So I decided to check out Stellaris.
Boy am I glad I did. Though it's technically real-time, it's kind of pseudo-turn-based, in that everything seems to occur in increments of in-game months. It's kind of slow-paced, but I like that. I love the artwork for the aliens, and it gives a real sense of variety to the game. The species creation options are really interesting. I'm not completely sold on all of the mechanics but I do like a lot of the ideas. The political aspect of the game is something I could see descending into tedious micromanagement, but I've actually found it to be interesting, especially between various in-game projects completing. It's nice to see "leaders" be something that's dynamic and different species having different lifetimes is an interesting aspect to the game. I've just started out so I haven't even gotten to the "cooler" stuff in the game yet.
The game is engaging, and interesting and is one of the few space strategy games that has the sort of "feel" I've wanted to go for. Though I'm not 100% for all the choices they made, I do like that they made the machine species just so different form the organic species and allow you to have a lot of variety there. Really a lot of variety in both, and some really creative choices. You not only have competing empires, but other types of species to interact with as well. You have "primitive" natives, with actually different options for how to interact with them for different technological levels. With options like technological uplift, infiltration or even literally playing god.
Since everything is monthly and elections happen every 10 years at most, they aren't too big of a disruption. The factions are interesting, and it so-far hasn't been too much trouble to keep undesirable factions from assuming power. Even in that, there are choices at the beginning of the game to make that easier, or even more interesting. Mind you, you can also have non-democratic systems, which simply mean dealing with new leaders at a different frequency (bit still a similar mechanic). The most different being an "Imperial" system, which is a pretty classic space-monarchy, with an established line of succession. And hive-minds and machine intelligences eschew that entirely.
As I mentioned in another post, with a couple of mods, I was able to create most of the Free Orion species in the game, or at least general approximations thereof. Although as far a lore vs. mechanics, I usually went with whichever option seemed more interesting. Especially since the game doesn't work the same, so I tried to extrapolate what they are supposed to do. So Abbadoni are technically a machine species, as machine intelligences are different from organic ones int he game, while the organic population are "bio trophies" with "mandatory pampering" as an example.
Talk about strategy games like MoO series, Civilization, Europa Universalis, etc.
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