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Video Game: Endless Space
Endless Space is a 4X game from indie developer Amplitude Studios and is in many ways the Spiritual Successor to Master of Orion. Set in the year 3000 AD, the player must chose to lead one of eleven civilizations (or your own) in conquering a galaxy that once belonged to a race of Precursors known only as the Endless. The galaxy is randomly generated each time and can vary in size and shape, depending on how the host player chooses to generate it. The game's economy is centered around four basic resources: food, industry, dust and science, or FIDS. Dust is a substance created by the Endless and has some fairly useful properties.

A player wins the game when they reach the requirements for a number of victory conditions:

  • Annihilation: If all other civilizations are wiped out the last civilization standing wins.
  • Expansion: conquer 75% or more of the colonized universe.
  • Scientific: the first player to research the Pan-Galactic Society, the last technology of the Science tree, wins the game. That particular technological wonder is very expensive, but reaching the ends of the other technology trees will make it easier to finish.
  • Economic: the first player to reach a certain level of cumulative revenue (Dust) wins. Only overall revenue matters, so it does not matter if you spent it all.
  • Diplomatic: if you manage to survive long enough while being at war the least amount of time, you may be able to impose yourself and win thanks to your wisdom and integrity.
  • Supremacy: the first player to own all the original players’ homeworlds will win.
  • Score: if no one managed to win with one of the previous victory conditions, the player with the highest score wins when the turn limit is reached.
  • Wonder: If a civilization manages to build five large supercomputers they are able to actuality predict all possible actions done by other civilizations and move to stop them before they even think of doing it. So you control the galaxy by proxy.

In addition to intricate and addicting gameplay (in typical 4X fashion), the game also runs at least partially on Rule of Funny, giving it a very different tone than others of its genre. Additionally, the developers are allowing the players to actually vote on which features will be included in future updates of the game. Suggestions are also being taken sometimes, such as a new faction and several new achievements (which include the name of the player who suggested them).

Two Spin-Off games have been announced and are available via STEAM after going through Early Access. The first is Dungeon Of The Endless, a Rogue Like game which has you coordinating a team of crash-landed prisoners and/or prison guards trying to survive and escape from an underground network of Endless-built workshops and storerooms. The second is a fantasy 4X named Endless Legend, which is set in the same universe as Endless Space.

Contains Examples Of:

  • The Ace: "Some Guy". The explanation is there is a random event in game that cause a 20 percent increase in trade route profits caused by one man. No one knows anything about him except he is the best negotiator ever and that he is awesome.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The Sowers are a race of biological machines designed by the Virtual faction of the Endless to terraform and colonize one planet. However there was a Giant civil war that wiped out the Endless. Their response was to keep going to different plants and doing the same thing as that is their goal.
    • Averted with the new Automaton faction. Their creators had all but destroyed their planet so their last action was to create the Automatons. They were barely sapient living meager lives until an Endless Ship crashed into their planet and the dust that was unleashed made them fully self-aware. Now they go collect Dust in an attempt to remain self-aware. The new introduction for them describes them as isolationist pacifists, who have no interest in harming anyone else unless they are forced to defend themselves.
  • Abusive Precursors: The Endless, to some extent for creating the Cravers, who now (and then) just eat everything. They were actually in the process of wiping them out when their civilization colapsed, so this may be Neglectful Precursors.
    • Perhaps inverted into Benevolent Precursors for having ever created Dust in the first place (which is apparently a boon to all civilizations, granting some races sapience in the case of the Automatons).
    • It is mentioned that the Endless were divided into multiple factions, so they have a bit of all three tropes. The Harmony however fall directly into Abusive Precursors, as their mission is to destroy all dust. A valuable resource that every galactic power except them uses. And its stated that they don't care how many people they need to kill to do this.
  • All There in the Manual: There's actually a complete history of the Endless' civilization on the official website.
    • Averted for gameplay. There is an interface tutorial, but little else. While a fan-made Wikia exists, it is nowhere near complete, and GameFAQs was dry until recently. Oh, and, of course, the game's still having features added.
  • Ambiguous Robots: The Cravers are explicitly stated to originate from an insectoid race, but it's never made clear how much of it remains after the Endless tampered with them; their muscles freely mingle with cybernetic armor and limbs. Their heads in particularly seem completely robotic.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: Early players who bought the Emperor Edition got access to a special faction which was just a re-skinned United Empire. The most recent edition of the game has made it a completely different faction available to everyone, however.
    • Buying the Founder's Edition of Dungeon Of The Endless nets you the Vaulters faction for Endless Space and Endless Legend. They have their own unique story material and mechanics - being a somewhat-nomadic, scientific faction that excels at digging in and establishing strong defensive points, but their ships are - for the most part - simply reskinned and renamed versions of the UE ships.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Heroes are set apart from normal people due to exposure to old Endless tech, excessive amounts of Dust, or both. Or, in some cases, actually are Endless.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: At the start of the game, your CP limit prevents you from putting more than 5 ships in one fleet, but there are researchable technologies to raise it. (And there's never anything stopping you from just having lots of fleets.)
    • Also applies to how many Heroes you can have, starting with 3 (8 with all relevant techs).
  • Artificial Stupidity: The AI has a tendency to end up negotiating itself out of the game when it's losing by giving away its last planets in exchange for a ceasefire.
  • Ascended Extra: The Sheredyn started of as a custom skin of the United Empire, but have been fleshed out into a full faction of their own. The Sowers started off on the opposite end, sharing their ship models with the Cravers but being a completely unique faction otherwise.
  • Ascended to a Higher Plane of Existence: Played with. The Amoebas can astral project and spend their whole lives doing so. However if their physical body dies so does their mind. So their entire ship aesthetic is based around protecting the central part where their bodies are on life support.
  • Beam Spam: This is what happens if you load up ships with lots of Energy Weapons.
  • Bling-Bling-BANG!: The Horatio have a trait called The Price of Beauty which adds twenty percent to ship costs.
  • Bling of War: Emperor Maximilian Zelevas, the leader of the United Empire, is depicted as wearing a custom-military uniform with a real nice Badass Cape. The Sheredyn's leader, meanwhile, looks like he wears gold plate-mail.
    • Sheredyn ships are essentially blinged out United Empire ships.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: The Harmony don't really understand the concept of other life forms, they only see the universe as Dust Infected or not. An entire planet full of citizens being slaughtered is no big deal to them and they have no idea it would be a problem.
  • Boring but Practical: The Horatio's bonuses consist of more food per unit of population and the ability to support a larger population on small and medium planets. Pays big dividends in the long-run.
  • Bug War: Any war that involves the Cravers.
  • Captain Ersatz: As an 'indie' game, Endless Space has references in many places such as the races themselves up to the game feature descriptions provided at the dotted line:
  • Character Alignment: It's been made explicit by the developers that "Good" and "Evil" should really be "Peaceful" and "Warlike". The Hissho, for instance, are evil because they are a Proud Warrior Race, despite being pretty nice to their citizens. With that out of the way...
    • Good: Amoeba, Automatons, Pilgrims, Sophons
    • Neutral: Horatio, Sowers, Harmony, Vaulters
    • Evil: Cravers, Hissho, United Empire, Sheridyn. The Cravers deserve special note because they can never sue for peace. Their Horror Hunger demands Forever War.
  • Clark's Third Law: Some of the late game technology is practically godlike. The achievement for researching all applied science technology even references this trope.
  • Clock Punk: The Automatons are a race of incredibly complex clockwork robots that were give full sentience when a load of Dust crashed on their planet.
  • Command And Conquer Economy: Nothing ever gets built unless you specifically order it. The game also lacks lock-up warnings: "Your city is not building anything! Are you sure you want to proceed?" If you're not careful, systems could lie fallow for decades before you notice.
    • There are some warnings which (with the right Option enabled) prevent you from ending your turn if there are critical issues like not having anything set to research or running out of cash.
  • A Commander Is You:
    • The Amoeba are Diplomats. One of their faction traits is even called Diplomats. They get a lot of bonuses to trade routes with allies and they also get an approval bonus for every faction that is either allied with them or at peace with them. They have a bonus to food production and get a small bonus to weapon damage when supporting allied fleets. They also start with the whole map visible, including the homeworlds of the opposing factions, which helps considerably during early expansion. Their main downside is their abilites require making a couple of allies before they can really come into play.
    • The Automatons are Balanced and Industrial with strengths and weaknesses that touch on everything but research. They get the same bonus to population density as the Horatio and they also get a bonus to approval ratings and a twenty percent increase on ship hitpoints and a fifty percent increase to trade routes bonuses, along with the ability to stockpile industry and eventually use starships to boost construction. On the negative side, they have ten percent less dust per system, Hero abilites cost more to use, they have two less command points compared to other factions and their starting planet has an anomaly which lowers approval significantly.
    • The Cravers are a mixture of Spammers and Brute Force with shades of Industrialists and Researchers. Their ships cost twenty percent less, they get a forty percent bonus to the current research for each destroyed enemy Command Point, they have two more command points then standard at the start of the game and several unqiue technologies to raise the CP limit further then other nations. They also have a bonus to population density, though not to the same degree as the Horatio and the Automatons. All this comes at the price of being locked into a permenant state of war with all of the other factions.
    • The Hissho are a mixture of Elitist and Brute Force. They get a lot of bonuses to weapon damage and accuracy along with +1 Dust and +2 Science on each planet and a forty percent bonus to Hero xp per battle. The costs for their weapon modules are also halved. This comes at the price of minus twenty percent research per system.
    • The Horatio are a mixture of Industrialists and Loyalists. Their main strengths are increased population growth overall and greater population density on on medium and smaller worlds. They also have the ability to clone heroes and reduced healing costs for heroes and they also get a small bonus to influence. Their main downside is a twenty-percent increase in the cost of their ships compared to other factions.
    • The Pilgrims are a mixture of Diplomats, Loyalists and Researchers. They have a bonus to trade routes and their trade routes also work in Cold Wars and blockades will not break them. They gain a bonus to fleet weapon damage when supporting allies and a bonus to current research for every destoryed enemy command point. They also have an approval bonus per system and heroes recieve an xp bonus when hired and the Pilgrims have reduced upkeep costs for their heroes. They can also evacuate star systems and they have a bonus to ownership on each system they take from the United Empire. On the downside their ships suffer a twenty percent penalty on usuable mass, meaning you can't put as many weapons, armor, etc... on Pilgrim ships as you can ships of other factions.
    • The Sophons are Researchers and Rangers. They gain a thirty percent increase in research and a bonus to research when taxes are low. Their ships are significantly faster than the other factions and have a larger dectection radius. The cost for their support modules is also halved. This comes at the price of a twenty-five percent penalty to defense, -8 defense per unit of population in each system, and a ten percent increase in the cost of improvements.
    • The Sowers are Industrialists and Loyalists. They get +1 Industry and +10 approval per planet, an additional small approval bonus per system, their planetary improvements cost thirty percent less, and they gain ten Dust for every destroyed enemy Command Point. On the downside their ships are slower and they suffer a twenty percent research penalty. They can also establish colonies on any planet, even Gas Giants and Asteroids, at the start of the game but suffer a twenty-five percent penalty on the resource output until the proper tech is researched.
    • The United Empire is a mixture of Economists and Brute Force with a little of Spammer thrown in. They get ten percent more Dust per system and +1 Dust per unit of of population. A tax rate above twenty-five percent also gives them a bonus to production. Their ships get a ten percent bonus to xp and a forty percent bonus to hitpoints. They also have a system defensive bonus per system. Their main downside is increased cost for Hero abilites. This faction tends to be very powerful in later stages of the game because once they get set up their strong economy allows them to crank out a seemingly endless supply of tough, durable, experienced warships.
    • Like the United Empire, the Sheredyn are a mixture of Economists and Brute Force. They get +1 Dust per unit of of population, their ships have forty percent more hitpoints and their faction ability prevents enemies from retreating. Their main downside is a penalty to luxury goods production and an approval hit for every deal broken.
    • The Harmony are a mixture of Industrialists and Loyalists along with being a Gimmick faction (they are the only faction that does not use Dust). Their approval rating never drops below 50 and they get bonuses to resource production in their systems. They also have unlimited improvement and ship construction with no upkeep cost. However, this comes at the price of ships not being able to be upgraded due to lack of Dust and any ship (not just colony ships like the other factions) built will halt all population growth in that system. Since they don't use Dust they also cannot rush build ships and improvements or hire heroes. They also suffer a production penalty on systems with dust present.
    • The Vaulters are Researchers, also mixed in with a bit of Stone Wall. They have various bonuses to research including 10% science per system and +1 science per population unit. They have traits that makes hired heroes start at level 2 and have reduced upkeep cost. They can construct their unique building: Portal, which allow them to teleport to any planet that also have portal. This, combining with their Fearless Warriors trait which increase system defense by 25% per population and buildings gained from faction specific technology that further increase system defense, means that it's nearly impossible to take their planets away once the Vaulters managed to get essential buildings up. If you do manage to take them, though, their Rebellion trait means that they'll lose ownership much faster than usual. They also suffer -10% food production, slowing population growth, which can be a bit at odds with their trait that increase maximum population on smaller planets.
  • Cool Helmet: The leader of the Sheredyn wears one.
  • Cool Ship: Dreadnoughts. If you can't make one a Cool Ship with the ship editor you are not doing it right.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: The United Empire depends on these. Their societal structure is essentially dependent on various private corporations to keep the rest of it running.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: It's up to you if you want to do this since you get to design all your ships. However, while every pirate ship you encounter starts with just kinetic weaponry, if you overspecialized to deal with that, your ships will be cut apart when the pirates start mounting armor defenses, lasers and missiles.
    • AI Players are also guilty of this, in that they tend to focus ship weaponry on just one damage type (though they often compose fleets with different ships having different specialties, and they do adjust to their opposition).
  • Cross Over: The Vaulters is the faction that will serve as the bridge between Endless Space, Dungeon of the Endless, and Endless Legend.
  • Defector from Decadence: The Pilgrims Faction. They are all rebels from the United Empire.
    • Also an explanation for why you can have some many other Faction's heroes.
    • The Sheredyn are unhappy with the money politics of the empire and are planning long-term to replace it. It is not entirely clear whether they have formally split off from the United Empire or are still a powerful subfaction within the Empire. The majority of sources (The artbook, Slowhands posting, brief in-game description) indicate the latter, but the introduction video added in the 1.0.87 update indicates the former.
  • Design It Yourself Equipment: Has an in-game ship editor.
    • Which you'll need to use once you unlock new ship types. Existing ship designs can be updated with a click of a button, but only the three starting ships have default designs.
  • Descriptively-Named Species: The Amoeba. It doesn't take a whole lot of imigination to guess what they look like.
  • Ditzy Genius: The Sophon hat. See the Too Dumb to Live entry.
  • Egopolis: The Horatio race, which is made out of entirely one person's clones.
  • Elite Army: Pretty much the Hissho's hat.
  • The Empire: The United Empire
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Or at the very least know that they need to protect themselves. Even other Evil races can not make peace with the Cravers due to the fact that they will eat them too eventually.
  • Excuse Plot: Kind of like Sins of a Solar Empire, there is a back-story that sets stage for the gameplay, but there is no campaign, no story-driven missions.
  • Extreme Omnivore: The Cravers are an entire civilization of these. Their life cycle is based on consumption, and as such they are capable of digesting any form of plant or animal matter. Once their home world was consumed, they left to seek further nourishment. If they do not continue to expand, discover and exploit new worlds, their society would literally eat itself to death.
  • Facial Markings: Kamau Savasbat, the Leader of the Pilgrims, has a rather prominent gray tattoo on the side of his face. The Horatio leader has a pair of black tattoos bisecting his eyes. In fact, both Horatio and Pilgrim heroes tend to have facial markings to one degree or another.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The Hissho are clearly intended to be a culturally reminiscent mix of Feudal Japan and the Aztecs, translated into space as bird aliens.
  • Forever War: It is literally impossible for the Cravers to be at peace with any of the other factions. They have a trait called Endless War which you can give to your own custom factions.
  • Gambit Roulette: The Wonder Victory is the winning faction developing a machine that allows this trope. The game stops there because there is no way in hell that a nation capable of doing these on a regular basis is going to lose except as part of a larger strategy.
  • Galactic Conqueror: The outcome of achieving the Expansion and Supremacy victories (and eventually the Annihilation one as well).
  • Good Is Not Soft: The intro for the Automatons claims that they are pacifistic isolationists. It also remarks that any race that mistakes pacifistic for weak would be in for a rude awakening.
  • Global Currency: Dust. Back-story wise it is a very important material but in-game it is just money. It's icon even looks like a gold coin.
  • Grey Goo: The Sheredyn have unique tech that does this to a planet. It's called Dust-To-Dust.
    In order to rapidly evacuate or empty a system, a military technology — actually a combination of technology and martial procedure — has been developed that reverts everything to either dust or Dust. Either physical elements are reduced to Dust particles, or the buildings and infrastructures themselves are broken down and sold off.
  • The Greys: Take a look at the Sophons' picture.
  • Guide Dang It: practically one of the poster children, much as MoO was.
  • Hard-Coded Hostility: The Cravers have a trait that makes them unable to make peace with other factions. The best they can be is at cold war. Any custom faction can be given the same trait.
  • Hollow Earth: One planetary anomaly is that the planet has huge cave systems that have chambers hundreds of miles wide. Among other benefits, it increases the maximal population the planet can support.
  • Homing Projectile: Missiles track their targets.
  • Horde of Alien Locusts: The Cravers, except these Locusts have got some real nasty warships and guns.
  • Humans Are Special: The five human factions (United Empire, Sheredyn, Pilgrims, Horatio, and Vaulters) cover a lot of SF tropes about humanity.
    • Humans Advance Swiftly: Vaulters, though not as fast as the Sophons.
    • Humans Are Average: Averted. Each human faction has distinct strengths and weaknesses.
    • Humans Are Diplomats: The Pilgrims.
    • Humans Are Divided: Five human factions of every morality, while all the alien races are united.
    • Humans Are Good: The Pilgrims strongly favor diplomatic and scientific victories over military ones.
    • Humans Are Psychic in the Future: The Pilgrims are mystics and, through the magical mysteries of Dust nano-tech, implied to have extraordinary powers.
    • Humans Are the Real Monsters: The United Empire plays this trope absolutely straight as The Empire in space. The Horatio provide a different example via narcissism gone mad. The Sheredyn, meanwhile, are an Expy of the SS.
    • Humans Are Warriors: The United Empire. The Sheredyn even more so since they are an elite military force of the United Empire that is rapidly becoming a nation unto itself. Vaulters also count when it comes to defensive wars.
    • Humans Are White: Justified trope for the Horatio, since they are all clones of one man. The other three factions are more ethnically diverse.
      • Horatio himself is of ambiguous, possibly Asian descent.
  • Hyperspace Lanes: Start the game and you will find that you are limited to using predefined star lanes or "cosmic strings". It takes quite bit of research to allow ship movement outside of them, and a lot more until it becomes a practical traveling method outside of select few situations (like two star systems being relatively close to one another without a cosmic string connection).
  • I Have No Idea What I'm Doing: After a major breakthrough random event the researcher responsible for it admits this.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: The Craver's defeat screen shows a drone impaled through the chest with a starship support beam.
  • Imported Alien Phlebotinum: Dust.
  • Innocent Aliens: The Ameobas and the Sophons are pretty nice guys who geniunely want to coexist peacefully with humanity.
  • Just One More Turn: Ohhh you better believe it!
  • Lemony Narrator: Some of the effect, trait, and technology descriptions can be somewhat snarky, with lots of Shout Outs and science in-jokes.
  • Lensman Arms Race: If two factions hate each other enough, they can devolve into this. And yes, you can play both sides and profiteer from the whole thing.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: Yes, you can design ships that are jammed packed with missile tubes.
  • Man-Eating Plant: The "Hellgourds" planetary condition, who in addition to attacking people, can be made into delicious candies: "There are two risks when colonizing this planet, then, aggressive foliage and tooth decay."
  • Mechanical Lifeforms: The Sowers are a machine race created by the Virtual faction of the Endless. The Automatons are another example, being a group of clockwork like machines given full sapience by contact with Dust.
  • Mechanically Unusual Class: The Harmony do not utilize dust. In fact, their FIDS production is harmed by its presence. They cannot hire heroes or buyout production, and in exchange get hefty bonuses to FIS production from the presence of ships in orbit around their worlds; a stronger (and free) version of a similar research for the Automatons.
  • Mega Corp.: The United Empire. It's a faction of a whole bunch of Robber Barons controlled by the Emperor.
  • Me's a Crowd: Heroes from the Horatio faction show that some of the clones that make up the race can be different enough to horrify the others and be cast out, especially after contact with Dust.
  • Narcissist: Horatio the First. Presumably the other members of his empire follow suit since they follow his design aesthetics and cast out (or simply terminate) members of their faction that deviate too much from the original template.
  • Money for Nothing: Once you have half a dozen colonies and some basic infrastructure set up, you can begin accumulating obscene amounts of money. However, earning huge amounts of cash is actually a way of winning the game.
    • Of course to balance this out is that any and all mid to end game buildings and ships cost even more obscene amounts of money.
    • Averted with The Harmony. They don't use money at all, since the Dust that acts are currency in the game is actually harmful to them.
  • Negative Space Wedgie: How the vast majority of Random Events-including positive ones-occur: The guy explaining the effects to you even admits he has no idea of the Technobabble of one of your Colony Ships suddenly having a fully-functional temporal duplicate or anomalies on your planets appearing where they weren't there before.
  • Nanomachines: What Dust is composed of. Becomes a mild Grey Goo scenario in one of the all-faction affecting Random Events-a group of scientists figure out how to send commands to the Dust... because they activated the Dust's self-defense protocols. Needless to say, everyone loses a bit of Science due to the Dust raging around the laboratories of all the races.
  • No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: Done in an unusual way: in the distant future, we'll only be able to store 10 ship family designs. You may delete a ship blueprints to make room for new ones, but then that entire ship family cannot be built or upgraded ever again. Besides those, you can upgrade any version of a ship to the most modern if it's docked at one of your planets, meaning you can upgrade a several-hundred-year-old ship for just a little extra money than a year-old ship. Also, some random events create "Advanced Defenders", ships that are powerful in the very early game but can never be upgraded, due to the same mechanic of not having blueprints for them, to the point that they're hilariously underarmored, outgunned, and slow even by the mid-game.
    • There are also deserted Endless structures on some planets which need some serious repair to get up and running, but there is no way of using that knowledge to build more of them, not even inferior replica.
  • Obvious Beta: The Disharmony expansion pack reportedly has a number of game-breaking bugs, and introduced changed mechanics which cripple the Sower and new Harmony factions.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: The Cravers. Everything is food to them. Including each other.
  • Opposite-Sex Clone: A few Horatio heroes make clear that the entire faction is not male.
  • Petting Zoo People: The Hissho are bird-people. Subverted in that it really only shows in their feet and in the beak-like prow of their ships.
  • Planet Looters: The Cravers. They already consumed their homeworld of all natural resources, now they intend to do the same to the galaxy at large.
  • Precursors: The Endless.
    • However unlike most Precursors that mysterious disappear with no trace the various factions know exactly what happened to them. A giant Civil War is what destroyed all of them... Save for the occasional Remnant which you can get as a hero.
  • Photoprotoneutron Torpedo: You can shoot missiles filled with some pretty weird stuff. This eventually peaks with shooting missiles that locally accelerate quantum entropy.
  • Point Build System: Although used for building a race instead of a character, the game gives you a set amount of points to distribute as the player wishes, with positive and negative attributes. Problem is that you have less points then any of the standard races.
    • Also used for building ships, but it's not as static since you can unlock new modules through research and some techs even reduce the weight of all modules.
  • Praetorian Guard: The Sheredyn used to be this. However, by the time of the game they have evolved into something much larger and more powerful.
  • Proud Merchant Race: The Amoebas are a non-pessimistic deconstruction of the typical idea—any race with the patience to deal fairly and relatively honestly with all other race is naturally a race of Nice Guys, rather than The Barnum.
  • Proud Scholar Race: The Sophons, described in-game as curious, analytical and inquisitive, a people who prize knowledge over all.
  • Proud Warrior Race: The Hissho are a race of highly competitive tribal warriors.
    • This is to the point where they don't care if they win or lose. If they win they were stronger. If you win you were stronger. Either way it was a glorious battle.
  • Recursive Creators: The Sowers.
  • "Risk"-Style Map: Used with solar systems, much like how Sins of a Solar Empire uses planets.
  • Scary Dogmatic Aliens: The Harmony view Dust as a corrupting plague and they have set out to rid the universe of its effects. Unfortunately, the Harmony see no difference between "inhabited" and "uninhabited" planets; they are simply "infected" or "clean."
  • Send in the Clones: The Horatio faction is composed entirely of clones of one United Empire billionaire. The faction has a single goal in mind: to fill the universe with the most perfect copies possible of the most gorgeous being ever to live, Horatio.
    • Also one of possible traits you can give a custom faction.
  • Settling the Frontier: As with most 4X games, it's usually a smart idea to create new colonies early and often.
  • Shout-Out: Those darn cultists blew up your Moon Temple when they crossed the proton beams.
    • There's an Amoeban Hero named Galdos who has a thing for experiments.
      • As of the game's December '12 patch, there is now an achievement for cloning this Hero: "Cake2".
    • A certain Craver Hero's name is Drogon Freeman (also known as Norgod Freeman).
    • The Ancient Artifacts planet trait mentions away teams, clad in red to readily identify their corpses when they inevitably die.
    • The "Some Guy" random event. This business whiz is known for wearing a dark blue suit, blue shirt, and yellow tie, as well as being "Awesome to the max", just like "That Guy" (aka Steve Castle) in Futurama.
  • Silicon-Based Life: The Harmony are crystalline life-forms.
  • Single-Biome Planet: Desert, Ice, Lava, Tundra, take your pick. Can be subverted by having a Garden of Eden on a planet. Any planet. Including gas giants, molten rocks, or asteroids.
    • They can also be terraformed with the right technologies, except for gas giants and asteroids.
  • The Singularity: The Science Victory is this. There are also signs of a developing Singularity culture through out the tech tree. One late game tech says that most if not all of a person's time is spent in virtual reality. It also gives you a happiness boost.
  • Space Pirates: Yeah, they exist in game and early on they can be a real pain in the ass. Random events will also spawn them at your home planet. Fortunately they seem more interested in rape and pillage: if they fry your fleet, instead of sticking around to do infrastructure damage they'll hare off after more things to fight. Although they can invade your star systems if they don't find anything more interesting nearby.
  • Space Opera: The setting.
  • Spiritual Successor: For Master of Orion. Several of the factions are spiritual successors to the races from that series as well. The three races that leap out as the most directly inspirednote  are the Horatio, the Sowers, and the Cravers, who are successors to the Sakkra, the Silicoids, and the Harvesters.
  • Standard Human Spaceship: The United Empire has mostly blocky ships, though some have very sweet curved bows in the manner of naval ships. The Sheredyn, bodyguards to the Emperor in the Praetorian tradition, have ships with the same structure but massive bling for massive win. The Pilgrims, who've had lots of interactions with the Sophon, have ships that are a mishmash of blocky and shiny curves aesthetics. The other races have every kind of design imaginable, from mechanical monstrosities to armored bacteria to sculpture to birdlike vessels to robot octopi. It's a pretty exciting galaxy you live in.
  • Standard Sci-Fi Fleet: Ship classes consist of transports, corvettes, destroyers, cruisers, battleships and dreadnoughts.
  • Starfish Aliens:
    • The Amoeba. They look like what their name would suggest.
  • Starfish Robots: The Sowers are pretty alien in form and psychology as well, as evolved terraforming robots. Their bodies are largely spherical, but are highly asymmetric and have numerous protrusions along their front face. Their leader appears to be several Sowers melded together.
  • State Sec: The Sheredyn, originally they were just the bodyguards for the emperors of the United Empire. By the time of the game, however, the Sheredyn have begun to take over corporations along with building independent colonies and creating their own interstellar logistics networks. This has transformed them from an elite bodyguard force into a powerful subfaction within the empire; to the point they are almost a state within a state.
  • Superweapon Surprise: Interestingly, larger ship chassis designs are in the exact opposite direction of Galactic Warfare in the Technology Tree, and more effective battle cards are in the same tree as research and production, and fleet sizes are (usually) in the same tree as food, trade, and happiness research, leading to situations where an overspecialized invader ends up having to fight a peaceful empire with huge fleets of ships four times larger than theirs.
  • Tech Tree: Divided into four categories: Galactic Warfare, Applied Sciences, Exploration & Expansion, and Diplomacy & Trading. Certain technologies are also specific to a certain faction.
  • Terraform: The game features this deep in the colonization and exploration tech tree. However, terraforming a hostile world isn't easy, and there are multiple stages of planet types that must be successfully transformed in order to slowly turn a hostile world into a garden: barren and lava worlds can turn into arctic or desert worlds can turn into tundra or arid worlds which finally turn into terran, jungle, or ocean worlds. Terraforming sideways within tiers, or even down tiers, is also possible. Gas giants and asteroid belts, however, can't be improved at all. In a separate form of terraforming, negative and mixed planetary anomalies such as strong magnetic fields, seismic activity, and toxic environments can be alleviated through other technologies in the same tech tree - the first stage allows the remedy of minor anomalies (which are often a mix of good and bad, which the treatment removing the bad and sometimes even boosts the good), then later the ability to remove severe anomalies. Played with in that descriptions for remedied anomalies indicate that it's just as often the result of adapting the colony's systems to the environment.
  • The Virus: Hero Enil-Nex 8043 is a virus that escaped from a viral lab. Somewhere along the way it became sentient and a productive member of society. It found that it's abilites as a virus make it really good at manipulating Dust.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • Reversed with the Sophons. When confronted with a deadly predator they are just as likely to run away screaming as they are to start studying it. While it's trying to eat them.
    • Also, the cultists responsible for destroying one of your Moon Temples in a random event: they knocked the proton streams out of alignment, the streams crossed...
  • Twin Maker: The Horatio faction. Horatio the First was an androgynous, beauty-obsessed narcissist, left society to set up shop on a planet by himself, where he found Imported Alien Phlebotinum. He then proceeded to clone an entire society of himself and then decided that the rest of the universe could only be improved by the presence of more of his beauty. The faction's hat is high population growth and density.
  • Unstable Equilibrium: heavily weighted towards early expansion. If you manage to get enough systems under your belt, you will win. If you don't, you will lose. It's really that simple. (Relatedly, this makes certain map styles, particularly the Spiral ones, very difficult to play on: you are much more likely to be bottlenecked by Wormholes into a territory which is too small to support a victory.)
  • We Have Reserves: The Cravers. Their ships are twenty-percent cheaper to produce and they start out with more CP than the other races. Then to top it off, some of their faction-exclusive tech gives out more CP bonuses than any another race in the game.
    • To some extent, the United Empire lategame, as their economy lets them constantly churn out ships with seemingly no end.
  • A Winner Is You: Despite nice intros for each faction at the beginning of the game, all victories share the same simple pop-up window, followed by a set of graphs of various faction strengths.
    • Slightly changed in a recent update. Every faction gets a popup with it's own text and picture after victory or defeat. Not the same as a full movie, but better than before.
  • Worker Unit: Colony ships.
  • Yin-Yang Clash: The Sowers seek to make every world a paradise, the Cravers seek to consume every world. Sibling Yin-Yang as well, since the Endless created both races.
    • The Sowers also have one going with the Sophons, having slow-moving ships and a penalty to research but increased productivity and the Sophons being on the opposite end of the extreme in those aspects.
  • You Have Researched Breathing: You have to conduct research in order to colonize planets beyond Terran, Jungle and Ocean. Some of which, like Arid, you wouldn't think you would have much trouble colonizing.
    • An Arid world may have too little water or other materials to colonize without specialized equipment which they obviously don't have fridge logic about having already developed the technology aside.
      • The Technology says that it's allows them to colonize the planet without disturbing the local ecosystems. IE not completely wrecking the planet they are trying to live on.
    • Averted with the Sowers, who can settle even Gas Giants and Asteroids from the start, but suffer a 25% penalty on the output until the proper tech is researched. Not to mention that the more difficult the planet type, the worse it affects approval, which can further hamper it.
    • Custom races can start on planets that they don't know how to colonize yet (i.e. Sower Affinity starts you off on a tundra planet).
  • Zerg Rush: Mass corvettes.
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alternative title(s): Endless Space
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