Wednesday, December 11, 2013

What I Love About Each Race In The Last Federation

The Last Federation is a really unique game in that it is a strategy/tactics game set inside a simulation game.  Check out our first sneak preview about it, or our preview discussing simulations in the game.  Also our recent podcast with Space Game Junkie with lots of other details, and the description of your role as an independent agent in the solar system.  Oh, and the forums for the game are filled with lots of other detailed tidbits, too.
Two posts in one day!  This is basically a much better version of the older guide to aliens in the game.  All of this post is speaking for me personally, but as noted in my prior post today, I have a soft spot for all of the races.  The boarines and the andors least of all I guess, but all the others in particular.  Here's what I think is so cool about each one:

The Acutians - These dirty industrial robots are very capitalistic and just generally kind of jerks.  Instead of a traditional political leadership, they just have a collection of 3 CEOs at each planet that you have to negotiate.  These CEOs will only do things that help the industries that they own companies in (out of 17 industries).  You can sabotage or help industries so that at the next industry quorum some of the unlikeable CEOs get voted out.  You can also bribe the CEOs to get somewhat better deals on things.

These guys are willing to do things to other races that many of the other races are not, depending on which industries the CEOs of the local planet represent.  They'll work to undermine rival economies, or dump toxic waste on other planets for the right price, etc.  I guess the reason I love these guys so much is that they are basically self-interested sociopaths that always act in their own best interest.  To me, this race makes #3 on the list of villain races in the solar system.

The Andors - Okay, yeah, these guys are the most boring race to me, but they do serve an important role.  These are basically the ultimate "goody two shoes."  They're a utoptian robotic society, so kind of the polar opposites of the acutians.  They're a race of non-derpy C3P0s.

Why do these guys matter?  Well, they can be counted on to come to the aid of the downtrodden, for one.  They are also a race you can safely piss off without worrying about them doing anything too bad to you; so they provide an opportunity for you to make friends with their enemies without consequences being too dire. 

In essence: these guys provide an important element of asymmetry, so often their role in the galaxy is important, but it's subtle.  And if they aren't dead, then they are a place you can run to for assistance; but as a last-resort sort of ally, they are only so helpful.

The Boarines - So this is my other least-favorite race, personally, but I have a feeling these will be the favorite of some other folks.  These guys are basically territorial, isolationist ice beasts. 

They aren't particularly inclined to start wars and go out fighting (unless they find themselves really overcrowded on their planet), but when they do go to war, watch out!  They aren't remotely as powerful as some of the other races in ground combat, but they have a special attribute that none of the other races do: Rage Momentum.  The longer these guys are at war, the more enraged they get, and the more powerful they get at both ground and space combat.  If a war with these fellas goes on too long, they'll eventually devastate the opponent. 

Also fun: the more enraged they are, the easier it is to convince them to go to war with yet other races; but the more enraged they are, the harder it is to convince them to stop being at war.  The risk, of course, is that if they piss off too many enemies, that the enemies will take them down and wipe them out despite their rage.

One of the more interesting things about this race is also how they can be chief brokers of solar unity under just the right circumstances.  Each planetary regent of the boarines has a current priority that is based on criteria of what is happening at his/her planet at the time.  If everything is just going super well (which is hard to have come about), then actually their defensive nature starts working in your favor: solar unity becomes their priority, since they view that as suddenly being in their best interests of defense. 

Most times you won't be able to use them for these purposes, because it's rare to get them in that great of a situation even with your help, but it's an interesting backdoor way to help further the federation if the circumstances are right.  I love stuff like that, where there's an unusual/infrequent tool that you can whip out and wield if your recognize that the circumstances can be tweaked to be just right.  This game is filled with that sort of thing.

The Burlusts - For me, these guys come in at #2 on the list of villainous races in the solar system.  They're incredibly warlike as a race, and fighting is all they know.  They're physically the second-strongest race in the solar system, only behind the terrifying thoraxians.

Interestingly, these guys are not susceptible to the normal Bargaining Power (BP) that is your usual political currency in the game.  That is one of (many) things that makes the burlusts particularly difficult to deal with politically.  Instead of using the BP system, these guys work entirely on bribes and blackmail.

At each planet there is a prime warlord, and then two secondary ones that are vying for power.  You can blackmail any of them, depending on what sort of information you are able to buy either on the black market or from evuck spies.  The blackmail can lead to internal fighting and some of the warlords getting knocked off and replaced by whoever rises to the top.  Bribing them gives you an ability to request limited favors from them, but the bribes they are interested in can typically only be found by raiding pirate bases in the asteroid belt.  Not so simple.

I find these guys really interesting as a villain race, but also because if the circumstances are not right (their planet is too cold, for instance), they can be really weak and thus can be turned into strange sorts of allies.  Or if you get them into the federation early, you can wield them kind of like a crazy self-swinging axe... that you have to work hard to keep from chopping the wrong thing... repeatedly.  "With friends like these," right?

The Evucks - Paranoid and fairly amoral is I guess the best way to describe these fellas.  You can bribe individual council members, or assassinate them, or whatever (as with a lot of the races).  But dealing with them politically is always pretty difficult, because they get annoyed with you for interfering with their internal affairs even when you do them a good turn.

Every time you do a deal with them, they wind up resenting you for a while, and further deals cost more for a while.  "Oh you just helped us save our economy?  Well get out of here buddy, we don't need your kind around here!" ...right.

What I particularly love about these guys is that they fall into the "just insane enough to do that" category, partly due to their paranoia.  If they really hate another race, they're prone to formulating a really horrible disease to unleash on the other race.  If it looks like they might lose a war on a gas giant they live on, well, they'll try to ignite that gas giant and "glass" half the solar system.  Etc.

They're also a good place to get blackmail on the burlusts from, since they're constantly spying on everyone else.  They even use that spy power to steal tons of technology from other races, making them one of the most technologically advanced by virtue of this alone.  And yet, unlike some of the other races, they're completely unwilling to ever share their technologies.

This is one of those races that I personally am not typically going to be rushing to help immediately or whatever... but you can bet I'll always have my eye on these guys because they are freaking nuts! ;)

The Peltians - Communist agrarian... barn owls with snouts, I guess.  These guys are terrible at ground combat.  I mean, just abysmal.  If they get invaded by some other race, they're going to just get absolutely rolled.

Fortunately for them, in space combat they have ships just as good as anyone else.  Unfortunately for everyone else, the peltians are quite aware of just how stink they are at ground combat... and so the peltians compensate for that by bombing the heck out of their enemies when they are on offense.  Not only do their ships bomb enemy planets from orbit, but their "ground troops" load into suicide pods that explode on contact with enemy planets, dealing damage to not just enemy citizens but also infrastructure.

Politically, these guys are very different to deal with than the other races.  In some ways they are the simplest race to deal with politically, as they are very straightforward with their desires; but on the other hand, you have to kind of baby them, at some opportunity cost to dealing with the other races.  Like the burlusts, the peltians do not use the common Bargaining Power (BP) mechanic that all the other races do.  Instead, as you do contracts for them, you gain voting proxies in their collective.  It doesn't take many proxies at all to pass deals with them, but it means that if you want a lot of deals with them, you have to do contracts with them specifically.  Hence the opportunity cost.

What I love so much about these guys is how squishy and weak they are in some ways, but how they can be the terror of the solar system in other ways.  They are definitely compensating for something, and I just love that duality.

The Thoraxians - It is always hard to pick an absolute favorite race, but I think that mine would have to be these guys.  They are definitely the #1 villainous scourge of the solar system, no question.  If left unchecked, they are prone to taking over half the solar system and establishing a Fear Empire or a Thoraxian Protectorate.

They don't take prisoners, and their ground troops are super good at murdering everybody they meet.  Like the burlusts, all of their citizens count as both ground troops and civilians, which can be pretty deadly.  Since they are a hive mind, they don't have to worry about crime on their planets.  They are pretty standoff-ish about the political deals that they are willing to make, too.

Better yet?  The hive queens are moody.  Each planet has a single queen, and her mood shifts every so often.  Her mood is a bit random, but is heavily weighted by what is going on with her situation at the time.  These moods have a nontrivial impact on what deals she will do with you, and how much they cost in BP, etc.

As with a number of the other races, you can assassinate hive queens.  This reduces how much overall influence you can ever have with their race, and reduces your current influence with them even more.  However, killing a queen will throw her planet into absolute turmoil, and prevent the births of new workers until a new queen rises to take her place in a few months.  This can be an interesting way to temporarily suppress their race... but at substantial long-term risk.  Better have something good in the pipeline to make this worth it.

I particularly love the "villain" races in the game because they actually can be "good" under certain circumstances, and you can get them to be productive members of the federation.  But it's harder, and oftentimes you'll instead wind up on the other side of bloody conflicts with them.  Getting all eight races into the federation with none of them being wiped out is a fun challenge, made particularly hard by the thoraxians.

The Skylaxians - This is a very honorable, very scientific race.  They are a bit above-average at combat, and in general are a very well-rounded race.  They'll like you less if you do underhanded things, and the same is true of other alien races as well.  They'll often step in when one race is bullying another too hard.

They are really interesting in part because they can be used to backdoor their friends into the federation even if that friend really hates you.  So let's say that the skylaxians and the acutians really become absolutely best friends.  You can piss off the acutians to no end, then, and use that to further some ends with other races (say, dealing with the thoraxians).  And then, just when the acutians are about to murder you, you use your influence with the skylaxians to get them to use their influence with the acutians to bring the acutians into the federation.

That's really interesting to me, because the skylaxians can really be used as a key part of some very long-term advanced strategies.  Particularly strategies of brinkmanship.  When directly interacting with them, they are kind of vanilla; but as a strategic pawn (ahem, I mean political partner), they open up some of my favorite kinds of strategies in the game.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Awesome post, thanks for sharing.