Alliance of the Sacred Suns (AotSS) is a game unlike many that you have ever played. It is foremost a grand strategy game, with 4X elements, but also character and House management. We call it a 5X – the 5th ‘X’ being ‘eXist’. You are a character in AotSS, and if you die, the game ends… so tread lightly, your Majesty!
MAIN GAME FEATURES:
- Top – level management – you have Action Points that are finite and vary from turn to turn. You can do almost anything, but you can’t do everything
- You are the Emperor – you are a character in a game that has hundreds that you will interact with. If you die, or are deposed, the game is over
- Multiple layers of strategy – from a traditional 4X-type (exploring and scanning new systems, colonizing planets, establishing outposts, building militaries and trade) upwards to developing your Great House and managing the other Houses that all have specialties that you can only take advantage of if you are on friendly terms with them, to discovering and reaching out to other breakaway human civilizations, to your ultimate goal of uniting the Celestial Empire against a final attack by humanities’ oldest enemy, the Xyl
- Dynamic character relationship model – you can affect your relationships with Actions that you can take against characters, from giving a speech to challenging them to having them executed. Of course, they have relationships with others in the game too, so consider the knock-on effects of anything you do…
- Great and Minor Houses – Houses limit what you can do as Emperor. Houses own territory, armies, etc. and if you piss them off, they may even try to usurp the Empire. Build alliances to allow characters with special talents and traditions to develop the Empire the way you want. For example, if you want a strong economy, you need good miners to ensure your factories run at full capacity, so you’ll want House Ilioaia (who has a strong mining tradition) on your side so you can appoint their members as viceroys of high-mineral planets… and so on.
- Don’t micromanage, create a Project! Unlike traditional 4X games, you don’t make build queues, you create Projects to get things done, from colonizing a planet to throwing a celebration to upgrading a logistical region. You must assign an Adminstrator who gains power and influence from this post, and determines how smoothly your project will go! Assigning characters to Projects is a great way for them to earn power and influence… but take care that they do not gain too much, especially if they are of a House that hates you…
WHAT’S AOTSS ALL ABOUT?
AotSS is a grand strategy game that takes place in the year 3050. Over 1,000 years ago, an alien race known as the Xyl came to Earth through a stargate that humanity had unwittingly built from wreckage that had been found 40 years prior. The Xyl used the stargate to attack Earth, and in the process nearly destroyed humanity. Earth was decimated, and only a small group of colonists escaped through the hastily reprogrammed stargate, to a part of the galaxy tens of thousands of light-years away. As the last remnants of humanity, they colonized a terran-like planet, New Terra, and seeked to rebuild civilization. For almost 500 years, humanity was allowed to grow and flourish, and the Terran Alliance was born, in an attempt to protect humanity from another such attack. Slowly, new races and sub-races evolved as humanity spread further and further from the warm core of Neo-Sirius and New Terra. But all were part of the Alliance, and peace and prosperity were the order of the day. Weapon research gave way to terraforming, economic enlightenment, and prosperity for any and all of the Alliance.
Until the Xyl, who had hunted the last humans for half an eon, finally found them and struck again.
Not equipped to wage full-scale war like their ancestors, the Terran Alliance was mauled, across planets to stars to provinces. One by one, whole provinces went dark, consumed by the Xyl. Finally, with the Xyl prepared to attack and defeat New Terra herself, a virus was developed that stopped the Xyl and ensured humanity’s survival – for the moment.
Enraged at the Terran Alliance’s inability to protect huge swaths of humanity, many of the far rim colonies and systems decided to break away and form their own civilizations, with their own cultures. At home, to prevent anarchy, the Great Houses rose to protect what was left of the Alliance and, to mollify an increasingly restless population, reformed the Alliance as the Celestial Empire, with the first Emperor, Magnus I, ordained to begin the reformation of humanity.
It is now almost 500 years since the Second Xyl war. With increasingly weak emperors and empresses, rising Houses who would claim their own part of the Empire, a stagnant scientific community that has lost technology from a thousand years ago, you are born. You are different from all other heirs… you have unexplained psychic abilities that allow you limited control over men and their motivations, but you also know one other thing:
The Xyl are coming, and unless you can rebuild the shattered Empire, develop technology to wage war, and lead your greatest people towards this goal, they will finish the extinction of humanity.
Welcome to your Empire, Your Majesty.
WOULD I LIKE IT?
If you like deep, grand-strategy 4X games, you probably would. HOWEVER, since you’re only one Emperor, even a divine one, you can only do so much every turn. So if you like to micromanage and min-max every little thing, you may not like AotSS as much. The game focuses on managing from a true top-down perspective, as a real Emperor might, as opposed to you personally requesting that planet X should build 4 mines in a specific region. That’s your viceroy’s job – let them do it! In summary, if you like some or most of the following games, you might like AotSS:
- Crusader Kings
- MOO3 (the concept, anyway)
- Europa Universalis
- Emperor of the Fading Suns