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 (1,983 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 (42)

July 9

Map Pack DLC Now Available for Galactic Civilizations III

The Map Pack DLC includes 8 new maps which range in size from gigantic 18 player areas to intimate maps perfectly sized for two-player duels. Players can also design their own galaxies with the all new custom map editor.New maps include:

  • Six Pillars - A large Map, with six symmetrical clusters surrounding a super black hole, designed for large matches for up to six players.
  • Clash - A medium sized symmetrical map designed for a large scale duel.
  • Snowflake - Medium sized balanced map of near identical star systems, designed for up to 18 players.
  • Core - A medium sized symmetrical map, surrounding a cast core of nebulae and resources, designed for up to six players.
  • Joust - A tiny two player map that is perfectly balanced for a duel, but with plenty of resources to keep.
  • Quadrants - Small, four-sided and balanced. Divided by vast asteroid fields and optimized for four players.
  • Round Table - Tiny and symmetrical. Designed for quick and balanced six player games.
  • Milky Way - Explore the canon Galactic Civilizations galaxy, starting from Earth in this immense scenario.
The Galactic Civilizations III Map Pack DLC is available now for $4.99 through Stardock or Steam.

If you are a Galactic Civilizations III Elite Founder:
The Map Pack DLC was automatically added to your Steam account free of charge, and can be accessed under “Galactic Civilizations III” in the “DLC” section, enjoy!

24 comments Read more

July 9

Galactic Civilizations III 1.1 Update Released with Steam Workshop Support

The 1.1 update includes Steam Workshop integration, two new difficulty levels, and UI improvements. With Steam Workshop integration, players can easily share their ship designs and custom factions with other Galactic Civilizations III players. There are already over 400 new ship designs and custom factions available for download today on Steam Workshop!

This update also includes custom map support for multiplayer games, pirates in multiplayer, and a ton of other improvements and fixes for the game. You can see the full changelog here:

8 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 10 / 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
37 of 42 people (88%) found this review helpful
93.7 hrs on record
Posted: July 18
I really dislike the Steam review system, but given its limitations I have to say DO NOT BUY THIS it's current state (1.12?). It is very buggy still and there are some aspects that the devs have said will be addressed in coming major updates (or maybe DLC) such as the horrible starbase management and planetary invasions. Until those are implemented I'd say new players would be better to not buy this game.

The game was released too early and post release it has had patches, but the quality of that support has been quite low. Given the past performance of Stardock I have to assume that the reason behind the poor state of the game is that Stardock put its focus on the other game they are working on (which was just released when I wrote this) The Sorcerer King.

As a business decision you can understand why they would put more focus on a new IP over fully supporting a established franchise that has already had very strong sales pre-launch. GC3 is more of a sure thing in sales, Sorcerer King is not and is more dependent on great reviews to drive sales when it is at its highest price point. So that means they have to take advantage of the established GC fanbase, which is more likely to let them get away with something that is ethically a bit dicey. I can understand them doing this (if they have. This is all just my opinion of what's going on), but it doesn't mean I have to like it.

On that note I've not been a great fan of how they are dealing with DLC. They had essentially Day 1 DLC that was infinitely exclusive where they have stated it will never be offered to anyone again. Then their first paid DLC is wrapped around the map editor. Very disappointing moves by Stardock, though I don't really rate it as a major thing on whether to recommend this game at this point in time, rather it's just something the should be noted.

There are some good aspect to this game. The shipbuilding is a star feature. It is generally superior to that offered in GC2, though I'd say it might not be as user friendly as in GC2 (be aware my views of this are very coloured by GC2 after two expansions). Graphically it looks pretty good, even on a pretty average system. The events and whatnot are entertaining and the game still has that sense of humour of the previous games.

Now this is why I have a problem with the Steam rating system. I enjoy this game. I have fun with it, mostly through the ship builder and the more lighthearted aspects of the game. However, I can't ignore the bugs and that some features are waiting to be fully dealt with. If I could I'd just give it a 6/10, but with Steam it's either a 0 or a 10 and I feel that 0 is probably fairer than 10 at this point in time. Until that happens, which going by the devs statements is maybe 3 - 6 months away, it would be best to hold off buying the game.
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29 of 35 people (83%) found this review helpful
257.8 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
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12 of 13 people (92%) found this review helpful
80.5 hrs on record
Posted: July 12
I have been a supporter of Stardock. But everyone makes mistakes. This is theirs.

This game is the bottom of the barrel. The only way it could get lower was if it were vaporware with no refund available.

It was released way too early. It is essentially a beta. And it has no depth to it at all and is riddled with bugs. It also lacks a lot of managerial functionality that makes playing on larger maps nearly impossible.

Not only is it an unfinished product, it is a bare bones framework of a game.

Save your money. Come back in a few years when it is on sale in a pack with all the DLC and expansions. (If it lasts that long.)
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12 of 14 people (86%) found this review helpful
192.0 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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4 of 4 people (100%) found this review helpful
82.2 hrs on record
Posted: July 11
[Initially Posted Review, with "Not Recommended" conclusion:] I kept telling myself I wasn't going to write a review until I'd finished my first game, but it's gotten ridiculous. I'm theoretically within a few turns of winning, but the damned game won't stay up even for a full turn. I'm wasting hours restarting from save, advancing, saving in mid-turn, watching the program crash to desktop or just lock up in a deadlock or infinite loop (mouse pointer moves, but game just consumes CPU without responding to anything). Kill with Task Manager and repeat...

There are some good ideas in the game, as well as some profoundly bad ones - ONE trade deal every 20 turns? THAT'S idiotic - but the software engineering is shockingly bad for a paid, commercial product.

[Edit: I finished that game, deleted all content from my system, and re-installed, and after ~4 hours of play, I've yet to see another freeze or crash. I suspect that my problem - and perhaps that of some other players - is that the beta and upgrade installation system didn't work quite right. I'd tried most remedies short of a full reinstall, but had invested enough time in the game where I was damned if I was going to throw it away and start over with each update. I might actually recommend this game now.]
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