Gratuitous Space Battles Gets Campaign

It's not a 4X game, more of a kind of stratego-tactical web of space-eminence, say experts.
There was a problem with the rather clever space-battle fleet manager game Gratuitous Space Battles. It was this: there was no campaign mode. I’ve no idea how you would fix a problem like that, but fortunately one man development army Cliffski has plenty of ideas. One of them is relevant: he’s going to add a campaign mode. He explains: “The GSB campaign is a singleplayer ‘conquer-the-galaxy’ style game, where you build up vast space fleets and kick interstellar ass. Rather than set, pre-determined fleets to battle against, the game utilises the fleets designed by other GSB players to provide an endless variety of opponent, so you will be pitted against real carbon-based intelligence on every step of your path to galactic dominance.” Read more about this extraordinary move here. It will be paid DLC, price TBC.


  1. mlaskus says:

    Oh, nice, I will probably reinstall the game when this comes out.

    Will it be a free or paid DLC?

  2. Memphis-Ahn says:

    I’m glad cliffski is coming out with these awesome-sounding improvements instead of just continuously milking new races (not that I’m complaining, I bought them all).
    Thanks, cliffski.

  3. Kid A says:

    And I jizzed in my pants.
    At last, a reason to actually play GSB again.

  4. Oneironaut says:

    The campaign is listed on the site’s DLC page, so I assume it will cost money.

    • Arthur Barnhouse says:

      That’s understandable, it probably took some sort of effort, although I hope it isn’t too expensive. This is exactly what the game is missing.

  5. Matzerath says:

    I was hoping this would happen! The implementation sounds really clever too — a perfect use for the hemi-demi-semi multiplayer challenge mode.

  6. Diziet says:

    Oh this is indeed good news and I just got the discounted complete pack on steam. I own 2 copies of GSB now! :D I can play with myself.

  7. neems says:


    Nice one fella.

  8. neems says:

    Also, this presumably means the space battles are no longer gratuitous?

    • Arathain says:

      From the offical announcement:

      “Did you long for some context for your gratuitous space battles? Did you prefer the idea of ‘fully justified in the grand scheme of things space battles’? Unfortunately that domain name was too long, but that hasn’t stopped the development of a campaign mode for GSB.”

    • neems says:

      Ah, thank you.

      ‘fully justified in the grand scheme of things space battles’… catchy.

  9. Arathain says:

    This is lovely news.

    I can’t remember a better time for spans of glorious space strategy 4X-type thingies. There’s this, there’s GalCiv 2, there’s Sword of the Stars, Distant Worlds, Star Ruler looking seventeen shades of great, AI Wars (which is getting another crazy, super-clever, game-changing update every 5 minutes these days, or so it seems).

    Fans of Space Battles, Gratuitous or otherwise, rejoice in the bounty.

  10. Peter Radiator Full Pig says:

    Pity this goes against the whole GSB ethos.
    It was a game for people who didnt care about blerbs, or missions or campaigns.
    Just Gratuitous Space Battles.

    It was a good game while it lasted, though the constant DLCs killed it for me. A well.

    • Arathain says:

      The optional stuff killed it? How did that happen? I’ve only bought one of the races and it still seems to be the same game as before, just with a little more stuff.

      I’m confused.

    • cliffski says:

      It’s still not a story based game. The story is:
      !This is the galaxy. Please conquer it. Go!”
      That’s it.
      This is more about fixing the gameplay problem of knowing your fleet only ever has to fight one battle, than it is any effort to stick some sort of hacky “it was the year 2516” story in there :D

    • stahlwerk says:

      “In a world… this winter!”

    • TheSombreroKid says:

      this is exaclty what this needed clifski, context, grazzi. I’ve actually been holding off on getting this till the campaign mode was confirmed, will defintatly pick it up when pay day rolls round :D

  11. Navagon says:

    Well that addresses one of my most pressing complaints about the game (the other being the lack of control in battles). So I’ll be very tempted by this the next sale it’s in. Which will probably be the Steam Christmas sale now.

  12. Ethyls says:

    Now, that’s epic. I’ve been waiting for a 4X sort of games that doesn’t require me to be fast for years (yeah, I think that 4X games are fast-paced, but that’s mostly because I love micromanagement – and that takes way too much time on huge fleets).

  13. LintMan says:

    A campaign sounds like a great addition, that’s really what was missing from the game for me.

    But basing it on player-created online content is a bit concerning. It seems potentially that could cause the campaign difficulty to be quite uneven. Is it randomly going to pick from player-submitted fleets?

    My lack of desire to be “pitted against carbon-based intelligence” is why I never went online with the original game after I finished the missions/unlockables.

    • cliffski says:

      It’s not totally random. I don’t just grab any old challenge and slap it down as a fleet. It depends on how that fleet compares in size terms against the sort of fleet that system should have, the level of your fleets that have recently seen action in that area, the rating that other players gave to the challenge, and the number of times that challenge was played.
      So someone uploading any old crazy shit that is stupidly easy or hard, or spammy, will never make it into the campaign

  14. FirstTimeDude says:

    huh. Finally. FINALLY. This got me to look up my GSB serial key.

  15. Stew says:

    I just let out a little bit of sex wee.

  16. realmenhuntinpacks says:

    Ok, now I’ll buy it.

  17. Peter Radiator Full Pig says:

    Its easy.
    Lets say you make a fleet of race A, thats stong, except against a counter fleet of race B.
    Thats fair enough. Except when race B has to be bought.
    Sure, there are ways to defeat this race, but not as effective. Not as interesting. You miss out, if you dont buy.

    So, i expected to buy this one game, but i would of had to buy numerous expansions to keep up with what the community was doing (This game is all about the community).

    That, and when the expansions came out, if you didnt buy it, there were almost no new challanges of the old races. Every goes new, so you either buy or dont play.

    I love cliffskis games, but i wont be buying any more day 1. Ill be waiting and seeing what he releases, how it effects the game, and what the final cost actuall will be, for the full game.

    • Arathain says:

      Fair enough. I understand appeal of the constantly evolving nature of the online challenge fleets, which is a meta-game I never involved myself too much in. I don’t entirely have the time/patience/attention span for the tinkering necessary. Although, I was involved in the first ever GSB tournament organised on the forums. That was fun.

      I think for me the campaign could be just the thing. Using random community designs is a fantastic idea.

  18. FirstTimeDude says:


    Will you ever consider releasing the GSB and race DLCs as a bundle or do we have to buy them separately? I already own the original and Tribes, just asking out of pure curiosity.

    • cliffski says:

      there is a bundle, on my site, impulse and steam, called the collectors edition (or complete edition on impulse).

  19. Morti says:



    I recently bought GSB on a steam sale for 75% off. Best 6 bucks ever spent. I’ll gladly buy this dlc

  20. Kakrafoon says:

    Dear Cliffski,
    great job adding a campaign to my favourite armchair space carnage shipbuilding game.
    In the best of all possible worlds, you would have done something like taking the galaxy-scale 4x game from Master of Orion 2, and then cleverly grafting your gorgeous battle graphics and shipbuilding onto the old turn-based system (while keeping it turn-based).
    Let’s see how close that campaign mode of yours comes to that.

  21. Dozer says:

    I thought the whole point (ok, one of the whole points) of GSB was that you don’t win by micromanaging your fleets in battle. just start it rolling and watch the shiny stuff be shiny.

    • Dozer says:

      aaand reply fail. that was meant in response to Navagon. Although in hindsight it applies to Kakrafoon too.

    • Matzerath says:

      Actually, there’s quite a bit of micromanaging going on — but it’s all pre-battle.

    • Kakrafoon says:

      Yes, I know. I like the concept of GSB’s hands-off battles, and the game should stay that way. I just want those same gorgeous graphics and animations for my old darling Master of Orion 2…

  22. Quark says:

    This is the first DLC that I’m going to pay full price for, can’t wait.

  23. Psychopomp says:

    And GSB is now on my must buy list!

  24. mihor_fego says:

    Well, now all I expected are fulfilled, so I can buy the whole game + packs!

    I loved the demo, but as even the trivial “conquer the galaxy” is a required incentive for me to fight, I postponed the purchase hoping this would come. I must also add that I participated in Cliffski’s poll about people not buying the game and it was apparent the game would get a lot more sales if there was a campaign model of any sort.

    So, thanks Cliffski for providing what we asked for and hope you get more sales!

  25. Dawngreeter says:

    Now I have absolutely no excuses left for not buying the game.

  26. roryok says:

    I think Cliffski should rename himself Ender.

  27. Garg says:

    When this comes out I may well buy GSB. Sounds an excellent addition. Just a shame it missed the Steam sale.

  28. Malibu Stacey says:

    Another DLC to wait for a Steam sale for. Bought GSB collectors pack in the recent Steam sale for the massive sum of £5.24, wasn’t impressed & glad I waited for the sale.

  29. President Weasel says:

    DO WANT.

    I bought GSB in beta, more out of a desire to throw (a reasonably-priced sum of) money at a small dev with an interesting idea in the hope that it would lead to more people making similar things than out of a desire to own the game. Then I found I really enjoyed the game and played it to death, but by the time the expansion packs came out I felt I’d got all the enjoyment out of it I was going to, and I didn’t see the point of doing the same battles again with different ships and modules.

    This, though – this I shall definitely buy, unless it’s more expensive than the game itself.

  30. postmanX3 says:

    Woo! That’s incredibly awesome! But I hope the DLC isn’t too expensive… after buying the games and DLCs at full price in the past, I think I’ve already paid plenty for the game…

  31. Josh W says:

    I love the “spore but design is meaningful” vibe, not least because it means that people who want to be annoying now have a legitimate form of interaction beyond the symbolic (want to piss people off? exploit the matchmaking engine and wreck people with ridiculous fleets, instead of making penises).

    The way it arranges the content is probably the most interesting thing; you could start to draw information from relationships without understanding the underlying causes, facebook style, by finding out who beat who and drawing these nontransitive relationships (rock paper somethings) based on who’s design beat who’s, and use them to encourage change of stratergy; if someone starts clustering in an area that is weak to a certain thing, hit them with an alternative fleet that is not much more powerful, but uses a stratergy different from what they’ve specialised against. This kind of thinking could allow you to tailor difficulty curves to the players, by using other people’s fleets, without any underlying knowledge of what makes that fleet good.

  32. IncredibleBulk92 says:

    The biggest problem with GSB was that it ran out too quickly. Also I could have done with some sort of ship sorting system as I have a problem with letting go of old designs, but mostly the running out thing. I’ll pay for more GSB anyday

    • Malibu Stacey says:

      For a game that’s supposed to be about designing ships & fleets it sure makes designing ships & fleets as irritating & obtuse as possible.

  33. Paying customer. says:

    On the off chance that the guy developing this game is reading the comments ill just say this, when i first heard of your game i was very interested, i downloaded it on a torrent with the expansions and was very impressed! i bought the game out of wanting to support the developer. you need to treat the paying fanbase of the game with respect aswell especially in this medium where if you piss them off people just stop paying and download it. keep up the good work try not to do the popular thing which is go crazy and up the prices. if all goes right i look forward to paying for the upcoming campaign mod. if not then i look forward to downloading it.
    p.s well done on the steam idea especially the 75% sale! keep up the great work!

    • Nick says:

      what do you want, a medal for buying it after stealing it?

    • Paying customer. says:

      read what i said a little slower and you may get what i was saying, if not just give up and do something more on your level like sleeping or counting on your fingers