Shadow Empire - Mad Max meets Operation Barbarossa

I lost my first return game (on 1.10). That’s OK, I understood what was happening and why I lost. Some tips in the next post.

Here was the final view of the map. It was a Siwa class planet (Earth like), with some radiation, desolate wastes, and high mountains. Alien worms lived in the mountains, and I think they wiped out some minor factions because I encountered few. Here is a zoomed out view of my four zones.

To my south was a major regime that I befriended early on. Republicans, and pretty easy going neighbors. We agreed a non-aggression pact - which was my biggest mistake. Later on I needed to invade them to win, and I took a massive loyalty hit from my most senior advisors for breaking the pact. Militarily things went well during the invasion. Upgraded infantry and tanks won most fights. I had fun sending infantry through the mountains to circle while my tanks rolled through the valleys. I think it was a low pop world because the cities and the defending units were not that massive. This is a close up view of my push south (I am green). I paired tanks with anti-tank guns, supported by mobile infantry in trucks.

I managed logistics just fine. I am no expert! The biggest thing I learned since last attempt was to build truck stations and other “logistics extenders” one hex off of the main route. This helped fix a lot of my issues, where sometimes dropping a truck station right on the long road had previously made things worse. Here is a partially zoomed out view of that same front, the logistics lines in grey. Notice the two small indents in the road to the north - those are truck stations.

I got beat because a third major was already big, and they also invaded my southern neighbor at the same time. The third major grabbed more lands than I did, and triggered the “higher than 50%, and greater than 25% more than second place” victory condition. Nasty people, theocrats, I should have attacked them first. Good work, AI (on Regular difficulty).

Ran for 72 rounds, a great learning experience.

Two tips. First, here are the settings I use for a good learning game. Not too hard, just enough of a challenge for me.

Siwa. Alien Life. Spread Out
FOW: Know map, then complete
2 zone start
1 army per zone
All syndicates
Tech 4 (middle)
Development: Slower (or else they go too quick)
Difficulty: Regular
“Give AI More time to think”
“Only supreme council”

And here is the workflow I use per turn. I adapted it from someone in the game’s unofficial Discord, and refined it myself over a game.

  1. History: Next battle
  2. Reports: Dashboard, Urgent Issues, Demands, Treasury (Tot In & Out), Letterbox
  3. SHQ: check inventory bar on left-hand side + SHQ icon “supply received” button
  4. Trade: Sell to make cash, buy what SHQ needs
  5. Management → Profile: Check government status
  6. Decisions:
  7. Stratagems: What is your goal? Scrap cards (300 max)
  8. Cities: Main view and Items (red items should align to SHQ supply view)
  9. Assets: Are they progressing? Are new ones needed?
  10. Fight/Move (‘8’ & ‘9’ cycle units): Check APs, Readiness, Entrenchment
  11. Replace Troops / Mass Upgrade/Replace units
  12. Recruit Troops
  13. Models: Check Field testing, Create new models after fighting
  14. Build Roads/Rail: Set Traffic Lights
  15. Adjust Zone Borders

Maybe that helps someone else looking to jump back in. :-)

Nice, I’m gonna bookmark this.

Thanks, milspec, this looks handy!

What mods do you have active?

I use these three graphics / UI mods, which I consider to be essential:

UI mod: The Eddy Vegas UI Mod - V3.1 small update

Map terrain mod: DasTactic Icons - Mroyer Terrain Combined Mod

Stratagem cards mod: [Mod] Pymous Shadow Stratagems Artpack (v4) - May 2021

EDIT: And these beveled unit cards, so I can more easily see multiple unit stacks: Beveled Units Mod (v4.1) - Critters Update


I started a new game as well - all the art mods makes a massive difference!

There are rumours of rats of unusual size roaming the wastelands - this is of course complete nonsense!

2022-01-18 21_11_37-Shadow Empire _ Planetary Conquest

It’s comments like this that make me want to try this game.

I just worry it will be too much of a mental investment to understand it and too full of painful micro.

Me, too, but that post made me reinstall it anyway.

I haven’t played in about a year, but I was able to mostly get a handle on things. I would just play, learn a few new things, then quit/restart when I decided the new things I’d learned would help on a restart. The game was interesting enough that I enjoyed that ride. But I can see many others not enjoying it enough to go thru this sort of cycle.

I treat each turn and game like a learning sandbox. The first few hours were very confusing. Watching a “getting started” video helped. By 10 hours I understood the basics (40% of the game). By 20 hours I was experimenting with multi-player with friends. By 40 hours I felt confident, but still did not understand 25% of the game (advanced model creation, logistics and Human Resources).

I stopped playing for about one year. This time it took 5 hours to get back to basics, and by 10 total hours I was learning new things. I binged this week and played almost 30 hours. I love it, it’s great. It’s very immersive, there is a lot to juggle, making progress is very rewarding.

Will try and record a “normal” turn or two and upload it so people can see what is takes. I follow my script above very closely each turn. So far it’s working. :-)

It’s less complex than Dwarf Fortress but more complex than Dominions.

I like the fact I can dig into details and see every shot and every counter attack from every troop in a massive battle between hundreds of units that lasts 10 rounds. Or I can just watch the little pictures and see who lives or dies. It scales well from macro to micro.

Which one?

That one is the right balance of a good overview but not too much detail. 35 mins total.

Das Tactics has great ones, but they are 30 mins per topic across 10+ topics. Save those for later.

Excellent, thanks. And thanks for your own guide posted earlier. Time to get back into this!

Added this mod. Edited my post above to link to all four mods:

Beveled unit cards, so I can more easily see multiple unit stacks: Beveled Units Mod (v4.1) - Critters Update

Alien wildlife is easy, they said. No match for modern troops.



The first chitinous 3 bird-beaks had skin as hard as armor plates. (Infantry used their hard attack, ugh.)

The second nasty platypus / mollusk things got four attacks per round. Four! My troops panicked instantly.

(Yes, those fights were somewhat staged - look at the low readiness, I would not have pressed those attacks.)

Boats! (but not yet).

I watched that “bare essentials” video up above and that was enough to get started. I feel like I understand barely the essentials, but I’m not dead yet and start each turn with an idea for something to do. So many layers I don’t have a clue about.