Released in 2008, “Sins of a Solar Empire” did a neat thing — it took the grand scope of turn-based empire-building games like “Civilization” and married it to the tactical depth of real-time strategy games like “StarCraft.”
The result was a game that played faster than the former but didn’t require the fast-paced reaction times of the latter — you could quickly queue up ship construction and take over planets once you got to them, but traveling long distances took a bit of time.
Two small expansions to the game — “Entrenchment” and “Diplomacy” — added powerful defensive starbases and diplomatic options, tweaking the nuts and bolts of the game considerably.
Now comes “Rebellion,” which includes all the material from previous releases as well as a new set of tweaks, refinements and additions. It’s a stand-alone game — you don’t need any of the previous releases to play it, though owning any of them will get you $10 off the price of “Rebellion” througwww.sinsofasolarempire.com.
The game still doesn’t have story-driven scenarios, but there are updates to the story that tie into the new features. After several decades of war, the three original enemy factions — the human Trader Emergency Coalition, the posthuman Advent and the alien Vasari—have split into six, and now all sides are at each other’s throats.
The six new factions share most of the same ships, technologies and planetary structures, but each has its own set of unique technologies and ships as well — in particular the new, speedy corvette class of frigate, and the enormous, powerful and extremely costly titans, ships that require their own special factory, four steps of research and a huge outlay of resources to build, but have power to match their cost (though you can only have one in service at a time).
Each of the subfactions has a different focus — the TEC Loyalist side, for example, focuses on defensive measures and heavily armored ships, while the Rebel side is more aggressive and heavily armed.
Add to this a new capital ship class for each overall faction, and your options for conquering a chunk of space are expanded considerably. The one caveat to having all this stuff in one big package is that it is a lot to take in all at once for a newcomer to the series. But if you’re looking to dive into “SOASE,” “Rebellion” is the place to do it.