Archive for the ‘Galactic Civilization 2 LP’ Category

Let’s Play Galactic Civilizations 2: Facing the Vacuum

29 Apr

I both love and hate the opening bit of any strategy game. On the one hand, it’s joyless rote iteration of the same moves you make at the beginning of every game until one of your plodding scouts bumps into something interesting. It’s anywhere from five minutes to a couple hours of dull choreography before a situation develops that really requires your attention.

On the other hand, this is generally the only five minutes to several hours of gameplay where it looks like I’ve got a chance. Provided you don’t understand what my starting moves actually are, because I’m pretty sure those are all objectively stupid.

As a format experiment, I'm uploading screenshots that convey as much meaningful data to the reader as I get out of the game itself. In this picture, we clearly see some spaceships. They are red.

Observe my starting conditions. I’ve got a flagship for scouting, a colony ship, a mining ship, and a home planet. I am approximately an hour of research, exploration, and construction away from looking at just about anything else. This is an hour I could be spending, for example, attacking hair metal headbanging trolls with a mystic battleaxe and melting their faces with guitar solos. I will instead be right-clicking on asteroids and wandering around aimlessly.

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Galactic Civilizations 2: God Save the Space Queen (Introduction)

15 Apr

In Galactic Civilizations 2 , you sit the helm of an entire species’ post-terrestrial development. The game begins at a magical turning point between the landlocked past and the galactic future. Tomorrow lies the visible outlines of distant galaxies, strange and unique alien life, flora and fauna conjured by magic technology from the unliving rock, and weapons beyond description fired broadside into uncooperative planets. With will, patience, skill, and luck, your civilization can realize its very wildest dreams of knowledge and conquest.

The concept is appealing, the design is balanced, and the mechanics appeal equally to experienced and casual players. Personally, I put it in my top ten.

Of games that I suck out loud at.

I take to turn-based strategy like a Neanderthal takes to driving a Formula 1 car. If you’re here for the crashes, you’ve come to the right place.*

The only reason I bought the game at all, back in my high school days, was that I’d always had a fondness for customization systems. The actual progress of my ongoing campaign took second place to noodling about with ship building, planet naming, and similar bits of frivolity that had grim-faced war councils the universe over shaking their heads and fingering their nuke buttons. I’ll say this much : the game is good enough that it sometimes distracted me from crafting scout ships shaped like butts.

I did get to the point where I was, with some attention, able to glean the proper information from the very dense UI and put it to productive use. This allowed me to hedge from casual victory on the very lowest difficulty to demoralizing defeat on the very next—which would save this series from being another litany of humiliation, except that

a.)    I have forgotten absolutely everything I knew in the intervening five years, and

b.)    I’m going to play on the Normal difficulty setting.

Without further ado, allow me to introduce you to my civilization.

In this game, I’ll be playing the most bizarre and interesting alien invaders in the history of fiction; the British Empire. After deciding that the concept of a “Terran” alliance was a bit weak, a group of secessionists threw a dart at a rustling history book and decided to model a splinter culture after whatever it landed on. Five thousand crates of tea and a good old civil war later, the Separatist British were trundling a stolen colony ship towards neutral territory, with a freshly-minted monarchy at the helm and designs for a queen-shaped capital ship tucked quietly in the head scientist’s blueprints. Since then, their “home planet,” Londonworld, has been the scarlet pin at the center of a map entitled “Things That Will Be Ours.”

It’s worth mentioning at this point that the only historical records of actual British history that could be dredged up were a handful of penny dreadfuls, a book of American History that had been in a terrible fire, and a full season of Blackadder. Consequently, much of the civilization’s hopes and dreams have also been determined via the dart system. This explains their benign, but by no means thematic, embrace of science and technology as their main focus.

For a full outline of my civilization’s strengths and weaknesses, look to the screenshot posted below. Click, and then click again, for larger.

Next: If you seek war, prepare for lots and lots of war.

*Might I kindly add that if you’re here to coach the Neanderthal, your intent is similarly misplaced. Posting suggestions in the comments will not help me. As you have no doubt grasped, I am more than comfortable not being good at single-player videogames. Unless I’m playing a competitive or cooperative game, I prefer to keep making my own (admittedly quite bad) decisions than play according to someone else’s flowchart. Videogames are one space in which I can indulge my desire to experiment, persevere, and learn a system on my own without setting my kitchen on fire or crashing my car into a mobile home. I guard that space jealously.