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Alpha Centauri computer game

Table of contents
1 Overview
2 The Factions
3 Alien Crossfire
4 The Alien Crossfire Factions
5 For Further Reading
6 External Links


A turn-based computer strategy game created by Sid Meier and Brian Reynolds, Alpha Centauri is based on a hypothetical attempt by human beings to colonize a planet in the Alpha Centauri star system. It picks up where the game Sid Meier's Civilization II left off. According to the storyline of the game, the captain of the colonists' starship (the Unity), Captain Garland, was assassinated shortly before arrival at the planet Chiron (often simply called Planet). As a consequence, the once-united colonists broke off into seven factions of varying ideologies to establish their respective colonies.

Within the game, the player assumes the role of one of the seven faction leaders and attempts to expand their colony and achieve victory. Players engage themselves in a race against the other factions, and are free to adopt any number of strategies in pursuit of their goal. Scientific discoveries within the game determine what technologies are available to particular factions, which in turn determines what facilities can build at their colony bases as well as what military units they can build. Confounding the competition among the human factions, it becomes quickly apparent that an indigenous semi-sentient fungus that spans the planet is also competing for resources. Also, while not unique in this regard, Alpha Centauri, is as an unusual civilization building game because it is open-ended and the parameters for victory can be set by the player; the player can choose to work toward a victory based on diplomacy, economics, conquest, or transcendence.

The Factions

The seven factions in the game are as follows:

Alien Crossfire

Alpha Centauri spawned one expansion pack called Alien Crossfire that features seven new factions (two of which are alien) and multiple new technologies. As well, the editable nature of the games configuration files allows for a large degree of customization and has led to the creation of a number of modpacks and custom factions which other users can download to expand their gameplay. Several sites have sprung up to support and distribute these files.

The main storyline element added to the game is the "alien crossfire" itself. The two alien Progenitor factions are locked in a civil war: one side, the Usurpers, wishes to exploit Manifold Six (the Progenitor name for Planet) for military purposes; the other side wishes to prevent this and leave the planet alone. Both factions sent ships to Manifold Six to settle the matter once and for all. Unfortunately for them (but probably fortunately for the human factions on Planet), the battle went badly for both sides and they ended up crash-landing on Planet. Their civil war continues, and both factions dream of the day that they can send for reinforcements and crush the other faction.

The Alien Crossfire Factions

The seven new factions are as follows:

For Further Reading

For further reading, game story developer Michael Ely has written a trilogy of novels based on the game.

External Links