Pandor: First Contact - Just Announced Space 4X from Slitherine and Matrix


I’m wondering the same thing.

I love how the general vibe for this game went from “An okay placeholder until Civ: Beyond Earth gets here” to “Wow, maybe I should reconsider this after the boring mediocrity of Beyond Earth”.



Xilmi has been given access to the source code, and he’s trying to improve the AI. Currently there’s a beta version of his work.


Patch 1.6.0 is out on Steam now (changelog). “This large free [Wow!] update tremendously improves the AI, overhauls espionage and rebalances diplomacy.” Xilmi has a little hotfix for it (the last download in this forum


Awesome, I just started playing this a few days ago after it finally went on a good sale!


So this is $7 on bundlestars (with a bunch of stuff I either already have or will never play). Is it any good, either with or without the expansion (which is not included)?


It’s quite good. The AI is absolutely ruthless, in the best possible way.


Here’s a link to my response above


I was this game’s biggest defender, but the AI changes in the DLC have utterly ruined it for me.

Imagine playing a zero-sum FFA boardgame, let’s say Munchkin or Illuminati. But you’re playing it against robots, so the moment you get something good they all turn on you.


It is so, so not fun. 1000% the famous talk or presentation or whatever from Soren about how the AI is not supposed to win, but give the player a challenge to overcome.

I am sad about it, because I love a ton of other things about Pandora. But it’s uninstalled, because it is so very not fun any more.

(copy/paste from what I just posted to their Steam forums:)

I’m sorry, you guys.

I really enjoy(ed) Pandora, but the completely opaque diplomacy has finally killed the game for me after yet another game torpedoed by the AI after the patch.

Turn 109. Hard. With DLC.

I have done nothing aggressive all game. Literally. All I did was blow up a couple tanks from Imperium when he declared a stupid war on me some 20-30 turns ago.

Economy "unrivaled"
Research “going well”

Everyone now hates me. I have tried to be buddies via the “praise” system, which apparently has had no effect.

I get that you’re going for a ‘ruthless’ AI, but the net effect is a situation like Steve Jackson’s Illuminati or Munchkin (tabletop games) where you can’t ‘appear’ too much in the lead or everyone else will go after you.

Granted it’s hard, but it’s not fun at all. You’re telling me that I have to play intentionally poorly to not get “ahead” of the AI, or I lose because they all declare on me.

It’s your game; do what you want. Personally I’m disappointed because I like so many other things about the game, but the diplomacy makes it no fun whatsoever to actually play.


Save link:!AvSWhdBjPNfkrHCFUDHa1OEtCMaK


I should point out in the interest of fairness that a (the?) dev took the time to post a thoughtful reply there, which I thought was pretty cool even if I think he’s a bit misguided in his goals for the AI, heh.


I’m thrilled when an AI beats me in a strategy game, because it means there’s still more of the game for me to learn and I need to examine the different mechanics and figure out better ways to use them. To me, that’s the draw of a strategy game!

I really enjoy when AI’s play to their personality, though. When Montezuma declares war on me, I want the AI to be as ruthless and capable as possible, but I’m OK with the fact that with a warmonger personality type, he may hamstring himself by accruing warmongering diplomatic hits and maybe declaring a few unwise wars. And I’m OK with having to turn the difficulty of the game up to compensate for this.

Personality of AI players is important, but I want them to pursue those personality-based goals as skilfully as possible. I hate the “boardgame” approach of AI, which is what you described above. “Oh, lets gang up on the human, because he’s winning!”. I want a little more immersion than that. When I’m playing a game where my nation and theirs has had peaceful cooperation for 400 years, I get a little irritated when they break alliances and dogpile on me because I’m close to a science victory or something. That, to me, is no fun at all.

And no, I don’t do the same as a human. If my ally the entire game is close to a cultural victory or something, so be it. I’m not going to suddenly nuke all their cities because I want to see the victory screen. Maybe I just tend to RP a little in 4X games. :)


That’s a shame. That sort of behaviour always turns me off games, and is one of my few criticisms of EU4.

“Allies for 200 years? Always supported each other in wars? Constant royal marriages? Let’s suddenly make them irrevocably turn on you until you are completely broken”.


I may have come around to this. I think you just have to play it more like Illuminati than Civ, as odd as that sounds.

I really, really like the way combat plays out in this still. It’s classic unlimited stacking, but attacks that hit an entire tile for splash damage are prevalent enough that loading up too heavily in one stack is generally ill advised.

I also like that the map doesn’t usually get settled entirely until the late game, if at all. So many xenos out there, don’t cha know. And the pop growth mechanic, which is excellent, ties into the rate of dropping new cities as well.

Anyway, I think you need a different mindset than I usually have to get the most out of this, but it may be worth the effort.


On sale at steam for $7.49, I believe this is the first time it’s been under $10.

Can anyone recommend at this price?


Looks like the DLC is on sale for $2.50 as well, which I’ve been waiting on.

I can’t really answer your question very well, @Fenris99, since it’s been ages since I played the game and didn’t play it that heavily. From what I recall, though, yes I think it’d be worth $7.50, assuming you don’t already have a half-dozen 4X games competing for your time at the moment.


Absolutely, the AI is fairly brutal and it’s a really fun game to play.


I haven’t played it since I reviewed it. Here is a post where I point out some things about the game and link to my review.


Is the AI still very aggressive? Not a selling point for me so I need to know


The AI is very aggressive if it thinks you’re weak. You can’t have one garrison unit per city and dump everything into infrastructure like in Civ; you’ll get stomped on.

Highly recommend this at $20, much less $7.50. DLC is worth it just because there are some fixes/improvements that didn’t get backported to the base game; I don’t actually care for the new faction/espionage/aquatic nonsense all that much.

This thread on the Steam forums is pretty interesting reading.


The game threw me away big time because of its terrible writing and lore.
If, like me, you go in expecting Alpha Centauri levels of world building, be very cautious.


I dunno. The story/lore are not awful, just someone not as talented as Reynolds et al trying to ape SMAC.

The one thing in the writing that I do quite dislike is the terribly overwritten diplomatic screens. I don’t need (the same) four lines of text for “gimme open borders” every dang time.