This bug has a definitive effect on gameplay! Just a few days ago, I started a new game and was about 20 minutes into the game when the game crashed while I was designing a new faster colony ship. Once I got back to the game, I designed the ship and bought one, which should have appeared next turn but due to this bug, didn't. Once I got my ship, I sent it towards an uninhabited class 15 planet a few sectors away. When the ship got close to the planet, I saw a Torian colony ship with a movement of 3 sitting 1 square from the planet, while my ship with a movement of 5 was 3 squares away. The Torians of course got the planet, but since their ship was slower and the Torians were further away, I'm sure that the ship was already en route when the game crashed. So the extra turn of movement that ship got versus my lost turn in production caused me to lose a very important planet, because the game crashed!
After that, I got extremly angry with the game, quit, played a few rounds of One Must Fall 2097 ( a great stress reliever
), and started a new game of CIV4, which still holds the crown of Best Strategy Game Ever!
I've practially stopped playing GC2 because of this save game bug, I'll only play if I can spend at least 3-4 hours with it. Unfortunately the game still might crash every now and then, but most of the time I'll accept my losses and continue, but I have quit a few games because this bug caused me to lose a planet because that colony ship or defender wasn't there when it was supposed to be. I really have sometimes won a battle, have the game crash shortly after, and then lose that battle because the enemy got there one turn too soon...