Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds is a real-time strategy game released in 2001 for PC. There’s a follow-up expansion pack titled Clone Campaigns that was released a year later, and together this set is known as Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds Saga.
The game is based on the Genie engine, the same game engine that powers Age of Empires and Age of Empires II. As a result, the game functions similarly but still introduces a lot of unique features, since a lot of the units in SWGB use ranged attacks or flight.
This game was released to roughly coincide with the premiere of the 2002 Star Wars blockbuster Attack of the Clones. As such, a chunk of the campaign story line revolves around characters and situations from the movie, but a good portion is also dedicated to the original trilogy and The Phantom Menace.
In this guide, we’ll go over the gameplay features of Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds, as well as where to purchase it, how to play it on a modern PC, and use multiplayer to play online with friends or strangers.
There are eight different single player campaigns, with one of those mostly being an introduction to the game and how to control units, complete objectives, etc. Each campaign has you controlling a different civilization, all of which have unique units and skins. The civilizations are Confederacy, Galactic Empire, Republic, Royal Naboo, Trade Federation, Wookiees, Rebel Alliance, and Gungans.
Additionally, you can play a “standard game” which pits you against the computer on a map of your choosing. You also get to select the game type, amount of resources, how many AI to play against or team up with, etc. These are the same settings you will configure if you choose to play online multiplayer.
It’s also possible to create and play custom campaigns and scenarios. Campaigns are single player and usually follow some sort of story line with objectives that need completed. Scenarios are just the “standard games” mentioned above, but with greater customization, such as building a map from scratch or starting with additional units and things like that. All this is provided from within the game scenario editor. Websites like Heaven Games house a lot of custom content that players have created to share with others.
SWGB goes heavy on the lore. There are cutscenes at the beginning of each campaign to introduce story lines, along with audio recordings that play throughout campaigns to help progress the narrative. There’s also a “DataBank” accessible from the main menu that goes into detail about each civilization, planet, character, and pretty much anything else that’s featured in the game. There’s also some nifty concept art.
Where to Purchase
Original copies of Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds continue to become scarce and overpriced. Online retailers like Good Old Games and Steam sell downloadable copies of the game which come bundled with the expansion.
Presumably, these online copies contain at least some level of optimization to install and run on a modern system. We’ve downloaded the GOG version and had good success with it on Windows 10. No extra configuration or tinkering was needed.
Things to Know
No HD version of the game exists. The maximum resolution offered is 1280×1024, which doesn’t look terrible on a modern monitor.
Your mileage may vary, but adjusting the sound settings had no effect for us. If the volume of your game is too low or high, you may have to adjust the volume in Windows.
Right after the game launches, you can press the escape key twice to skip the two cinematic intros and go straight to the main menu.
To minimize the game, you can use the Windows key.
How to Play Online
The recommended method for playing Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds online with friends or random players is GameRanger. If you’ve never used that program, you can check out our guide on how to play old multiplayer PC games online with GameRanger.
Creating a VPN is another option, if you only want to play with friends. The process is more involved than using GameRanger and a lot more difficult for most users.
Of course, SWGB has a built-in way to play multiplayer by specifying the IP address of a host running the game. This is the least recommended approach, as it relies on obsolete methods that don’t translate well to today’s hardware. Usually you’ll find yourself forwarding ports on your router, disabling the OS firewall, and fiddling with other settings to get it to work. If you’re still determined to proceed with that method, the ports used by SWGB are:
- 47624 TCP
- 2300-2400 TCP
- 2300-2400 UDP
During a game, press Enter on your keyboard and type the following phrases to activate its associated cheat:
- darkside(1-8) – Destroy an indicated enemy
- forceboat – Spawn an invisible ship
- forcebuild – Instant construction & research
- forcecarbon – Give yourself 1000 carbon
- forcefood – Give yourself 1000 food
- forceexplore – Reveal entire map
- forcenova – Give yourself 1000 nova crystals
- forceore – Give yourself 1000 ore
- forcesight – Remove fog of war
- galactic upheaval – Spawn a decimator
- imperial entanglements – Spawn a Star Destroyer
- scaryneighbor – Spawn a speed boat
- simonsays – Spawn a killer Ewok
- skywalker – Instantly win
- tarkin – Destroys all enemies
- that’s no moon – Spawn an overpowered Death Star
If you’re a fan of Star Wars or Age of Empires (or both), you’ll have a great time with this game. Hopefully our guide has covered everything you need to know. If we’ve missed something or you’d like to share your own experiences with the game, please comment below.