GSB: Galactic Conquest Beta- Initial Ruminations

You're going to see your ships get blown up a lot in the campaign game--thankfully it's awful prretty.

This is not a review and I’m playing just the beta (though it’s quite polished). I haven’t finished the game yet because it’s thankfully a challenge!  Hence, this is just a list of five good things and five bad things.  My benchmarks for any space 4x are: Master of Orion and Ultracorps.  For general 4X it’s Dominions 3 and Empire Total War.  That said, I think this little indy game from an English dude is the most important game in 4X space strategy that we have seen since Master of Orion 3 marred the genre.

Things I like:

  • Beautiful and extremely easy to use interface: it is just flat out awesomeness incarnate. Dragging stuff, sliders, the works.
  • Turn button works very fast and is almost always always accessible: when I get sick of mucking around with stuff, I can just click and it’s next turn from almost anywhere
  • Sliders all over the place:  this is what 4X space games are all about.  If you don’t have sliders just go home and let the space piss cascade on you.
  • Combine fleets interface: manual drag and drop and an auto combine to bring units up to full strength from smaller units
  • Retreating: now you have an option in battle.  Though this hoses any possibility of playable multiplayer for Gratuitous Space Battles, it’s growing on me for single player.

Things I don’t like

  • Random fleet attacks from random races: the user-created enemy fleets idea is cool and all, but it’s really not a replacement for having enemy empires
  • No random map
  • Unlocks from the battle game only: there’s no way to get unlocks from playing the campaign. With the campaign, I no longer care to ever play the battle game again, as the battle game is wholly complete within the campaign version
  • No campaign enemy races, empires, technology, no diplomacy: fleets just show up at your door and can be any race
  • Movement is one planet to the next: each move takes one turn, this isn’t the worst, I just don’t like it being this simple
  • You can’t auto-resolve battles until you’ve set up your fleet and started the battle.

It’s 7$ to buy the beta and if you already have GSB– this is a no brainer.  Full review once I win.