Galciv 3: Crusade expansion aims to fix late-game grind

Galactic Civilizations III Crusade expansion

Galactic Civilizations III [official site], the excellent space strategy game, has just received its biggest expansion yet.

The Crusade expansion pack adds new factions, spies, and powerful individual citizens that can take starring roles in your colonies.

It looks like a fundamental shift to how campaigns will play out: spies will gather information on your enemies and steal technology, while the citizens can be promoted through particular skill trees to unlock new gameplay mechanics.

I’m particularly excited about the three new factions, especially the Slyne, who are “space amoebas” that look a bit like translucent blue monkeys with glasses.

Gal Civ III Slyne

You can also create your very own faction with a unique backstory and upload it to the Steam Workshop for others to play with, which is neat.

New content aside, Crusade overhauls some of the game’s core features. The economy, the diplomacy system and planet invasions have all been given the once over with the aim of “fixing the late game grind”, developer Stardock said.

The game was rather good at release and has only got better thanks to a bunch of new content in 2016. If you haven’t yet picked it up, this expansion might be the perfect excuse.

It’s £14.99/$19.99 on Steam, GOG, and the Stardock store – and you can find bundles for the original plus the expansion at all of those links.

Check out a full trailer below.


  1. Captain Narol says:

    In its present state with this expansion, how does GalCiv3 compare to Stellaris and Distant Worlds, please ?

  2. Rindan says:

    Has anyone tried this and Stellaris? I have been pretty deep into Stellaris. It has its flaws, but it seems so much less gamie than GalCiv2, but GalCiv2 is a pretty old game by now. How does Stellaris compare to GalCiv3?

    • Jane Doe says:

      Short answer: Stay with Stellaris.

      GalCiv2 was a great game until they broke the AI in a later patch. GalCiv3 is a pale shadow of its former self and got practically steamrolled by Paradox.

      • Zenicetus says:

        I haven’t played this latest expansion, so grain of salt and all, but I agree that GalCiv3 seems like not enough of a change, or an upgrade from GalCiv2, which I did enjoy.

        The big difference with Stallaris is that you have far more factions in the game, the mechanics are deeper, and it allows creating custom factions based on your favorite sci-fi themes. It lends itself to “emergent” story telling and role playing, not so much trying to win the game.

        The strength in GalCiv is that it is (or was, in GalCiv2) a more asymmetrical game, with aliens that played very differently. The modern contender for that type of game, with hand-crafted aliens and different play styles, might be the upcoming Endless Space 2. But it’s too early to tell yet… game is still being tweaked in Early Access.

      • thetruegentleman says:

        As someone who loved Galciv 1 but got bored with Galciv 2, Stellaris and Galciv 3 are very different games:

        1. Combat in Galciv 3 doesn’t allow for retreating, but ship combat is otherwise fairly similar on a broad scale: basically, weapons and ships use a rock-paper-scissors system in both to decide combat effectiveness. Stellaris weapons ARE more individualized, but they also have inferior balance as a result, which comes dangerously close to outright crippling the AI fleets. This expansion also makes world invasions more involved in GC3.

        2. Civilization ideology gives major advantages in both games, but GC3 allows for slightly more flexibility (at the expense of more powerful bonuses), although it doesn’t really play into events like the ethos in Stellaris do.

        3. GC3 emphasis is generally on hands-on involvement with individual worlds, fleets, and stations rather than the forced abstraction Stellaris. Whether this is good or bad is up to personal preference.

        4. The AI has more personality in GC3: while Stellaris has fairly easy to predict (if admittedly entertaining) archetypes based on each race’s build, the races in GC3 are more willing to subvert expectations if it gives them an edge, or more interestingly, even when it doesn’t.

        5. Borders are more important in GC3: cultural influence is a tangible force that can change borders and planets by force, and there aren’t multiple movement types to make fleet actions harder to predict.

        6. Stellaris has more interesting events, but less interesting strategy: for example, exploring is far more dangerous and exciting in Stellaris, but the GC3 opponents are much better at responding to specific wars and the overall state of the galaxy. While Stellaris opponents will happily ignore a major threat until it kicks down their door, GC3 races are a bit more flexible in how they analyze and address threats (like actually trying to account for industrial capacity on top of current war assets). This doesn’t always translate to GC3 computer opponents being more clever, but they’re far less likely to laugh at you and declare disastrous war after disastrous war until the war goals system finally lets you end them (there is no such system, so if you can win in one go in GC3, go for it; assuming, of course, that you don’t mind the rest of the galaxy treating you as a warmonger).

        I hope all this helps a bit: Stellaris does honestly create more interesting stories, but GalCiv 3 feels more “fair” and more tightly paced, where the moves against you are much better calculated

        • Fnord73 says:

          Good one. So both are worth having :-) Put that on my list then.

          Btw, has anyone made an “intelligent sectormanagment” bot for Stellaris? just getting into it now.

    • Wolfechu says:

      Haven’t had chance to mess with Crusade much yet, but if I had to choose between the two, Stellaris wins hands down. It’s almost unfair to compare the two, they do very different takes on Space 4X, but even so.

  3. dylan says:

    How does this compare to Stellaris, and how does Stellaris compare to the aroma of an old Irish setter on a dew swept morning in the hay fields of Western Canada?

  4. jeremyalexander says:

    For people asking about Stellaris, it is part of this months Humble Monthly Bundle for 12 dollars, plus you get 6 more games at the end of the month. You can check out past months games. It’s a killer deal and it’s made a serious and cheap dent in my Steam wishlist.

    • Zenicetus says:

      That’s a good price, but I wouldn’t recommend getting Stellaris without the Utopia expansion (currently $19.95 on Steam).

      The Leviathans story pack is half that price and can be bypassed when you’re first learning the game, but Utopia is now the “current” version of Stellaris and will be the basis for the game going forward.

  5. Jane Doe says:

    Funny. I always thought Stellaris was the fix to the broken GalCiv3.

  6. Premium User Badge

    75oharas says:

    I like both Galciv 3 and stellaris but the reason I have way more time in stellaris than galciv 3 is galciv 3 always crashes mid to end game for me. Tech support has been unable to help and others get the same with no idea of cause. Its happened on 2 completely separate pcs as well.

  7. Captain Narol says:

    According to people’s answers :

    Stellaris -GalCiv3 : 4-0

    Case closed, match over and no need for extra-time.

  8. BenWH says:

    How does the full galciv 3 compare to the full galciv 2 (on the assumption I thought galciv 2 was ace)?

    • Neurotic says:

      It’s similarly ace, but with crisper, more colourful graphics and a bit more egg in its pudding. You’ll like 3 if you like 2, no problem.

  9. mariandavid says:

    Make it 1:4: I have played Stellaris since it came out and recommend it (especially the Star Trek mod) but in all honesty I do now find it somewhat – not sure how to put it – soulless and mechanical. I also play GalCiv3 and I now find it more refreshing, more fun and especially more immersing in the middle game. Of course in all honesty the games have different ‘scales’ in practise – with Stellaris you are universe conquering in GalCiv3 just messing around with neighbours. But will cheerfully admit that both game have a different taste to every player.

  10. Neurotic says:

    Let me be the lone voice standing up for GC3 then. GC2 was ace, GC3 is similarly ace, if not slightly better in some departments, and Stellaris I don’t know about. But being a Paradox title, I imagine that if you like the CKs and EUs and all that meaty guff, you’ll probably also like Stellaris. And if you liked GC2, you’ll also like GC3. Win-win!

  11. teije says:

    Well, after a dry spell of sort we’re a bit spoiled recently in this area: Stellaris, GC3 and Endless Space 2. Not to mention the more indie outings in this genre. So play em all.

    I prefer Stellaris, but a significant part of that is having played GC2 to death, and didn’t find GC3 different enough to want to spend too much time on it. ES2 haven’t tried yet, but looks good, and I did like ES1. DW I played extensively a few years ago, but to me its UI is showing its age.