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 (3,150 reviews) - 76% of the 3,150 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: May 14, 2015

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64-bit Windows Required

You must be running 64-bit Windows 7 or later to play Galactic Civilizations III. This requirement allows us to create the largest, most advanced, strategy game possible.

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Packages that include this game

Buy Stardock Bundle 2016

Includes 8 items: Galactic Civilizations® III, Sorcerer King™, Sins of a Solar Empire®: Rebellion, Fallen Enchantress: Legendary Heroes, Dead Man's Draw, Galactic Civilizations® II: Ultimate Edition, Galactic Civilizations® I: Ultimate Edition, Demigod

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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 (48)

October 29

Galactic Civilizations III v1.4 Mega AI update is now available!

The team has made some improvements to the AI; it's now stronger, better, and smarter. The AI is now more efficient at building its planets and managing its economy. The AI will also have planetary governors to manage starbase construction and it is now also programmed with improved budget management and constructor movement logic. How will you stand up to the challenge? 

View the full changelog here.

To stay updated with other news and happenings with Stardock, be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook. Also tune into our Twitch stream for tips/tricks about our games and sneak peeks at unreleased content.

43 comments Read more

September 17

Multi-Language support and bug fixes in the latest Galactic Civilizations III’s update!

Hallo! Bonjour! Здравствуйте! Stardock is excited to announce that our latest update to Galactic Civilizations III includes language support for German, French, and Russian!

Here's a little note from our CEO, Brad Wardell, about the new language support: "With over a hundred thousand words, translating Galactic Civilizations III is like translating a book. It was important to us that every civilization in the game have their own technology tree and its own diplomatic dialog. But doing so made it a real challenge to translate it."

In addition to our new multi-language support, the 1.31 update contains updates to some of our key features, see the full changelog here:

  • Stability for Custom Factions: There are now checks to prevent crashes when a human player or AI uses a custom faction that has bad or missing data.
  • Multiplayer: Stronger, better, faster - multi-player matches will now take less time to load!
  • Enhancements: AI Improvements, balance changes, and a few bug fixes.
  • Battle Viewer: Corrected so that the battle properly reflects the results that are posted.
We appreciate our community feedback and hope that you enjoy the new features that 1.31 has to offer! Auf Wiedersehen! Au revoir! До свидания!

50 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

Never the same game twice, Galactic Civilizations III is the largest strategy sandbox ever made. Each new game offers an array of options as you set it up - choose your map size, abundance of planets and resources, frequency of events, and more for a unique play experience every time. Galactic Civilizations III also removes linear victory conditions and offers you multiple objectives that you can choose to pursue in order to win, such as military conquest, cultural domination, technological ascension, or political alliances. The new multiplayer capabilities also allow you to expand your challenges and fights beyond an AI in order to face off against fellow players. All of this, topped with a rich and in-depth custom ship designer ensure an immersive and exciting experience as you decide how to rule your galaxy.


  • Never the same game twice: Play in the ultimate sandbox where each game has a unique map, worlds, and challenges to face -- all on a massive scale. Play against 16 to 100 opponents.
  • Multiple paths to victory: Win through military conquest, cultural domination, technological ascension, or political alliance.
  • Story-based campaign: Get brought 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. Each playable faction has their own unique specializations. Your choice determines how you play and win.
  • Faction & Ship Customization: Create a civilization with its own look, ships, technologies, and even options for how the AI will use them.


  • Multiplayer: For the first time, Galactic Civilizations is a multiplayer game with full support for custom civilizations, saved multiplayer games, and much more.
  • New Battle System: Assign your 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.
  • Planetary Governors: Utilize individual planetary leaders to govern your worlds, deciding what improvements to build and when, which leaves you to focus on larger strategic goals.

System Requirements

    • OS: 64-bit Windows 10 / 8.x / 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
    • Storage: 12 GB available space
    • Sound Card: DirectX Compatible Sound Card
    • OS: 64-bit Windows 10 / 8.x / 7
    • Processor: 2.3 GHz Intel Core i5 Processor or Equivalent
    • Memory: 6 GB RAM
    • Graphics: 1 GB DirectX 10.1 Video Card
    • Network: Broadband Internet connection
    • Storage: 15 GB available space
    • Sound Card: DirectX Compatible Sound Card
Helpful customer reviews
136 of 170 people (80%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
22.2 hrs on record
Posted: June 29
What I see is a weird mix of polish and missing features.

I can almost hear the following discussion: "Well it's clear we can't finish everything properly for the release so
- what's near completion should be polished
- what's not ready but is part of the basics should be made to work somehow and fixed later
- all the other stuff we wanted to put in the initial game but did not have time should go to the planned expansions"

I'm almost certain that after all the patches and expansions have been released it will be a good game. However at this time - playing this game feels like doing chores ... the hard way rather than having fun.

This whole "Sell it now fix it later" mindset is ruining so many games that could have been great ... and our wallets are the victims.
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105 of 134 people (78%) 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
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
71 of 88 people (81%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
354.1 hrs on record
Posted: July 13
As it is with all 4x titles that become great the first is always lacking. It should undoubtly get better with expansions however it will take time as it did with civilization 5.

Currently, I don't think its worth the full price but if it's on sale its worth it, party because it's the only "next gen" true space 4x out there.

-4x as you would expect it
-multiple tech trees
-custom races
-awesome ship builder

-you need a decent computer, and NEED 8GB of ram
-Lacking in many mechanics
-no unit experience
-no government mechanic
-descriptions are vague, finding detailed information is difficult
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
76 of 99 people (77%) found this review helpful
4 people found this review funny
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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67 of 90 people (74%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
194.2 hrs on record
Posted: July 27
At this time I cannot in good conscience recommend this game to anyone except the most die-hard space 4x fans. I want to love the game. I really do. I've played it a lot but most of my time has been bug-fixing. Fixing typos, errors, and what can only be described as sloppiness. It feels like I'm beta-testing a game and trying to patch the game myself. I've tried to push through this, but even ignoring all of the bugs and crashes gameplay itself is shallow. Civ5 has much deeper gameplay. GalCiv3's gameplay is just so simple. When you get down to it, past all of the glitter, it feels almost like a mobile game. There just isn't a lot of depth to the game.

If you are a die-hard 4x fan and can't get enough turn based space games, then go for it.

The rest of you? Stay far, far away. GalCiv3 in its current state is a bug riddled, bloated, crashy, unstable mess. Expect your game to crash to desktop without any warning or error messages. Fortunately it has autosave, but there are so many stability problems that you're going to need those autosaves.

To start with, the positives. The game is gorgeous. It looks so very pretty. The ship designer is amazing. You can design almost any ship you want, anything from an Imperial Star Destroyer to one of Starfleet's finest. The level of customization is immense. The game is also very easy to mod as it is based on xml files, so tinkering is easy. All you need is notepad.

Unfortunately I've now finished the list of positive aspects of the game.

The game is riddled with typos, both spelling errors visible in the game as well as typos in the xml files that run the game behind the scenes. Research buildings are flagged as factories. Ship blueprints are poorly written, so that ships will be built with the wrong ship modules or missing vital ship modules entirely. This also leads to a very poorly performing AI because it is stuck with the stock ships. You can design your own ships, and by designing a well balanced ship you will be able to smash the AI.

To make up for this, at high difficulty levels the AI blatantly cheats. This game doesn't have an advanced AI. Its only made challenging by cheating. The AI ignores fog of war. It gets free production, free money, and free science. Its ships get more range and can install more modules than you. It also outright gets free technology every few turns. It needs all of these things to keep pace with a human player, and even then, the AI isn't much of a challenge except for sheer brute force due to cheating.

The AI isn't clever. It appears to pick a random planet to attack. It builds lots of ships and keeps flying it at that planet until it gets lucky. Unfortunately the AI forgets to build any transports on a regular basis, so it has trouble actually capturing planets. Diplomacy with the AI is very limited. You can trade things with the AI and you can declare war/peace with the AI. Thats about it. Want to get one AI to form an alliance with another AI? Can't do it. You can ally with everyone but you cannot broker peace in the galaxy. The AI's diplomacy is also mostly based on power. Do you have the most ships? Everyone loves you. Do you have the weakest fleet out of everyone? Everyone hates you and will declare war on you. Thats about as fancy as the AI gets.

The game is immensely bloated. 6gb of RAM isn't recommended. 6gb of RAM is barely the minimum. The game can use upwards of 5gb of RAM just by itself. Windows is going go use anywhere from 2-3gb of RAM. You need at least 6gb of RAM free. Not installed, but free/unused RAM. So you're looking at 10-12 of installed RAM to properly play this game.

In terms of visuals the game sure is pretty, but its pretty on par with Civ5. Its a turn based strategy game. However the memory usage far exceeds that of Civ5. Your computer may be able to play Civ5 without a hitch, but its going to crawl on GalCiv3. For some reason the game uses vast amounts of system resources (mostly memory) but it doesn't use them efficiently in an way. Expect your page file to get a lot of work. Your virtual memory is just a swap file on your hard drive. This file is going to get a ton of usage due to the memory requirements for this game. Hard drives are very slow things and virtual memory is to be avoided at all costs due to its terrible performance. Well, for GalCiv3, thats just what happens. Expect to chug along, especially if you're trying to play on a bigger map.

Management of your empire in game is also a chore. It chugs along. There is zero macro-management and zero automation. You have to micromanage every single planet, starbase, fleet, and ship in your empire every turn. On a tiny map its tolerable, but on big maps? Its micro management hell. And its not the fun kind of micro management. Its pure busywork. Its pure tedium. Starbases are particularly bad. They require a staggering degree of babysitting. Even planets, if you have a lot of them, get bad. There is no way to automate any planets in your empire. On a big map you might have dozens or potentially even hundreds of planets on the biggest map size. Every single planet must be manually ordered to do everything. Its just not fun. It is absolutely tedious.

That said, negatives aside, the game has a lot of potential, but it feels like I'm playing an early beta build. Its just so rough. The game feels so unfinished. This game is not ready for release yet. Not even close. This is not a finished product nor should it be advertised as one. It hasn't even been optimized yet. It is a bloated, buggy, incomplete mess, but at the same time it is a gem in the rough.

Unfortunately gems in the rough aren't worth much. They need to be polished first. GalCiv3 is lacking any and all polish. For comparison, I'd say that Dwarf Fortress has fewer bugs and is more stable than GalCiv3. Dwarf Fortress feels more polished than GalCiv3.

Thats right. You heard me right.

Dwarf Fortress is a more polished, stable, and bug-free game than GalCiv3.

So if you're a die hard 4x fan and want another 4x game regardless of how unfinished it is, by all means, pick up GalCiv3. Just be prepared to forgive a lot of problems with the game. You're going to have to overlook a lot of issues with the game.
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