A Turn based strategy game created by Sid Meier, also known as SMAC. It is the only true sequel(although not the only good sequel) to Civ. The game has the same concepts and basic strategy of Civ but is graphically more like Civ II with a 3/4 perspective and better graphics. The game takes over where Civ leaves off with you winning by sending the first ppl to Alpha Centauri.

Now, don't get me wrong. It's an absolutely amazing game. It took away weeks of my life. But:

I am convinced now that the AI in Alpha Centauri cheats on Librarian level (the fourth difficulty level out of six).

In one game, basically the fate of the rest of the game hinged on whether I took a certain base. I was playing as Deirdre and trying to take a Peacekeeper base. I had built up a lot of mind worms, missile squads, etcetera, in a bunker two squares away from the base. On the turn before I was going to attack, an astounding number of missile rovers came pouring out of the base and individually killed every single one of the units I had in the bunker. I hadn't even seen any indication by then that the Peacekeepers had enough technology to build missile rovers. So, because I had concentrated so much on that attack, I was left fairly defenseless. Lal took my nearest base and then I gave in and started paying tribute in exchange for a truce.

In another game, I was again playing as Deirdre (trying to compensate for the previous failure), and busy kicking the Hive's ass and becoming the most powerful faction. I was looking forward to a war with the Spartans, who had become the second most powerful faction, later on, with all the nifty technologies you get late in the game. But the Spartans made some sort of bad social engineering choice, every one of its bases had drone riots, and it got itself into such a mess that the game consistently crashed on the Spartans' next turn. I suppose that's a good strategy from the AI's point of view - if you can't win, crash.

Wonderful strategy game in the vein of civilisation (duh!) What sets this apart in my mind are the different factions you can play:

An expansion pack for the game, Alien Crossfire, added new factions:

Alien crossfire also added new native life to the list:

artfuldodger: As a side note, Baldur's Gate quotes Nietzsche at you.

"He who fights with monsters will become a monster", in a game where the only method of progress is to murder-death-kill... I like it.

A largely interesting game produced by none other than...you guessed it, a man named Sid Meier. I really can't say much for the individuals who are talking about the game's antecedents however I can tell you of my impressions and maybe some more full details because there is little in here for anyone who dosn't have the game (like I didn't until a little while ago).

The genre is what is termed turn based strategy which means that there are two main definiting factors in the game play which may/may not interest most people. A strategy game is basically a game in which the people involved are utilizing some form of military tactics usually to do something.

The second part is the turned based part. This basically means that the game will not just go as fast as possible or really have any adjustable speed. In fact speed is irrevelent to the game because you can think as long as possible for your turn to occur. There is however one drawback to the whole thing: namely speed and patience. Speed becuase if you have to control increasingly large numbers of units (individually controlled "men" or "people" depending on what sex they happen to be or maybe robots).

Any rate the main groups are as follows and a bit about them:

  • Gaia's Stepdaughters

    Basically extreme environmentalists who take a passive response to industrial technology and who wish to preserve the Alpha Centaurian planet from encraochment. Her faction can control the creation and employment of mind worms, a form of native fauna that can attack and instill fear into the individuals whom they attack. The usual result is that the worms will want to bore into the skull cavity of the people who they attack and drive them to eventual death.

    The main thing that I would like to point out about her is that for the most part she is ideologically opposed to people like the Morgan Industries faction and such but from what I can tell this is only theoretical from the (customizable even) rules that I was playing under.

  • The Human Hive

    A repressive regime run by a brutal tyrant. This guy really never learned the game that fascism shouldn't have proprogated. He believes in force and repression to achieve efficiency and is a brutal utilitarian. However more politically inclined than Morgan he really is more evil in terms of his applications of his philosophy.

    The Hive is also vastly efficient in terms of their ability to handle things like produciton of raw power and goods. They will be able (on average) to churn out a great deal of troops and supplies if they are attacked or require so.

  • The University of Planet

    An intellectual faction which sounds (at least in the story) to be run by a massively powerful university dean of some sort. Really an intellectual at heart he is more of a researcher and what would be called a neural faction for most.

  • Morgan Industries

    I could make an easy cheap shot (he's the kind of man Bill Gates would like to be if he was only more efficient and trusted but that would be too easy) but for the most part I have found that Morgan (don't ask me for his first name I would most likely misspell it it should be in some of the other writeups) is usually a good initial ally because of his willingness to usually share information and to quickly make pacts.

    His whole civilization is basically a business enterprise which is most likely a horizontal monopoly for his people. He is able to specialize in various forms of production which aims to duplicate and of course improve upon designs and decisions of earth's system.

    However I have to point out that eventually he started to stab me in the back durring packs of brotherhood (more close alliances in which military units can move over territory and use bases to attack common enemies and stay in effect until you rescind them) when he started to send probe teams (spies which specialize in techniques of invasive surveilance and espionage) into my territory. Eventually I was able to do a "secret project" (basically a massive specialized method of learning which cannot be traded like most of the discoveries and is longlasting) which foiles enemy probe teams.

  • The Spartan Federation

    I've played as them and personally I really like them. They are self-proclaimed survivalists. They are able to make something out of nothing. They also do not incur costs to build prototypes of various things. They also later invent both air powwer and "space flight" again (although space flitght seems to be limited to things like the Germans did with offensive rockets and such like the V2).

    I really chose them because they sounded like the most commited to survive and thrive.

  • The Lord's Believers

    Ok I know I am also a little biased but has anyone played Final Fantasy X? Remember the Church of Yevon? She looks like one of the leaders.

    Basically Sister Miram is a religious person who seems to have taken various forms of scientific principles and created a wierd mix of science, religion, and philosophy.

  • The Peacekeeping Forces

    The peacekeeper's faction lead by a man named Brother Lal. Now I know what most of you are thinking. This guy looks like the twin brother of a certain Saudi Arabian international notriety who happend to convince some of his vapid copatriots into moving 747s into an office complex in New York City, New York USA but you have to try to keep most of that out of your mind (I tried at first and I would have been in fact the Peacekeepers just for their humanitarian leanings but I decided on the Spartans) when you deal with him.

    Lal is in fact what could be called the representative of the United Nations presence on this mission (the mission having been started by the UN to promote unity and the like. Unfortunately Lal seems to be a hipocrite because all of the factions including The Hive invoke some UN dictum of lack of witholding information.

    All in all the best people I think because of these various factors (which I can't say are totally balanced with everything would be the Spartans because of:

  • Lack of ideology which can get them into trouble.
  • A pioneering can do attitude that is reflected in their abilities to do various things like stand much.
  • Lack of cost to create prototypes.
  • Native airpower.
  • Flexibility to change any of their perameters from an initial body politic into any structure they desire.
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