Conquer the galaxy, gratis – Galactic Civilizations 2 free

Galactic Civlizations 2

I’m honestly taken aback by how good game giveaways have been in recent years. In the past few months alone we’ve seen some genuinely great stuff given away for nothing but the time it takes to click a button. Even if most of the giveaways are promotional in nature, there’s enough available for nothing to keep even the most fervent player going for months. For the next 44 hours (give or take a few minutes), you can score the Ultimate Edition of Stardock’s well-received sci-fi 4X strategy game Galactic Civilizations 2 here on the Humble store, free to keep forever.

Galactic Civilizations II may not be the greatest strategy game ever made, but according to our once-resident master of war Adam Smith, it’s in the top 25, and that’s not to be sniffed at.

At heart, Galactic Civilizations II is what it sounds like on the tin; Civilization in space. Still, it has a few interesting quirks of its own, including a highly flexible 3D spacecraft editor that lets you truly define what your empire looks like out in the stars. Or you can just make everything look like genitalia – human or otherwise – if you want to make the rest of polite space uncomfortable.  It was also well known for its AI at the time, although it has been overtaken somewhat in the past decade.

GalCiv 2 got a lot of post-release support. In fact, that may be understatement of the day. Case in point: the game was originally released way back in 2006, and was still getting notable updates right into the twilight weeks of 2015, long after the launch of its sequel. It was also buoyed for a very long time by a dedicated mod scene. While not able to bend the engine quite as much some other 4x games, there’s a good range of themed races and alternative 3D ship hulls to grab from Stardock’s own mod repository here.

While I never got along with the game quite as much as others, I’ve also never been especially drawn to 4X strategy games in general, making me quite unusual among RPS’s writers. For the rest of you, there’s probably a very busy weekend of designing spaceships and kicking over empires ahead of you this weekend if you choose to pick it up. Which you should, as it’s free, and it’s not like there’s a finite number of copies available. Go grab it.


  1. DudeshootMankill says:

    To me, this is one of the greatest 4x games ever made. The races and the very competent Ai makes this game so much fun.

    Alpha Centauri is a close second.

    • SBLux says:

      I have Galactic Civilizations 1,2&3 unplayed in my Steam account and now I am interested. Any advice regarding which I should play first?

      • DudeshootMankill says:

        GalCiv 2 with expansions, i feel is the best. Lots of interaction with npc races, and they can be brutally tough to deal with. You can win with diplomacy here, for a change too. One of my favourite tricks would be to bribe an overpowered empire into going to war with some underdog (pretty cheap) and then feed that underdog advanced technologies for lots and lots of mutual destruction.

        This is what stellaris was missing really. More diplomatic interactions with npc races.

        Unless you are in it to design spaceships primarily. Then GalCiv 3 has the most options.

    • montfalcon says:

      I adore Alpha Centauri, I was so sad and disappointed with Beyond Earth. Do you have any tips for getting AC running on a modern system? I know I had difficulties last year getting it to run at all on Win10, and the expansion Alien Crossfire worked but was fairly buggy.

    • DudeshootMankill says:

      I use win7 still, so i cant help ya there. The gog version runs just fine for me.

  2. clocknova says:

    I played this game a lot back in the day, but the endgame always wore me down. The constructor grind, in particular, was brutally tedious. There was a lot to like about the game, but I don’t miss it, and gave the sequel a pass.

  3. mac4 says:

    Just a note again that the game also features in the Humble Trove, that free collection of games for their monthly subscribers, one-time or recurrent.

  4. racccoon says:

    ok, I may give this one a go.

  5. Ejia says:

    I love GalCiv 2, but in later expansions whenever the Dread Lords show up there seems to be a 50/50 chance of the game crashing.

  6. rusty says:

    Does the game rip off anything more than the Babylon:5 back story?

    • Zenicetus says:

      The original OS/2 version came out in 1993, a year before Babylon 5 first aired. There isn’t much backstory except in the campaign, and the campaign isn’t very good, just a tutorial. People play this for the sandbox mode.

  7. Marclev says:

    “Galactic Civilizations II may not be the greatest strategy game ever made”


  8. Mattsetback says:

    Yeah, on the other hand it just may be the greatest strategy game ever made. It’s a little tedious late game, but it’s brilliant.

  9. Zenicetus says:

    It’s a very good game, one of the best in the genre. The AI is challenging, because the economy and development paths were based on a system of sliders that the AI could micro-manage on each turn, better than the player. The game never included anything the AI couldn’t handle pretty well, which is the bane of most 4X game designs.

    The purely cosmetic ship designer was also fun. I remember getting lost for hours in that part of the game.

    It looks like this includes the whole package with the essential Twilight of the Arnor expansion, which gives each faction a more unique flavor and development path.

Comment on this story

HTML: Allowed code: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>