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We have previously discussed the perils of running a galactic civilization.  People living hundreds of light years away from their home world will have relatively little interest in the political intrigues of the capital.  That’s where the government types come in.

What is the best type of government for your civilization? There is no right answer.

Let’s work through a scenario and how it might play out.  The star Procyon is 11 light years away from Earth. 


Procyon A is 11 light years from Earth.

We colonize it and begin the year of multi-planetary government.


How do we want to organize our multi-planetary government?



We humans get two choices: Colonial and Imperial

We always say we are for X and against Y.  But in practice, governments tend to do things that are in their own best interests. 

So you decide:

  1. Colonial: Pro: Private contractors can send out missions which can get you money and resources.  Con: You have to deal with elections.
  2. Imperial: Pro: No elections and a 20% boost to ship production and +1 moves.  Con: You can’t send out missions and people don’t like you as much.

In the comments, you let us know.  Which one is better? And under what circumstances?

When I play, I half-roleplay and half play to win.  In this game, I’m choosing Colonial because I do tend to use missions a great deal and I know I will be with this government type for at least half a game-year (26 weeks).

The value of missions

Missions are only available if you already have the Crusade expansion (which, if you play Galactic Civilizations, you should definitely get).  The idea is that I don’t want to feel like I have to build any old crap just to avoid wasting manufacturing.  Thus, you can turn your factories over to private industry and let them (and by them, I really mean you) send out missions that result in you getting a cut of the profits.


Treasure? Why would I want treasure?



Oh…because I built a bunch of expensive starbases right off the bat and now I need the money…

Alternatively, I could just raise taxes.  But if I do that, my approval will go way down and if I lose the election, a coalition government is formed which is very…non-optimal. 

Thus, the colonial government provides an alternative to higher taxes: the free market.  By contrast, the imperial government doesn’t have elections, so I can just tax the heck out of people with fewer consequences.

Our first election

Our low tax strategy means happier people.  Happier people are more productive and provide a super-majority in the senate.


Super majority control of the senate means only good things for my government


One size does not fit all

Each government has a limit on the number of colonies you can have before it starts to generate unrest.  Within 46 weeks, my fast-growing civilization already has 5 colonies.


My colonial government has already outlived its usefulness.


Even on Ashley’s World my approval is only at 40%.


People are getting unhappy

Your approval rating is very straightforward, even if it is just a bunch of numbers.  Each point of population requires a point of morale to be fully satisfied.  Various things generate morale, and some things will take morale away (like taxes and too many colonies).

At 40% approval, this planet’s growth is shrunk some (which is fine, it’s already at capacity) but a bit more troubling is the influence growth which, if left unchecked, will result in my civilization falling behind the others in spreading its culture.


A more perfect union


At week 46, my people want a government that can handle larger civilizations

The two viable options are:

  1. Media Assimilation.  We basically hand everything over to our cultural leaders.  It’s very powerful.  25 points per planet (not %, actual full on points) of influence.  If you’re going for an influence victory or have a strong tourism industry, this is the way to go.  Now you can be Space France.  The downside? You can’t declare war anymore!
  2. Information Oligarchy. This unlocks the galactic market and gives you a morale boost.  The galactic market is very powerful and combined with the unique ship can help make your money problems go away, provided you have a lot of good resources.

Once again: Which one?

They are both very fun to play with.  I do like to win through cultural domination.  But I also really want access to the galactic market.


Governments aren’t just stats. They unlock new game mechanics, provide new ships, and give you access to special abilities.

Let me know what you think in the comments.  Which one would you go for and why?

United Earth at the end of the first game year (week 52)


My government and cabinet and what they are doing.


This is just a glimpse of what the governments can do and the consequences each one has.  But that is for another day.


Intrigue Dev Journal Index:


on Apr 03, 2018

I like the perks but dont like restricting game mechanics like missions and the galactic market to certain governments. Perhaps a better idea would be cheaper missions and better market prices for certain governments instead of restricting them outright.

on Apr 03, 2018

I'm digging it! 

I've asked this before, but will there be friction between empires if one doesn't approve of another empires government choice? Example, republic versus dictatorship?

on Apr 04, 2018

"So you say you want a revolution" nope I do not. I am quite content with stability that now developed Putinism had brought.

Revolution wants my mother who was reading a lot of Soviet literature lately.

on Apr 04, 2018

First I want to point out that every time I see the ship preview with the awesome lighting it puts a smile on my face.

 Colonial government is nice for when you want to thread the middle ground and don’t mind being dependent on other entities to hold up their end of the bargain. In stable clusters of relatively peaceful worlds this works.

If, however, you want to be the hand that forces others’ hand and just dictate how and when things happen an Imperial government is more useful. Who cares if people like you as long as they do as they’re told and the Empire is being sufficiently cared for.

on Apr 04, 2018

Not sure how an elective democracy transitions to a corporate media conglomerate, though......

Information Oligarchy; call me traditional, but isn't an oligarchy usually NOT democratic???

Don't get me wrong, they sound cool. The explanation why, though, is......hmmm??

Maybe more choices for a variety?

on Apr 04, 2018

Imperial government is certainly better for the initial colony rush. +1 to moves is significant and the ship production bonus is nice. If the social construction and growth bonuses plus missions are all that Colonial provides, I will probably never use it since I can pass on missions early on.

I'm with PalaceGuardian on the market/mission issue. I don't like that you intend to completely lock out certain government types from them.

Possible compromise for mission projects: only higher tier missions are excluded, e.g. the ones where you must invest a rare resource to bring back another rare resource. Treasure Hunt and the ones that require common resources are available to everyone. I mean what should our secondary shipyards (the ones too slow to build warships) do when no freighters/constructors are needed? Crusade solved this issue very nicely with the mission projects.

Possible compromise for Galactic Market access: limit the number of trades you can do by default, e.g. you can buy/sell only 5 rare and 20 common resources every 25 game turns or so. Information Oligarchy etc. have no such limitation.

I hope the colony limit is dynamically based on the number of habitable planets in the galaxy. If it is fixed, there will inevitably be balance issues for some players.

Really looking forward to the cabinets, this should bring additional flavor to the citizen system. I assume the cabinet members are automatically created when you choose a new government? Or do we have to select them from already existing citizens? Can they be leveled up or promoted?

on Apr 05, 2018

I personally think the colony limit is too low, people who play on bigger maps will quickly be overwhelmed by such a low limit.  Though, this can perhaps be mitigated by having colony limits be determined by map size (similar to research multipliers in GC2, but much more pronounced).


Also, there needs to be a tool to macro manage this, so that it doesn't become an annoyance for people who want to solely or exclusively use a specific government type or two.

on Apr 05, 2018

It seems to me that the planet limit is a soft limit, not a hard one.  You can have N planets without governmental unrest, any more than that and your citizens will complain that they are not being represented.

on Apr 05, 2018


It seems to me that the planet limit is a soft limit, not a hard one.  You can have N planets without governmental unrest, any more than that and your citizens will complain that they are not being represented.


Right, but moral management is part of the game.

on Apr 05, 2018


Quoting AdamMG,

It seems to me that the planet limit is a soft limit, not a hard one.  You can have N planets without governmental unrest, any more than that and your citizens will complain that they are not being represented.


Right, but moral management is part of the game.


A very important one, at that. Morale can make or break an empire.

on Apr 05, 2018

Right, and so it's kinda important that the player doesn't have to micromanage it too much.


The most annoying thing about GC2 is that it required too much micro-management.  It can't be avoided entirely, but reducing the need for it can make GC3 more enjoyable.