Sword of the Stars (Complete) vs Sins of a Solar Empire (Complete)

By on December 14, 2010 9:50:32 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

TheProgress

Join Date 04/2008
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I have Sword of the Stars complete edition. It has the things that I love about space games: the ability to customize ships and a huge in-depth tech tree (not to mention the differences of each of the factions does impact gameplay).

Why should I bother with Sins of a Solar Empire? I've never played it but I've read about it and watched videos etc. Is it worth getting if I already have SotS?

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December 14, 2010 10:02:34 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Both great space games. Sins is an RTS whereas Sword is a TBS, the differences increase from there

 

Honestly Sins is the only decent space hybrid of TBS level strategy and RTS tactics I've seen. I recommend giving it a chance, there has to be a demo out of it out by now that you can try to see if its something you would like.

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December 14, 2010 10:05:08 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'd love to say I'm unbiased, but I play a fair bit of SotS, while Sins and Entrenchment currently sit uninstalled in my impulse window.

They are, at heart, very different games. You play SotS, so you know what that game is like.

Sins plays much more like a traditional RTS. Its battles tend to be larger in terms of units, but suffer, in my opinion, from a lack of details. Capital ships play something like heros in Warcraft 3, where they gain experience and you can select from a small number of upgradable special abilities.

It does have bits that I really enjoyed, such as the pirates and the bounty system, which were fantastic ways to encourage others to attack specific targets while offering you the safety of deniability. On the whole, though, there wasn't enough there to keep my interest, and it didn't live up, in my mind, to its previews.

TL;DR: Solid, not great.

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December 14, 2010 10:15:29 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I like them both but both have flaws that can be hard to ignore, still play Sins with friends from time to time. That said I'm really looking forward to SoTS sequel hoping it sheds some of those flaws as it really is a very creative game where each faction is incredibly diverse. Just hoping the super lame trailer is not a bad omen.

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December 14, 2010 10:35:19 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

I have both and enjoy both. As others have pointed out, both have totally different perspectives aside from RTS/TBS. I find SotS to be more microintensive with customization and huge indepth tech tree. Oh and I love the randomness of it as well. Sins is more macrointensive with a shorter tech tree and little customization. Flipside, where in SotS you had small fleets in Sins you can have massive fleets.

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December 14, 2010 10:43:52 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I've played way more SotS than Sins, because at heart I'm a TBS guy and not a RTS guy.  If you, like me, prefer TBS games, I'd plug Distant Worlds over Sins as an RTS that plays like a TBS.  Sins is more polished and looks way better, and undoubtedly has better combat, but DW has in spades all the stuff that normally gets left out of strategy games (like a wonderful economic system, and the possibility to play without just trying to destroy everything in site).  It's really almost a Europa Universalis in space model.

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December 14, 2010 10:47:31 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

I have both.  I like them both, but they are not the same.  Sins has less depth to it (by necessity, since it's rts, as opposed to turn based).  I think Sins is the more casual of the two, while Sots has more depth.  I prefer Sots overall, but that's because I prefer turn-based strategy games.   On the other hand, I tend to not like rts games, but Sins is one of the only exceptions to that.

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December 14, 2010 11:03:38 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I have Sins with all expansions, but haven't had a chance to play much of it. I did enjoy it though for the short amount of time I put in. I've been hearing more about SotS, and I too am more of a TBS than an RTS person. So, what is SotS like compared to GalCivII complete?

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December 14, 2010 11:35:39 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

I too prefer a TBS type. With a strategy game, I like to take my time between turns. The Dune2/Warcraft/EurUni type game gets old real quick, even with the graphical updates.

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December 14, 2010 11:43:57 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Sins is a different sort of game. It's not turn based, for one thing. It sounds like if you've got money you want to spend on a space game, you'd probably get more enjoyment out of Galactic Civilizations II.

But Sins has a demo, so check that out, and see if you like it.

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December 15, 2010 11:36:38 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

SotS has it's RTS component, in the way the TW series does it.

 

I've never played Sins so I can't comment on it, however GC2 is trash compared to SotS, even the AI in SotS is superior.  GC2 is 'cute' but ultimately unsatisfying.

 

I'm not sure I like the direction SotS2 is going, but I guess I'll have to see what it looks like when it's actually done.  Then again, SotS without any expansions wasn't that great either, but once they got out all 3 expansions (or 2.5 if you prefer) it really had just about everything you wanted.  Like SD, Kerberos listens to the fans.  At least those with good ideas.

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December 15, 2010 11:39:26 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

So, what is SotS like compared to GalCivII complete?

Way different.  GalCivII is similar to Civilization in space, at least for me, which means I can't touch it with a ten-foot pole.  As to SotS, I like to think of it as a 4x game that someone reduced to the core essentials.  You have a tech tree, combat, planets to colonize, and that's the bulk of the game.  It isn't complex.  However, don't think it isn't deep, since the most likely answer you'll get on the game's forums in response to a question is "it depends".  The easiest way to learn SotS is to play it a few times, and watching the tutorial videos isn't a bad start.

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December 15, 2010 4:03:25 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

GCII is essentially a game of maximising modifiers using fixed point population centres and mobile construction ships to build stationary field of effect modifiers. The game is a a board of squares. Combat is civ style, abstract. With imagination the designer could have made it any sort of game, space, fantasy, real world, but the design is as a space game.

 

SotS is a less a game of modifiers and more of logistics. Its movement system is basically one of "warp lanes" between planets but with each species having their own unique tweaks on this, which makes the movement of fleets of more significance to the overall game, especially as fuel has to be managed. Combat can be auto or real time and the real time combat is really fun and not something TBS games should be afraid of.

 

From my above review you might think SotS is the better game, neither is better they are very different takes on the space strategy TBS theme and both worth a look. The best way to know if you would like it is to try a demo.

 

 

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December 15, 2010 4:26:29 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Its movement system is basically one of "warp lanes" between planets but with each species having their own unique tweaks on this

Wrong.  Tarkas, Liir, Morrigi, and Hivers have no warp lanes or anything at all like that.  They can go anywhere they have the fuel to reach.  Only the Humans and Zuul have to deal with fixed routes.

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December 16, 2010 2:17:10 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Hivers do. Play as the Hivers without constructing lanes and enjoy. If we are being correct, Humans and Zuul can navigate without lanes. Which is slower, their movement without lanes or Hiver movement without lanes? Person with the correct answer wins a prize!

 

Essentially my point is each species has a unique rule of movement.

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December 16, 2010 11:13:38 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

I wouldn't exactly call an inter-connected network of teleporters a group of lanes, since any planet with a gate goes to any other planet with a gate.  Lanes imply restriction on movement due to limited routes, which Hivers just don't have.

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December 16, 2010 1:21:08 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting MichaelCook,
Which is slower, their movement without lanes or Hiver movement without lanes? Person with the correct answer wins a prize! 

Humans and Zuul are slower with a speed of .7 at strategic. Hivers are a whopping .99. Numbers are Antimatter sections.

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December 16, 2010 3:45:22 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'm trying to write a post in less than 5 minutes to describe the differences between two space themed TBS's, give me a break

 

Congrats Ryat on your answer. I have no idea if it is correct but you seem a reputable sort with 128 karma

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December 16, 2010 3:49:43 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

http://sots.rorschach.net/Antimatter_Section

Sword of the Stars Wiki FTW!

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December 16, 2010 3:54:07 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Of course Hivers in the AM era should be farcasting anyway, so that .99 is only for jumps over 10(?) LYs.

 

But yeah, the warp lanes really only apply to Humans and Zuul, though Zuul can build the warplanes where they want them while humans are stuck with the map lanes.

 

Freedom of movement isn't that critical on most maps though, unless you completely ignore building a sensor network of some kind on your front lines.  Or unless you are an age behind your opponent and their offensive fleets are faster than your mobile reserves.

 

Though that still assumes you are the defender, we all know that's usually a bad thing to be in SotS, even with full Sat rings a large enough invasion force will still wipe your colony.

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December 16, 2010 7:29:29 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting shadowtongue,
Of course Hivers in the AM era should be farcasting anyway, so that .99 is only for jumps over 10(?) LYs.

Or missing your cast, which happens more often than not.

 

As for differences between SotS and GalCivII, I enjoyed the post about GalCivII being a game of modifiers, and SotS being a game of Logistics. I think that's a interesting way to look at it and not one I'd considered.

I disagree, with the others, with the statement that all travel is based around lanes, which is misleading at best and wrong at worst. Two of the 6 races do make use of lanes (Humans, who use lanes seeded at map creation), and Zuul, who create their own network on the fly. The other 4 don't, and may travel from any location to any other, though they have their own variations.

GalCivII is very much about planetary infrastructure. Building farms, research centers, galactic wonders, etc, is a massive focus of that game. SotS on the other hand almost completely abstracts infrastructure and puts that focus instead on the combat, which is... infinity more satisfying that GalCiv's combat (Read: not an automated game of rock-paper-scissors). Planets, in SotS, are merely factories, sources of revenue, and staging grounds for fleets.

SotS has it's randomized tech-tree, which I really enjoy. It's also rather free of filler techs, which I appreciate. Every tech has a tangible effect, and most of them are related (directly or indirectly) to combat. Each game you have access to different techs (and sometimes access from different trees/pre-reqs) and the same goes for every other player.

SotS has a number or random events which makes the game world/galaxy feel more dynamic than in GalCivII. Watch the swarm hives send out queens, establish more hives, and generally be a pain for everyone's backside in the early game. Lose you scout fleet to an asteroid monitor, then throw some research at the problem and take control of it so you can us it against others. Late game, when a grand menace shows up, pray it heads for someone else' territory. Research a little too heavily into AI, and watch as the AI rebels, taking a third of your empire with it and forming it's own race. There's a lot going on outside of the playable races, which you don't see in GalCivII.

Speaking of playable races, they also play significantly differently. Each race has different odds of accessing technologies, meaning Liir tend to (but not always) make use of energy weapons, plagues, and shields. Hivers, on the other hand, get a high chance at ballistic, armour, and explosive techs. But I've had a game as Hiver where I hit the top tier shield and beam techs, which was rather a shock to my opponents when they realized that fact.

The races, because of their travel mechanism, also expand differently. Humans tend to expand very quickly. If they push it, they expand far quicker than they can actually afford to protect (or finance). Hivers, to bring them up again, are incredibly slow reaching new places, which makes their initial exploration (and thus expansion) very slow in comparison. But they manufacture quickly, and by the time they place a teleportation gate on a new planet, they already have a full fleet waiting to colonize and protect the planet. They might not grab territory as quickly as the others, but once it's theirs, they tend to keep it.

One last comparison: Each race in SotS has a randomized habitability rating, which when compared to the rating of the planet, determines how much you will have to subsidize a colony, and how long you will have to do so, before it becomes a productive member of your empire. This means that every race values each planet differently, unlike GalCiv, where everyone want's that size 25 paradise. This will, in some games, make two races natural rivals, as they compete for the same planets. Or it can make for an easy alliance if the Tarka and the Humans have near-opposite preferences, and can share the same area of space without stepping on each others toes.

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December 22, 2010 6:32:37 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

GalCiv II =  Civ style turn based 4X with autoresolving combat based off of customizable ship designs.  Single Player, Epic length games with progressive technology tree unlocking many new things to build.

Sins of a Solar Empire = RTS / 4X hybrid with streamlined economy.  Emphasis on Moderate twitch Tactical combat.  Multiplayer for 10 people with most games taking 1-2 hours.  Epic length games can be set up, but technology / fleet size tends to max out within a few hours.  Many types of hero ships with special abilities, but no customization.

Distant Worlds = RTS / 4X / economic simulation.  Emphasis on strategy, no twitch needed.  Minimal tactical combat, customizable ships fight when and where you tell them and behave based on their AI and engagement orders.  Single player epic length games.

SoTS = Turn based 4X with very streamlined economy and RTS combat resolution.  RTS battles are moderate twitch (if multiplayer) and extremely tactical.  Intricate technology tree and amazing amount of ship customization possible.  Multiplayer Epic length games, but be ready to go make a sandwhich or smoke a cigarette while waiting for other players to resolve their RTS battles.

 

 

All these games are great in their own way.  I'm really excited about SoTS 2.

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December 23, 2010 12:56:55 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

I've not encountered a game where differences between factions are as great as SotS. On the other hand, I don't recall actually finishing a single game as the end becomes an epic(ally slow) grind of killing the opponent's planets. Sadly, I don't really have the opportunity to play multi on it, so I'm stuck with the AI. It's also hard to figure out some of the mechanics of the game without the wiki.

I at least finish most of the games of Sins I play so long as I don't tweak my mod first. The real-time nature allows much more interesting things to be going on at once. You also can get situations where, for example. you need to break off an attack in order to defend from an enemy attacking elsewhere, which you just don't get in SotS.

 

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December 27, 2010 1:59:48 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Thanks for all of the opinions - I think I'll just stick with SotS for now (and I already have all of the Gal Civ 2 games too).

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January 6, 2011 5:35:29 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting louist,


Or missing your cast, which happens more often than not.

 

Missing your cast still has you within 2 LYs of target, so at worst you 'lose' 2 turns in transit.

 

As opposed to taking 7-10 turns to get most 'close' stars (depending on how you set your galaxy, but if you play hiver and max the interstellar distances you are a glutton for punishment )

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January 6, 2011 9:15:22 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting shadowtongue,

Quoting louist, reply 20

Or missing your cast, which happens more often than not.

 
Missing your cast still has you within 2 LYs of target, so at worst you 'lose' 2 turns in transit.

 

As opposed to taking 7-10 turns to get most 'close' stars (depending on how you set your galaxy, but if you play hiver and max the interstellar distances you are a glutton for punishment )

I'm just sore because I'd been missing a number of casts at the time of writing

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