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Video Game / Sid Meier's Starships

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Sid Meier's Starships is a 4X Turn-Based Strategy developed by a small team at Firaxis Games spearheaded by Sid Meier himself and released by 2K Games on March 12, 2015 for PC, Mac OS, and iPad. While the game is not officially a part of the Civilization series and features completely different gameplay, it takes place in the same 'verse as Civilization: Beyond Earth, considered to be a direct sequel of the title.

Thousands of years have passed since the launch of the ships that settled the various exoplanets. Your colony has flourished and began to wonder about the fate of the other human colonies on other worlds. Then a long-awaited signal arrives. The colonists begin the construction of a starship to take their emissaries to meet their brethren only to decode the message half-way through the construction and discover that it's a call for help. Instead of one ship, a whole fleet is launched, ready for anything and prepared to render aid to the other colonies.

The game is played out on a 2-D Space map. Instead of a whole civilization, the player is put in control of a fleet of starships exploring the galaxy, encountering the other Lost Colonies and, possibly, alien civilizations as well, and dealing with various threats. The player is able to customize each ship to a great extent to fit a particular task. Naturally, Space Battles are a common occurrence. It is also noted that the initially-selected leaders of your colony are the same as in Beyond Earth.


Surprisingly for a Sid Meier game, it received a large number of negative reviews, especially for the PC/Mac version, which was extremely buggy and simplistic for a full-featured PC game. Most PC players felt that the developers focused too much on making the game playable on an iPad.

This game provides examples of:

  • The Battlestar: It's possible to upgrade your ship (or ships) to this by focusing on both firepower and carrier capacity.
  • Critical Damage: Damage that gets through shields has a chance of disabling some systems. The damage can be repaired, but it takes a turn to do that.
  • Deflector Shields: Ships' first line of defense.
  • Design-It-Yourself Equipment: Ships can be customized by purchasing upgrades for specific systems or selling them for a smaller return. All ships start as corvettes, but can eventually be upgraded to battleship class. In addition, certain design choices can also add a descriptor to the class, such as "assault destroyer" or "fast cruiser".
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  • Distress Call: The signal that spurs your colony to build a fleet of well-armed starships instead of one diplomatic ship.
  • The Federation: The "Domination" victory condition involves building one, by completing missions for non-aligned planets, getting them to like you enough to join. Each new member world adds resources and production capabilities to the Federation. You are also facing competing empires.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: The primary weapons of any starship.
  • Homing Lasers: Lasers frequently move in arcs before striking their target.
  • Hyperspace Lanes: Normally, it's only possible to move from one planet to the ones close to it. However, it's also possible to build a Portal Network to allow movement between remote planets.
  • Lost Colony: Both your colony and the other human colonies have no contact with either Earth or each other.
  • Mad Libs Thriller Title: Many of the missions have names such as "The Carolingean Illusion" or "The Thuringian Fallacy."
  • Our Wormholes Are Different: Entering one will send your fleet to a different region of space on the battle map. For the most part, the exit location is random, although one wonder allows that faction to choose which wormhole to exit out of.
  • Plasma Cannon: Powerful but short-ranged weapons.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Many of the colony leaders from Beyond Earth make a return despite taking place several generations later. Justified given the setting, however.
  • Sequel Escalation: Leaders' Affinity appearances will be even more extreme than in Beyond Earth. Likewise, Affinities will play even more heavily on gameplay.
  • Shout-Out: One achievement is called "I, uh, I've been to another planet, Ma." Another is titled "They've gone to plaid!"
  • Space Battle: It's difficult to have a sci-fi game about starships without this trope being in effect.
  • Space Fighter: Your ships can launch them. They are fast but easy to destroy.
  • Space Pirates: A common mission is to destroy pirates harassing a colony.
  • 2-D Space
  • Units Not to Scale: Fighters look almost as big as the ships that launched them. Then again, this is nothing unusual for a Civ game. Said ships being almost as big as a planet, however...

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