I’m not sure how familiar everyone is with Mass Effect, but in it the Council acts as the governing body for the galaxy. And the sheer amount of power and clout they have in galactic affairs makes me realise just how little power federations have in Stellaris. As it stands now, they’re basically just glorified military alliances.
The first problem, I’d say, is the formation of alliances. To form one you take the required right tradition and inviting the first few empires willing to join. From there, they all take on the player’s policies and become a monolith. Instead, I’d love to see the two or more players being allied with instant form a federation with the player, as long as none of them hate each other (hell, maybe even if they do, and that triggers special responses). From there, the members of the federation vote on their core values: war policies, contact policies, etc.
Now that we have a federation formed organically, and the members reach a natural consensus, we need to get extra members. Right now associate races are basically people who get almost all the benefits of a being in a federation with basically no drawbacks. Perhaps, before being initiated as full members, each race needs to go through an associate period, where they give up some energy credits and alloys to joint federation reserves (which can be used to build federation ships. I mean, it seems natural that a federation would require its members to all pitch into the money used to build ships. That way, if a race has a ton of alloys but not much fleet power, it’s still contributing).
I just finished a playthrough of EU4 as Great Britain, and I kept my parliament all the way through. I think that may be one of the most unique and interesting things in a Paradox game. I imagine that being the bedrock that federation politics would be built on: voting for ‘bonuses’ by satisfying member races. I’d love to see several mechanisms in play for federation politics. I could see the breakdown being like this:
- Overarching federation policies (slavery, a slider for how many planets X race is allowed to have in comparison to race Y)
- Individual policies (is race X not allowed to build ships? Do they get an exemption from slavery clauses?)
- Votes on temporary policies (for 20 years, each race will get a bonus to mineral production at the cost of energy credit production, the newly discovered habitable world will be handed over to race X)
The gist would be trying to satisfy everyone in the federation. It’d be an actual diplomatic game, instead of a static organisation. Maybe if race X has their slaves still, they’d be more likely to let you colonise the world they just found. Or maybe it’ll cause race Y to storm off in anger.
I also mentioned colonising planets. A major point in the Mass Effect lore is the Council granting species colonisation rights, and I could see this being a highly deep part of the federation game. Maybe colonising next to a fellow member would count as colonising next to your own space. ‘Hey, you can colonise there, but you’ll have to contend with the Leviathan in the next system.’ I don’t know how well this part would work, honestly.
TL; DR: Federations should see a variety of debates on policy where the members attempt to balance the interests of all members of the federation.
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