Galactic Civilizations Altarian Prophecy
In the late 22nd century, humanity came
into contact with 5 major alien civilizations. These civilizations were
called, the Drengin Empire, the Torian Confederation, the Arcean Empire,
the Yor Collective and the Altarian Republic. Of these 5, the Altarians
were the most curious to us. Not for their cultural traits or their
technology but because they happened to look human. How was this
Personally I find reviewing expansion
packs to be the most difficult type of article I write. And to write
about an expansion to a very solid and popular game is by far the most
difficult. Even should a new game, from an unfamiliar genre, turn out to
be really lousy, I still find it easier to objectively review and rate
it strictly on it merits. Why? Because an expansion pack must be viewed
as both its own entity and in context with the game it is expanding. If
it is a great game originally, it is harder because the expansion really
needs to add something special.
So here we have a really excellent science fiction, turn based strategy
game, Galactic Civilizations the Altarian Prophecy. Galactic
Civilizations has been heralded since its release in March of 2003 and
garnered a plethora of awards.
Two new major alien
civilizations with their own artificial intelligence engines
A new campaign
called “The Altarian Prophecy” that explores the history of one of
the major alien civilizations.
A Map editor that
allows players to design their own custom maps. Previously Galactic
Civilizations used randomly generated maps each game. Now players
will be able to load maps and create their own.
Dozens of new
technologies, ships, planetary improvements, game tweaks, game setup
options, and more
All in all, the
expansion pack will include hundreds of new features and
improvements that will enable players to extend their game playing
enjoyment of Galactic Civilizations
The game features a number of different
races that allows the option of enabling or disabling any of the races as well as setting
their alignment and intelligence level. Every race added to a map
changes the game by limiting the total number of available resources,
most notably, habitable planets. So if you play a map with very few
races (hostile or otherwise), the race to find and colonize available
planets is somewhat less congested.
Add more races to a map and the
number of available planets, and other resources, for each player are
reduced. So, by adding two more races in the expansion, Galactic
Civilizations gets to
be a much more frenetic and energized game. The actual races, the Korx
and Drath, provide no fundamental difference from the other races.
However, their portraits are very cool.
The game also features and extremely huge editor, actually three new editors. The map editor allows you to create any type of star
map you like. Group all the yellow suns in one tight place and push all
the other resources to the edge of the map? No problem. Pack all the
suns into one corner and add only a few scattered around the map? Done
deal. You can really set up the star map any way you like. And believe
me when I say this can drastically change the gameplay. It can really
give a new meaning to the term “Space Race”.
In juxtaposition to the simplicity and straight visual elements that are
used when creating new maps, the scenario and campaign editors display
far more complexity and subtlety. The scenario editor incorporates
several text boxes for entering a scenario description as well as
victory and defeat conditions.
Additionally you can customize the races,
relations, teams, universe elements scenario rules, allowed technologies
and triggered events. Essentially you can customize the way in which the
game is played by customizing the elements that comprise a scenario.
Change the teams, change the tactics needed for victory. Change the
races, change the technologies, change anything and it changes the
tactics of the game. Players have to adjust. Very cool.
When it comes to subtlety and simplicity, the campaign editor has both
in spades. Simplicity is achieved by adding a custom prologue and
epilogue and then adding a series of custom scenarios and coordinating
them with custom maps. This is where the magic happens. What you are
really creating a storyline.
Personally I recommend opening up the scenarios, maps and campaigns that
comprise the Altarian Prophecy itself. And speaking of the prophecy, it
is an excellent campaign. The campaign
itself is quite engaging and really leverages all of the elements that
make Galactic Civilizations such an excellent game.
Boil it down and it looks like this: Galactic Civilizations is a
superior game and while some of the elements to the Altarian Prophecy
don’t make Galactic Civilizations a fundamentally better title, serious players should
run out to the store immediately and buy this expansion pack without
The editors alone are worth the cost, but what really sells
it is the community. That’s right, the community. This is exactly the
type of tools which can infuse a game community with drive and passion.
Players can craft their scenarios and share them with other players. Now
that is really cool.