Sid Meier’s Starships Preview

Civilization: Beyond Earth has been out for less than five months, but already Firaxis Games is back with Sid Meier’s Starships, a stand-alone title that shares the same universe as Civilization: Beyond Earth, with cross-connectivity being touted as a major feature between the two games. Following the gameplay of Beyond Earth, players will meet human and alien forces, take to the stars, and spread across the galaxy.

Connection to Beyond Earth

Starships takes place roughly 1,000 years after humans have settled peacefully in space during Beyond Earth. Your people discover the existence of other, human-like peoples living among the stars, and your society takes flight to join them.

The affinities from Beyond Earth make a return, with players choosing between Harmony, Purity, and Supremacy, basically guiding whether your people are belligerent, amicable, or some mixture of the two. There are also eight leaders, each of which adds a different bonus to your society.

To begin, players will have a single fleet of ships, and they can begin to investigate the nearby planets. Each system has a different mission, and on your flagship’s bridge you’ll be briefed by your crew about what you’re facing. You can upgrade your ships, and then head out to face any threat.

Once missions are finished, the system is partially under your control, and by buying favor or mingling, eventually you can add the system to your empire. Little by little, your first fleet will end up amassing a sizable following across the galaxy, making them stronger.


The main focus of Starships is the tactical space combat. With dynamically generated maps, players can find themselves battling a few ships or an armada in the midst of an asteroid field, using the hunks of rock as protective cover.

The gameplay is very similar to XCOM: Enemy Unknown, another Firaxis game. Battles are turn-based, with player’s moving units into position before unleashing salvos at other ships. Unlike XCOM, however, it seems that this time around low percentages won’t result in missed shots but simply reduced damage. This adds a different level of strategy, as several weaker shots successively may make all the difference compared to that one, big assault.

The ships are another focus in Starships, with particular interest to customizing and really bonding with individual units. Again, this is similar to XCOM, where particular soldiers were favored, and the loss of these units created a real emotional conflict. I’m really looking forward to creating a fleet that I know like the back of my hand, and feeling the bittersweet sigh of relief when you reload a save and pretend that cruiser wasn’t blown to pieces because of an obvious mistake on your part (Moment of Truth: I wasn’t really good at XCOM!).

As far as ship customization, players can choose between different shields, engines, armor, and weapons to create the perfect ship. Whether players want sturdy warships capable of ramming lesser ships in half or a smaller cruiser with lasers that focuses on speed and making the Kessel Run in under 12 parsecs is up to them.

Whether players want sturdy warships capable of ramming lesser ships in half or a smaller cruiser with lasers that focuses on speed and making the Kessel Run in under 12 parsecs is up to them.

Release Info

Sid Meier’s Starships is right around the corner, releasing on March 12th for PC, Mac, and somewhat surprisingly for iOS. Players will be able to play the full game on their iPads, with no wait times, micro-transactions, paywalls, or limited number of lives (Thought they should also expect to pay full price for the game). It is set to be $15 at launch.

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Dimitri Jordan is a freelance writer and editor, pursuing a Master's in Applied Sociology and a PhD in Gerontology. When he's not in class he enjoys looking up at the night sky, imagining who would win between the Geth and the Borg, and wishing he could become a xenoanthropologist.

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