Total Epic War

December 8, 2008 at 10:12 PM (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

Let me say right off that if you’ve never played Galactic Civilizations II, you probably aren’t going to understand wtf I’m talking about. I’ll try to explain as I go along. Also, this is about the original Dread Lords version, with none of the content of the expansion packs. This is basically a really (really) long-winded after action report of an amazing war I just fought in this game.

GalCiv II is a turn-based strategy game, very similar to Civilizations (so I’ve heard). Basically, you pick one of 11 intelligent species to play (including Human and a player-designed race) and must build an interstellar civilization. You have to build up your planets and maintain a space fleet to keep the aliens from exterminating you. You win when you have either conquered the galaxy, formed an alliance with all the major powers of the galaxy or have researched a very expensive technology that turns your entire race into energy beings. It is incredibly fun and I’ve been playing it since it was released nearly three years ago.

It includes several scenarios, including one that sets all the major galactic powers at war with the Dread Lords. The Dread Lords are part of the game’s back story. They are a very powerful race with godlike technology that mysteriously disappeared hundreds of thousands of years ago, right in the midst of a war with another highly advanced race. Well, they’re back, and they’re ready to pick up right where they left off in conquering the galaxy.

While most of the races have a “soldiering ability” somewhere between 10 to 100, the Dread Lords have abilities of 800. The other races start with practically no technology. Hyperdrive, perhaps slightly better factories and no weapons whatsoever. The Dread Lords start with all technology. So, they can pretty well kick your ass without breathing hard in the beginning of the game.

Despite all this, the Dread Lords usually are simple to beat at any difficulty setting. The developers saddled them with extreme limitations, to the point that they really amount to nothing more than a vast annoyance as you play the game. Very rarely, they might actually conquer one of the major races.

After nearly three years, the game was getting stale for me. To be honest, I’ve gotten so good at this game that beating the AI is hardly a challenge, regardless of what difficulty level I choose. Still, I like to play it and, unfortunately, I have a lot of free time on my hands these days.

The game I just finished was like no game I have ever played. I feel like I’ve just experienced the Battle of Helm’s Deep, up close and personal…

When you start a new game, it generates a random map, with stars and planets arranged in random fashion. I got what I wanted, a decent cluster of planets far enough away from any of the aliens that I didn’t have to race them to the habitable worlds. Frankly, I hate that and tend to keep restarting until it gives me a map with some breathing room.

Wherever the Dread Lords started out, they were clearly nowhere near me. I began to build a humble little empire and cranked up my research production. And waited…

The game’s UI includes a line graph that shows a comparison of all the major races’ military power (not including the Dread Lords). One race after another would build up a decent-sized military, only to have it drop very quickly to practically nothing. It was like looking at a schematic for a roller coaster. That does usually happen during this scenario, though usually not quite as drastic as what I was seeing here. From the look of things, everybody in that neighborhood was getting an industrial-sized beat down.

The UI also has a small map of the galaxy, which displays the areas controlled by all the major races. The Dread Lords don’t show up though, because they have no influence. I did notice that much of the influence in that part of the galaxy was disappearing, meaning that the Dread Lords were pushing out the other aliens. A large part of the galaxy was going dark.

About ten years into the game, a message popped up saying that the Dread Lords have conquered the Torians (one of the other major races). A bit later, they conquered the Yor. Then, in fairly rapid succession the Jarkians, the Vegans, the Carinoids and the Snathi.

I began to worry…

That usually doesn’t happen. As powerful as the Dread Lords are, they normally don’t do very well because of all the limits placed on them. I decided that I needed to see what the hell was going on over there.

I had not explored that part of the map yet, because it was way out of my range. I had no idea of what was there, although the minimap showed that the whole area was covered in planets. As it was out of range for any of my ships, I designed a constructor with a lot of sensors, then launched a whole fleet of them. As one would reach the limit of its range, I’d build a starbase and continue on with the rest (starbases extend range). Eventually, my ships arrived in the dark region of the galaxy.

When I saw it, my eyes widened. My jaw hit the floor. I dropped a cigarette in my lap. I could not believe what I was seeing.

It was like flipping on the light switch in a roach-infested building. There were Dread Lords everywhere! They had invaded and taken nearly half the galaxy! And all those dozens and dozens of planets were building warship after warship…

I tried to bring the ships back into my territory, but the Dread Lords chased down every one of them and destroyed them. I decided right then and there to start building a massive space fleet.

Normally, I don’t build much of a military until I’ve researched the top end planetary buildings. With planets full of highly advanced factories, farms and money-making buildings, you can start building tons of ships and not go broke in the process.

When playing against the Dread Lords, I also wait until I’ve researched the really nasty weapons at the high end of the tech tree. Since the Dread Lords can use the most advanced available ship defenses right from the beginning, there’s little point in attacking them with the equivalent of a BB gun. You won’t even scratch the paint.

When I got a look at the monster on the other side of town, I decided that was a bad idea this time.

There are basically three ways to build a military in this game. You can do what the AI does and build a huge number of fighters, heavy fighters, frigates, battleships and dreadnoughts. You fleet them together and the smaller ships soak up fire for the larger ones. However, since you can’t put much defenses on those smaller ships (it confuses the game engine), they tend to die very quickly and you end up constantly rushing replacements to them to protect your larger ships. It also takes a while to put together a complete fleet.

You can just forget the huge ships and produce an enormous number of heavy fighters with big weapons. This works and it seems to be the best way out of an emergency, because you can produce them in vast numbers quickly if the need arises and just grind the enemy down with suicidal attacks. It is also very expensive and I don’t like to do it unless I’m heavily outnumbered.

My preferred method is to just build nothing but the largest possible ship, cover it with weapons and defenses and fleet them together. The fleets are smaller, so it takes less time to produce a complete fleet, but the firepower is enormous. It also reduces costs, because each ship has a maintenance cost that must be paid each turn. I can also use just my industrial capital world for this, rather than spreading it out amongst 20 or 30 planets. Having a couple of dozen planets all building ships at the same time is extremely expensive.

I prefer dreadnoughts, but at this point I couldn’t build any (I hadn’t researched that technology yet). Even if I could, I would only have been able to put three into a fleet because of their size (another technology I didn’t have yet). So, I built battleships.

I designed the nastiest warship I could with the technology on hand and cranked the factories wide open. These warships weren’t quite as powerful as the Dread Lord ships, but they still had plenty of firepower, more than enough to stand toe-to-toe with any of the enemy.

My manufacturing capital was turning out one new battleship every turn. This is why I wait until late to start building warships. After my infrastructure is built up to a certain point, I can turn out battleships and dreadnoughts at the same rate the AI turns out fighters. It didn’t take very long at all to build a very powerful navy and was listed as the most powerful of the (surviving) major races.

I had placed a number of scout ships in a line a bit outside my territory as sort of a sensor picket. I don’t like being surprised and the AI has managed more than once to sneak a fleet into my territory without me noticing it (To GalCiv players: I don’t use Eyes of the Universe anymore. Too annoying).

Apparently, when I went to take a peek at their part of space, I drew attention to myself. The Dread Lords were coming to pay me a visit.

I wasn’t paying attention to the scouts while I was shuffling all my new battleships around. So it was a bit of a surprise when a fleet of Dread Lord frigates suddenly swooped down on one and tore it apart. I zoomed out and looked at the map to see what was going on. I dropped another cigarette in my lap.

Where my scout ship used to be, there was an enemy armada beyond all comprehension. The Dread Lords didn’t come just to open up a can of whoop ass in my face. They were bringing a whole year’s supply.

This wasn’t a fleet. It was Juggernaut. This was not going to be a war. It was Armageddon.

What we had here people, was a SITUATION. A GRAVE SITUATION that required an URGENT RESPONSE. BRICKS were definitely being SHAT.

I grabbed my hundreds of battleships, which suddenly looked a lot smaller than they had just a minute earlier, and turned them loose.

The Dread Lords were not impressed.

The battle that raged at this point was unlike anything I’ve ever seen, in this or any other game. It was a humbling experience, to say the least. It was like fighting a hurricane with a fly swatter. The individual drops of rain may not stand much of a chance, but it sure is a hell of a lot of water.

I won nearly every fight. Hundreds of enemy ships were reduced to wreckage. But, because of the massive firepower of each of their ships, they’d destroy some of mine in every fight. They were surging forward through sheer weight of numbers. The front line kept creeping closer and closer to home…

They smashed their way right into the heart of my territory, destroyed my entire navy, blew up all my starbases, slaughtered all of my freighters and sat right on top of my industrial capital.

I could still build a new battleship every turn. But with hundreds of warships blockading the shipyard, I couldn’t build a fleet.

In short, they handed my ass to me.

They didn’t bring any troop transports. No idea why, but that’s the only reason why I survived this. I finally just quit building new ships. I figured if there was nothing to shoot at, they’d go away. Sure enough, they all wandered off to go give the Altarians a good hiding. I hate to admit it, but I waited a good long time before building anything new.

Now, I have lost this game before. I’ve had it for nearly three years. At the higher difficulty levels, the AI can be really nasty and sometimes you just end up in a really crappy part of the map with terrible planets. I once had all nine alien civilizations gang up on me and grind me down (that game lasted nearly two weeks). This was the first time I’ve been so completely curbstomped. I know the newer versions of GalCiv II have something similar, called The Peacekeeper Event, but this was worse. The Peacekeepers can’t build reinforcements.

You might be thinking that maybe I just built a ton of puny little ships that would have been brushed aside by a couple of off-duty cops and a retired security guard.

No.

That navy I built consisted of hundreds of battleships. Each of those battleships had the firepower to rip apart the toughest Dread Lord ship in a single volley and to take a few volleys in return. This was a monstrous, powerful force and I don’t usually build up that massively (it costs too much). It would easily have crushed any of the regular AI aliens. Very likely it would have crushed all of them at once.

Imagine the entire NATO alliance, thousands of battle tanks all in the field, millions of front line troops digging foxholes, the air force swarming in the air, the navy pointing a missile launcher at every square inch of ocean and all the supersecret US military satellites ready to rain down death from orbit. Add in the Chinese People’s Liberation Army. Combine all that with the old Soviet Red Army. Toss in the rest of the old Warsaw Pact. Now imagine this entire force smashed into burning wreckage in just a few hours by a single enemy.

That’s how shocked I was.

If they’d brought any troops with them, I wouldn’t have been able to do a damn thing about it. I gave as good as I got – better actually – but every ship I destroyed had twenty or thirty replacements right next to it.

I didn’t have a clue what had happened. The AI had never before built such a monstrous fleet of warships. The computer had trouble rendering all those ships and this PC ain’t no wimp.

After their massive armada wandered off, I got up off the mat, dusted myself off and put an ice pack on my black eye. I smoked a cigarette.

I turned my research spending way up and started to rebuild my military. I built huge dreadnoughts with six times the firepower and ten times the defenses of the previous battleships. They were many times more powerful than anything the Dread Lords had. And I built -a lot- of them. I raised taxes to a ruinous level, to the point that I nearly lost a few senate elections. I still went sharply into debt. Twelve years of peace had let me build up a large treasury and my debt began eating into that reserve.

And I built an army. A very, very LARGE army. By the time I went looking for a rematch with the Dread Lords, I had two trillion soldiers sitting aboard a thousand troop transports, sharpening their bayonets. That was roughly ten times more people than I had on my planets. As it turned out, I would need that many troops…

I was trying to decide whether or not I’d built a large enough navy to survive another round when the decision was made for me. The Iconian military had just dropped to nothing on the graph and influence began disappearing from their territory. The Iconian region was right next to mine.

Pardon the interruption while I rant a bit.

GalCiv II’s developers did a hell of a job. It is a great game and it’s not often that I can be interested in the same game for over two years. The AI, at least at the higher difficulty levels, is very well done and damned tough to beat. However, some things are badly broken and very much need to be fixed.

For instance, the AI is designed to detect that the player is about to launch a surprise attack and will declare war to preempt that attack. This feature works about as well as copy protection DRM. By which I mean that it fails entirely. Like DRM, the only people hindered by this feature in any way are people not doing what it was designed to prevent.

Example. You build a troop transport and it turns out you don’t need it quite yet. So you park it somewhere deep inside your own territory, far away from anything owned by any of the aliens. Then one of the aliens decides to send in a constructor ship and builds a starbase right next to the transport. The very next turn, they’re accusing you of massing troops around their worlds and declare war. They point out that they are NOT some simple computer-based video game, but are intelligent beings who demand respect.

When you are unable to tell the difference between a space station and a planet, then have the nerve to tell me you’re an intelligent being, your intelligence is less than that of this pretzel I’m eating as I type this. I won’t speculate about the intelligence of the person who wrote the message.

Even moving a troop transport within two or three sectors (a largish distance) of an alien’s planet or starbase is enough to provoke this idiotic response. It often makes it nearly impossible to play the game. This function has never detected that I was about to launch an actual attack. Not once. On the other hand, if I had a penny for each time it has done this mistakenly… well, I’d still be broke, but I bet I could go buy a burrito at Taco Bell.

Anyway…

I tried to save the Iconians. They were my main trading partner and accounted for a large amount of money each turn. Also, it seemed like a pretty convenient place to start my attack on the Dread Lords. So, my navy arrived in force.

Upon seeing a massive Terran invasion fleet enter their territory, the Iconians came to the conclusion that I was about to launch a surprise attack and declared war. At one stroke, I lost my main trading partner and 1,200bc (billion credits) of income per turn. Then, because they had no military to speak of and were now at war with by far the most powerful civilization in the galaxy (aside from the Dread Lords, who don’t count), they immediately surrendered … and gave all their planets to the damn Arceans!!!

Do I need to tell you what the Arceans did when they saw all the troop transports? I really would like to strangle somebody.

The Arcean Empire, prior to all this nonsense, had been beaten back by the Dread Lords to a single planet. They had just one warship – a fighter for the defense of that one world (you can’t invade a planet if any ship is in orbit, so the AI builds “Defender” fighters). They had no economy, no trade routes, no money. Basically, they had been reduced to the status of minor power.

It also means that they had absolutely no money available to buy new defense fighters for those planets. They didn’t have the means to defend them. The Dread Lords had a field day.

Despite the fact that they had just declared war on me, I did my best to protect their new planets, but frankly I had my hands full here. That same massive armada that smashed my entire military earlier decided it liked my new ships even less than my old ones. They attacked full bore.

But these weren’t the old ships.

These ships were bigger, tougher, meaner, there was a lot more of them and there was a steady flood of reinforcements stretching all the way across nine sectors of space to my industrial capital.

I’d come looking for Round Two. Here it was. This was going to be a hell of a fight.

Friends and neighbors, the battle for the Iconian region would need two or three novels and a CBS miniseries to describe. If it had happened in the real universe, you’d be able to WALK from one star system to the next on the debris of destroyed warships.

I spent hours throwing fleet after fleet of dreadnoughts into this fight. This was the Battle of Kursk in space.

The Dark Yor, a minor power whose homeworld was in the Iconian region, got into it. They’d stolen technology from the Drengin Empire at some point, so they really didn’t do too badly. They did object a few times to my having so many transports close to their planet (grrrrr…) but decided not to declare war over it. The Altarians, whose territory was on the opposite side of the region from mine, sent in several fleets and captured a couple of planets (then lost them again). The Drath even got into it and they’d been knocked back to a single colony just like the Arceans, but that one planet was close by. Somehow they were still building warships.

During the American Civil War, one unfortunate town in Virginia was right on the front line. At various points during the war, it switched from Union to Confederate back to Union occupation something like seventy times. I bet that was rough on the town.

Nearly every planet in the Iconian region got captured, lost and recaptured by every belligerent several times. I personally used up something like fifty billion marines here. God only knows what the AI lost. (You sort of have to ignore scale in this game. A default troop transport carries a billion troops. I’d hate to be packed aboard a spaceship with a billion other people on it.)

I gave up trying to keep any of these planets until I could remove this huge enemy fleet, so I was just using mass driver attacks to capture them. That means I was dropping meteors on the planets to soften up the troops. That’s rough on the planet and the enemy troops don’t much care for it either. The AI was doing the same thing apparently.

Between the five of us, we completely wrecked every world in the Iconian region. As an example, New Iconia, which had been a class 16 planet (very nice) at the beginning of this brawl, was reduced to class 3 (worthless) at the end of it. A couple of planets were destroyed entirely (class 1). I kept the one remaining decent planet as a forward base and gave the rubble of the others to the Dark Yor.

Despite this brutal slugfest, my military power had swelled into an enormous juggernaut. This was easily the largest, most powerful fleet I’ve ever built in this game. I actually had more ships as reinforcements on their way to the front than I had at the front. I had no way of knowing about the Dread Lords, because they aren’t listed on the graph that shows the major powers (the Dread Lords, believe it or not, are considered a minor power).

Clearly I had made a dent in them. The seemingly endless stream of reinforcements following behind the armada that invaded my region earlier finally came to an end at some point in the fight. I think they must have had them stockpiled into a colossal reserve somewhere. I’ve seen the AI do that many times. It will just build and build and build until it runs out of money or decides to go use them on another AI (or me). That reserve was destroyed in the Iconian battle, but they were still building plenty of fresh reinforcements somewhere.

I left behind an armada to protect Iconian space, made peace with the Arceans and moved into the conquered Drath region.

The Drath region had 34 habitable planets, all of them captured by the Dread Lords. That was more than twice what I had in my own territory. Apparently, my side of the galaxy was in the boonies. The whole area was swarming with enemy ships. I had to clear out the fleets surrounding each planet and the reinforcements trickling in. Then I had to deal with the fighters and cruisers defending these planets.

A planet with no ships “docked” or “in orbit” can be invaded with troop transports. To prevent this, the AI usually builds defenders, which are just heavy fighters without engines or life support. On planets with a decent industrial capacity, they’ll also build cruisers. This is a frigate-sized ship, also without engines or life support. Which makes room for lots and lots of weapons and defenses. Also, ships “docked” at a planet have about 50% more firepower than normal. Many of these planets also had normal frigates and fighters docked.

Although not nearly as intense as the battle for the Iconian region (or my own), it was still a meat grinder. If you’ve never played the game, this is basically urban warfare. You have to fight for every inch and make sure you clear every building (or planet, in this case). It’s messy and bloody. And that’s before I can even land troops.

Dread Lords are a major pain in the ass to fight on the ground. Their soldiers are 100 times tougher than your’s or any of the other AI’s. The only reason you can win against them at all in a ground assault is that their planetary population is limited to only 20 million people. By default, any other race has six billion people on a planet, all of which are considered to be troops during an invasion. This can be increased by building farms and is limited only* by the fact that too many people causes very bad morale, which limits new growth. (*That is in the original version of GalCiv. The expansions may have changed these numbers)

I intended to keep these worlds. I needed more population, because I was going broke. I couldn’t raise taxes any further without inciting a rebellion. Pretty soon, I would just run flat out of money and would have to stop building new ships, or at least slow down considerably. This meant that using a mass driver attack was out of the question, because it would destroy the planets.

I used minisoldiers instead. This tactic has you sending in a swarm of robot soldiers to soften up the opposing troops. They may occasionally wreck a building in the fighting, but they don’t damage the planet itself. It is not as effective as a mass driver and my troops had higher casualties as a result. This made the population growth of newly captured worlds start off slower.

I conquered the Drath region. The battle was not on the same scale as what happened in the Iconian region. It wasn’t a mop-up either, because I had to fend off repeated Dread Lord attacks. That mostly consisted of stacking all the transports into one grid and holding several fleets of dreadnoughts in the middle of it to protect them.

It was made to be far more frustrating than it should have been because of bad UI design. I had dozens and dozens of fleet units sitting around just waiting for orders and I could not send them into “guard” mode to put them into standby. There were too many enemy ships around and that resets “guard” mode.

When a ship runs out of movement points or during the beginning of a new turn, the game incorrectly gives focus to ships that have not received any orders. So, you give an order to one ship (or a fleet), it goes to carry it out and runs out of movement points. Before you can give an order to the next unit, the game snaps focus to another ship, even if you’ve already clicked on the next ship you intended to use. More than once I’ve given an order, only to have it go to the wrong unit. I even lost a whole fleet of transports because this bad design caused me to order it to attack a Dread Lord fleet.

I really wish they’d fix that.

I pushed forward into what turned out to be the former Yor Region. At this point, the Dread Lords tried a spoiling attack on my homeworld. I wasn’t paying any attention to that area, so it caught me by surprise. I had to interrupt the flow of reinforcements to deal with this attack.

It wasn’t a very powerful attack. If you’ve played this game and played the Dread Lords scenario, it was more in line with what you’re probably used to. Annoying and costly, but not really dangerous.

Aside from this brief action in my rear area, the conquest of the Yor region was little different from the fight over the Drath region. One planet did make a particular annoyance of itself however. After initially clearing out all the defending fighters and cruisers in the area, this planet not only rebuilt its defenses very quickly, but also began building new frigates. I discovered the cause of this after invading it. There was a precursor mine on the planet.

Precursors are a reference to two alien races that existed hundreds of thousands of years earlier. They had godlike technology and incomprehensible power. The Dread Lords were one of those races. The other was the Arnor, who were destroyed. By the Dread Lords.

A precursor mine is a rare bonus tile that appears on some planets. If you build a factory on that tile, it multiplies its industrial capacity by 7, then adds that number to the factory’s output. In short, you’ve got 8 factories sitting on one tile. There is also a precursor library bonus tile that does the same thing for research buildings.

It was a large planet and apparently had been conquered early in the game. There were fourteen of the most advanced factories in total, including one sitting on that precursor mine. This planet had the equivalent of twenty-one advanced factories. As powerful as my industrial capital was, this planet put it to shame. I stopped production in my region and left several fleets of dreadnoughts there to protect it. With this new planet right in the war zone, my supply line was shortened considerably.

It also allowed me to stop building a constant stream of replacement ships, because new ships no longer had to travel all the way across the galaxy to arrive at the fight. My economic debt disappeared and I was making money again instead of eating into my treasury. The growing population of my newly conquered territory also helped. I was able to lower taxes, to the relief of my long-suffering population.

By now, I was nearly to the opposite side of the galaxy. The dark region on the minimap had largely been replaced with the bright blue color of Terran influence. One more largish region remained to be conquered, evidently captured from the Torians and Arceans. However, the war was by no means won.

The Dread Lords really put on a show here. As good as this game’s AI is, it is not truly intelligent. If you drive them into a corner, they don’t become desperate and redouble their efforts. They will sometimes realize that they can’t possibly win and then surrender. That’s what the Iconians had done. Otherwise, the AI doesn’t seem to realize that certain areas must be defended at all costs. Their manufacturing and economic capitals don’t receive any more protection than the crappiest class 5 world.

The ferocity with which the Dread Lords fought for this region was impressive and surprising. And disturbing. What the hell was going on? The AI doesn’t behave like this. I thought I had destroyed the bulk of their space fleet, but the planets in this large region were building ship after ship and sending them into the fight. I had another slugfest on my hands. Losses mounted. I had to put that captured Yor planet to use.

I waded into the meat grinder. In a way, this was the opposite what had happened in my region earlier. I eventually fought my way all the way to their homeworld and just sat on all their planets. As soon as they built a new ship, I blew it up. As I began invading the planets in this region, I discovered why the Dread Lords had become so overwhelmingly powerful.

A class 12 planet with a precursor mine. Then a class 5. Then a class 10. Then a class 15. All of them full of factories. Many of the other planets had smaller bonuses, 300% or 100% to manufacturing. Normally, there aren’t that many precursor bonus tiles on the entire map. These were all in the same star cluster. No wonder they grew so powerful. The biggest surprise was yet to come.

Anyone who has played this game realizes that they should make a beeline with their colony ship for any purple star. Purple stars always have at least one really large planet, typically class 26 before bonuses. The Dread Lords had captured one right next to their homeworld. What I found there was mind boggling.

I believe the Arceans or possibly the Altarians had colonized this planet originally. They have a bonus that makes their planets have higher quality than if someone else colonizes it. This planet was an incredible class 38. It had been conquered very early on, so it had none of the research buildings, farms or other such things the normal AI generally builds. The Dread Lords have no use for these buildings. All they build are factories. On this planet, there were thirty-three of them.

There was just one tile where the previous owners had begun to build something before the Dread Lords took it away from them. On one tile sat a manufacturing capital, a building that increases the whole planet’s manufacturing capacity by 50%. But, that’s not all. On one of those tiles was a precursor mine.

The planet also had a moon, which automatically grants it an additional 10% bonus to manufacturing production. They’d also surrounded it with economy starbases (orbiting factories basically), which increased its capacity even further. This planet had an inconceivable industrial power.

This one world could, and apparently DID, outproduce the entire rest of the galaxy.

This explained how the Dread Lords were able to build such a juggernaut of a fleet. This is how it happened.

The player and the normal AI could never have done this. They have to pay for manufacturing and research production out of their treasury. Each point of production must be paid for. When I went to build a ship to defend this planet, it nearly bankrupted me. I had to turn industrial spending WAY down to balance this out and it still put my economy into debt until I stopped building.

None of that applies to the Dread Lords. Their population on each planet can never be higher than 20 million, which means they simply cannot make money. They were designed to produce as much as they want without worrying about what it costs. And they had done exactly that.

The war was over at this point. With this impossible world taken away from them and only a few other planets remaining, they had no hope of winning and were promptly crushed. With their conquest, the game ended. Exhausted, I looked at the end game summary stats.

Dozens of planets were left in ruins. Twenty-five thousand starships were destroyed on all sides. Nearly nine TRILLION soldiers died in combat. Countless quadrillions of Galactic Credits were spent.

This was by far the most brutal game of Galactic Civilizations I have ever played or even heard of.

If every game went this way, it would certainly be a lot more interesting. Nobody would buy it however, because it would get a reputation for being impossible to beat. No one wants to play a game just to have it frustrate them constantly.

I liked it. I’ve had this game for a while and it was growing old. This was a true challenge and it took considerable effort to beat it. I’m going to start monkeying with the data files to see if I can make that sort of thing happen every time.

This could be a lot of fun…

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