If you are unable to activate or register the game (via SDC, or after installing the latest patch), you're likely encountering one of a few common problems.1) Your game came with NO serials at all.
There have been some reports of legitimate retail copies of the game not coming with a serial key at all. If you are sure your copy is legitimate and it did not come with ANY serials, contact email@example.com.
2) You're using the wrong serial.
This is a simple but common mistake. The Collector's/Limited Editions of the game normally include two serial keys (one for the game, one to unlock the special extra content). Be sure you're not trying to register with the CE serial (the one that begins with GC2). Use the other one which consist of 28 letters/numbers (A-F and 0-9 ONLY) with no dashes.
3) You bought a used copy of the game.
If you (intentionally or not) bought a used copy of the game, you may receive a message when attempting to register/activate to the effect of the serial already being in use, or your email address not matching the one the game was originally registered with. Stardock will not remove an activated serial from the original owner's account and give it to you.
You have a few options in this case. You can:
- Keep the game and stick with the 1.0 version on the disc.
- Return the game to the place of purchase. Some retailers still accept returns, especially if they resold to you a returned copy that the original owner has effectively pirated (resale is prohibited by the EULA).
- Contact stardock support (firstname.lastname@example.org) and ask about pruchasing a new serial code at reduced cost.
4) You bought the European Limited Edition.
Some copies of the Limited Edition of the game distributed in Europe were shipped with only the code to unlock the special Ltd. content, (beginning with GC2) and not an actual game serial. You can request a game serial by providing your Limited/Collector's Edition serial and email address on this form: http://galciv2.com/paradox/index.aspx
5) You bought the US Collector's or Standard Edition in June or later.
There have been several production runs that shipped to retail in the US without the correct keys. Some Collector's Editions shipped to WalMart and Fred Meyers included two CE keys (beginning with GC2-), but no game serial. Some Standard Editions have shipped to Best Buy and other retailers with a single CE key and nothing else.
In either case, please first try inputting your serial and email address on the European serial exchange page, which has been updated to include most of the serials from these production runs: http://galciv2.com/paradox/index.aspx
. If that does not work, please contact email@example.com with your problem and they will provide you a game serial to use.
Please keep in mind they can only answer during business hours, so if you contact them on a weekend you will not receive a [human] reply until Monday at the soonest. You should receive an automated reply immediately upon receipt of your email, though (check that it is not filtered by any spam protection you have in place). If you do not receive an automated reply, your own message was likely stopped by Stardock's spam filters, so you will obviously never get a reply to that particular message! If all else fails, try getting on Stardock Central's Chat and speaking with an employee directly during business hours (IRC users: irc.stardock.com, channel #Stardock or #GalCiv).6) You bought a pirate/bootleg copy of the game.
Despite our best efforts, sellers on eBay and elsewhere continue to sell bootleg copies of GC2. There are usually many tell-tale signs that these copies are not legitimate which become obvious once you receive them: poorly printed disc art, cheap-looking packaging, missing documentation, etc. Most of these copies claim to be used "Import Version" games, and the sellers claim that documentation is excluded because it is not in English. If these copies contain a serial key at all, they are generally already registered or just random gibberish.
In any case, there is no support for users of pirate/bootleg copies. If you purchased them through eBay, you may be able to file a claim and get your money back, but there are no guarantees. If you wish to own the game with updates and support, you must purchase a legitimate copy, which will entitle you to your own serial key and all the associated benefits.