So as we make the march to .8, a question that has come up frequently is ‘how is the pew pew going to work?’ Well, given that AotSS is a 4X at its core, that is certainly a fair question! Let’s get into a little more detail about how that will work.
To start, please note that AotSS is about grand strategy. The normal process of building individual ships, kitting them out, naming them, and grouping them with a leader to send to a planet to take it over doesn’t necessarily apply to AotSS. You are the Emperor, after all, and you would have little or no interest or say in that process. What you would be involved in is setting up high-level target priorities – i.e. “I want to take that star system by force” or “I want to show military might to the people of planet X” or “I want to improve our military presence in the northernmost constellation of our Empire”. This is called a Military Plan, and will be discussed shortly.
The Emperor would also be responsible in a broad sense for making sure that logistical/supply networks are built and maintained where he/she expects to see conflict, so building logistical networks and expanding them to systems where forces are expected are critical.
Finally, the Emperor would want to make sure that forces are being raised from planets that are loyal to the Empire, and not likely to rebel, and that the general who is in charge of that force does not ‘go rogue’ with the most advanced force in the Empire.
So let’s first talk about Forces.
No, it’s not the Star Wars trope, but a combined space/ground unit that is assigned to perform a mission. Forces may contain up to 6 different Units, which are basically Fleets (space warfare) and Armies (ground warfare). Forces are named, gain experience, are commanded by a General, and move and fight together on the Galaxy View.
All units have hit points. All starships have Speed and Defense values. Anything that can attack starships in space has Sensors and Space Damage stats (referred to simply as Damage in the discussion of space combat, because we know it’s in space already). Anything that can attack units planetside has Tactics, ie. chance to hit, and Lethality and Devastation stats, which describe how much damage they do to units’ hit points and the planet’s infrastructure respectively. All starships have Space Defense, and all planetside units have Planetside Defense and Space Defense.
- i. Space-to-Space
These craft are there to attack other spacecraft. Some can be used for Space-to-Ground attack too, at reduced effectiveness.
These craft are designed to bombard ground targets from orbit. Some can also attack other spacecraft, at reduced effectiveness.
These include aircraft, ground troops, and naval vessels. Different units will gain bonuses and maluses on different kinds of world – naval units, for example, will be very effective on water worlds, moderately effective on terrestrial-type worlds, and useless on worlds without oceans.
- i. Planet-to-Space
These are planetside forces that can attack ships in orbit. Some may also be used against other planetside forces, at reduced effectiveness.
- ii. On-Planet Combat Units
These are planetside forces that can attack other planetside forces. Some may also perform Marine duty, i.e. fighting in boarding actions against starbases.
So where can a Force go? They can exist in one of 5 possible locations: Planetside, Planetary Orbit, Interplanetary Space locations, Starbases, and Deep Space. These will be explained in more detail in Part 2.
So as Emperor, you want to be sure that Forces are kept up properly. This requires 4 things per Force:
- Crowns (money)
- Ammo (built from heavy and rare materials)
These resources come from your Empire Stockpile (the money comes from your Military Budget). When Forces are inactive (i.e. not part of an active Military Plan) they only consume Money and Food. When deployed, they also consume Energy. When actively in combat, they consume Ammo.
Now, let’s talk about Characters that can be involved in your Military. There are 4 different types of Characters:
- Commander – This is the main leader of the Force. Their military skill has a large impact on the success of combat.
- Captains – These are the leaders of your notable ‘capital starships’ that have additional impacts on their abilities (and thus your Force’s ability)
- Coordinating Commanders – These are the leaders of other Forces who are involved in the Military Plan but are waiting for a trigger to proceed (aka wait for order x to be executed by force y)
- Plan Commander (PC) – This is the overall leader of the Military Plan, and the Coordinating Commanders are subordinate to them.
Finally, let’s talk about Military Plans. As Emperor, you will set high-level targets and it is up to your Plan Commander to create a Plan that gets that done. You will have an overall strategic objective which consists of a Target and an Military Action. Targets can be the following:
- Pops on a world
- Starbases not owned by you
- Logistical stations not owned by you
- Ground Forces
- Space Forces
Once you have selected a Target, you can generate an appropriate Military Action to act on these targets. Military Actions are as follows:
- Attack (Forces)
- Destroy (Starbases, Logistical Stations)
- Pillage (planets, systems)
- Invade (planets)
- Bombard (planets)
- Enforce martial law (planets, systems)
- Conquer (systems, provinces – basically chains numerous Invade orders)
- Engage in genocide (Pops – specific Pop cultures)
- Gather intel (planets, systems)
From there, the PC will generate a Military Plan. You can also specify specific Forces you want to participate, but you don’t have to – you can simply specify a force level from ‘Minimum’ to ‘Overwhelming’ and the PC will try to add enough Forces that can engage that Action to meet your force level.
Coming in part 2: Inquisitors, Spies, Building Military Units, effects of Warfare on Planets, Science considerations, and more! That’s coming tomorrow!