Sins of a Solar Empire has emerged as one of the most popular PC strategy games of the year. It is that rare real-time strategy game that has enough depth to engage the player long-term in terms of single player gaming and has a very fun multipayer experience.
Sins of a Solar Empire v1.1 was recently released and added a number of new features but definitely the most compelling feature was the introduction of Alloy, Ironclad's new multiplayer system that lets people easily connect together on-line without having to worry about router ports.
Below is an example of a Sins of a Solar Empire game...
In the beginning you can decide whether to play single player or multiplayer. If you have an Internet connection, you're almost better off playing on-line because you can play on the Internet against AI players. The one big advantage of single player is that you can use the + and - keys to control the speed of the game which can greatly affect the pacing of the game.
Once you have chosen to start a new game, you can either choose a randomly generated map, a pre-existing scenario, or create one of your own.
You can also set up your empire. It's pretty straight forward here with the three races being the humans, the Vasari, and the Advent.
The humans are called the Trader Emergency Coalition (TEC). In the distant future, humans have expanded out into the universe and operate as independent planets. Then one day, an alien race known as the Vasari showed up who are fleeing an unknown menace. The Vasari are vastly more powerful than the humans are but luckily there aren't that many of them. The humans band together into the Trader Emergency Coalition. While this conflict is taking place, the Advent show up. The Advent were once humans were were practicing a very particular techno-religion that was deemed a dangerous cult and were banished from Trader space. Over time, this "cult" evolved on its own (and we're not talking a natural evolution here) and has come back to seek revenge.
The TEC ships are the most mainstream in the game. They're relatively cheap but not nearly as good as Vasari ships in 1 on 1 combat. This has caused some people to say that the TEC ships are too underpowered when in fact the TEC are supposed to outnumber the Vasari. The Advent ships are in-between. They tend to require a little more finesse as they rely on various "special powers" to do the max damage. In the hands of a good player, the Advent are very lethal.
Once you select a map then you pick out who you want to play with. The map decides the max # of players. You can have up to 10 people in a game.
Once in the game, you have a shipyard which builds your ships, your home colony and depending on the scenario some additional ships and resources.
The military research screen lets you improve your ships. Often, the values seem small but it's all relative when it comes to one on one combat, a 15% advantage in say armor can make the difference between victory and defeat.
The civilian research tree has all kinds of technologies that expand your economy. Many new players will mistakenly focus purely on the military side of the things and get crushed by a more powerful industrial power.
Build scout ships and then right click on the explore (magnifying glass) to have them auto-scout star systems.
One of the best things about Sins of a Solar Empire is its user interface. It makes it incredibly easy to deal with a vast interstellar empire where you can zoom in and out. Notice there's no mini-map. You don't need one because of this.
Zooming out I can see the entire star system.
Zooming out further I can see two star systems.
And lastly I can see 4 star systems. New players should probably focus on a single star system with a dozen or so planets.
Battles don't look very interesting when zoomed out.
But zoomed in, you can see it all in great detail.
The game is won when you have no enemies left (either by allying with everyone else or wiping out the enemy). There are a ton of different statistics for the stat junkie to look through.