I got to play my first 50 turns yesterday as The Slyne in a Large galaxy with 7 normal opponents. Boy what an enjoyment! Almost all of my GalCiv III vanilla pet peeves are gone. This is really getting close to my ideal 4x space game.
1) No more min-maxing through sliders! This was my biggest problem with GalCiv III. Having to set these and constantly tweak these, but still having the feeling I'm not doing it right. It was too tedious, so I stopped bothering, concluding in me playing a pretty sloppy game. It's much more straightforward now, but seems much more strategic too. I love it!
2) Resources really matter! Big jeeej. Claiming resources was always a fun part of GalCiv, but it's now a necessity, yet also a challenge. Of course there's always too much durantium around, except from my first game with the Slyne, who actually need durantium to grow their population. Loving my quest for more durantium. I've put down a starbase for just 1 single source of duratium. Would have never done that in vanilla and it was quite a big decision in this game too. And no more constructor spam for starbases but modules also cost you resources so you can't mindlessly throw modules on every starbase.
3) Decisions, decisions, decisions. Those first 50 turns took quite long, because I had so many relevant decisions to make. About my citizens, buildings, resouces to claim, ships to build, planets to colonize, trading, diplomacy, first look at espionage and the list goes on. It really feels like almost every turn matters now.
4) Citizens. Best invention since sliced bread. I only have 5 of them, but the pondering that went into which one to take and where to put them was a game in itself.
5) The UI. What fine improvements here. Much clearer than it ever was. I can easily find all the information I need. Only thing I've missed so far it a message that some building completed, but perhaps that an option I can turn on or off. Haven't checked that yet.
And I still have the rest of the game to look forward too! I've only scratched the surface in the first 50 turns. Invasions, decent spying and fleet buildup is all yet to come!