Well, I wonder if this is the same Dave Stern who edited my novel, "The Flying Man" about ten years ago? What a nice coincidence that would be.
But my main reason for replying is to comment on the concern about having Jon Shafer touch Gal Civ: if he is really is the fellow responsible for the dilution of Civilization, please don't let him do that to the Gal Civ series. I say that as a real x4 TBS fan, who stumbled onto Gal Civ 2 as the first TBS game to pull me away from Sid Meier's Civilization series. I've played the Civilization series through Civilization 3 Conquests, which I still play (modded to tweak out the Corruption issues that were never fixed by the developers). I played Civ IV, the one one Mr. Shafer might have had a hand in, and was so dismally disappointed: the game was dumbed down to work on consoles and attract shallow players. Important gameplay features were dumped, choices became more limited, the unpredictability of battle outcomes was reduced, the game lost its sense of humor, and the graphics were muddy and clumsy. In Civilizations 3 I could create games that would last weeks and test my abilities, but not Civ 4. Civ 3 was like a great indie movie;,while Civ 4 was like some Hollywood committee movie, watered down for the masses. And the masses aren't a loyal audience.
I'm new to Gal Civ2, but am very impressed with the creator's vision, philosophy, and execution, bringing this absorbing and details-available strategy game to us under-estimated group of serious TBS players. I hope the franchise keeps showing its respect for this audience, by not reducing by one iota the amount of choice and detail Gal Civ offers in future iterations. And if Gal Civ 2 is done as a series, I hope the next TBS game offered by this company provides the same richness of player involvement as Gal Civ.
Anyway, thanks for Gal Civ 2 and all its expansions: this has been a pleasure for me to find, after the several hundted games of Civ 3 modded I've played.