In my current favorite game on Steam, I eat the universe – resistance is futile


MeinMMO author Schuhmann is currently sinking hour after hour into Stellaris (PC, Xbox One, PS4), the strategy game by Paradox from 2016. He only plays one species there: the Tebrid homolog. Basically, these are the Borgs from Star Trek, but with more tentacles.

What kind of game is this?

  • Stellaris is one of the extremely deep strategy simulations from the Swedes Paradox Entertainment: Similar to Civilization, it is a so-called “4x” game: It’s about Explore, Expand, Exploit and Exterminate – scouting, spreading, exploiting and wiping out.
  • Stellaris was released on Steam in 2016 and is a typical example of a game that is constantly being developed like an MMO: It has now received 15 DLCs: The last major expansion “Overlord” was released in May 2022. If you want to get all of that, put it down €230 on Steam.
  • The game has 88% positive reviews on Steam – the current reviews are even better at 90%. A sign of excellent development and longevity.

The game is known for its huge variety of civilizations to choose from and playstyles: I love the Tebrid homolog though. They came into play in 2017 with the Synthetic Dawn Story Pack DLC.

Stellaris: “Assimilate, Adapt, Enhance”

What is special about the civilization I play? The good 4x games are all characterized by the fact that a preliminary decision for the game style is already made when selecting the species:

The Tebrid homologues in Stellaris are 2 distinct species: the host bodies and a parasitic robotic hive intelligence. The Homolog have turned the Tebrid into remote-controlled cyborgs on their homeplate. Now they plan to assimilate the rest of the universe. Their motto is “assimilate, adapt, improve”. Resistance is futile.

The “Tebrid Homolog” are, so to speak, 2 species duo:

  • The robot homologue – this is the parasite
  • Their cyborgs Tebir, made compliant by a cyber implant – the host body

The homologues themselves are virtually immortal and do not age. However, they can become unusable due to a malfunction. Thanks to cybernetics, the Tebrid live significantly longer than normal carnal bodies.

The Tebrid Homolog are one of countless starting civilizations in Stellaris.

Homolog eliminate some annoying game mechanics in Stellaris

What makes this civilization so appealing? The “Tebrid Homolog” eliminate some Stellaris game concepts through their peculiarities:

  • Normally, to wage war, you need ownership or a reasonable reason for war against opposing empires – the Tebrid homologue doesn’t care, they want to assimilate the others anyway, i.e. turn them into mindless drones
  • Normally, opposing races that you subjugate offer fierce resistance. You deal with riots, you’re always in trouble. The homologues implant them and they are assimilated
  • Actually, human races also need certain luxury goods in order to feel good – that is not the case with the people, the robots are only concerned with self-replication

In my favorite game, I enslave children and make them work in mines

Start weak, wall yourself in and then overrun everything

This is the special attraction of the people: At the beginning, the Tebrid homologue starts out weak and vulnerable: It takes time for the robots to spread, complex factories have to be built and you are quickly behind at the beginning of the game.

I always had situations in which opponents were already attacking with a fleet of strength 1000, but I still had my 3 starting Corvettes with strength 150: Such a galaxy conquest is over very quickly if you encounter higher levels of difficulty on the way.

What’s more, practically every other race you meet will want to wipe you out as soon as they see a weak spot: it’s probably not good if you greet strangers straight away with “Resistance is futile – you will be assimilated”.

stellaris 3 star bases
This is a typical start: we build 3 starbases on the connection systems to our neighbors. It can also be good to give the enemy frontier land if it is difficult to defend.

This is how you survive the first few decades in Stellaris

So the trick is to seal off your empire as much as possible and build huge star fortresses at bottlenecks to other empires, which will fend off any invasion if possible.

If idiotic aliens think they absolutely have to attack, then you can analyze the wrecks of their fleet with a research ship and thus gain technical advances: adapt and improve.

While you are isolating yourself in this way, you try to make maximum use of the space you are occupying – this is what “Habitates” are used for, for example, small stations that grow slowly and are expensive to expand, but our drones are busy and don’t complain either on. They’re brain controlled.

How’s it going? The homolog actually play a turtle tactic. You’re quiet for many years, digging in and bolstering your defenses as you slowly work to build your fleet and invading army.

Then you look for the weakest opponent in the vicinity and attack him mercilessly: The advantage: The Tebrid are outstanding at annexing an opposing people.

Then the new people become a “part” of the swarm and you can give them rights to colonize planets or serve in the army.

You can also use “Ascension Perks” to adapt your playing style to your own needs and get valuable bonuses here.

This way of playing is causing the homologues to spread like a virus across the galaxy – with some of the newer DLC it’s even possible to expand them into the crisis the rest of the universe is grappling with.

The Homolog have already assimilated more members of an enemy race than they control Tebir themselves.

What’s behind it? Soulless machines whose only goal is to “take in” all other living beings in the universe and thus improve “your own pool” is the idea of ​​the Borg in Star Trek, perhaps one of the most compelling concepts of the sci-fi series.

The Borg represent a cold, efficiency-focused world where the needs of the individual don’t count and where individuality is suppressed.

I find it fascinating to recreate this concept in Stellaris and try out this lurking turtle technique. After a while you can look around the game and be amazed at how many different minion races now carry the implants… a strange type case.

Even if Stellaris, like many big strategy games, tends to get quite tiring in the endgame, because you can easily micromanage 7 worlds, but at 70 it gets annoying.

By the way, this is exactly the problem I have with Victoria 3:

You can conquer the world as Germany in Victoria 3 – but it’s not fun even on a PC for €3,800

See also  FIFA 23: So chic is the "best FIFA ever"