fun as I'd hoped. It's not a matter of the game getting stale. It's not a matter of the game being fundamentally no good. The hours spent has mostly been beta testing, and unfortunately finding annoyances that have reached a level where I just don't want to play the game. Were a friend to ask me whether I would recommend they play this game, my answer would be no, and that is reflected in my "thumbs down" review. The game in it's current state is unfinished, and I'm about to prove it. This game needed six more months of beta development. Given that extra time, I think the game is going to be great, and I will recommend it. But I do not subscribe to the philosophy of recommending something that is not good now but promises to be good later. That is not fair to people trying to make a purchase decision.

The game is fundamentally a good one. It is a big step up from GalCiv2 in many ways, while keeping to the formula that makes GC2 a fun game. Absolutely humungous hex maps, better graphics and battles, more complex battle mechanics, a focus on planetary specialization, more complex diplomacy and trade. All these things plus more make the game concept very exciting. That's not even mentioning the plans they have for DLC and expansions, which will make the gameplay even more rich. I've been playing and providing feedback since Beta 1, have watched all the dev streams live or same day. I've seen the game improve significantly, and I fully expect in six months this game will be absolutely awesome.

But as I said the game is not ready for a 1.0 release. Just watch the latest dev stream. Nearly all topics are either things that don't work as intended, or things they wanted to do before release but didn't have time to make it happen. During beta the running joke was "well this is game development" and "it's beta". They practically have to pinch themselves to stop saying that now. In order to justify my "thumbs down" review, below are specific things that should have been addressed prior to release. These are mainly things that the devs said they wanted to accomplish, but didn't, but also things that, cumulatively, I have found to be major hinderences to my personal enjoyment of the game.

1. With all of the planetary bonus features, the game practically screams at you to specialize your planets (manufacturing/research/wealth) with the planetary production wheel. Yet once you get past 10 planets, managing those specializations becomes prohibitively unwieldy. They promised governors, but they are still on the post-release roadmap. The state of the game at release is that they want you to specialize, but they make it too time consuming and repetitive.

2. If you specialize manufacturing, but want to reduce your micromanagement workload, you can make use of planetary projects. Unfortunately, numerically research/wealth projects are practically worthless. Manufacturing-specialized planets should be set to 100% manufacturing. But if you run a research project, you will get 0 (zero) research. To get some research you need to adjust the production wheel, which negates the micromanagement reduction purpose. Furthermore, you would get the most research by setting the production to 99% research, 1% manufacturing, and really that only provides a 10% boost to what you would be getting if you just set it to 100% research, where the project is not being utilized at all. That needs to be reworked. It should have been ironed out during the beta.

3. Constructors and starbases are a big deal in this game, bigger than previous versions, mostly due to the abundance of map resources. It's not uncommon to have 10 starbases on a tiny map, feeding each one several constructors for upgrades. You're going to want to have lots of upgraded starbases. Managing the constructors is one thing. They have a "Request Constructor" button that is supposed to help, but unfortunately it requests the most expensive constructor, so most times you are better off managing the constructor sending yourself. They wanted that system to be better, and they should have made it better during the beta. Once you get your constructors to the starbases, you then have to manage the upgrades. No governors there yet. The wanted to get that done in the beta too.

4. The AI on normal, the setting where the AI is using its best algorthims without cheating, is trivial to absolutely obliterate. It is simply terrible at managing its planets and making tactical military decisions. I know it's a work in progress, but I had hoped it would be beyond just pure dumb by release.

5. If you have standard galaxy settings and are in later stages of the game having scouted most of the galaxy, you can zoom out to get a big picture of what's going on. Unfortunately the map is absolutely cluttered with various fields and clouds, resource icons, and the starbases to mine them. There is no way to declutter the map, making it extremely difficult to really get the context of the galaxy. I frequently find myself lost, not knowing where the front lines or hot spots are. They never promised a declutter capability, but at this point I wish they had it.

6. The govern screen and production wheel UI has not changed much since early beta. We were promised a "UI pass" to improve its capabilities, but that never happened. Here are the two most annoying things about it: a) While changing your production wheel, you get no immediate feedback on how your changes are affecting the build times for planets, shipyards, or research. You have to exit the govern screen, check the turns to completion, then go back and adjust in a click-heavy cycle. b) In beta 5 they implemented one-turn overflow, so you do not lose left-over production upon completion of a building, ship, or technology. Unfortunately the only feedback you have this is actually happening is if you hover over the queue. This lack of good feedback has resulted in many new forum topics by new players complaining about lost production. The UI for this should have been fixed in beta.

I have a few other issues on my list, but I'm holding back on them for now because they are difficult to explain.

My expectation is that the issues above will hopefully get resolved in the next six months. The dev team knows these are problems, in fact knew they were problems during beta and had hoped to have resolved them, but ran out of time. I will be keeping a distant eye on this game over the coming months and years to see how they have progressed. Stardock, I promise you this: once you get this game much closer to the state it should have been in at release, I will change my "thumbs down" to a "thumbs up". Now it's your turn to make sure that happens. I have full confidence you can do it.
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41 of 51 people (80%) found this review helpful
47.1 hrs on record
Posted: June 13
The game is boring, it is really Gal Civ 2 with a few changes that could be done as a DLC. The same graphics, icons, portraits, civilizations, technologies, buildings' names. There are a few new technologies, buildings, ship modules and a new ship creator, but overall it is still the same game - all basic functionality did not change: you can survey anomalies, build starbases, build buildings on planets in exactly the same way. If you want a few extras for Gal Civ 2 you may like this game, but if you got bored with Gal Civ 2 and expect something new - you will be disappointed.

There are multiple bugs:
- SAVING GAME IS OFTEN UNSUCCESSFUL - game crashes when trying to load certain saves. This prevents you from interrupting the game because you never know whether you will be able to load that saved game or not, which in turn makes a game unplayable
- you can sometimes build unique buildings twice
- sometimes the technology tree shows that the technology was not yet discovered even though it was, you have to close and open technology tree again
- the technology tree doesn't show descriptions of other specializations than the one you researched (specialization is a technology such that you have to choose one of 3 available, however you can buy the other two from other races)
- bugs/mismatches between technologies' descriptions and actual effects
- AI is pretty dump, they will declare the war against you because they don't like you, but will ask for peace next turn because you are too strong
- path finding is dump, it will often choose a path through enemy teritory even though equally long path through your teritory exists

And multiple annoying "features":
- you cannot see the path or the range of the ship, click will initiate movement which cannot be interrupted
- if a ship is moving towards destination and you press "next turn" button, the ship will move but all remaining movement points are lost, you are not promted to do something with the idle ship
- the same happens if the ship is set to "automatic survey", once it reaches a destination anomaly site, all remaining movement points are lost
- it is very difficult to control enemy ships movements - all are done at once and there is no log or "enemy turn replay"
- all remaining manufacturing/research points are lost at the end of turn so if you have 2k manufacturing points per turn and want to produce a frigate which costs 200 points, you can only produce one per turn anyway
- you can assign multiple planets to provide their manufacturing points to single shipyard, however you cannot assign single planet to multiple shipyards
- buying ships/buildings ceases the normal production, i.e. if building A has 1 turn remaining and you buy building B, next turn building A will still have 1 turn remaining
- although in ship designer there are tabs for "core" and "user" ships, there are no such tabs when upgrading existing ship, which means that you have to scroll through 20 "core" designs to find the one you made
- micromanagement - each planet's potential can be split between wealth, manufacturing and research (defaults to 33% each). Let's say that you want a research focused planet so you set research to 100%. Once you discover a new type of laboratory, the upgrades will be put onto the building queue automatically, however they will not build because you have 0% manufacturing. On the other hand, if you have 20% manufacturing only for this purpose, once all laboratories are upgraded and building queue is empty, you just lose 20% of planet's potential

EDIT: There is a beta patch available
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29 of 35 people (83%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
155.0 hrs on record
Posted: June 16
Feels like the game is still in beta. It's good that they're patching, but their attitude sometimes seems to be 'we're doing you a favor'
They're planning their first DLC before the bugs are even worked out.
Micro Management Hell in late game - can't keybind very commonly used items.
Battle viewer is pointless.
Can't turn off animations for battles which really slows things down late conquest game.
Pros: Excellent mod support
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21 of 25 people (84%) found this review helpful
7.7 hrs on record
Posted: June 13
First off and probably most importantly: The game is about as stable as a house of cards built over a geyser. It took me about two hours of researching to find solutions and playing around with the game's files to finally get it going for that first time. Then, the game continued to crash during play time. So, yet another hour or so of my time to find methods of keeping it running properly. The mothertrucker still crashes to this day at times.

That right there costs the game some big points in my esteem. When I pay 50 bucks for your game, it better damn well work the first time I click on it (unless my computer is the problem-- which it was not in this case.)

Technical issues aside (as glaring as they are), this is a really lackluster, mediocre game. Nothing special to see here folks.

Diplomacy is pretty standard with nothing deep going on there. It's the standard trade agreement that we have already seen in hundreds of such games before (give me this tech for that tech, declare war, etc). The diplomacy system in older games (Alpha Centauri among others) is probably much more complex. If anything, diplomacy is pretty ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ with the AI factions acting all bi-polar on you. They shower you with praise and credits at one moment, then they declare war two turns later. I enjoyed the quasi-United Nations thing they had going there though (planetary alliance or something). That was a neat highlight.

There is no ground combat / planetary invasions - defense game system. It's a very random thing. In most of my playing, taking over a planet is pretty automatic. Very rarely did I need to send in a second wave of invading forces. You don't need to prepare too much in advance. Planets that are outfitted to the wazoo with defensive things still get taken down fairly easy. Honestly, why has no game of this sort not put some thought into the ground game? Look at Emperor of the Fading Suns. There's a great old game that did that in a very fun and engrossing fashion. Seriously, no one has even touched the ground game in years.

The space combat is ridiculous. You have zero options or control. Starships fly and charge at each other like cavalry. Once close to the enermy, they then begin to rotate around each other in a dancing fashion and deal their damage. Seeing capital starships fly in circles around one another like fighters in some kind of demented NASCAR dogfight took a lot of punch away from the highlight of the game (starship battles). I found myself skipping the combat scenes pretty early on because A) You can't do anything anyways and the ships are governed by the ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ cavalry charge tactic. 2) It makes me laugh because it's so off putting... the way the ships dance around each other in a circle.
Seriously, give the player some tactical control. Make the game interesting by still having a chance to win even if you're the underdog with the smarter opponent having an edge of some kind.

The universe is pretty dead. Ships take forever to get to all the corners of the open space. No jump drives or something that could speed up fleet movement over the map. This isn't even slow burn tension, it's like driving a golf cart for 8 hours.

The only thing that I really enjoyed about the game was the custom faction option. I had fun populating my map with Warhammer 40K and Mass Effect inspired races / factions. I played with my own custom made Kilrathi Empire faction. I had more fun creating factions than actually playing the game though.

So, no, on the whole, this game isn't worth 50$.
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21 of 26 people (81%) found this review helpful
59.9 hrs on record
Posted: June 7
I have played 57 hours before writing the review, so i dont judge to early like i did abit with Star Drive 2. All in all i like the game very much. I was a GalCiv2 big fan, and i also was a bit sceptic after seeing early images, that its to much like GalCiv2.As i played GalCiv 3 longer, i noticed the new features and started using them, resulting in different gameplay. I will write in 2 sections about my experience in points, first section overall, second comparison to Galciv2.

OVerall :
1 + Decent/good AI. I wasnt able to beat the game at highest setting, despite a few tries. Sure its mostly due to its bonuses I suppose but im still happy i wasnt. On tough and challenging diff it still bite back and overall did reasonable stuff. I wish there was another setting between tough and sucicdal.Also it would be nice if the AI was playing abit smarter , not mostly being hard due to bonuses.
2 +The game is slow, as with all GalCiv, so you have to give it some time, learn its mechanics to have most fun.
3 +The art and music is very nice.
4+ Overall everything one could expect from a good 4x game: Many races, custom races, long tech tree, many events,ship design, shaping your own ideology, good writing and humour...As with all Galciv games, there is no tactical battle tough. (for some its a plus for soem a minus)
5 + Stable. I had one crash in the 65 hours.
6 - Imho the early game pace is off. The expansion race is just silly. There is no mechanic to slow you down. its colonize colonize and colonize some more with maybe a few mining starbases. In galciv2 the economy stoppped you from overextending, it doesnt seem to happen in Galciv 3.

I would give the game a 8/10 i think atm. There is still some balancing and AI refining to be done imho.

GalCiv 3 new features, compared to Galciv2:

1- There are now strategic recources that you can use to build very powerful weapons and improvements early on. So you got this tottaly new layer, if you want to race to grab them on , and rely on them. On other hands they are scattered
and its hard to defend the bases that are mining them. It changed my Galciv2 playstyle in a big way.
2-The affinty/morality is abit different. You got a tiered tree with upgrades that you unlock. Its imho a nice change, i have i think more fun with this then in Galciv2 approach.
3-There are now adjecancy bonuses on planets, so you got to think a bit more about designing it.
Overall i hadnt the impression to be playing a reskinned GalCiv 2, imho its a proper sequel.
4- Very nice addtion of planet independent shipyards , to which you can assign up to 5 planets. Reduces micromanagement a lot.
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