Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Game 283: Galactic Revolution

Now featuring sound effects so annoying that even the manual refers to them as 'the sound of geese passing gas'!

The third game in Doug Carlston's Galactic Saga, Galactic Revolution now gives your revolutionary protagonist a name and backstory. As Julian du Buque, a Spartan soldier, strongly implied to be the retroactive hero of Galactic Empire and Galactic Trader, you must lead a revolution against the tyrannical Talawa and once again conquer the universe, but sheer military force is no longer your only weapon. Through policies and military victories, your reputation among the factions that control each planet ebbs and flows, and where favorable factions hold power, planetary loyalties may shift to your side. Where they don't, local policies can dramatically shift the balance of power. In addition to Talawa, you also have a third party, Jan Swart, head of the mysterious trader's guild Broederbund, who you may form an allegiance against Talawa with, but the ultimate victory may only go to one side.

The Wargaming Scribe covered this before I did, and I am playing this at his recommendation.

Starting off, each side has the following vital stats:

Du Buque:

  • Credits: 10,000
  • Arms: 40
  • Troops: 20,000
  • Ships: 200
  • Manufacturer reputation: 10
  • Military reputation: 85
  • Peasant reputation: 0
  • Trader reputation: 65
  • Government reputation: 0
  • Worlds: Sparta



  • Credits: 100
  • Arms: 500
  • Troops: 1,000
  • Ships: 60
  • Manufacturer reputation: 0
  • Military reputation: 50
  • Peasant reputation: 70
  • Trader reputation: -40
  • Government reputation: 90
  • Worlds: Galactica Bok Ootsi Twyrx Alhambra Eventide Javiny Drassa2 Novena



  • Credits: 30,000
  • Arms: 100
  • Troops: 200
  • Ships: 1,000 
  • Manufacturer reputation: 80
  • Military reputation: 0
  • Peasant reputation: -10
  • Trader reputation: 99
  • Government reputation: -20
  • Worlds: Yang-Tzu Llythll

Independent worlds:

  •  Kgotla Zoe Utopia Farside Viejo Moonsweep

I have the second-strongest army, but with my credits could quickly become the strongest; if I could buy 100 arms packages, or secure an allegiance with Swart and combine our arms, all 140 would be usable to equip 140 legions.

Tawala's is the strongest, able to equip 60 legions right away, but he lacks the currency to buy more. With nine worlds, though, and a bureaucrat-friendly disposition, it would not be difficult to raise money through taxes to buy more ships, and then to recruit more troops to fill more ships. Every legion needs 1 arm package, 1 ship, and 10 troops.

Swart has the weakest army thanks to his lack of troops, and few worlds to recruit more from, but no shortage of money or ships.

I am liked by the military and also by the traders, but not as much as Swart, who is also liked by the manufacturers. Tawala is liked by peasants and bureaucrats.

The game started me off on Galactica, which is under Talawa's control. Since I couldn't really beat his army, I fled to Llythll, where Swart and his weak but rich army held power. On the way, I purchased 10 arms, which was the maximum allowed given my industrial power. The game still has that infuriating interface quirk of automatically completing your number inputs after a few idle seconds, and backspaces aren't allowed.

Space travel in Galactic Revolution now takes one turn no matter where you are going, and your entire armada follows, unless you choose to leave behind a blockade, which isn't an option in singleplayer.

On Lythll, Swart didn't stand a chance.

It cost me most of my invasion force, leaving me with 7 legions, but it's worth it. The military victory alone boosted my reputation and tanked his, making it that much easier to Finlandize the galaxy.

Next, I reviewed Llythl's local power balance.

Wrong capitalization seems to be rampant in my TRS-80 misadventures.

Once you control a planet, you have a selection of ten policies which affect the local power balance as well as your galactic reputation with the factions. Some policies also affect your ability to build, tax, and recruit. If a planet's power balance was friendly to your rival and you don't do anything to change it, then control will probably revert back to them when you leave, so the first order of business is to make sure this doesn't happen! Understanding the numbers game here makes the game so much easier that the manual actually encourages not fussing over them, but I think we all know I don't play that. WGS already made a chart detailing the result of each policy, so I won't replicate it here.

To find out your sway over a planet, take each faction and multiply your reputation by their local power, and then add the five products.

Doing this for everyone, we get:

Manufacturer Military Peasant Trader Government
Llythll 30 20 0 40 10

Du Buque 10 88 3 65 0
Tawala 0 50 70 -40 90
Jan Swart 74 -10 -20 93 -26

Local support Total
Du Buque 300 1700 0 2600 0 4600
Tawala 0 1000 0 -1600 900 300
Jan Swart 2220 -200 0 3720 -260 5480

The rule for who holds power in the absence of a conquering army is that if nobody has over 4000 points, nobody has control. If anyone does, then whoever has the most points is in control. Swart leads with 5480, so I reviewed my options to see what would put him behind and me ahead.

I could try to hurt his lead with the traders by implementing anti-trading policy, but the traders like me too, so perhaps there's a better way. As it turns out, the Land Reform policy is perfect. It hurts manufacturers, which favor Swart, and helps peasants, who hate him. This does help Tawala, who is favored by peasants, but not nearly enough.

Manufacturer Military Peasant Trader Government
Llythll 20 20 20 40 10

Du Buque 7 88 8
65 0
Tawala 0 50 70 -40 90
Jan Swart 74 -10 -20 93 -26

Local support

Du Buque 140 1760 160 2600 0 4540
Tawala 0 1000 1400 -1600 900 1700
Jan Swart 1480 -200 -400 3720 -260 4340

Llythll flipped to me.

I then implemented a few more policies to enhance my galactic reputation in the hopes of flipping some more planets.

  • Reduce tariffs - Favored by peasants and traders, disliked by manufacturers and government.
  • Cut government - Favored by manufacturers, peasants, and traders. Disliked by government.
  • Workers' health - Favored by peasants and government, disliked by manufacturers and traders.
  • Abolish draft - Favored by peasants and traders, disliked by military.
  • Lower taxes -  Favored by manufacturers, peasants, and traders. Disliked by military and government. Weirdly, this policy lowers your tax collections on all planets, not just the one where you enacted it. You can only do this so many times.


Cutting government and lowering taxes are pretty much the best thing you can do for your reputation. Everyone likes this except for the army, which starts off high and can be impressed through conquest, and the bureaucrats, who are nearly unpleasable anyway. Net result was +28 reputation with peasants, +15 reputation with traders, +1 reputation with manufacturers, -8 reputation with military, and -10 reputation with government.

Sure enough, some worlds flipped without me needing to be there. Zoe, Eventide, and Viejo were mine, expanding my empire to five worlds, yielding 1,000 credits at my reduced tax rate. I bought 60 arms packages, more than replacing what I had lost but not quite enough to take on Tawala, and moved on to Yang-Tzu, where I finished off Swart's last stronghold.

I enacted the same policies as before, except this time I raised taxes. This time, I figured, I needed the cash to fight Tawala. My standings with peasants improved quite a bit, more than enough to make up for the hit taken with the fickle manufacturers. Even my reputation with the traders saw a net gain.


More worlds flipped; Ootsi and Kgotla paid me their taxes, giving me 2,400 credits to fight Tawala with, and I spent every penny on arms, giving me enough to equip 131 legions. I headed straight to Galactica, where I beat Tawala's army.

It wasn't even close.


The usual rounds of policies neutered Galactica's overbearing bureaucracy, and curried favor with peasants and traders.

Bok, Alhambra, Farside, and Moonsweep all joined. Only five worlds remained to conquer, all of them strong with the government.

I moved to Twyrx, destroyed token resistance, and after land reform and cutting government, there wasn't really anything else worth doing; my reputation with the peasants and traders could be raised almost no further, and anything that pleased one of the other three factions would piss off at least two others.

Javiny and Utopia joined next. Only Tawala's Drassa 2 and independent Novena remained.

I went to Drassa 2, destroyed Tawala's token resistance, and reduced tariffs to loosen the bureaucrats' influence and solidify my dominance. Utopia and Farside rebelled, but a quick visit to each to humble their bureaucrats and manufacturers with corrective policy fixed that.


GAB rating: Below Average. Unlike Galactic Trader, Galactic Revolution isn't totally broken, and has some interesting ideas, but it's unsatisfying as a singleplayer game. The AI puts up no resistance apart from passive defense, and spreading influence is just an optimization puzzle once you understand how the numbers work.

There is a multiplayer mode, which neither WGS nor I had the chance to try, but I honestly can't see it adding all that much. The only means of interacting with other players is through planetary conquest, which offers far less depth than the superficially-similar Galaxy (or Carlston's own Galactic Empire for that matter) given the near removal of logistics and impossibility of attacking more than one planet per turn, and the challenge of balancing/optimizing your influence in the galaxy is done without the other players' active competition. I suspect that in a two-player game, whoever attacks first wins (provided the attack is successful), while a three-player game discourages aggression, as attacking the second player means the third may finish off the weakened victor.


  1. Finlandize should be lowercase. It's not a proper noun. :P

    For those who don't know, finlandization comes from the behavior of Finland kneeling before the Soviet Union during the Cold War. The communists weren't even asking Finland to kowtow; the Finns were doing it themselves, of their own volition.

    1. It's derived from a proper noun, and the connection to Finland is well understood (as opposed to the word italicize whose connection to Italy is obscure). I've always seen it capitalized. Wikipedia, for instance.

  2. For the record, my recommendation was "You should give a chance to Galactic Revolution. I find it pretty fun... and extremely easy."
    Looking backing, rather than "fun" I should have said "interesting". It was really creative and original... it just did not work.

    "Space travel in Galactic Revolution now takes one turn no matter where you are going, and your entire armada follows, unless you choose to leave behind a blockade, which isn't an option in singleplayer."

    It is worse than this. Your entire armada is at the same time with you and defending every single of your world during the other players turn.
    This is one of the reasons why the game is so easy. if you had to actually spread your forces between attack and defense, you could not win in two decisive battle (one against Swart, one against Tawala) : you would take one poorly defended world by turn and the opposition could take two of yours.

    Indeed we had discussed about doing a multiplayer game, but it did not hapen, and looking backward, it cannot be that fun.

  3. Hey I've really been enjoying your blog. I was reading the Wizardry articles but I'm not sure if you'll read the comments on old articles so I posted here.

    How do you create new disk files using AppleWin? The only method I've found is to just copy and paste an existing scenario disk and rename it but I don't know how to create one from scratch. You said in the articles that you can do it with AppleWin.

  4. Also, where can I find the WOZ files for Wizardrys 2 and 3? I downloaded the hacked version of Wiz1 you made. Thanks for that. I noticed that the items in Boltacs differ slightly between your version and the previous one I was using.

    1. FYI, I see comments on old articles just fine.

      To make a new disk file in AppleWin, click the disk drive button as if you were loading an image, but instead of opening a file, type in "newdisk.dsk" or whatever. A new disk file will be created with that name and mounted to the drive.

      Wizardry WOZ files may be downloaded from the Woz-A-Day collection.


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