Galactic Civilizations II help

Whats the basic strategy for Galactic Civilizations II? I’m not entirely sure how to make ant money and what to do on the tech tree. I’ve only dabbled a bit in the game, but I often find that I’m losing money and behind in technology when I meet other races. The tech tree is huge. What should I prioritize at the start of a game? I usually go for propulsion and snesors, but after the first few techs I tend to go back and hit the ones I didn’t start at the beginning, like planetary environments and weapons.

I try to colonize as many planets as I can, and I guess its a mistake but I don’t like wasting my first few colony ships on anything less than class 10.

Any glaciv players here that can give me a few basic tips?

I haven’t played in a while, and I know they’ve released a few patches since I last updated my game, but I find that weapons are the last thing I invest in. As a general rule, if you concentrate on trade, money, diplomacy, and science, you can avoid combat for a long time. While the other computer players are wasting their resources on war machines, you can get high in the tech tree everywhere else before they do. It gives you a large advantage to win the game in any of the four ways at the end. You do want to upgrade your propulsion and sensors on your ships, though. Colonization is a big part of the game.

Don’t get into alliances, though. If your ally goes to war, so will you (well, you can break the alliance, but they won’t like you for it). Until you can wipe the floor with any other species out there, it’s better to avoid war entirely.

And unless they fixed it in a patch, don’t build the highest level of bank. It has a grossly overexpensive maintenance cost. The ratio of economic bonus to maintenance costs is worse than the one level back. Plus, you waste research on it to get there.

The Wiki actually will give you the best strategies for all levels of the game and even explain the various calculations behind the scenes:

I’m pretty sure the bank problem has been fixed. What version are you playing? It won’t necessarily make a huge difference on strategy, but the expansions, particularly Twilight of the Arnor, add a lot of variety.

I second everything Hoopy Frood said and would also add a few little things.
Play on a ridiculously easy setting to start and work your way up only as you start to win games. There is no shame in beating the computer on ‘dumbass’ when you are starting out.
Use a moderately sized galaxy. Too large gives you too much to keep track of, too small almost always leads to an early bloodbath.
Use more empires, plus minor races, in fact I’d max out both. More races means more targets for the aggressive guys.
Early on, when your economy is tenuous, adjust your tax rate every turn if necessary.
As soon as you can spare it, put a few credits into espionage. Even 1 or 2 per turn will give you a base of spies to fall back on.
Keep your spies in reserve unless you are actively fighting somebody. You will need them if some vital structure gets blocked.
Good morale is key to the health of your economy.
Wait until you have a clear idea of who your big threats are before you go very far down the weapon and defense tech trees. Then concentrate on countering their preferred weapons and defenses.
Tech trading with friendly empires is a good way to raise money, but be sure to sell a given tech to all of them at once, or they will sell to each other.
Build a few small, cheap scout ships with survey modules as soon as you can- the money you make from anomalies can really help out in the early game.
Build cheap ships with a 1 attack rating early on. They are an enormous deterrent in the early game and will make belligerent empires much less obnoxious.
Building Tir-Quan training is a good investment, even if you don’t plan on doing much conquering, because it can’t be used by your enemies.

In general, do you guys play evil, nice, or neutral? Does it really matter?

I’m trying to be neutral. I like to keep my options open.

One thing I learned that seems counter intuitive is that when you start out, lower your taxes so that your homeworld has at least a 75% approval rating, and your new colonies have 100%. This will greatly increase your population, so when you hit the economic crash (when your starting money runs out) you have more population to pay taxes.

Also, most of the time it is not worth buying things at the start, except for a factory on your homeworld. After that, just let it build itself.

One last thing, you don’t have to develop your new colonies right away. Everything you build has a maintenance cost, and then cost even more to run it. I normally leave most of my new colonies empty when I start, except for any bonus squares they might have.

Remember, in this game, money is EVERYTHING. If you can build a good economy, you can do whatever you wish.

ETA: What version are you running? Do you have any of the expansions? That would make a difference on any advance strategies.

I haven’t played in a long time, but I always developed freighters early and established diversified trade lanes with different partners.

Another good thing about trade routes is that ‘trades partner’ is a positive factor in your relations. So it’s another way to reduce the chances that a warlike empire will attack you.

I generally go for quite a while before declaring an alignment, late mid-game, normally. I almost always go good because the neutral bonuses (better trade and free planet mprovements) usually aren’t that compelling to me by that point because I’ve got a good economy and have already terraformed most of my planets. I like good because it’s easier to partner up (not necessarily ally however) with good and neutral guys and womp the empires that are trying to take over the galaxy. I generally win by alliance, cultural, or tech victories.

Another few ideas:
Tidal disruption and microsoldiers are usually the best options when invading. The loss of buildings is not that big a deal, since the computer generally builds in less than optimal ways. Only use the Planet Quality destroying options if you are desperate. PQ is the one thing you can’t get more of (except a few goofy random events).

You may want to turn of ascention victory while you are learning as it tends to make the game bloodier.

Its not entirely clear from the instructions, but engines on larger hulls cost disproportionally more space and weight than they do on small ones.

Don’t forget the autosurvey button for your survey equipped scouts.

If you get into a protracted war, you can soften up a planet by sabotaging their farms and morale buildings, this will slowly reduce their population.

Eyes of the Universe is awesome. The huge sensor range is a very big advantage. Don’t put any sensors on your ships after you build it, they won’t add any range.

When you make a world a capital (manufacturing, economic, research) convert the entire thing over to structures that support that aspect only. For instance, you economic capital should have only banks, farms, morale boosters and the factories to build and upgrade them.

I’ll try some of what you guys have suggested. I have the gold edition that is supposed to include Dread Lords and Dark Avatar.