Galactic Civilizations III: A walkthrough

Published on Wednesday, April 29, 2015 By Brad Wardell In GalCiv III Dev Journals



So you’ve decided to conquer the galaxy.  Good. Use this guide to help get you started.


In the year 2178 human beings on Earth invent a technology called Hyperdrive which allows ships to travel faster than light.  In hindsight, it might have been better if they didn’t.  Nevertheless, by 2242, the galaxy is in a rage of expansion and conquest. 

You are the leader of a civilization that is now expanding into the galaxy.  This is your story.



I recommend starting with the Terran Alliance.  However, once you get used to the game, you can create your own custom races as well to play as or against.


I recommend starting with a small galaxy and tight clusters. This should be the default.  Tight clusters means that stars are placed close together. It’s sort of like having space continents.


If you are new to the game, don’t play with normal difficulty. Play as beginner.

Space..the final something


Planets are rated on a scale from 0 to 20.  Earth is class 11.  The higher the class, the more usable the planet is.  Earth is “only” an 11 because apparently there’s a lot of water on it which reduces the amount of available land.


Mars is only class 5.


You can queue up everything you want to build on Mars from the start if you want.

In addition to things you can build, you can also tell a planet to just focus on generating money or culture for you.


  1. Influence grows every turn by a certain amount. This influence fills up the tiles surrounding the planet. When those tiles get “full” of your influence, your cultural boundaries expand.  If your boundaries expand to cover someone else’s planet, that planet may eventually join you (assuming there’s people on it to side with you, the planet itself doesn’t care being inanimate and all).
  2. Population is really the key thing on a planet. Population multiplies the production of everything.
  3. Food determines the population cap on a planet. You will need to research Xeno farming to expand this.  Yes, we have farms on Earth but try farming on Mars. Go ahead. I’ll wait.
  4. Approval. This is how happy your people are.  The amount of entertainment goods is weighed against your population. If it’s high, you get bonuses in growth, production and other good stuff. If it’s low, you get penalties.
  5. Resistance. This is how much the planet will resist someone else’s culture if that planet is covered by their culture.  It’s like the amount of cultural leakage that manages to get through to your people.


Where you build something matters. Think of every improvement like a playing card. It has a classification (research, approval, population, etc.).  If you build something next to an improvement that gives a level bonus to its class of improvement, you get more production. Each level is typically worth 5% more. This really takes off when you have multiple things adjacent to each other.


If you are lazy, like me, you can click on the command button and select “Survey” on the Survey ship. This will cause it to go out and find anomalies.

Similarly, you can click the command button on the Scout and tell it to explore.


Holy cow.


The tech tree in Galactic Civilizations III is broken up into 4 categories (assuming you’re playing as those sentient apes on Sol 3, different species have different tech trees).

You can click on the Tech Tree button in the botot left to see the full tree.

  1. Colonization = making your planets better techs.
  2. Engineering = improving your manufacturing, technological and engine capabilities
  3. Warfare = killing alien scum
  4. Governance = Diplomacy, Economics, Political technologies


I always choose Interstellar travel personally because it makes all my units move +1 faster which is really helpful early game.

My first turn

We start players with 5000 credits (if they plan as the humans).  Why? So you can rush buy things to help start off your particular…idiom.


I rush buy a research lab right away because I want to get my tech going.


I also rush buy a colony ship right off the bat so I can get a leg up on those aliens in getting more planets.


I click on the govern button and move my production spending to mostly be research. If you’re really good at the game, you can do it all research but I tend to keep a bit on manufacturing so that the game will remind me to build more stuff.


I also use the TAB key constantly to have the game take me to the next notification.


End of my first turn has these notifications.

Turn 2

Using the mouse roller and holding down the middle mouse button I can play with the camera distance and angle.  here I can zoom out.


If we weren’t history’s greatest monsters, we would tell you what color they are. Yellow stars are much more likely to have habitable planets.

I select my colony ship and right click on the nearest star to send it there and hope there’s a nice planet.


There isn’t a nice planet there but there are pirates. I hate these guys. Stay away from them.


Minor races are races that lack hyperdrive. We distinguish them by not having an animated version of them because, what are they going to do? Invade us? Not without FTL engines.

You have to research Universal Translator tech first to understand what they’re saying.



If you haven’t bought the game, I can assure you that this scene is a fully animated, gorgeous CGI animated experience.

For those of you who have bought the game, I apologize for my earlier lies.

When you colonize a planet you will often have to deal with a complication.  How you deal with these situations will determine what type of society your civilization evolves into.

I chose pragmatism and as a result got to choose a new pragmatic trait for my civilization:


And here I chose to get free constructors.

Resources & Relics

On the map there are several different types of resources and relics that if you build a starbase near them, you can acquire their benefits.


Generally speaking, Relics are better than resources. They’re rarer and have a more brute force affect.  But the resources matter, especially early game, because you can build some really powerful ships early on with them.





When you have your constructor in position, choose Construct Starbase.


Resources in the area? Mine baby mine!


Relic in you area? Lab…er Lab? Look, I’m not the one on trial here.

Turn 20: let’s meet the neighbors (or nieghbors)


By default, we show all the civilziations. But you can choose to only look at the Majors.

At a glance, you can tell whether a civilization likes you, is neutral, is hostile or hates you based on their ring.  Right now, they’re all pretty neutral.

If you mouse over them, you can see what they like or don’t like about you.


We’ve fiddled around with this screen a lot to try to balance between it being gamey (where we placed weight numbers and colors next to the items to make it easier to come to a deal) to the opposite extreme where you just have to figure it out.

We’ve tried to hit a good middle part with the language telling you:

  1. You must be joking (or something like that) = You’re not even close
  2. I can’t accept this (or something like that) = You’re starting to get close
  3. I don’t know, almost (or something like that) = You’re very close.
  4. This is fair = exactly equal
  5. Various appreciative grunts = You should probably ask them to give you money to balance it or HOPE that they acknowledge your generosity via diplomacy.


















I tend to use money as a way to equalize the eventual trade.

Let’s design a ship

Eventually there comes a time in a young civilization’s life when they want to make a space ship.

Click on the “Designer” button.


Different people have different preferences. The game will automatically put together ships for you.  Personally, I like to make my own. To do that, click new design.


The hull sizes in the game are:


Note that all these numbers will change eventually from balance and based on who you play as and what techs you have.

Cost, HP and Space to put stuff on are the big things.


Don’t judge me.

So the red dots are like LEGO attachment points. You can take a piece from the left and connect it to a red dot.  This is all optional as it’s purely cosmetic.

When you are ready to get to the meat, you click on the Equip tab.

The stuff you can add are:

  1. Engines = How fast the ship can move
  2. Weapons = how good at killing it is
  3. Defenses = how good it is at not being killed
  4. Modules = Unique ship items (colony, trading, starbase building)
  5. Support = Special abilities for the ship.

Combat: How it works:

There are 3 types of weapons:

  1. Beams (a beam of energy)
  2. Kinetic  (shooting a bullet of some kind)
  3. Missile (a warhead of some kind)

There are also 3 kinds of counters (defenses)

  1. Shields (deflect beam energy)
  2. Armor (absorb those bullets)
  3. Point Defense (shoots down those missiles)

When an attack occurs, the ship rolls its weapon attack rating and the defender rolls its defense rating. If the defense rating in the right class is > than the attack rating, no damage occurs.  Of course, if you have the wrong defense, the attack just goes right on through and takes points off your hitpoints.  If you run out of hitpoints, the ship is dead.


My finished ship.  Mind you, I could have just double clicked on the various components and it would autoplace them.  The position of the weapons and other items is irrelevant (firing arcs would be cool but remember, late game, you may have 10 battles every turn and it would get very tedious to have to sweat that kind of thing).

On this ship, I put on a bunch of Duranthium resource requiring things.  I only have 1 Duranthium so I won’t be able to build it until I get more Duranthium.

The ship’s stats are:

  • 8 kinetic attack
  • 4 shield defense (I chose this because the pirates are using beam weapons)
  • 100 HP (thanks to all that duranthium)
  • 300 Manufacturing cost. Which is a lot.


When I go to save it, I can name it and determine what class it is.  Generally, the default is probably a good idea until you know what you’re doing.

The classes are:

  1. Escorts. They hang back and protect support and capital ships.
  2. Guardians. these are similar to Escorts except they focus on support ships. They’re really good at guarding colony ships and transports.
  3. Support. These are usually defenseless ships. They will hang back and try to avoid being attacked in battle.
  4. Assault. These ships go after the enemy Escorts and Capital ships. 
  5. Interceptor. These guys go after the Escorts and guardians.
  6. Capital. These kill everything. They’re general purpose.

When you’re starting out, you don’t really need to care much about this.  But as you get more competitive, these will matter. That’s because:

Ships have other tactical battle traits:

  1. Tactical Speed
  2. Weapons range
  3. Accuracy
  4. Maneuverability

By default, all ships have the same on these so they won’t tend to show up on stats unless they’re different.  But a new player building a mix of assault and escorts and support ships without thought will suffer as those assault ships will race on ahead while the escorts stay in back guarding the support ship thus dividing your forces.


More questions? Ask them in the comments and I’ll update!