I really hope the developers include a pre-game option to include Random Events. Even great strategy games like SOASE are in danger of going stale if nothing totally unexpected happens. We have our build routines, our research strats, our carefully laid plans to expand, and so forth. Now we're off to control the galaxy. But what if the galaxy throws us some unexpected curve-balls to keep us on our feet and make each game very UNIQUE?
I hope SOASE includes more elements from turn-based classics, as they are currently planning with augmented diplomacy. Random events would be a relatively easy but exciting addition.
You should be able to see which Random Events your empire is currently experiencing by viewing the 'cards' on the lower left of the screen.
Random Events (sample list, starting with negatives, moving to positives)
1. Solar Storm
A randomly chosen star emits fierce solar radiation for 3 to 10 minutes game time. This interferes with jump travel and communications. The transit time of all ship jumps within the affected system is doubled. Starmap sensor range is halved. Finally, ships within the gravwell of the affected star receive a small amount of damage per second.
A star that is emmitting a solar storm should have a small pulsing icon of a seven-pointed star at its center.
2. Orbital Disaster
A random orbital has suffered a major accident. It receives 'X' amount of damage. A weaker orbital might be destroyed. A stronger ones is left damaged.
3. Space Monster
One of the best parts of the Master of Orion series were the random arrivals of the space monsters. Who didn't think this was cool? Space Hydra, Amoeba, Crystal, Eel, etc. I would LOVE to see some kind of bad boy like this to show up and threaten my empire, or trash an enemy empire. The random nature of it was so fun and often challenging.
Example monster: ANCIENT MACHINE. A war machine built millions of years ago, this enigmatic alien vessel wanders the void in search of military challenges. It arrives unexpectedly, usually on the fringes of a solar system. Tough as an upgraded Star Base but able to jump (slowly), the alien machine randomly attacks the closest occupied worlds. Once it destroys 'X' amount of orbitals and/or ships, it then vanishes to parts unknown in the galaxy.
4. Pirate Armada
The Pirates need a capital ship, no doubt about it. There should be one guarding every Pirate hideaway. There should also be a random event when a Pirate cap ship, accompanied by escorts, just jumps in from afar to the gravwell of a star. Then it just starts randomly pillaging from there, going from planet to planet randomly. Eager to fight enemy vessels, its mere presence in orbit around a colony sucks in credits not unlike a TEC carrier using the Embargo ability.
5. Diplomatic Scandal
A major diplomatic event has taken place between your empire and another. It has gotten out of control and now threatens larger repercussions. Happiness between your empire and another falls by 25 to 45%.
Events have spiralled out of control on one of your planets. Dissatisfied civilians have combined to resist governmental policies. The effect lasts 5 minutes. During this time, tax revenues fall by a short amount and Allegiance falls by 20% to 45%. An icon with a raised fist appears over an affected planet. (Perhaps this could be 'dealt with' in the same way as a Labour Dispute. See below.)
A pandemic of interstellar origin has befallen one of your planets. As a quarintine is enforced, it takes your scientists 3 to 12 minutes to concoct vaccines and antidotes. During this time, population numbers slowly fall. A small glowing icon of a skull and cross bones appears over the planet. If population levels reach zero, the planet becomes uninhabited. (Whenever this event happens, perhaps add an option for a new tech to be available for research: Xeno vaccine. You can throw money at trying to halt this specific disease.)
8. Computer Virus
Unleashed by a cyber terrorist or rogue AI, a computer virus causes havoc in 1 or 2 research orbitals. Emergency measures have called for the affected facilities to be shut down for 5 minutes until the virus can be dealt with and data banks restored.
9. Asteroid Threat
An asteroid appears beyond the periphery of a solar system. It is eventually going to strike a random colony. A flashing red line appears on the starmap, connecting the asteroid and the targeted planet. If it's one of your planets, you must build up defenses and assemble a fleet to detroy the tumbling asteroid before it strikes its target. The asteroid does not follow phase lanes and instead tumbles through deep space. A player has 3-4 minutes to muster a defense so the asteroid can be blown up before striking the colony. If not interdicted, the asteroid causes mass damage, equal to the strike of several Marza dreadnoughts.
10. Collision in Space
One of your ships was unable to evade a large object in space. It received a direct hit of 'X' amount of damage.
11. Psychic Storm (an exclusive Advent problem)
This very rare event only affects Advent players. The Unity has been disrupted by rogue psychics who have unleashed a psychic storm. Effects?
12. Nanite disaster (an exclusive Vasari problem)
The Vasari pride themselves on their mastery of Nanite technology. Very rarely, these nanites get out of hand and cause mayhem. Effects?
13. Labour Dispute (an exclusive TEC problem)
War has forced the Trader Emergency Coalition into a well-oiled machine. The trading blocs and labour guilds have for the most part put aside their internal disputes. Well, almost. The strain of centralized control and warfare very occasionally provoke the old rivalries to re-emerge on new colonies. A planet experiencing a Labour Dispute has its trade cut in half and its Allegiance decreased by 20% -- all for 5-12 minutes. The presence of every capital ship and Star base in the planet's gravwell will reduce the duration of the dispute by 2 minutes. A large military show of force could nip the dispute in the bud.
14. Global Eruption
This only affects Volcanic planets. Very occasionally a Volcanic planet will experience a mass global eruption during which most of the volanoes will blow at once. Duration = X of minutes. Effects? A pulsing red icon of 3 volcanoes appears at the centre of the planet.
15. Global Sandstorm
This happens only on Desert planets. Very occasionally, a sandstorm of major intensity will lash the entire planet for X number of minutes. Effects? A pulsing brown icon of an aprroaching cloud appears.
16. Pollution Disaster
This only affects Terran planets. A major industrial accident has occurred. Sensitive ecologies and densely populated open cities are under threat from severe pollution. Lose 1 or 2 population infrastruture points on this planet, until they are rebuilt. A pulsing icon of Biohazard symbol appears over the affected planet until the infrastructure points are rebuilt.
This affects planets that only have an allegiance between 1% and 40%. Talk of freedom is in the air. Colonists have had enough of the empire they've tried so long to escape from. A planet affected by Secession will leave its former empire and go Neutral. The computer assumes control. (See my notes on diplomacy wish list for the status of Neutrality). A pulsing icon of a zigzag lightning bolt through clasp hands appears for 20 seconds, and then the affected planet goes neutral and thus invisible until your forces re-enter the planet's orbit.
For every peace treaty you have with an empire not of your race, there is a small chance that a wave of Xenophobia spreads through the back alleys of your empire. The duration of the backlash event lasts 5 to 10 minutes, or until you end the treaties. Allegiance on every one of your planets falls by 5-15% while Xenophobia is in effect.
19. Brain Lock
Scientists in your empire have experienced serious troubles in making a breakthrough on a particular research project. As a result the randomly chosen research takes 100 to 200% longer to complete. A pulsing icon of a broken light bulb appears over the project that is being researched.
20. Diplomatic Breakthrough
Relations between your empire and another have drastically warmed due to breakthrough talks and secret meetings. Mutual Happiness rises from 15 to 25%. A pulsing icon of two shaking hands appears somewhere around in the diplomacy screen.
21. Trade Boom
A random planet which has 1 more trade ports is booming with activity. Revenues rise by 50% for 3 to 10 minutes. An icon of coins.
22. Research Breakthrough
There is a sudden breakthrough with a randomly selected research project you're either working on, or one you've cued up for later. The research is instantly gained. A momentary icon of a bright light bulb over the research project.
23. Mother Lode
Somewhere in your empire, miners have come across a mother lode of resources. You either gain 200 to 400 metal, or 200 to 400 crystal, instantly added to your reserves.
Elites in your society have decided to pour credits into the government's projects, for the benefit of the empire. Early game: Add 500 credits. Later game: add 1200.
25. War Fever
Motivation and morale amongst your military has caught fire. There is a cult-like fervour to smash all enemies. For 5-10 minutes, all the ships of your fleet do +10% damage. Logistics screen. Icon of raised sword or pistol.
26. Private Initiative
Ambitious colonists are eager to take advantage of new territories. Very occasionally, they will slip the reins of central control and build a thriving trade port within the orbit of a new colony. It starts spontaneously building. Once built, it's loyal to you, and if you think its presence is unauthorized, you can scuttle it.
27. Mass Migration
Sometimes population congestion on your worlds provokes a wild need for migration. Or sometimes legends form around a newly colonized world. Whatever the case, migrants become eager to colonize and thus flock to a particular new world. Lasting 2 to 10 minutes, the Mass Migration effect doubles population growth on the effected planet. The effect of Mass Migration also spontaneously upgrades the colony's population infrastructure up by 1 level. Icon over planet of descending ships.
28. Secret Pact
Covert operatives have enhanced your empire's relations with pirates. Bribes have been exchanged. People have been corrupted. A Secret Pact has been formed whereby your empire gains immunity from Pirate Raids for a random 15 to 30 minutes. The Pact is dissolved if you destroy any Pirate vessels during this time. An icon of two silhouettes facing each other appears over the Pirate hideaway.
29. Unexpected Intelligence
Your spies and turn-coats from another empire are supplying you with detailed information about a randomly chosen planet within another empire. You gain full vision of this planet for 5 to 10 minutes.
30. Imperial Glory
An unexpected wave of faith and pride in your empire's rightness grips all your planets. All planet allegiance rises by 10 to 20%. The emanating power of culture rises by 5%. The duration is 5 to 10 minutes. (Ideally this rare event could be triggered by decisively winning a major fleet battle).
31. Geo-Engineering Discovery
This affects a randomly selected Desert planet or Iceworld controlled by your empire.
For Desert planets: an incredible discovery has taken place. Huge underground oceans and ice layers have been found below the surface. You are given the opportunity to spend 3000 credits to release this water and slowly transform the Desert into a Terran world. The process takes 10 minutes.
For Iceworlds: several magma taps have been discovered which can be mined to release dormant heat. You may spend 3000 credits to harness this heat and slowly transform the Iceworld into a Terran planet.
Edit. Adding more.
32. Communications Malfunction
Technological upgrades gone wrong have led to a shocking breakdown in Fleet logistics. Some long-range communication arrays have gone off-line, hindering your ability to contact new ships. Maximum supply tumbles by 20%. The effect lasts for 2-8 minutes whereupon the malfunction is fixed. Icon in Logistics screen.
The ruling caste on one of our planets is riddled with corruption. Tax revenues are being embezzled. Allegiance is suffering. A small glowing icon appears on the planet to signify the event. To stamp out corruption, you must send in ships in orbit over the planet (to simulate the disembarkation of troops to re-establish order and install new leaders). The formula for fighting corruption is similar to controlling a Labour Dispute. X amount of ships will lower the problem. The more ships, and possibly the construction of a SB, the faster the problem is solved.
34. Xeno Infestation
A horrible discovery has taken place. An ancient archeological dig on one of your planets has unearthed a fiercesome species of xeno parasites who have acquired a taste for our colonists. As they eat the colonists, the gradual population decrease is similar to the Plague event. A small glowing icon of a nasty monster appears on the colony. The problem is solved in the same way as a Labour Dispute or Corruption. Send in the military!
If the problem is not solved in a certain amount of minutes, there's a small chance that every minute after that the Xeno Infestation will spread to another nearby planet. It could theoretically spread a lot, if empires don't take steps.
Can you say, Aliens?
This is a very rare event, probably happening maybe once in a game. The commander of a capital ship makes the fateful decision to changes sides and join the fleet of another empire. Seeing that loyalists will be onboard, the captain's crew must violently subdue them in a fierce internal battle. The battle causes 2000 hull damage to a ship that goes rogue. A capital ship experiencing Mutiny will most likely join a nearby empire, or an empire with strong Culture. There are also some other parameters and limitations for a Mutiny event to happen.
#1 For it to mutiny, the candidate ship cannot be in the same gravwell shared by friendly capital ships.
#2 The candidate must be a level 1-5 capital ship.
#3 It cannot be in the orbit of the homeworld, nor share the same gravwell of a friendly star base.
A mutiny would play out like a 'Red October' scenario. The turncoat ship would normally have to flee the space of its former empire, and try to meet up forces of the empire to which it now swears allegiance.
Edit. Adding 2 more.
36. Phase Anomaly
A random phase space lane has mysteriously shut down for 2-8 minutes. Travel via this lane, from one area to another, simply stops due to unexplained energy fluctuations in phase space. The normal 'line' portaying the affected phase lane stats to glow a weird purple.
There were legends that such an exotic metallic element existed, though the scientists of today had yet to verify it. Until now, that is. The chance disovery of megadurium is a boon for any empire at war. Megadurium can be added to any other hull armour to increase overall strength and durability. Via an inexplicable process of neutronic bonding, megadurium naturally gels to any other hull material, adding 'x' points of armour to all ships.
Megadurium could be a 'special' resource, a rare material painstakingly mined only on 1 planet. If you lose the planet, you lose access to megadurium's armour bonus.
Or it could be discovery in your science labs, a thing which you can produce, and never lose. The icon for it appears in your research tree.