Stellaris

Should the early game be ‘expanded’ and more ‘Frontierish’

stellaris 6 - Should the early game be 'expanded' and more 'Frontierish'
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Let me preface this by saying this is a discussion, and i'd really like to hear thoughts and opinions on all sides.

For me, the early exploration phase of the game is the most enjoyable. I love the excitement and tension of meeting my neighbours seeing who is around. But this stage doesn't last long. Once you get in contact with 2-3 other empires, it triggers a very rapid domino effect and soon you know exactly what the majority of the board looks like politically. You can trade communications with your neighbours to find out who their neighbours are, and then trade communications with them to find out… and so on. Even if a few empires remain out of contact for a while longer, the board is pretty much set, very early.

But what if this process was slowed down significantly? What if you only have 'political vision' on stars/nodes you have hyperlane-vision to? Very early game, when you first encounter a new species and translate their language, you would have vision of their borders only for those systems you have hyperlane vision on, and the rest would be shrouded. You'd have no idea how far their empire extends and how big they are. This would add a bit more excitement and risk. Lets say you rtanslate the language of a new alien species near you, and you can see they have two systems within your sensor range. What else do they have? That could be their only two, or they could have just two more, or 10 more. More exploration, either though science ships or further diplomatic contact (Trade hyperlane maps?) would be required. If they close borders and refuse to trade with you, then you might lack exact knowledge for a while. Imagine the nebulous determined exterminator threat in the early game, near-by but you don't know exactly how big. Waging a war on them could lead to some surprises, spicing up gameplay.

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After a while you should have a good understanding of the political boundaries of your local region of space, you and your immediate neighbours, but far-flung empires further off should remain mostly shrouded. Maybe you can see that on the other side of the hegemonic imperialists that neighbour you are some even nastier evangelising zealots, but you don't quite know how far their empire stretches.

By the mid game, you still might not have complete acess to the political maps on the other side of the galaxy. Think of Rome having very good knowledge of the political maps in Europe and the middle east, and knowing of china, but not knowing exactly what their map looks like, or knowing of Japan. As it is now if I make contact with a massive empire and they have a chunk from their territory, i can be pretty confident someone else is there, even if i've not met them.

The goal of this would be to give the early game a more 'wild-frontier' feel, where you make political contacts but don't immediately get 100% information. If you do make contact with someone way outside your range, maybe you only get a hazy, blurred blob on the map with their capital highlighted, and over time/as you get closer, proper borders form. Your circle of knowledge grows as the game progresses, ultimately becoming the detailed map we have now, just as modern-day nations have very detailed political maps globally. This should probably happen in the late-mid game, as the emphasis moves from local space to galactic affairs.

Imagine knowing the Great Kahn has spawned and is engaged in a fight with the federation on the other side of the galaxy, but you don't have perfect information on how it is going.

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