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Dix

Question for any Space 4x fans - Distant Worlds, or any others any good?

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'Lo all - humble request for some advice, if i may!

I've been addicted to 4x games since I first innocently installed Master of Orion, but like many I've struggled to find anything which matches MOO1&2. There's been good games, but nothing which really scratched the all of the itches :rolleyes:.

I've just come across Distant Worlds, and given it's price would like to ask if anyone has tried it before I risk splashing out on it. It sounds very promising, though, and has a LOT of glowing reviews.

Or if there are any other recommendations? I've already tried:

Endless Space (fun until the combat, that was a game-breaker for me)

Sword of the Stars (having to research the languages was a nice touch, but somehow each play-through felt identical)

Galactic Civilizations 1&2 - very good, although i wish battles were more tactical

Space Empires IV

MOO3 (uh, yeah. Moving on.)

Haegemonia Gold Edition (good fun)

Imperium Galactica 1&2 (some of my favourites, especially the first due to the way you progress from a lowly lieutenant responsible for a handful of bombed-out worlds to the hope of the empire.)

Pax Imperia: Eminent Domain (also known as how to turtle in space)

Star Trek: Birth of the Federation (it was interesting to send a fleet of Enterprises to annihilate all who stand in the way of peace and progress :))

Fragile Allegiance (good, but HARD. Has a lot of nice features that I haven't really seen since then, like managers sabotaging your operations if you fire them and forget to keep them under guard until a trader arrives to ship them back to earth, black market information deals with trader captains, and disgruntled employees nicking your latest and greatest spaceship to go pirate with. The diplomatic model was fun, due every ambassador being voice-acted with distinct personalities.)

Ascendancy fun, and has re-appeared for ipad now

Supremacy

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@Victorix58 - I've seen it, haven't tried it - I was under the impression it was still in the early stages & hadn't realised it was a decade old now. I may have been taken in by the 0.48 version number!

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i rather like endless spaces combat, but... doesn't it have an auto resolve so you can bypass it if you don't like it?

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I'm still a fan of Sins of A Solar Empire Rebellion. Its a bit light on 4x elements and a bit heavier on combat but it's great especially for multiplayer games. Nothing like TEC loyalist and Vasari Rebels teamed up. Ultimate defense and attack wherever I damn well please.

But back to the topic, what exactly is Distant Worlds, I've never even heard of it?

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I only watched Let’s Plays for Distant Worlds but from what I can tell, the game isn’t for everyone.

There are several elements which make a unprofessional impression, like the sound effects, the “windows skin” scrollbar and the slow build-up of the windows. Put what’s the biggest problem for me is that it’s designed in a way that you don’t take total control. It’s not like you are flying around like in GalCiv2 or Master of Orion and have that great feeling of “Cool! I just found a Gaia Planet, this will be my new Food Production Central!”.

In Distant Worlds you can automate a lot of things. Actually you can automate everything if you want to. Now apparently lots of people like this. But I am a perfectionist. When playing 4X games I never use the automatic governor, I place everything manually, I want total control. And while you can play Distant Worlds that way too, it’s quite apparent that it’s not designed to be played that way.

The same goes for Stardrive btw. Just that Stardrive is far less complex and is even considered to be unfinished.

Anyhow I have one game I can recommend: Armada 2526 Gold which also happens to be 70% off on steam at the moment:

http://store.steampowered.com/app/229970

The one big thing which might not be very “intuitive” here is that you basically play for points. You can create huge universes, conquering everything is unrealistic. From what I know there is also no other “victory condition”. But you can set up a turn limit at the start of the game, and the race with the highest amount of points wins. But every race has other ways to generate points. So a warmonger race might need to stay in combat to generate victory points. And if I remember right there is a plant-like faction which gets points for “spreading” as much as possible and so on.

This seems very gamey, however the game is nothing like a board game. The other mechanics are pretty much like in games like Master of Orion. The game itself is turnbased. Combats however are fought in realtime. Unfortunately they are plain cut out in multiplayer so I can’t judge them.

Exploration is quite fun, different types of planets, nicely done graphics, extremely huge universe, tons of races, and the one or another game mechanic which felt really nice. I think the population and tourism mechanics were quite good in that game.

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MOO2 was the best ever though dated now. The most recent I like was SOTS. SOTS II, is OK, but buggy. Space Empires IV was very good, but V was just too buggy. I'd say as far as deep 4x goes, SE4 is your best bet.

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How about a completely different idea:

<boardgame propaganda on>

Eclipse.

Space x4 but in a boardgame edition. There is nothing like having live opponents to challenge. Well maybe nothing, except live opponents sitting right in front of you. Nothing beats betraying your best friend and changing alliances whilst deploying your newly designed plasma missiles. :P

Gather your friends round and get a hold on Eclipse, especially with the add-on if possible. (Depending on where you live there are places where you can loan out boardgames... or find your local game associations, boardgamers usually accept newcommers with open hands)

http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/72125/eclipse

<boardgame propaganda off>

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Thanks for your suggestions, everyone!

@Gorlom - yeah, it was more the fact it effectively auto-resolves anyway, limits you to 5 ships only per pass, and allows for no glorious last stands/utter annihilation of outnumbered enemy fleets. I like grand space battles of massive fleets, where I can control my fleet (ie, tactical battles). Having 27 ships orbiting a planet and still taking 4+ turns to deal with a measly 9 enemy ships was frustrating, given equal tech.

@Koradnor - the idea of being able to automate mundane things actually sounds interesting, especially at the map sizes they talk about. Although, MOO3 tried the same thing, & was not really successful. I like the idea of being able to build a massive empire, set it to run itself for a while and go gallivanting with my Emperor's Own personal fleet..

Armada 2046 I've heard of before, never tried it, but given the price, worth a try - thanks for the head's up.

@IrishGuy117 - I tried the original SOTS, somehow it never really grabbed me. But i do have to admit the battles in Rebellion look mighty tasty..

@StellarRat - yeah, the first two MOO games are kinda the X-Com of space empire 4x's. SE4 was fun, i may have to reinstall it one of these days, but am looking for a new experience (the 4x Xenonauts equivalent to the original MOO - I can dream!)

@Theron Grayjoy - you're assuming I have any friends! :(. Actually, we've started a weekly gaming session, and several of us enjoy in-depth empire builders to go with the light stuff (love-letter is great fun for a quick game, and easy+fun for non-gamers to play), so I'll see if i can pick up a set. Cheers!

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How the hell can every game in SOTS be the same? The game has a lot of randomness, including in the techtree.

And has the best space battles in any 4X period.

SHAMELESS SELF-PLUG:

BTW, if you just want some human supremacy, you can try my mod for SOTS.

http://www.kerberos-productions.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=6945

Because battleships!

cutter2g.jpg

and DAKKA!

dnproject2dl3.png

Other races get some goodies too:

sotsdrones.jpg

Edited by TrashMan

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TBH, I'm not really sure, Trashman. SoTS has a lot cool ideas that i really like, like the languages needing research, races that are actually different from each other (drives, tactics, technology, etc), game customization, so on. Battles look good, control nicely, and have a lot of options. And I enjoyed it, just - somehow every game seemed to play out the same way when i played as that race - same tactics, sane counters to enemy x, etc. No individual game ever stuck out in my memory.

In contrast I can still remember a game of MOO2 where I controlled a smallish empire (the stealth race), with a strong but small navy. There were two other minor empires left, allied with each other & who were at war with me, and the Silicoid empire, who controlled 3/4 of the map, were spamming dreadstars like there was no tomorrow, and were systematically wiping out both of them. The next turn, both minor empires surrendered themselves to me out of the blue, the Silicoids launched a surprise attack with every ship they had, which failed but at heavy cost to both our fleets, the Antaran's attacked my now weakened homeworld, and the Silcoids convened the galactic council, declaring themselves the supreme rulers of the universe.

I'm not hating on SoTS - it is a good game, and i really want to like it more than i do. It just.. never really felt epic, somehow.

..Because Battleships! is always a compelling argument, though - ranks right up there with "me and MY army" :) . I'll give your mod a look

Edited by Dix

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If you do play SOTS, play it on higher difficulties. THE AI starts getting nasty.

SOTS2 is also good now that it's patched.

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Space Empires 4 and Space Empires 5 are my two favorites. Really, they are the standard to which modern Space 4x's should be held to. Not as messy as MOO2 in interface, lots of ship parts customization, etc. Those games have it all. You can get them on Steam, I actually have SE5 on disc. For real. But, big but, SE5 only works for me on WinXP. Runs super slow on newer OS's. I am lucky to still have my older 2.5GHz dual-core gaming rig still running with XP Pro and a 9500GT, mid-grade card for it's day. SE4 oddly runs well on even modern PC's. It might be stretched a little at certain resolutions at it was made for 1024x768, but it's still fun.

Seriously. If you have not played SE4 or SE5, you do not know what space 4x games really are. Cannot say it enough, out of all the games that attempted to be a space 4x that I tried (my list is much larger than yours) I have to say SE4 is what should be in the dictionary as a description of what a space 4x should try to be.

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@tb87670 - thanks for the suggestion. SE4 is already on my list, and I played SE3 before it (there's probably a few others I've forgotten, along with where I put my dentures - old age for you! :)), it is a good game. Never tried SE5, though - I'd heard it wasn't as good as the preceding games, and as my gaming time is limited these days I have to be picky.

Edit:

Just discovered I somehow missed the announcement for Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth. Given the depth of the original Alpha Centauri, I've got high hopes for that.

Edited by Dix

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Dix - If you want more of a CIV/Alpha Centauri type game you might give Pandora a look. It's an updated game in the spirit of Alpha Centauri.

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Pandora's not bad...the developers seem to be putting in a serious effort with a rather substantial recent update. Map's pretty and there's a randomness to tech development that keeps things interesting. I also like Endless Space - very interesting factions and a great UI.

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@StellarRat - thanks - I enjoy 4x games whether land or space based (the original Civ on DOS was a time eater when back i was a kid). I've added Pandora to my list, just waiting for a sale :).

@CB1 - Endless Space, um.. I really liked that game, except for the combat. That was the deal-breaker for me.

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@Dix - Oh, I rather like the card game/movie...though admittedly it's not much of a tactical challenge. It is fun if you turn on the 'fighter cam'.

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I didn't mind the movie bit so much - GalCiv 2 had the same thing - although i much prefer turn based or real-time-pause. It was the fact that I had no control over how long each battle lasted (no retreat or pursuit), and worse, how many ships i could send to each battle. Taking 4 or more turns to wipe out a lower-tech enemy armada that I outnumbered because I could only fight 1 to 1, was simply frustrating.

It turned most major battles, and many minor, into a repeating grind, and sent battlefield tactics out the window.

Still, I know a lot of people enjoyed it, & if you're one of those happy folks, it's all good :).

(I probably lack the subtlety to appreciate it's finely-tuned mechanics :P)

Edited by Dix

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I've got chance to try Distant worlds myself. As Kordanor said, it's not for everyone.

Critics first: >4GB memory or prepare for constant crashes. Interface and graphics are very... uncommon. Some design desicions are questionable.

But then you realize you've been playing for 5 hours straight, ships are many, managers are helpful, and graphics aren't that bad especially when you are dealing with battles.

It's a large scale 4X, when you'll spend much more on the economy planning, strategical decisions and global oversight than micromanaging every ship in every battle. There are lot of interesting choices to do, but rather than "What cannons should this ship have" it's "Where i should build deep space scanning station to spy for one empire and avoid provoking the other" kind of choices.

I haven't seen a global 4X game more detailed and thought-through. Still it'd be great to try before buying.

Also, Dix, if the weird graphics don't bother you, i'd highly recommend AI War from Arcen Games. Very interesting idea, progressive difficulty, challenging gameplay, nice balance and lots of things to discover.

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Also, Dix, if the weird graphics don't bother you, i'd highly recommend AI War from Arcen Games. Very interesting idea, progressive difficulty, challenging gameplay, nice balance and lots of things to discover.

AI War is definitely a quirky game - but one I don't regret buying partly because Arcen has put so much effort into updating it even after several years. Nice sound track too.

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But then you realize you've been playing for 5 hours straight..

Hehe - sounds perfect!

I've played AI war before - fun, & hectic

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Hehe - sounds perfect!

I've played AI war before - fun, & hectic

Yeah the Deepth of the game is a definite plus for me.

Not everyone will like it but i do.

Also i really like that it portrays multiple races in a good way.

When you conquer and assimilate other races they actually give you a percentage of their race bonus. The more you have the larger the percentage. But you have to be very carefull if you declare war on the empire that has the race as their primary race, because then you will get quite some revolts.

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Yeah, Distant Worlds is a bit of an aquired taste, I like it a lot, you have a living economy for one, for another there are quite a few ways of making cash, but chief of them all is to protect your civilians, unless you go corporate nationalism, but that is an special case and not a good idea in the long term.

it is an engaging, difficult game, that makes you feel like you are at the head of an empire, that is something no other game has thus far managed to emulate, in my opinion and ,by that alone, should be enough to give it a shot. it is a bit pricey, so I recommend you watch a few let's play before committing.

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