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Old September 25, 2010, 20:22   #1
Magnate
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4X space games

Hi all,

I've just picked up an Arthur C Clarke novel from the library, and I have a sudden urge to play a 4X space game. Any recommendations? For some history, I played MoO incessantly when it came out, and was almost equally enthralled by MoO2 (but the endgame micromanagement was worse, and the whole thing a little more unwieldy). MoO3 was of course awful, and the only game of the genre I've tried recently was Sword Of The Stars, which was pretty good.

Anyone got a favourite I haven't tried?
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Old September 25, 2010, 20:33   #2
RogerN
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Simple in-browser 4X that eats way too much of your free time:
Neptune's Pride

For more complexity, I've enjoyed Space Empires V. The in-box game mode is lacking, but with the Balance Mod the game is a blast. Unfortunately the official web site is down. If you can find a copy of the game at Half-Price Books or similar then it can be had for $4. Steam also sells the game but at a higher price.
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Old September 25, 2010, 20:58   #3
Magnate
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Ah, thank you. I have SE5 and didn't like it at all - I can give it another whirl with the recommended mod. Precisely what I was looking for.

I'll also check out the browser game ... especially if it works in the office!
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Old September 26, 2010, 04:46   #4
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Originally Posted by Magnate View Post
Hi all,

I've just picked up an Arthur C Clarke novel from the library, and I have a sudden urge to play a 4X space game. Any recommendations? For some history, I played MoO incessantly when it came out, and was almost equally enthralled by MoO2 (but the endgame micromanagement was worse, and the whole thing a little more unwieldy). MoO3 was of course awful, and the only game of the genre I've tried recently was Sword Of The Stars, which was pretty good.

Anyone got a favourite I haven't tried?
Ignoring the specifics of your question entirely, are you aware that Civ V is coming out real soon now if it isn't out already?

I thought Civ IV was the game waiting to emerge from Civ I. Truly excellent. I expect the next version to be a step backwards, but that won't stop me from wasting a lot of time on it.
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Old September 26, 2010, 05:25   #5
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I thought Civ IV was the game waiting to emerge from Civ I. Truly excellent. I expect the next version to be a step backwards, but that won't stop me from wasting a lot of time on it.
Both my roommates are big into Civ and got it the day it was released here in the U.S. (don't know when it releases in the UK)

Their reviews are mixed. They like a lot of the changes, specifically the move to the hex grid and the no stacking units. The big complaint from them so far is that the AI is pretty awful, especially when it comes to combat.

I myself have enjoyed Civ, but lately I only have 20 minutes or so to play games at a time these days. with Civ that was just enough time to figure out what the hell you were doing when you last stopped.
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Old September 26, 2010, 10:17   #6
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Originally Posted by fizzix View Post
Both my roommates are big into Civ and got it the day it was released here in the U.S. (don't know when it releases in the UK)

Their reviews are mixed. They like a lot of the changes, specifically the move to the hex grid and the no stacking units. The big complaint from them so far is that the AI is pretty awful, especially when it comes to combat.

I myself have enjoyed Civ, but lately I only have 20 minutes or so to play games at a time these days. with Civ that was just enough time to figure out what the hell you were doing when you last stopped.
Me too. I sank a ton of time into Civ I in the days before marriage and children. Hence being out of touch with 4X of any sort: I was only dimly aware of Civ 5 and certainly didn't realised it was released.

I agree with Eddie that Civ IV was a superb modernisation of Civ I, with all the same appeal. That said, I didn't give Civ III much of a chance - I didn't get it until shortly before Civ IV was released. Civ III introduced the cultural influence idea, making sense of the arbitrariness around who could farm which square and where units could move without hostile intent, but otherwise doesn't seem to have done much. (I never did understand all the fuss about Civ II - it seemed to me that its fans must have missed Civ I, and/or had a thing about isometric view.)

The thing is, if I want terrestrial 4X nowadays I play Rise of Nations. I only discovered it a couple of years ago after a discussion exactly like this one, where I was lamenting my inability to resist in turn-based games a degree of micromanagement which actually harms my enjoyment. I generally prefer turn-based over real-time, but RoN gets it exactly right IMO. (Then there are the EU games, which are also real-time, but I admit I do a lot of pausing.) Certainly I never cured myself of late-game micomanagement in Civ IV - I think I only ever finished one game.

So I'm really looking for a space 4X with the level of micromanagement along the lines of RoN or MoO1. This should have been MoO3, which for most of its design had the concept of "focus points" - as emperor you could only meddle in a limited number of detailed decisions for individual planets and ships in any given turn - but they ripped it out late in the design and ended up with something worthless.
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Old September 26, 2010, 19:11   #7
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Certainly I never cured myself of late-game micomanagement in Civ IV - I think I only ever finished one game.
That was one of the advantages of Civ IV. They changed things so that beakers and production carried over to the next item, so micromanagement was far less important. Also, automated workers got much better [after you set a couple of options], and the governor buttons inside the cities worked pretty well. Too much micro means you should play with fewer better cities I would guess.

I read that it was possible to set up MoO 3 and put a weight on the enter key and win the game, but I never tried to do that. Moving in that direction where governors can do the vast majority of the work adequately seems like a mistake.
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Old September 27, 2010, 03:32   #8
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So I'm really looking for a space 4X with the level of micromanagement along the lines of RoN or MoO1. This should have been MoO3, which for most of its design had the concept of "focus points" - as emperor you could only meddle in a limited number of detailed decisions for individual planets and ships in any given turn - but they ripped it out late in the design and ended up with something worthless.
Have you tried Galactic Civilizations II? I never really got into it, but it seems to be very highly regarded.
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Old September 27, 2010, 21:39   #9
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Have you tried Galactic Civilizations II? I never really got into it, but it seems to be very highly regarded.
I have, yes. I have GalCiv I as well, and the original GalCiv for OS/2. I'm afraid they've been getting steadily worse IMO - or my preferences have changed over time. I found GC2 hugely unrewarding. It wasn't so much the macro/micro issue, it just totally lacked charisma.
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Old September 27, 2010, 22:32   #10
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I have, yes. I have GalCiv I as well, and the original GalCiv for OS/2. I'm afraid they've been getting steadily worse IMO - or my preferences have changed over time. I found GC2 hugely unrewarding. It wasn't so much the macro/micro issue, it just totally lacked charisma.
Yeah, that was pretty much my take on GC2, too. Have you tried FreeOrion? (I haven't played it, or even know if it is playable yet, but it looked promising.)
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