Galactic Civilizations IV: Supernova version 2.3, titled “War & Peace”, is now available, and brings a host of balance changes and bugfixes right across the game. Primarily, this update aims to reduce the occurrence of what 4X gamers call the “everwar” problem, where a civilization became locked into a war with a rival and had no to disengaging or calling for peace. Consequently, the warring civilization had to fight it out and destroy the belligerent faction completely.
Some more bloodthirsty players don’t mind this but a whole lot of others really do: outside of some rather dramatic and extreme sci-fi and fantasy settings, never-ending wars are rare. In reality, wars tend to flare up and die down after victory goals are met, resources become depleted and civilians become sick of having their loved ones returned to them in body-bags. Everwars in 4X are generally undesirable as they reduce the non-combat aspects of a 4X to a supporting role to the grind of an endless conflict, and that isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, nor is having to conquer absolutely everybody to effectively win the game.
In previous versions, although the AI had become a lot better at picking wars it can win, it also tended to fight on right until the moment it either surrendered completely or its last colony was taken, depending on the game settings.
One approach to fixing this is with the “grand strategy” game technique of forcing the player to stop a war once some kind of war-score counter value is reached. This isn’t always fun for the player when they’re yanked out of a fun conflict that they’re not finished with yet, moments before they’re about to engage in an epic, war-ending battle.
“War & Peace” aims to address this problem in several stages.
Perhaps the biggest and most immediately noticeable change will be a series of war and surrender Events that trigger the longer a war goes on, and vary depending on who started the war and who is winning or losing it, to add some extra flavor and ensure the player has an option to end the war they might not want to be in.
While the player is not forced to end the war at this point, there are incentives to do so that might sweeten the deal. When the AI does offer an olive-branch, there’ll be a variety of different peace-offerings on the table for you to choose from.
Secondly, the AI will be more likely to accept a ceasefire now, and the longer the war has gone on the more likely they are to accept a peace deal. This should reduce the ever-war problem, and while we want players to have to fight for their lives when wars do occur, we feel that these moments shouldn’t potentially go on for hundreds upon hundreds of turns, especially for players who enjoy the more peaceful aspects of building a great galactic civilization.
Furthermore, the AI is more loyal to civilizations that it has had good relations with for a long time, favoring those it is has well established trade routes with, and will be somewhat less inclined to be bribed into a war with those favored civilizations by other sneaky war-mongers. This means that they’ll not just take their current diplomatic status with their partner into account when they make that decision to go to war, they’ll look back at your past dealings too. Make friends and trade with them, and they’ll be more likely to stick by you when you’re in need of assistance once the Drengin, Korath Clan, Yor or some other dreadfully mannered neighbors come knocking!
To prevent sneak attacks, when a civilization declares war, all of their ships are removed from the enemy’s borders outside of their zone of control.
Various diplomatic modifiers have been tweaked, such as diplomacy-focused civilizations no longer coveting the worlds of others, and a more slowly growing and reduced “We Want to Conquer the Galaxy” from civs wanting to militarily expand too.
These diplomatic changes to how wars are started and ended should open the grand strategy side of Galactic Civilizations IV: Supernova up even more, with civilizations being more or less inclined to engage in long wars to achieve their goals and loyalty to old friends factoring into their strategic planning. Gamers with less of a martial-inclination will be able to enjoy their empire building with less threat from long and grueling wars that they cannot get out of, and defensive and diplomatic civilizations will be able to achieve their victory goals without the inevitable need to become an unwilling galactic conqueror.
As always, thanks for reading, and let us know what you think of the changes in “War & Peace”.