Galactic Civilizations

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Galactic Civilizations
Designer(s)Brad Wardell
Programmer(s)Cari Begle
Scott Tykoski
Brad Wardell
Michael Duffy
Ian Hanschen
Artist(s)Alex Gounaropoulos
Scott Tykoski
Russ Schwenkler
Writer(s)Brad Wardell
Scott Tykoski
Alexander Antoniades
Composer(s)Eric Heberling
Eric Johnson
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows
  • NA: March 26, 2003
  • EU: September 12, 2003
Altarian Prophecy
  • NA: November 12, 2004
  • EU: February 4, 2005
Genre(s)Turn-based strategy, 4X
Mode(s)Single player

Galactic Civilizations is a turn-based strategy video game developed by Stardock and released in March 2003. The game is a remake of an OS/2 series of the same name. An expansion pack entitled Altarian Prophecy was released in 2004. A sequel, Galactic Civilizations II: Dread Lords, was released February 21, 2006. On May 14, 2015, Stardock released Galactic Civilizations III.[1] On April 26, 2022, released Galactic Civilizations IV.


The goal of the game is to eventually dominate the galaxy. It is possible to achieve victory through war, cultural domination, diplomacy or by developing overwhelming advanced technology.[citation needed]


The game is set in the future. Humankind has made contact with the 5 other major alien races. Space travel is risky and expensive, requiring huge jump gates which only permit travel between two specific points. Because space travel is so difficult, the galaxy remains mostly uncolonized. The humans make a great discovery—hyperdrive. It permits fast travel between any two stars. The humans share their discovery with the other five major races. All communication stops. The humans consider that sharing their discovery may have been a mistake. Now that the galaxy is open for exploration, there's going to be a rush to claim all the uncolonized worlds.


GalCiv for OS/2

Galactic Civilizations was first developed for OS/2 in April 1993 by Brad Wardell. Although revenue from the initial OS/2 release was never paid by the bankrupt publisher,[2] popular support encouraged Stardock to release Shipyards, an add-on pack that allowed users to design their own starships, and this provided enough revenue to support further development, with a simplified version being sold to IBM in 1995 as Star Emperor.[citation needed] The game sold above 30,000 units for OS/2.[3]

Galactic Civilizations II was released later that year, adding several new concepts and tweaks. It was followed by another version of Shipyards (which added both the ship design feature and improved governors/AI), and an expansion pack in April 1997, before Stardock was forced to withdraw from significant OS/2 development with the loss of their market.[citation needed] It is possible to run OS/2 versions of the game under emulation using Virtual PC.[4]

Expansion pack[edit]

An expansion pack, called Galactic Civilizations: Altarian Prophecy, was released in 2004.


Galactic Civilizations[edit]

The game received "generally favorable reviews" according to the review aggregation website Metacritic.[5] By December 2005, the game had sold 75,000 copies, which Computer Gaming World's Bruce Geryk called "impressive" for its genre.[15] According to writer Greg Costikyan, the game's sales had surpassed 100,000 units by 2008.[16]

Galactic Civilizations was named the ninth-best computer game of 2003 by Computer Games Magazine, and it won the publication's "Best AI" award, tying with Halo: Combat Evolved. A writer for the magazine called it "the sort of game that will still be on your hard drive when all the other games you are playing right now are gathering dust on a shelf."[17] The editors of Computer Gaming World nominated Galactic Civilizations for their 2003 "Strategy Game of the Year" award, which ultimately went to Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic. They wrote that they "found it impossible to ignore the [game's] almost overwhelming depth of strategy".[18]

Altarian Prophecy[edit]

The Altarian Prophecy expansion pack received "favorable" reviews, although slightly less than the original, according to Metacritic.[19]


  1. ^ Makuch, Eddie (October 15, 2013). "Galactic Civilizations III revealed for 64-bit PCs". GameSpot. Retrieved October 18, 2013.
  2. ^ Wardell, Brad (April 5, 2006). "Postmortem: Stardock's Galactic Civilizations 2: Dread Lords". Gamasutra. Retrieved April 18, 2017.
  3. ^ "GameSpot Presents: A History of Space Empire Games". Archived from the original on 2 February 2002. Retrieved 12 January 2022.
  4. ^ Armstrong, Benjamin (May 25, 2005). "Galactic Civilizations for OS/2 (under Virtual PC)". Microsoft. Retrieved April 18, 2017.
  5. ^ a b "Galactic Civilizations for PC Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved April 18, 2017.
  6. ^ Geryk, Bruce (June 2003). "Galactic Civilizations" (PDF). Computer Gaming World. No. 227. p. 99. Retrieved April 18, 2017.
  7. ^ Parker, Sam (March 26, 2003). "Galactic Civilizations Review". GameSpot. Retrieved April 18, 2017.
  8. ^ Rausch, Allen (March 28, 2003). "GameSpy: Galactic Civilizations". GameSpy. Retrieved April 18, 2017.
  9. ^ Schutz, Jake (April 16, 2003). "Galactic Civilizations - PC - Review". GameZone. Archived from the original on December 24, 2008. Retrieved April 18, 2017.
  10. ^ Brenesal, Barry (April 8, 2003). "Galactic Civilizations Review". IGN. Retrieved April 18, 2017.
  11. ^ Griliopoulos, Dan (November 2003). "Galactic Civilizations". PC Format (154). Archived from the original on August 18, 2004. Retrieved April 18, 2017.
  12. ^ "Galactic Civilizations". PC Gamer UK. 2003.
  13. ^ Peckham, Matthew (June 2003). "Galactic Civilizations". PC Gamer: 82. Archived from the original on March 15, 2006. Retrieved April 18, 2017.
  14. ^ Jackson, Jonah (June 4, 2003). "'Galactic Civilizations' (PC) Review". X-Play. Archived from the original on June 8, 2003. Retrieved April 18, 2017.
  15. ^ Geryk, Bruce (June 2006). "Galactic Civilizations II: Dread Lords". Computer Gaming World. No. 263. pp. 86–89.
  16. ^ Costikyan, Greg (October 21, 2008). The Independent Developer Shall Rise Again! (PPT). SCAD Game Developers Exchange 2008. Atlanta, Georgia. p. 64. Archived from the original on March 6, 2009.
  17. ^ Staff (March 2004). "Best of 2003; The 13th Annual Awards". Computer Games Magazine (160): 58–62.
  18. ^ Editors of CGW (March 2004). "Computer Gaming World's 2003 Games of the Year". Computer Gaming World. No. 236. pp. 57–60, 62–69.
  19. ^ a b "Galactic Civilizations: Altarian Prophecy for PC Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved April 18, 2017.
  20. ^ Geryk, Bruce (December 2004). "Galactic Civilizations: Altarian Prophecy" (PDF). Computer Gaming World. No. 245. p. 99. Retrieved April 18, 2017.
  21. ^ Lafferty, Michael (January 16, 2005). "Galactic Civilizations: Altarian Prophecy - PC - Review". GameZone. Archived from the original on March 31, 2009. Retrieved April 18, 2017.
  22. ^ Butts, Steve (January 12, 2005). "Galactic Civilizations: Altarian Prophecy". IGN. Retrieved April 18, 2017.
  23. ^ "Galactic Civilizations: Altarian Prophecy". PC Gamer: 71. March 2005.

External links[edit]