Space Empires or Distant Worlds?

Looking to pick one of these 4x space titles. I love Moo2, Empire of the Fading Suns. Fan of the Gal Civ series, but it lacked personality. I have the EU series, but haven’t played it yet. I’ve got alot of the older 4x space games, so we can skip the discussion on those. Tell me which you prefer and why (if you are so inclined):

Space Empires 4
Space Empires 5
Distant Worlds

Distant Worlds is still a work in progress. It’s not bad, but I’d wait until it stabilized some. Space Empires was pretty fun for awhile. I have put a lot of time into Sword of the Stars.

I agree 100%, even though it’s cheating to include another game.

Right now I’d go with:

1)Sword of the Stars
2)Distant Worlds

None of the above.

Sword of the Stars (with all expansions) is the best I’ve played in a long time.

Yup, I have Sots and all expansions, hence the reason I was looking at these 3 games in particular. My issue with Sots is that it’s all about the war. I’m looking for more of the Civ 4 experience in space, where you have different victory conditions that include peaceful means of winning a game.


I’d go with Distant Worlds. It’s a bit broken, not so pretty, and more of a bother than it should have been. But it makes up for all of those things by being supremely customisable, enormous and by having a lot of clever & different bits. And it has more personality than your alternatives.

If SoTS is an option, that’d be my second pick. Otherwise it’d be SE4+mods.

SE5 is a fine PBEM game, but it doesn’t function as a single player game. If SP is your thing, Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing just might be the better choice.

There is a game called VGA Planets 4 which is… interesting.
Its deep. WAYYY deep. Its been in BETA since 2002 and I dont think it can ever get out of it. Its now so extensive that I dont think its marketable. Or even documentable. They just keep adding to it.

By the way, my choice was SE4. SE5 ruined it in my opinion. There is a surprisingly active effort to create an open source version of SE4

I’m biased, and think Distant Worlds.

I can tell you what NOT to do - Space Empires V. It’s too much of a mess and still unfixed, even with heavy modding. To make matters worse, it doesn’t run on Vista very well. I haven’t tried it since upgrading to Windows 7, but I suspect it still doesn’t work on that well either.

I agree also, Sword of the Stars is a good alternative pick. I think I prefer DW slightly to SotS, but both are excellent games and it would only be a slight preference.

This pretty much sums up my answer as well, even though as said before, DW is still a work in progress, it’s awesome nonetheless, but Sword of the Stars is pretty sublime.


Go the hell back to your nursing home, old man. ;)

Yeah, it’s actually a pretty primitive game, but for some reason, it really dug it’s claws into me when it came out. I played that game for about half a year like a maniac.

I wonder if I could find a copy out there somewhere?

I think you can still get the shareware version and snag a key for it somewhere. I did this about a year ago so I could revisit the game for a while. It’s very primitive, but still damned playable if you overlook it’s Windows 3.1ness. ;)

Space Empires IV Gold is pretty much the prototypical 4X game, and I think any fan of TBS should play it. There are a ton of races, each with their own ship designs (and you can download fan-made ships as well–I was quite fond of the Lego race), and the galaxy is randomly generated every game. The tech tree is far too vast to research the whole thing in a single game.

I can’t really compare the poll listings but Distant Worlds does a great job of creating the perception of a living galaxy. The win conditions are pretty basic (X% of population/economy/colonies/etc.) but it is easier to go down the peaceful path than SotS.

Also worth noting that DW isn’t TBS but is very much 4X.

My vote also goes to Distant Worlds, but doesn’t the Space Empire series lack less personality than the GalCiv series?

Uh oh, I just got roped into a big SEV multiplayer game (with balance mod). My first time playing.

Am I in for a painful experience?

THIS is what I’m looking for. For anyone that has played the Space Rangers series, I love how the galaxy was living and doing things that you could impact. Really leaning towards DW.

As a side note: Turns out I actually wrote a review for SEIV back around 2000 on an obscure game website that I JUST found. I had no freakin’ memory of this. I’m reading it like it was another me from a different dimension. Lesson for kids: don’t do drugs. I honestly think that if I traveled back in time to meet myself, I’d have no clue who that person is.

If you never played SE-IV then maybe not. Depends on what else you have played

In the TB Space 4x arena? Lots of VGA Planets 3.5 back in the 90s. Galciv. Galciv 2. That Civ IV space scenario…

Is SE V really that big a step back from SE IV?