SINS of a Solar Empire: Rebellion is a 4X space strategy game in its truest sense. It has six factions, has lots of space combat, and plenty of planets to conquer and tame as you spread your power and influence throughout your corner of the galaxy.
SINs of a Solar Empire Rebellion has immersive action that starts right away. It’s heavy on ship combat but has really good economic, diplomatic, and research options as well. Although intense it doesn’t progress fast enough to overwhelm you.
The game drags you into the action right from the start but doesn’t crush you with intense action at the start. You usually start the game by sending out scouts and using what resources you have to build a minimal fleet that can take out the pirates and militia sure to be occupying the systems you explore. You can also build a few research stations (civic or military) so you can get your empire’s research started.
SINs has six basic factions which you can read about at our factions page.
There is no campaign for this game, but this is one of the few games where that doesn’t hurt it at all, the story unfolds as you play through the game. This game is easy to learn, and it has six great tutorials, Basic Gameplay, Basic Logistics, Advanced Interface, Advanced Logistics, Advanced Defense, and Advanced Diplomacy. They don’t take long to go through (less than an hour) and will give you a solid footing to play the game with.
Ship combat is automated although you can take manual control of your ships and select specific targets if you want to, plus you can set the level of aggression for your fleets as well. If you like massive fleets with lots of specialized ships, then you’ll like this game.
Defensive structures are actually useful in this game. For example, several Gauss cannons can fend off a small pirate attack if your main fleets are engaged elsewhere. Starbases are another good defensive structure that can house up to 16 squadrons of bombers and fighters. Starbases can be given stronger weapons and defensive capabilities through upgrades.
The game has a large research tree that is easy to navigate. The Research screen is broken down into six sections but there are only four research options: Military, Defense, Civilian, and Diplomacy (TEC faction). The other two are used to increase the size of your fleets and to keep track of any artifacts you have found.
There are also sub-branches in each section. For instance, the Military branch is broken down into Structural Subsystems, Ballistics and Rocketry, and Experimental design for the TEC Rebels. The more advanced techs become available as you build more labs, and the ability to build the needed labs comes when you own enough planets.
The game has a Criminal Underground where you can deal with those shady factions like the Pirates (after the proper research is done). You can also buy and sell metal and crystal here, or offer them to other players, for a steep and profitable price of course.
The game keeps economic management simple. You colonize planets and asteroids, then build metal or crystal extractors on the mineral rich asteroids in the gravity well to start gathering resources. Income is generated by your population, the more pops the more income. No need to worry about keeping them happy, just keep building up that planetary infrastructure so you can get more citizens to tax. Pretty simple!
The Rebellion expansion (which is a stand-alone, no need to buy an older version of the game) has split the three original factions into six, one Loyalist and Rebel faction for each one. This expansion also added Titans, truly awesome juggernauts in space. Check our Factions page and Titans page for more info. The Rebellion expansion simply adds to the original game, it doesn’t take away any of the enjoyment of the original game. You can still manage multiple fleets in the far away reaches of space and still zoom back to your home system to manage the construction of research labs with ease.
One of the more intriguing features of this game is the Criminal Underground. This is where you can buy and sell crystal and metal, plus employ those of a somewhat questionable nature to “help you out.”
The Black Market
The Black Market in Rebellion is essentially the same as in the original version of the game. This is where you buy and sell metal and crystal. There are two prices for each commodity, a buy and sell price. When selling to the Black Market you won’t get as much as you would by selling it to individual players, but you get the credits instantly. If the market is flooded with a commodity it causes the market to crash, resulting in much lower “buy” prices.
If you have an excess of a resource and don’t need credits right away, you can also place it on the market for sale at a set price. This bypasses the black market and makes the resources available directly to the other players. You can set the sell/buy price, but you can’t sell above or below the current market price. This takes longer to gain income but you can make a lot more money by selling directly to other players.
Read More: Need some tips on playing SINs?
Pirates and Bounty
Another part of the Criminal Underground is the Pirate faction. Pirates are available for hire using bounty, but you need to outbid your opponents to gain their services. Since it’s anonymous you can even place a bounty on allies, and they won’t know you did it. A good insurance policy if you’re worried about your “friend’s” strength becoming a problem.
The Threat Indicator gives you an idea of how strong the next pirate raid will be. A lot of factors play into this, but basically the more bounty in place the stronger the raid.
The Wanted window is below the threat indicator and it shows who the current Pirate target is and how much bounty has been placed on them. If there’s no bounty on any faction the Pirates will joyfully pick someone out at random to raid.
The Bounty List in the center of the screen lists all the players available to you to place a bounty on, but you can only place a bounty on players with an active bounty price button. The Launch timer at the bottom of the screen tells you approximately how long it will be until the next pirate raid is launched. Once it reaches zero the pirate skull at the right end of the bar will flash red, which gives a player a random amount of time to make a final bid before the raid is launched. If you’re the target it would be a good idea to place a higher bounty on someone else if you can afford it.
“Pirate Missions” is where you can get into the details of what you want the pirates to attack without having to outbid anyone. Once a mission has been accepted the pirate ships will be launched. Missions cost a lot more, but you can set specific targets for the attack.
The credit button allows you to increase (left click) the amount offered or decrease it (right click). Once you’re satisfied with your choices click “Submit Offer” and the mission is all set up and ready to go! Once set, at the main Pirate screen, there is a countdown timer showing how long it will be before another mission can be offered to the pirates.
SINs of a Solar Empire Rebellion Replay Value
Each of the three different size maps, small, medium, and large has at least 30 maps. Adding six factions and numerous mods from the community means you won’t get tired of playing this game soon. There are also options in the base game that allow you to change various speeds, like income rates and victory speed, you can decide whether or not you want an AI player to surrender when defeat is inevitable or fight to the death, enable or disable the pirate faction, and use or not super weapons, again one of many options. You can also set six victory conditions, like a diplomatic victory, which means once you reach a set number of diplomatic points through pacts and treaties the game is won (or lost). You can also allow a flagship victory, which means the last flagship standing wins the game. Probably the thing that adds the most replayability are the game mods. There are numerous mods, some of which are covered in the SINs section of this site, that add a vast amount of replay value.
I have no major complaints about this game. If I had any complaints at all it would be that the diplomacy is not the greatest and I really wish the game had detailed ground combat, similar to Imperium Galactica, but the game is still great by any standard.
The original SINS game came out in 2008 and it’s only gotten better over time. You can manage a major firefight in one portion of the galaxy and at the same time smoothly zoom back to your defensive chokepoint to shore up the defenses on a starbase or planet, all while you watch out for pirate raiders and ensure that your research efforts have not gone stagnate. A great game!