. I do believe that Crusade has made the game what I wanted from the start and am quite happy with the DLC.
+1 to this comment for sure.
Myself - I play because I like the chess-like play. It's turn-based, so it can be a thoughtful game, and there are lots of layers to the deeply complex strategies that are taking place.
While I have to say that GC3 still has a few (small) kinks to work out to be at the polish level of GC2 in terms of balance, AI utilizing all the cool stuff, etc. - GC3 is still a balancing act to play and win.
It's really the first franchise that offered good competing victory paths (influence, research, etc) that don't involve conquest. And I think it gets the dynamics correct. Influence/culture sort of builds itself but needs some protection. Research and Conquest are intrinsically expensive endeavors, and (like influence) are vulnerable to upset by outside forces. I like that money is not an end, but rather represents underlying productive capacity (much like real economies), it is abstract, esoteric and worthless in and of itself (yet, paradoxically is crippling if you have none). For example, how stupid would an "economic victory" be?
Unlike a lot of the posts on here, I don't really care about aesthetics of designing/building ships and if I "design" anything it usually ends up just being some module with a bunch of guns and engines randomly attached to it. If Brad ever gets his wish of 'strategic placement' it'll be different, but like GC2 there are a lot of flying construction modules with engines randomly strapped on in my civ.
Ditto with the civ builder - I love it, but don't take any time finding cool pics, or writing nifty descriptions - I'll just grab stock assets (although I would LOVE for a DLC with a bunch more vids (or ability to re-color existing vids) and crap), rename "homeworld" to "Mullet Porkchop" (or whatever pops into my head) and see how the abilities line up.
I like the metagame of trying to determine what the underlying mechanics actually work out to be - what the best counter-strat build paths are, etc.
That sort of thing.
I feel for you on the Founder's issue Ed49663, unlike you I got in on the Founders ed. I learned long ago to trust Stardock, and Brad and just give them money whenever they ask. I'm also in a position, financially, where doing so is never an issue. If I were still a poor college student it would be more of a gamble. But I couldn't be happier with not having to muck around with figuring out which DLC to buy..
It is a great game tho, looking forward to seeing how it continues to evolve.. great thread btw.