This collection contains both "Galactic Civilizations" games and all of their expansions. Both are complex turn based 4x strategy games in a science fiction setting, similar to Master of Orion 1 and 2, or (in gameplay) to the Civilization series. I would highly recommend them to any fan of the genre. For more information, you may want to check the descriptions and reviews of the individual games, I'll add my own reviews later.
GalCiv 2 supersedes the first game in many respects, and adds many features, including: a 3d view of the playing field (though gameplay still takes place on a 2d plane), the ability to design and customize your own ships, diverse tech trees for each race (not in the base game, but with one of the expansions), the ability to play a different race than the humans, an additional layer of planetary management (space for buildings is limited now), more victory conditions, and generally much more content.
The question that most customers will be having is whether it's worthwhile to buy this collection instead of just the second game. I'll try to address that by giving you a list of possible reasons for buying this collection, see whether some of those apply to you:
- The first game runs on some machines that can't run the second. It doesn't even need DirectX 9, DirectX 8.1 is sufficient. If you have two machines (e.g. a desktop and a netbook), want a GalCiv experience on both of them, and can't run GalCiv 2 on the weaker one, then this collection enables you to get both games for a discount.
- The first game is somewhat less complex than the second. Some players may want to switch between complexity levels depending on the amount of time and effort that they can invest into a game at the given time. Owning both games enables you to choose the level of complexity depending on your current situation.
- Due to being less complex, GalCiv 1 might be a bit easier to get into. If you're new to strategy games, and don't know yet whether you'll like them, then buying this collection allows you to check which kind of gameplay you prefer.
- If you're interested in the story of the GalCiv universe, then you may want to play the GalCiv 1 campaign as well.
- While most people agree that GalCiv 2 is the better game, GalCiv 1 is a piece of strategy gaming history. It is the game that single-handled saved the genre of space 4x games when Master of Orion 3 failed so spectacularly. Back in the day, people had great hopes for MoO3, but that game turned out to be an unplayable mess. However, Stardock (the GalCiv developers) had struck a deal with Atari: They had agreed to release their own competing game (GalCiv) a bit later, if Atari added an advertisement for GalCiv into the MoO3 boxes. Many players stated later that this advertisement was arguably the best component of the whole MoO3 purchase. It generated publicity for GalCiv, which then showed the industry that space 4x games _can_ be successful if done right, something that was in question after MoO3's failure. If you are a collector of strategy games, omitting GalCiv would leave a noticeable gap in your collection.
- Finally the price of this collection is usually not much higher than buying only GalCiv 2, especially when it's on sale.
Both games are single-player only, but despite their complexity they have a very competent AI. This is much preferable to developers who design the AI as an afterthought and rely on human opponents to make their game engaging.
Both games require Steam. A Steam-free version would have been preferred. However, Steam is only necessary to download the games and to activate them on the first launch. Afterwards, you can play both games without having to run the Steam client as well.