I feel the same as a lot of others here. Fan since GalCiv1, but unhappy how the Demigod thing went (and yes, I'm aware they weren't the developer). Sins of a Solar Empire went pretty well. Elemental didn't interest me (never liked the art style), so it was the first game with Stardock's name on the title I didn't buy, and I have to say, I'm happy I made that decision. Somewhere in there they also sold Impulse off, and embraced Steam, which was just peculiar, although I suspect the simple reason it was done was because Impulse just wasn't making them any money.
So a few years back I would've jumped on this preorder, but now I think I have to use all my might to not do it. The $100 deal is a no brainer...I can't spend that much up front without knowing more about what expansions they plan to release. The $40 one? Eh, for $10 savings I can afford to wait to hear what the buzz is based on alpha and beta feedback. With the sales places like Green Man Gaming offer on preorders these days, I'm likely to get close to at least $10 off right before release.
As for playing the alphas and betas...well, I always think I'm going to play the heck out of that stuff, but I usually don't. It's nice for those that do, but for the most part, I don't like working for free. Oh wait...in this case, PAYING to work.
Yes, it will be quite a while before I get to play GalCiv3, but there are so many games to choose from these days, so I can afford to be patient.