November 9th, 2015

Hours played: like 9 I think (Steam dun goofed)
Last played: November 8

Endless Space: There is ONLY WAR– except when there isn’t

Like its terrestrial based cousin, Endless Space is a 4X game by Amplitude; Endless Space has tons of character, great artwork, and a badass level of scale that really pulls everything together in a nice package.

Also like almost every other 4X game I’ve played it’s obtuse and it makes me cry. Jokes aside, I do really like the 4X genre… But for some reason I seem to have poor luck with them. Even when I seemingly do everything right, something goes wrong. But, such is life- right? As a wise Space Captain once said,

It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose. That is not a weakness; that is life.”

I feel like that sums up my time so far with Endless Space. Except the mistakes part, I’m sure I made a lot of those. And while losing isn’t a bad thing, it’s certainly a bitter pill to swallow. Especially when you’re boxed into the eastern arm of a spiral galaxy and one hundred fifty galactic years of bitter and vicious war only let you expand your borders by one system, because the giant Space Amoebas swoop in and steal your hard fought systems out from under you with their super stupid advanced technology… But that’s for later… Single celled douchebags…

I’ve played four games of endless space, and finished… one. Great track record, right? But I feel like I’ve had a taste of what this game offers, and I definitely want more. I just need to figure out what I’m doing first.

So how’s this sound: I will recount my various experiences with the game and let you decide if it’s right for you, okay?

My first game of Endless Space went like this.

Oh God, I can’t read any of this text on my TV!” (I play most games on a 42” television I use as my monitor)

This is giving me a headache trying read this.”

“Wow this is a long tutorial! And this text is like two pixels high!”

So after that I turned it off and didn’t play for… like a year. I recently picked it up this last week, because some friends and I are playing a weekly Endless Legend game, and I was itching for a turn based fix while I waited for our weekly meet up.
In the past week I have played three games, with the hopes of just sitting down for a casual game of galactic domination, whether it be through war, diplomacy, or colonization.

This game is anything but casual. I can tell you that…

My second-first game began with me playing as the Sowers, a race of robots programmed to go out and colonize/terraform the galaxy. So I was stoked to go out and make the galaxy into a massive Garden of Eden; My plans were derailed very quickly.

Here’s what happened:

I started on a southwestern arm of the galaxy, I explored the various star systems around my home system and began to colonize the various planets orbiting said stars. I quickly realized I was confined to the “constellation” of stars that made up the arm I was on, and would require better technology to make the jump the center of the galaxy. This never happened.

While I was minding my own business colonizing the fifteen or so planets I had in my reach, another faction decided to investigate my portion of the galaxy. They started rolling up on all of my planets and I didn’t really like that; despite the fact that they weren’t doing anything other than snooping around. So I set up a blockade around one of my star systems trapping them in that particular solar system.

They weren’t a fan of this. Being a more powerful civilization than myself they did what any self respecting technologically advanced race would do and committed themselves to removing any trace of me.

Needless to say, my peaceful terraforming robots were ill equipped to handle the military might of “The Empire”.

And thus my hopes of a verdant galaxy died.

So I started over with a renewed resolve! They shot first and asked questions later, so this time I would I would take the fight to them! I picked the Sheredyn, a Human-esque faction and began my quest to conquer the galaxy!

This time the arm I started on was filled with very hot stars, or very cold ones. Meaning my worlds were arid and lifeless, or cold and lifeless. Making colonization a pain. I couldn’t really get myself going, and had to eek out an ‘empire’ on the few welcoming planets that existed in the small constellation I had.

By the time I was able to make the jump to the galactic core, which requires wormhole drives on your ships I found that the majority of the galaxy had been claimed. I was boxed in and in last place. I desperately tried to form alliances with various factions. Some were more welcoming than others. The main galactic superpower were “The Horatio”– a race of clones. They controlled most of the galaxy and while they liked me; it was clear they wanted to make sure I stayed in my place. My attempts at scouting for unclaimed star systems were met with lasers and missiles, and my pleas for peace and open borders were rebutted with comments on my appearance.

Apparently anything that doesn’t look like Horatio is “repulsive.” Jerks… or would it be jerk? they’re all the same guy after all…

Eventually I was consigned to my fate of just “getting by” out on a backwater arm of the galaxy. There wasn’t anything I could do, I was too far behind and few were willing to help. And those that were wanted something in return, which I couldn’t usually pay for. The only faction out there that would form an alliance with me were the Sophons, a traditional ‘Alien Grey’ esque race. Their strength is science, and I hoped that maybe they would help me research some tech that would give me an edge.

Nah, they just insulted my intelligence. But at least they gave me open borders…?

That’s discriminatory language used against underdeveloped planets!” is the only quote that comes to mind here.

So I stopped playing that game. I was demoralized. I wasn’t ‘fast’ enough, and the gulf in score between me and the other factions was enlarging exponentially as time went on.

So I started over.

This time there would be no half measures. If I wanted to win via the sword, I would become Death, the destroyer of worlds.

So I started over as the Cravers; a race of half Insect half machine bioweapons– literally made to kill. They’re not unlike the Necrophages in Endless Legend. This time I started on the eastern arm of the galaxy and while there were a lot of hostile worlds there were enough that I could colonize almost every solar system without much issue and then slowly colonize the more difficult planets as time went on.

Having learned my mistake from the last two games I rushed wormhole drives in the hopes of making it to the galaxy’s core before anyone else. Sadly this didn’t happen and I was again, boxed into my little eastern arm. But this time I had a plan, and it was to consume anything that wasn’t me. So I slowly colonized every planet in my constellation and built a military.

To the south were my neighbors, the Sheredyn. They too, like me, had been confined to their constellation by the “Amoeba” a race of giant sentient single celled douchebags organisms. There were two factions of Amoeba, Yellow and Pink. They had formed an alliance and were working together, seemingly from the start. The Yellow Amoeba controlled most of the galaxy, with the pink close behind. Making it incredibly difficult to break out of our constellations and into the core of the galaxy. I tried a few raids on Amoeba systems, but their fleets were too numerous, and my invasion forces were not strong enough. I had focused mostly on a navy and didn’t have the right kind of ships for sieging planets. The best I could do was blockade one of their systems and destroy any ships sent to unseat me. Eventually the blockade became too costly and I retreated back into my constellation.

Where I went to heal… and prepare…

After 128 galactic years as a space faring race I declared war on the Sheredyn and started sieging their solar systems. They weren’t very happy about this. So they called on their allies to fight alongside them. The Sophons came to their aid from the north. I was located between two enemy factions. and boxed in by an ambivalent wall that was the Amoeba.

I fought a war on two fronts protecting my capital system from the Sophons by blockading the surrounding systems, while also sieging the Sheredyn. Eventually I was able to take several of their worlds while also defending myself from the unending torrent of Sophon ships flying through deep space between our respective constellations.

All the while my people were happy, my colonies were flourishing, and I was slowly and viciously expanding my hold on the galaxy.

After a long and bloody invasion the first of the Sheredyn’s systems fell and then another… and another.

And then something strange happened. Out of deep space came the Amoeba. Faster than anything I had ever seen. They flew through the void as quickly as I could travel between stars.
They swooped in while the star systems I had taken were still considered ‘neutral’; not under the Sheredyn’s control but, also not fully converted to my empire.

They destroyed me without a second thought and took the worlds for themselves.

There wasn’t a damn thing I could do to stop them either. I was still able to keep one of the systems I had taken. And with that I controlled roughly 26% of the galaxy via the cultural influence my Empire created… but there was still a hole in my heart and an enemy to my north.

And so the war continued. Because to the Cravers there isn’t such a thing as peace. Only war and “not currently at war, yet”.

They’re not the diplomatic type.

And so I began to invade the Sophon’s arm. I thought it would be easy. I had destroyed countless numbers of their fleets, defeated every one of their heroes, and killed millions of their people. They couldn’t touch me. I destroyed them without breaking a sweat.

And so my invasion began. I was able to take one of their systems. But after taking it, they unveiled a super weapon. All the while I was destroying their paper thin ships, they had been watching. Learning. Waiting. They had developed a massive ship they called “Yotta”. It tore through my fleets like they were butter.

I fought the good fight. I was able to destroy their new ships here and there, but the victories were few and far between. It was hard to flee from them when I was very firmly within their territory. They drove me out of their neighborhood with extreme prejudice.

And so I rebuilt. Bigger, better, and with more lasers. Eventually I took another system, and then another… they were still able to put up a fight, but my new and improved fleets met their ‘super weapon’ head on.

Everything looked to be downhill from here. I was going to take the northern arm of the galaxy and then use the former Sophon empire to wage war into the center of the galaxy.

And then it happened, again.

The Amoeba came; like a bad dream they were upon me before I had time to react. They flew through space with such ease that it was impossible to retaliate. They destroyed all of my fleets, and took the systems for themselves.

I unseated the Sohpons, and the Amoeba took the spoils.

I was powerless.

One hundred fifty galactic years of war, all for naught. By the time the Amoeba had taken the systems from me the Yellow Amoeba had amassed such a vast and powerful economy that they had won the game via an ‘economic victory’. I was met with a message telling me that their economy was endless and unassailable. There was nothing out of their reach. They owned the galaxy.

My only hope was to go on as a faithful servant to my single celled overlords.

And here I thought it would be a nice relaxing exercise in galactic extermination…

Did I mention I was playing on normal?

Endless Space is a fun game, if an obtuse one. Although I felt like I was doing everything right, the AI was doing everything… right-er.

And when the final score screen was displayed the difference between what I had, and what the Amoeba had was vast. Their score was three times that of mine. My closest competitor, the Pilgrims, were almost double what I ended the game with.

32k points 24k points 18k points 10k points

It wasn’t a very satisfying conclusion to a five hour long game.

The worst part was that even if I continued playing, I had no hope of overcoming the Amoeba. They were just too far ahead of me.

But, such is life right?

Endless Space is a great game. but don’t go into it expecting to win. You need to fight for your victory.

If the story you just read excites you, then by all means check it out. It’s a fun, immersive, and all encompassing game. But there’s a hell of a learning curve.

Endless Space is currently $30 bucks. Which is a pretty decent price, I would say that if you love 4X games then go for it. If you’re unsure wait for a sale.

If you can play it with your friends, then definitely buy this game. Because that is where it will truly shine. Imagine everything I just recounted to you, but with your friends in the place of the ambivalent AI.

Sounds like a good time to me!

3 thoughts on “Endless Space: There is ONLY WAR– except when there isn’t

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