Galactic Civilizations III New Player Guide

Welcome to Galactic Civilizations III you are in for a universe of endless possibilities….

This guide will cover most of the basic game functions as played out through the tutorial. This will help you prepare to take on the aliens in the vastness of space that is Galactic Civilizations III.

As a new player I suggest that you pick normal difficultly to start with it has a very good balance to the AI strategies.

Main UI Screen Information
Empire Management Menu

Menus to manage everything in your empire. Progressing through the tutorial these menus will be explained in this guide.

Mini Map

The mini map contains information about your empire’s amount of credits, population, approval, and what turn you currently are on. There are also tabs for a small galaxy window, graphs for empire statistics, and the power rating of all known empires.

Selected Menu

This is the information menu of what is currently selected. This could be a ship, planet, starbase, etc. You can hover over any area for a more advance tool tip for what is being displayed. You can also click in the name area and change the name of the selected unit.

Quick Click Menu

Clicking on any item in the tabs will quickly take you to the unit. Very helpful in a large empire and you are trying to find something in the vastness of the universe.

  • The first tab has a list of all your colonies in order last colonized.
  • The second tab has your shipyard and ship information.
  • The third tab has your starbase information.
  • The forth tab are for rally points.
  • The last tab has the empire event log.

Currently there is no way to change the sort order for the selected tabs.

Time to Colonize
Select your colony ship and click on the planet the Iconians provided for you named Refuge.

Planet Screen

Planet Statistical Section

This displays all the information for this planet. You can hover over any icons for more detailed information on the values.

Improvement and Build Order Section

A description of the planet. Lore information.

This section contains all the available planetary improvements that you can build based on your current research. To obtain more improvements unlock them via research. All improvements start out at level one.

If you have nothing to build you can select a project to boost the selected stat or if you just need to boost the desired stat.

  • Economic Stimulus – Boost to wealth
  • Cultural Festival – Boost to influence
  • Research Project – Boost to research
  • Birthing Studies – Boost to population growth

Below the improvements the build order information is displayed. This will show you what is currently being built and how long it will take to build the improvement. You can also buy “Rush” an improvement, but only one per turn.

Govern Planet Menu

At the bottom left of the colony screen is a button “Govern Planet” this is where you can go to set a planet’s manufacturing, research, and wealth.

The best option for a new player is just 50 to manufacturing and 50 to research. You do not need to put anything into wealth until much later in the game. You start with 3000 credits in the tutorial and 5000 in the main game. At the start of a game you are losing less than 10 credits a turn. Currently it is very easy to sell techs, resources, and treaties to the AI for tons of cash. You may never need to put anything into wealth.

Also on this screen is the manufacturing slider. This is used to divide your manufacturing between social (building planetary improvements) and military (building ships at sponsored shipyards). Right now this planet is not sponsoring a shipyard and not able to adjust the slider. This means all production is going to social. Once this planet is assigned to a shipyard then half will go to social and half to military. Come back to this screen any time you wish to hurry a planetary improvement or produce a ship faster.

This screen is how you set a planet to specialize in research or manufacturing once the planet has had all the improvements built and upgraded. The economy screen from the main menu sets the economy for your entire empire and will over ride this screen. So try to set the empire economy screen first and then the individual planet economy screen afterwards.

Planet Build Order
The best order I have found to get your planets up and running is as follows
  • 2-3 factories (I tend to rush the first 1 or 2 to get things moving)
  • 1 farm
  • Hospital (1 per planet)

Then decide what type of planet you want and build improvements for that specialization

It is good to have a few of these. One will be the main research planet with all the one per player improvements.

I tend to have most my planets with a high level of manufacturing if they are not specialized into one of the other options. That way I am able to build large fleets very quickly.

I like to have one large world with all the wealth, tourism, and trade improvements. This is where all my trade routes originate from. Trade and Tourism are free money and need no management. It is the lazy player’s way to management credits. Well I manage most of mine through selling techs to the AI.

Planets that are near the outer edge of my empire I like to add a good amount of influence buildings to push my influence farther. Also it will prevent other empires from pushing their influence on me. One thing that influence can do in this game is flip a planet to the player with the highest influence. It is a pretty easy way to obtain a planet.

Adjacency System

New to Galactic Civilizations III is the adjacency bonus system. Like type buildings boost others next to them. The goal now is to get the best combination of improvements clustered in a ring with the most powerful improvement in the middle. I call this a hub.

Example Planet:

Improvement types
  • Manufacturing – orange
  • Research – blue
  • Population – green
  • Military – red
  • Influence – light blue
  • Wealth – yellow
  • Approval – light blue

Example Improvement Bonus

Level 15 Hyperion Shrinker 75% extra space on a ship is huge.

Tile bonus
There is a random chance that a tile will have a bonus and will improve the type of building when placed. The color of the icon indicates what type of improvement is best suited for the tile. When you click on the tile the information about the tile is listed in the planet lore section. All tile bonuses have a primary and a secondary improvement bonus. That gives you an option to place a different type of improvement.

Planet resources
There is a random chance a planet resource can be found on a tile. This tile is blocked and nothing can be placed. The resource does get a flat empire wide boost of 5% to various stats and a +2 adjacency bonus to one of the 7 improvement types. The 5% bonus only applies once no matter how many you have, but you can trade these to the AI if you have extra. The bonus might not seem like a lot at the start of the game but when you have 100 planets it is pretty nice.

Start to Research
The Technology Tree

I want to warn new players that the tech trees are huge. They will take some time getting used too. Also every race has a different technology tree with unique technologies that give custom bonuses, planetary improvements, and ship modules.

All technology trees are divided into four areas of research. These names differ between the races. I am going to use the human race technology tree names since you’re playing them in the tutorial.

Colonization – Green
These technologies unlock manufacturing, research, population, and terraforming abilities.

Engineering – Orange
These technologies unlock ship drives, sensors, life support, ship hull sizes, and logistics abilities.

Warfare – Red
These technologies unlock weapons, defenses, and invasions abilities.

Governance – Light blue
These technologies unlock diplomacy, government, economy, trade, and influence abilities.

Technology Ages
No longer can you just research to the best technologies and roll over the AI. The technologies are divided into three ages. To progress through the ages you will need to research a number of technologies to unlock the next age.


  • Expansion
  • War (need 12 technologies in the age of expansion)
  • Ascension (need 100 technologies in the age of war)

Technology Research Order For the Tutorial

  • Planetary Improvement (colonization tree)
  • Xeno Industrialization (colonization tree)
  • Xeno Commerce (governance tree)
  • Supportive Population (governance tree)
  • Enhanced Production (colonization tree)
  • Xeno Biology (colonization tree)
  • Manufacturing Specialization (colonization tree)
  • Advanced Construction (colonization tree)
  • Interstellar Travel (engineering tree)
  • Orbital Manufacturing (engineering tree)
  • Interstellar Logistics (engineering tree)

This will give you the manufacturing, research, population, approval, ship sizes, and weapons you need to win the game. After these you can pick about anything it will only help you in the tutorial.

Research Specializations

Some of the technology tree you are presented with 3 options to choose. Select the one that best fits your play style. You can always trade for the other technologies and receive the benefit.

Survey Ship

Throughout the universe there are anomalies that can be surveyed by any ship that has a survey module. You start out with one; I like to call it your flagship. Your flagship can search out these anomalies and receive extra credits, research boosts, free rushed planetary improvement, and ships. Sadly at this time you cannot upgrade your flagship.

Anomaly Types

  • Artifact – cash, research, free improvement
  • Space Junk – cash
  • Ghost Shipyard – free ships (guarded by pirates and your flagship will need help to defeat them)
  • Wormhole – throws you somewhere else in the universe

Auto Survey

Click the command button on the unit selection window for a list of commands. You can auto set to survey the map. The ship will also avoid anomalies with pirates. I like to do this manually and scout out the star systems near me for planets.

Pirate Raiding
Send the T.A.S. Revenge over to beat up on the pirates.
Battle Viewer

In the battle viewer you only get to watch it is the same as if you hit auto resolve. You do have input as to how your ships act in the battle viewer at the time they are created. Each ship has a role and will act out a set of primary and secondary instructions.

Battle Results

Ship Roles (This will not be needed in the tutorial but useful later when designing ships)

The Iconians what open boarders, sure they did give us a planet to colonize. The first time in the tutorial only this is auto completed. In the game you have to do this through the diplomacy screen. To do that click the diplomacy button on the main map.


You will see our planet in the middle of a series of rings. The empires that have good relations with you will appear closer to you. If the empire is neutral toward you the ring is gray, green if allied, and red if at war. You are at war with the Drengin and they are on a red ring farthest from you. The Iconians are neutral and on a gray ring closer to you. Also by hovering over the planet of another player you will see a list of reasons why they like or dislike you.

The Iconians gave us terraforming.


When terraforming your goal should always be to try and complete a hub for the 6 ring bonus. If you are unable to get a complete hub then try for a partial. If that is not possible then next to any tile that gives you the best adjacency bonus once you place an improvement on the tile you terraformed.

To terraform a tile click on the terraforming ability in the improvement window. You will then see highlighted yellow tiles and pick one.

There are technologies that unlock the ability to improve the class of a planet by opening up a new tile on the planet. There are three levels of terraforming and each has its own technologies to develop the tiles. There are three levels of terraforming and it can be hard to figure out which is which. I do wish Stardock would have brought the yellow, orange, red system from Galactic Civilizations II.

Terraforming Technologies
Planetary Soil Upgrade – can upgrade level one tiles only (single use)
Soil Engineering – can upgrade level one tiles only (single use)
Terraforming Plant – can upgrade level one and two tiles only (single use)
Habitat Improvement – can upgrade level one and two tiles only (single use)
Resequencing Station – can upgrade level one and two tiles only (single use)
Ultra-Terraformer– can upgrade level one tiles only (multi use)
Biospheres – can upgrade level one, two, and three tiles only (single use)

TIP: I try and make sure I do not use a level two or three terraform ability on a level one tile because I know I will be able to upgrade all level one tiles at some point. This will give you more tiles in the end.

Time to Colonize a New Planet
The Iconians are scared to colonize a planet near the Drengin. Well lucky you….


Go to the Refuge and click to build a shipyard from the improvement section. The first set of improvements you built should be done, if not add it to the queue.

Assign Sponsor

Once the shipyard is built you will need to assign a planet as a sponsor, limit of five. A planet sponsoring a shipyard gives production for the building of ships. The list of planets is on the left and to assign one to the shipyard selected the planet and click assign. The best distance from a planet to a shipyard is six tiles or less. Anything more and you get a decrease in production. You can see the decay by hovering over the production of the planet.

Build a Colony Ship

Eight turns is to long, Lets fix that. Click on Refuge and open the Govern Planet button. Adjust the slider to max military.

Four turns, now that is more like it.

TIP: Remember to go back and adjust the slider to have some social or nothing on the planet will ever get built.

Loading Population
To load population on to a colony ship just eject the colony ship from the planet. This also happens when you first build a colony ship. You can adjust the amount of population that goes on the ship. If you want less or more population on the ship.

Reasons to Adjust the Amount of Population
  • Your home world will produce many colony ships and will run out of population if you add 2.5 every time.
  • You are sick of your population’s approval and decide to hold them on a colony ship to get approval up. They better continue to be nice or just airlock them all!!!!
  • You find a class 26 planet and want to start out with a large population so add more population to the colony ship.
Ideological Events
Colonization Event

Every time you colonize a planet you will face an event and will have to make a moral decision on what to do for the betterment of the people in your empire.

For the tutorial select the pragmatic choice.

The New Ideological System
In Galactic Civilizations II good, neutral, and evil were unlocked via the tech tree and you were locked into what technologies or abilities they provided. New to Galactic Civilizations III are moral choices that are more fluid and each decision earns points that can be spent on ideological traits. There are 3 areas to choose from: Benevolent (Good), Pragmatic (Neutral), and Malevolent (Evil). You can always pick the same selection and stay within a moral area or you can mix it up. Note every trait purchased increases the cost of the next selection. If you go outside one of the trees to pick a selection it might make it harder to obtain later traits.

For the tutorial select the Constructive trait under builder in the pragmatic tree

Why are your citizens not happy?Your population is near max food. Seams your citizens do not want to share.

The tool tips should be renamed because population is growth and food is the population cap. You need to think of food as max amount of population that should be on your planet. Also think of your population as population growth. Like all people we want elbow room so if you have more food there is more room to breath and citizens are more happy.

How to Improve Morale
  • Build entertainment improvements on your planets.
  • Research technologies that increase entertainment improvements or base morale.
  • Have a greater amount of food on a planet than the population
  • Use the adjacency system to link improvements to your entertainment improvement to boost its level.
  • Build economy starbases around the planet and add morale modules.
Time to Get Some Starbases
StarbasesTo build a start base you will need to build a constructor. Click into your shipyard and select a few of these to build. Once built you will want to send it to a location on the map to mine resources. The constructor has a ring around it and I call it the ZOC (zone of control). Look for an area that has the most resources inside the ZOC before making the starbase. It is best to mine multiple resources from one starbase.TIP: You can wait until you colonize the second planet and select a trait that gives 3 free constructors. If you do there is no need to build a constructor now.

Starbase Types

Economy – Great bonuses for planet manufacturing, research, wealth, and approval
Influence – Spreads your influence
Military – Great bonuses to the ships in it’s ZOC
Mining – Extracts resources to be used in ships and improvements

Select the mining module and next turn you will have the resources.

There is a mini menu up in the top right with your current resources and relics.

Fleet Build Up
Now lets build some fighters for your T.A.S. Revenge. Click into the shipyard and build:
You should be able to build 4 Assassin and 2 Bomber ships. Send them over to join into a fleet with your T.A.S. Revenge.You will need more logistics in order to group all the ships together. You can research Interstellar Logistics in the engineering tree.

You can see your current logistics in the fleet menu. Currently should be 20 and your fleet is 17/20. This should be more than enough to go kill some Drengin scum.

Time to Kill Some Drengin Scum
Take your fleet and mop up the starbases and the ships defending Dismay. Once everything is cleared out you need to invade the planet.Transports
The only way to invade a planet is to create transport ships and load troops (base population) onto them. Once you have enough, three will do, then send them to the planet to invade. Click into your shipyard and build 3 transports.
To load a transport to invade a planet just add population to the ship the same as if you were going to colonize. There are no real combat troops that you have to load, just people.

Rally Points
Precipice is a long ways away and you might get lazy clicking those three transports over near that planet. Well lets create a rally point. Click on the quick click menu and select the rally point tab. Click the create new rally point and place it somewhere near Precipice.

I like to rename my rally points so I remember where the ships are going.

To assign a shipyard to send ships to a rally point click on the shipyard and then the rally point button. Select the rally point you want to send the ships too.


You Won

VICTORY… Time to try out the vastness of the universe in Galactic Civilizations III

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