Galactic Civilizations II: Dread Lords (commonly GalCiv II or GalCiv2) is a 4X turn-based strategy by Stardock for Microsoft Windows. It is the sequel to the original Galactic Civilizations (in turn based on the OS/2 games Galactic Civilizations and Galactic Civilizations 2), and was released at retail and on Stardock's online subscription service, TotalGaming.net, on February 21, 2006. An expansion, Dark Avatar, was released in February 2007. A second expansion, Twilight of the Arnor, was released in April 2008.
GalCiv II is set in the 23rd century, when multiple alien civilizations, including Terrans, scramble to conquer the galaxy, planet by planet, by force, diplomacy, influence (culture), or technology. GalCiv II focuses on the single player experience that consists of a Campaign mode and a "Sandbox" mode, and omits multiplayer. The game is notable for its artificial intelligence, which is challenging without being given resources and abilities not available to the player, as is common in the majority of strategy games. The game was a modest commercial success, and it was received favorably by critics, winning multiple Editor's Choice awards. Stardock also opted for a rather unusual distribution strategy that lacks copy prevention, and allowed for extensive modding by the community.