Brad Wardell's views about technology, politics, religion, world affairs, and all sorts of politically incorrect topics.

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Spying on Aliens

Galactic Civilizations is a game that asks the question: What happens after we start colonizing other planets? For our purposes, we are going to assume that we will come into contact with alien civilizations.

Alien civilizations will have their own histories, cultures and ideals that we can only fathom.  In Galactic Civilizations III: Crusade, you will be able to train your citizens to learn more about these other civilizations and, if necessary, do very bad things to them.

[[..]]

Tough Choices

If you are new to Galactic Civilizations, you can skip this section, since I'm going to be spending it creating great outrage among GalCiv III fans.

Dear GalCiv III fans,

Your old economy is dead. I killed it. 

I killed it because each citizen matters. A lot.  You get 1 every 10 turns.  That means in a typical game, you'll see around 25 citizens.  That means they're not disposable.   There are certain planetary improvements you can build that will give you specialists (like spies), but they will be either wonders or 1 per civilization and require resources. 

Bottom line: each citizen makes a difference.

Turn 1: A new start

For 25 years, Galactic Civilizations had a preferred strategy: the colony rush.  This isn't surprising because that was, after all, the premise of the game.  Crusade doesn't get rid of the colony rush, but it adds other equally viable strategies.

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Turn 1: Look closely at your resources: 5,000 credits, 10 population, 4 admin points.  And only 1 ship.

What uses administration?

  1. Colony Ships & Colonies
  2. Survey Ships (which you can now build on turn 1)
  3. Constructors

In the base game, the first turn meant moving your colony ship, survey ship, and scout around and then waiting 20 turns for a colony ship or whatever to be built.  Now, colony ships are cheap, but cost an administrator. Survey ships are instantly available and space junk provides resources, but also costs an administrator.

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Turn 1: Look at your home world. Raw Production =  base resource production in every category.  There are no "sliders". Instead, you directly control your output either through using those precious citizens on a planet, or globally.

Now, let's say you want to do the colony rush thing. Well, then you will need to make a tough choice once you consume those first 4 admin points:

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By turn 10, you will likely have 3 different training options for your citizens.

At this point, I've consumed my administration points with colony ships.  Do I want to train my first citizen as an administrator to get 5 more administrative points?  Or do we want to greatly increase our research? Or maybe greatly increase our planetary production.

You might say, "It's always better to have more colonies in the long run..."

But what if I told you that there's now a bunch of early game Galactic Wonders (that can only be built by one civilization)?

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Hey, look at that? An early game Wonder that if I obtain it, I get a free General (which would let me invade a planet super early)

Galactic Wonders aren't cheap.  The Strategic Command, which provides a free General used for invading planets, normally takes 28 turns.  But what if I trained my citizen to be a Worker?

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Putting my trained Worker on Earth yields a 33% bonus.

Now suddenly, that 28 turn wonder is down to 19 turns.  That's a huge advantage.  And the Strategic Command isn't the only early game wonder that does awesome stuff.  By the way, Basic Factories now only provide a 5% manufacturing bonus by default instead of 15%. This change scales through the whole game (the costs and production have all been redone).

And Citizens level up, which means he'll keep getting more and more powerful over the course of the game. 

The other choice, Research, is more obviously beneficial. An immediate 33% boost to research on Earth is pretty huge.  And they stack (33% + 33% + 33%) so yes, you can do some crazy stuff.  Just bear in mind that all the other numbers have been heavily nerfed and/or greatly increased before you start thinking about having planets with 10,000 production per turn.

 

 

Spies

When you research the Espionage technology, you can then train new citizens to be spies. 

 

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Train one of those precious citizens to be spies. 

So if a single Worker can increase production on a planet by 33%, you can imagine how powerful a single Spy must be to balance that.

For starters, you can choose to do nothing at all with your spy, in which case he or she handles counter-espionage:

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Similarly, you can assign them to an alien civilization and begin spying on them.  This means learning more about what they are up to as a civilization and later, stealing tech. 

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However, you can also use them for planetary destabilization.

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By clicking on colonies, you will be shown all of their planets that you know of (unless you've already done some surveillance, in which case you will get to see all their planets regardless of location).

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Placing a spy on a planet will do two things.  First, it knocks planetary production (raw production) down by 20% (and yes, it stacks).  Second, it will totally disable the improvement you station it on.  The target will know that there's a spy on that planet, but will not know who is doing it.

Now, I imagine some of you who were previously worrying about how powerful those 33% boosts to planet research from a single scientist are, are realizing that it doesn't seem quite so overpowering given that someone might nerf your production down by 20% with a spy or be stealing your tech that you're researching so aggressively, unless you save some spies for defensive uses. 

You can kill a spy by sacrificing one of your own spies to terminate it.

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We're still working on those descriptions...

But that's not where spies stop being scary.  You can also promote them to become infiltrators, saboteurs, assassins, provocateurs and more -- if you have enough resources.    If you're an experienced 4X player, you probably read the above and thought about how screwed you could get if your enemies ganged up on you with spies.  However, if you are powerful enough in terms of resources (which is when your enemies are most likely to gang up), you can do things such as turn a spy into an Assassin and sacrifice them to kill all other enemy spies on a planet.  Similarly, you can use spies to wreck entire planets or get the people to revolt. 

The super powers of spies aren't lightly used because they cost a lot of resources and most of the time, players won't have those resources or they won't have the proper ideology (sorry, no genocide for you benevolent types).  What it does mean, however, is that late game, the gods of the galaxy will truly begin to feel like gods as they begin to smite their enemies.

 

 

Next up

Galactic Civilizations III: Crusade will be released this Spring.  Spring is almost here.  As you are probably gathering, it is a top-to-bottom expansion of Galactic Civilizations.  

Next Week: Commanders!


Comments (Page 4)
on Mar 13, 2017

Anywhere between a couple of weeks to the next three months. You guys realise the game is in development, and that may change until they come out with the game. And that still can be changed with an update. This will probably need some balancing after the game is released. 

Same goes for administrators as far as balancing.

As far as bribing citizens remember right now we are more advanced than the enemies, so there is not much tech stealing going on there. Some of our allies are more advanced than us, because they are our allies we don't  steal tech from then, even, though they stole a lot of tech from us. 

It has already been announced that citizens are not representive of population, so think more like the level of trained people instead.

on Mar 13, 2017

admiralWillyWilber

Anywhere between a couple of weeks to the next three months. You guys realise the game is in development, and that may change until they come out with the game. And that still can be changed with an update. This will probably need some balancing after the game is released.

Im excited for the beta the founders will most likely get. Im hoping our feedback can shape the game into something great, if it even needs many changes.


Also, Is it strange that one of the most interesting things about 'citizens' to me is the ability to use custom art and names for modded races citizens. Star trek or star wars with all the characters comes to mind. While we havnt seen the extent of what we can do with the race builder customization it still intrigues me to think about what people might come up with.

on Mar 13, 2017

Once you get your citizen on a colony ship, do you lose him forever or does he go back into a pool of unassigned citizens?  25 citizens that you must sacrifice to defend against spies or to colonize new planets, that's not much on an immense galaxy...

on Mar 14, 2017

I think I see even more new ways to make the game interesting with Crusade. A personal favorite subject for modding is planet types, something several talented modders have already played with. My modding goal is to make the planets into characters in the story, as they typically are in science fiction. A complex interaction between people-characters and place-characters should make for a much more interesting game!

I can see how, under this new system of citizens and the focus on resources detailed earlier, the variety and characteristics of individual planets could become much more significant. A less hospitable but still habitable planet (see many of Larry Niven's Known Space worlds) might need more workers or occupy more resources, slowing down a colony rush. However, a harsher planet might train better soldiers (think Sparta from Pournelle's Falkenberg [sic?] series, or Arrakis and Salusa Secundus from Dune). Also, having more and more varied extreme worlds (as I plan to mod in) will mean harder choices for colony-rushers, which might give vertical strategy players even more room to maneuver.

Please release Crusade soon, I am going to lose access to my computer in May!

on Mar 15, 2017

Edit: Post on wrong thread... sorry...

on Mar 17, 2017

redviper37

Once you get your citizen on a colony ship, do you lose him forever or does he go back into a pool of unassigned citizens?  25 citizens that you must sacrifice to defend against spies or to colonize new planets, that's not much on an immense galaxy...

 

I don't think number of Citizens and Administrators are one and the same thing, but two different mechanics.

on Mar 17, 2017

NorsemanViking


Quoting redviper37,

Once you get your citizen on a colony ship, do you lose him forever or does he go back into a pool of unassigned citizens?  25 citizens that you must sacrifice to defend against spies or to colonize new planets, that's not much on an immense galaxy...



 

I don't think number of Citizens and Administrators are one and the same thing, but two different mechanics.

on Mar 17, 2017

Frogboy


Quoting tasgilt,

Question, will your spy act as a counter-spy to all your planets?  Or will you have to assign one to each planet to protect it?



Your unassigned spies provide counter-intelligence services.  When a spy shows up on your world, you can use your spy to kill it.

 

please tell me that there will be way to stop people spying without killing your own people, or will we again have spy spam from AI destroying every game

on Mar 18, 2017

I wouldn't mind a small chance of my counter-spy being killed, espionage is a dangerous game, after all.

But it should be more dangerous for some than others.

Yes, the spy can set traps which could possibly kill unfriendly visitors with bad intentions, but the counter-spy can openly call upon the resources of an entire government, two completely different levels of ability.

on Mar 21, 2017

Dear GalCiv III fans,

Your old economy is dead. I killed it.

 

Good! i hope you danced on its corpse

on Mar 24, 2017

  This is a huge difference to the game; it is the type of thing that I expected from the beginning. This will even the class out abit since the older experienced players have to learn the same as the noobs. This at first seems like a pita for most players, but in the long run should be more interesting, especially after this has been played awhile by the many, and the positive tweeks come out that make it work for all. I can't wait until it comes out. 'Til then, though, will have to put off playing until this comes out. Please give us the 'instructions' if you will, so that we know from the beginning what will or will not work for any player's route.   -Mistralok-

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