The space 4X game is not new and there’s a lot of healthy competition in the genre, with turn-based and real-time games to choose from and ranges in budget, design choice, and scale to suit nearly any preference.
The sci-fi power fantasy of “What if I was galactic Emperor” has been seen many a time, including the indie title “Stellar Monarch”, but no one has successfully made a sci-fi game that attempts to tread CK3’s path of family management and empire management, until now.
That’s not completely true by the way, there was a real-time strategy called “Star Lord” in the 90’s but that game was a bold attempt but something of a mess.
Now the formula of Sci-fi plus “Game of Thrones” has actually been done already, with Frank Herbert’s iconic “Dune” series that follows a far future Empire ruled by powerful noble families that bicker and intrigue against each other. Star Dynasties attempts to turn that experience into a turn-based strategy.
Still, in early access, Stellar Dynasties drops you into the game as either a pre-generated noble family, or you can create your own and rule over your own Kingdom, made up of several worlds and perhaps even with “vassal” Barons, whose loyalty may be questionable.
At the moment, the game’s back-story is quite light on detail and with scenarios creating a procedurally generated galaxy, filled with competing factions, the story emerges as you play the game.
As well as commanding several star systems and the war-fleets that enforce that rule, you also are the scion of your dynasty and must arrange marriages and education for the members of your family. Your house has a “council” that will aid in science, military, and administration and you’ll likely assign members of your family to assist you as a part of that council.
Members of your family and other characters can be sent on a wide array of missions and tasks, aiding with training other characters, composing ships, preparing invasions, spying, or governing. Much as in CK3, characters have traits that will govern their behavior as well as determining their reaction and opinion to other characters.
You may find that your neighboring Duke actually quite likes you, making an alliance possible. Or you may find that you have deeply clashing personalities and war seems inevitable.
As each turn is a year, you’ll keep an eye on your heirs as they grow up and start to play a role in the future of your house.
Warfare is fought, as one might expect, between great fleets of ships and at present, this is both quite abstract and very much hands-off, don’t expect to be choosing the armament of a warship or plotting ships courses in this game.
Stellar Dynasties has a slightly cartoony art-style that may not appeal to everyone but the graphics are fairly clean and the characters are usually quite easy to tell apart. There’s a pretty good editor to create your own starting character if you’re setting up a new dynasty.
The UI in Stellar Dynasties still needs some work and information is often hidden from view in a way that means it takes a while to find it. You may also wish for the sort of tool-tips that Paradox often uses. However, the game has come on a great deal since the original preview version was made available last year.
Star Dynasties is still in early access and is seeing fairly regular updates. The dev team is quite active and keeps the community up to speed with the game and has put a large emphasis on making the game deeply moddable, which could lead to some rather nice fan-made content appearing on Steam workshop one day! For fans of the dynasty building player or the sci-fi empire builder, keep an eye open for Stellar Dynasties, appearing on a scanner near you!