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Indie Gala June – Star Ruler and Sword of the Stars Complete

By on June 14th, 2013 1:04 pm

So, folks at The Indie Gala are currently selling one of those “Pay what you want. Support causes. Get awesome games” kind of thing. This bundle caught my eye because it includes two good space 4X games in it: Star Ruler and Sword of the Stars: Complete Collection.

At the moment, and according to the average system they have in place, you can get Sword of the Stars: Complete Collection for around $4, which includes 7 other games. If you want Star Ruler, it will cost you $6, but you get SotS:CC also, and all other 12 games in the bundle, as well. Star Ruler and SotS:CC are sold as Steam keys.

Star Ruler is a real-time space 4X game. Its strongest features are a very good ship design system, huge galaxies in 3D and a somewhat easy, but still quite complex game to get into. By the time of our review, the research system was not very intuitive though. And, the diplomacy features were also quite light. For more details here’s our Star Ruler (Gold) review.

Sword of the Stars: Complete Collection is a turn-based space 4X game with real-time tactical combat. Its selling points are the interestingly unique races and great space battles. This is also a good title for new players to the genre. Colony management is perhaps too simple for more demanding players though. Here’s our SotS:CC review.

Well, $4 for SotS:CC or $6 for SotS:CC + Star Ruler are almost symbolic prices. So, if you were thinking in getting one of these two good 4X games at some point in time, then here’s a good and cheap chance now.

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  1. Evrett says:

    How does Sots, regardless of its quality, qualify as a indie game? It was patroned and completed by two large publishers before Kerberos went (through their own repeated incompetence) “independent”. BTW it seems you ended up giving Star Rulers an 8.3, significantly higher than you gave sots..Star Ruler isnt in the same class as Sots..let alone better..why have a 1-5 scale at all if yer too much of a softy to use it?

    • Adam Solo says:

      I thought the same about SotS. How is that considered an indie game with publishers Paradox Interactive, and former Lighthouse Interactive, behind it? The only reason I find is that perhaps Kerberos Productions is gaining profits from this bundle alone somehow.

      Star Ruler evolved substantially since it first released. In my first review it got a 6.0. In the “Gold edition” re-review (v1.1) it got an 8.3. I was not behind SotS:CC review. That review was written by another person. But, while that’s not my score per se, I take full responsibility for it. And, I’ve reviewed games on the 1-5 scale. Several actually.

      • Evrett says:

        Star Ruler..from what I’ve seen in lets a generation behind games like DW, GC2, SoTS, Stardrive ect ect. It doesnt belong anywhere near 8.3. You gave Endless Space only 8 points..By your score Star Ruler is the great title of this generation.

        • Adam Solo says:

          Definitely not “the great title of this generation”, no, but still a great 4X game, in my opinion. But again, only after v1.1. Distant Worlds (after RotS) and GalCiv2 are superior. I also find Sins: Rebellion and Armada 2526 Gold to be superior.

    • From what I remember of both of those games, Star Ruler was the more original and interesting title of the bunch. I agree that sots doesn’t really qualify as a Indie game but look at the humble bundles recently, they’ve been a long shot from Indie titles.

    • Jayl1ee says:

      Star Ruler is by far alot better than sword of the stars and more depth – at least in their current version today and not judging by their release state. So if you tried Star Ruler when it released you owe it to yourself to try it again. It is amazing =)

      • Evrett says:

        I watched a few lets way Star Ruler is in the same class as Sots I. Star Rulers is a spreadsheet babysitter slightly better looking than Space Empires 4. Two ship chaises and 4 races qualify as depth ? Le Snore. And if one wanted huge universes one can play Distant Worlds which has a lot better graphics and tons more character. Sots doesnt have the universe size depth or an real economy to manage but its 1000% better looking and the battles are way more fun and involved.

        • I wouldn’t judge it so harshly without first trying the game.

          Sots is a better looking game, but graphics really isn’t everything, I don’t quite get how DW has better graphics though, last time i played it i thought I was playing an 8-bit 4x game.. Star Ruler has a great customizable ship system, some really interesting combat due to the realistic physics. The game certainly isn’t perfect, but in my opinion it offered more 4x gameplay then sots did.

      • Alex says:

        Both games have depth, however Star Ruler has little replay value after you’ve researched every tech and blown up the galactic center. Ships in Star Ruler don’t properly work after a certain size, which is one of the main reasons I don’t like it too much. The fact that it has been on sale for under $5 on several websites for many months says it all.

        I wouldn’t rule SotS better than Star Ruler either. Colonization and development is boring, and ship combat reminds me of Endless Space.

        Both games are discardable imo.

        • Eno says:

          I think you are thinking of a different game. Sots combat is as different from Endless Space combat as combat can be.

        • jackswift says:

          I’ve probably logged more hours into SotS Prime than GalCiv 2, Star Ruler and Endless Space combined (and I do love ES, Star Ruler is alright, I played the beta versions and got burnt out by the time they had patched most of the problems). Probably put in the same amount of time as I have in MoO2.

          SotS Complete is a friggin’ masterpiece. It plays perfectly to its strengths and minimizes the weaknesses. It’s simple where it needs to be simple (economy) and gloriously complex in the battle arena. The randomized tech tree, racial differences and multitude of great mods out there truly make for a new game each time. The AI is competent (something also not appreciated enough in turn based games) and of course the graphics are nice. If you don’t care for tactical combat, then yeah, you should probably not play it.

          Also, SotS Complete should not be confused with SotS 2. SotS II is what you get when the devs try to satisfy all those people complaining that the colonization and development were too simple in the first game… you get a trainwreck.

        • Jeff P says:

          Couldn’t agree more, jackswift. I start a new SotS game every few days, and although I play Endless Space, MoO2 (still), Star Ruler, and Sins, I always return to my SotS game-in-progress. What I love about the game is that the races THINK differently: first met, the Hivers, Zuul and Tarkas always attack, Morrigi and Human sometimes attack, and Liir almost always are peaceful. Tech trees change game to game, and the tech themselves are meaningful: some techs are absolutely necessary (Point Defense and Suspended Animation), others very useful (Phasers, PD Phasers) and others questionable (mine techs.) All in all, every game plays differently and is supremely entertaining.

  2. Jeff P says:

    I have both games already, and pace Jayl1ee, I couldn’t disagree more. I still play SotS frequently, but for a variety of reasons I could never get into Star Ruler.

    A huge difference between SotS and Star Ruler is the mode of play: SotS is turn-based strategy, real-time tactical, while SR is pure real-time. I’m not a fan of the RTS model: things spin-out of hand quickly as you furiously click from spot-to-spot trying to micro-manage your virtual empire while the AI does everything right everywhere at the same time. I much prefer the more relaxed pace of SotS to Star Ruler. And yes, both games feature pause in real-time, but that doesn’t change the “runaway train” feeling I get playing SR.

    All this being said, I encourage anyone with $6 rattling around in their change drawer to buy both games. At those prices, you can afford both games (and the other titles as well) without busting your budget.

    • Alien JD says:

      I had the same problem with Star Ruler. By mid-game there was so much going on that it was pause, click, a few orders, pause, move, click, a few orders, repeat over and over and over. I like to play strategy games in a relaxed way. That game was like a busy day at work.

      I picked up Distant Worlds Shadows and that game is also real time. It deals with the frantic pace and scope by including a lot of automation options. I still can’t decide if I like the game or not. Sometimes, even with all automation set to off, the game seems to play itself. It doesn’t really need me; it just needs some cpu time and it’s off and running. Maybe I’m playing it wrong: maybe it’s meant to be played like a Hearts of Iron game rather than a Space Empires game?

      • Jeff P says:

        Your comments regarding Distant Worlds is one of my reasons for not buying that game. I have yet to find an RTS 4X game that that didn’t tire-out my pause button finger. A demo would allow me to determine if DW was the exception, but there is none and it is way too expensive to buy in the hope I’d like it.

        • t1it says:

          They’ve temporarily reduced price at the moment (base game + all expansions) so I think you have to get it soon…I don’t know if Matrix games has any more occasional sales (unlikely).

          Regarding the micromanagement…yes it can be tedious at times, especially defending against pirate invasions (often you can’t just make a fleet and set it to patrol and then be done with it for good – it’s too inefficient use of ships). Also dislike the truckloads of popups, majority being useless nuisance but sometimes, there are more important one but they might be buried under the sea of the useless popups, so one might have to pause or slowdown the game to pay attention. The message options doesn’t really address this.

          Those aspects of the game requires more button-mashing sometimes, but they aren’t really ‘micro-heavy’ tbh. Auto-AI is good enough for most of the areas you don’t want to micro.

        • Mark says:

          Unfortunately DW isn’t the exception, it gets absolutely frantic to the point of bombarding you with with several messages per second, many of which are important, but because its RT, you cant possibly handle everything at the same time. I find that you have to pause all the time just to handle even a fraction of whats going on.

          In spite of that, I still like DW, but I tend to have the automation pretty heavily on by mid-game which means a lot of my control has been handed over to the AI, for better or for worse, and with all the bugs still present, I strongly suspect it’s for worse.

          A good RT 4x that doesn’t tire you out is an Indie game called Starships Unlimited 3. It’s RT, but automatically pauses whenever anything interesting happens or you need to give it orders. It’s an excellent concept that I wish DW and other RT games would adopt too.

        • Jeff P says:

          Yes, Mark, I’d forgotten about Starships Unlimited. You are right, it does have a usable framework for a RTS 4x. What differentiates StUn from Star Ruler, (and apparently StarDrive and DW) is that the tactical game is separate from the strategic: the game notifies you of a fight pending, and pauses the strategic side until the battle is resolved. Unfortunately, the graphics and GUI are distractingly meager and the indie developer (Andrew Ewanchyna) has abandoned the game. I too wish this approach had been used in other titles.

        • Mezmorki says:

          Have you tried Sins of Solar Empire?

          For my part, I don’t really like the RT 4x games. Sins works (for me) though because it is an RTS “first” and then a 4X game.

          Stardrive, Distant Worlds, etc. are more 4X games firstly, implemented in real-time, and that’s the problem (in my opinion).

        • Jeff P says:

          I agree about Sins, Mezmorki. I have all the Sins except Rebellion. It is a pleasurable game as a tactical RTS because the strategic aspect, especially colony development and tech, are both simplified and abstract. It is easy to lose track of scouts, colonizers, constructors, and starbases in planet-less sectors when concentrating on fleet battles, though, which highlights the limitations of a strictly real-time 4X game.

  3. dthorus says:

    Sword of the Stars II Enchanced Edition /Steam key/ was added for top tier buyers(currently 5.84 USD and above)

  4. TimmY says:

    I got the bundle too. Nice games overall and having some 4x games is good too. 3 more steam games to be unlocked. I hope we get more ships :D

  5. Star Ruler is a great game. One has to try out Galactic Armory mod. I’ll definitely do so when GA 2.0 is released.

    I wouldn’t say it is better than SotS though. SotS has far more depth and can afford it due to being turn based.

    The two games are hard to compare at all.

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