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So I'm sure this has come up before in incidental discussion, but I thought it would be cool having a thread centred around talking about these two games. Especially since Christmas saw huge sales on both (GalCiv on Steam, MoO here at GOG).


I'm wondering if anyone here has played the Galactic Civilizations games, and if so, what your thoughts on them are compared to MoO. For those unfamiliar with GalCiv: [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galactic_Civilizations_II:_Dread_Lords]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galactic_Civilizations_II:_Dread_Lords[/url]
I should start out by stating that I really prefer MoO (1 or 2) over GalCiv 2 and this post may end up sounding like a collection of gripes about the last. Also, I don't have any of the expansions for GalCiv2 and those changed some things.

GalCiv 2 is the best looking of the three, though I've always preferred the cartoonish look of the races from MoO 1. (The Klackon ambassador looks so happy when you establish trade.)

It's been some time since I've played, but from what I recall the GC2 interface is well laid out and there's a number of features to make running the empire easier, such as changing what ships are being built (ex. all planets that constructing transports should stop building, everyone building Yeoman-class ships should start on Archer-class, etc.) and where their muster points are.

There are a lot of diplomatic options in GC2 - you can (on either side of the deal) include technologies, planets, ships, money, votes in the council and status changes (peace, alliance, etc.). Diplomatic skill comes from racial bonuses and research; the higher your skill is compared to the other guy, the easier it is to get him to accept.

Alliances are actually groups, not just pairs. In MoO, the Psilons might be allied with the Humans and the Alkari without the Humans and Alkari being allied. In GC2, you would have an alliance of all three races - this means that everyone in an alliance has to agree to let someone else join.

The United Planets meetings are sort of half nuisance, half diplomatic opportunity. Some of the resolutions can alter the situation greatly, but it's not like the council in MoO1, which can be a real threat (in theory, the one in MoO 2 could be as well, but that's somewhat rare).

The AI is generally pretty good and doesn't cheat unless you set it to the highest difficulty levels.

GC2's production and research system takes a bit of getting used to. Basically, your factories and labs represent potential for production or research, but must be funded to work and higher output takes more money.

I note at this point that I loathe Industrial Sectors, which are supposed to be the "best" factories :P

Unlike MoO, you can't really have early wars in GC2. Ships can't hurt planets and "Planetary Invasion" is a tech you have to research. Invasions are carried out by transports, which you have to build (like in MoO2) but which take population from a world as "troops" (like MoO 1). Planetary defenses are either ships stationed on the planet (in orbit?) or intercepting enemy ships before they reach your worlds. There's a limit on how many ships you can have on a planet (maybe 8 or 10, it's been a while). These fight the attacking fleet one ship at a time.

Fleets have their size limited by logistics points - bigger ships use more points. The battles play out automatically; you don't get to control your ships. OTOH, there are no unusual weapons or devices (teleporters, cloaks, transporters, etc.) so it's basically just a slugfest.

As noted above, ships can't hurt planets, so if you want to actually hurt the enemy beyond destroying his ships you'll have to invade his planets. I always missed the MoO ability to simply bomb hostile worlds, whether to soften them up for invasion, weaken the enemy empire or just exterminate the colony.

Ship design is rather interesting in two ways. You can design the appearance of the ship but starting with a base hull, then adding parts to it - extra structural bits, lights, towers, etc. The actual abilities come from weapons, sensors, engines, etc. that you mount on the hull. Offense and defense are of three kinds - missiles, beam weapons and mass drivers, each with its own defense. These defenses work best against a specific attack (armor vs mass drivers), but still provide some protection against the other two types. Ideally, your ships will have defenses against the weapons used by whomever you're expecting to fight and an attack that they haven't researched a defense against. The AI will research or trade techs so as to counter your ships, though.

Research is usually pretty linear - you'll research say, Lasers I and then on the Lasers II (same damage, but take up less space). Most of the ship-related research will be like this, whereas the rest tends to be more on the order of +10 to your diplomacy or giving you a better structure of some kind (labs, factories, banks, etc.). You can jump ahead by trading for or stealing higher level techs - if you have Lasers III and trade for Phasers I, you could start researching Phasers II (but you will not have anything between Lasers III and Phasers I unless you research those).

There are a number of different victory conditions. It's possible to win the game by getting everyone into an alliance, though it isn't easy and usually "everyone" will be "everyone we haven't killed off." You can also win by cultural influence, technological mastery that leads to becoming energy beings and of course, you can just wipe out everyone else.

Hmm - that was mostly about GalCiv 2, but it sounded like you've played MoO but not GalCiv.
Well, I've played both, but more of MoO than GalCiv.

My experience is this:

MoO is, at it's heart, about war. You can absolutely play, enjoy and even win the game without pulling the trigger on a single enemy ship, but that's not at the core of the game. You can build all sorts of infrastructure and get a powerful economy established, but it's all ultimately for the goal of destroying your enemies (because why subdue and conquer alien races when you can just wait a couple hundred turns and entirely destroy them with turbo Death Stars?)

GalCiv, on the other hand, is, at it's heart, about empire building. War is much more "balanced" with the other aspects. It is one of many viable victory strategies.

This difference comes through in how the games compare to one another.

For example, MoO has got tactical battles, which GalCiv lacks, and a much deeper and more involved ship design system (GalCiv's is simple and accessible but that can also be a negative) and if you're looking for that same sort of tactical depth in GalCiv you're going to be disappointed.

However, GalCiv has got a lot more depth overall, in terms of trade, diplomacy, cultural expansion, starbases, alternate victory conditions, etc.

I actually kind of appreciate this distinction, because it means that even though I really enjoy GalCiv, it doesn't replace MoO 2. If I'm looking for doing awesome stuff like disabling enemy ships that cross into my territory so I can board them and commandeer them for myself, or tailor-building ships for specific tactical needs to out-manoeuvre the enemy or take down the Guardian early, I'll head over to MoO 2. If, however, I'd rather craft a sweeping galactic empire, GalCiv 2 is my drug.

I also really appreciate how much more immersive MoO 2 is. The race editor especially. Traits like Subterranean or Lithivore and that sort of thing really make the game come alive. GalCiv 2's traits are things like +20 to economy or +2 trade routes which, while descriptive and more accessible, aren't nearly as exciting. I love MoO's diplo and research screen where it's almost like you're interacting with these ambassadors and scientists.

But I also love how GalCiv 2 has got wonders and a cultural victory and the political party system and different governments you can switch between and more robust diplomacy and fleets and all these things.

So, at the end of the day, when someone asks me "MoO 2 or GalCiv 2?" my inevitable response is "...Yes."
Galactic Civilizations II (haven't played the first one) is a very good attempt at making a MOO like game.
It only ultimately fails due to 2 missing things:
The colony/ship leaders
The tactical combats.

And it maybe has a bit too generic design for my taste too.
But overall it's a great game, i'm just sad there wasn't any tactical combat.
KingCrimson250 sums the differences pretty good up, though my personal leaning goes strongly towards MoO2 (even as at not so warmonerging player)

Moo2 is just an unmet classic. It has its flaws, bugs and shortcomings, be it excessive MM in late games or some unbalanced things. GalCiv does some things better, offers more stuff in some regards and it is by no means bad game...it is actually a good one...however for the points named by KingCrimson250 it just does not delivers the immersive, dense atmosphere MoO2 creates - for me personally.
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Sakkraner: KingCrimson250 sums the differences pretty good up, though my personal leaning goes strongly towards MoO2 (even as at not so warmonerging player)

Moo2 is just an unmet classic. It has its flaws, bugs and shortcomings, be it excessive MM in late games or some unbalanced things. GalCiv does some things better, offers more stuff in some regards and it is by no means bad game...it is actually a good one...however for the points named by KingCrimson250 it just does not delivers the immersive, dense atmosphere MoO2 creates - for me personally.
Yep. The biggest problem I run into with GalCiv personally is that it feels very game-y. I appreciate the humour they worked into it and the transparency they gave to some of the game mechanics but it has the effect of just yanking you out of whatever immersion you had felt up until then.