After a strong Early Access launch, Stars in Shadow from Ashdar Games’ is getting its first big EA content push. Titled Stargate, this update introduces two new fully-playable factions: the Phidi Combine and Ashdar Imperials. It also includes the new Mercenary and Stargate mechanics, along with the usual tweaks and fixes one would expect during EA.

I hope you like big maps

The Phidi Combine is the first of the two new playable factions. Their homeworld, Tendao, is poor in metals but rich in valuable Opil crystals. This enhances their currency and gives them bonuses in commerce, trade, and diplomacy. Rather than sully their hands with combat, they prefer to hire mercenaries to do their dirty work – these mercs will remain loyal to the Combine so long as the Phidi don’t let their influence or reputation slip.

I present you with this heirloom of my family…

The other new faction, the Ashdar Imperials, lives below the surface of their homeworld. Along with having housed an ancient, advanced species in aeons past, Ashdar Prime is also home to two Ashdar subspecies. But what really sets the Imperials apart from the other empires is the ancient Stargate that hangs in the planet’s orbit. Stargates are one-way conduits to any system within a fleet’s range. The ability to instantly move a ship or entire fleet is a major advantage, and starting with such an advantage could drastically alter the Ashdar early game.

This meeting will come to order… OR ELSE!

Along with its distinctive comic-style art and quick, fast-paced gameplay, Stars in Shadow looks to feature:

  • Epic Scope: Four eras of scientific advancement spanning from the dawn of interstellar travel to an exciting future filled with  favorites like battlemechs and “Dread Stars”
  • Varied Factions: Seven playable factions with different strengths and technology options
  • High-level Strategy: Streamlined resource and planetary management keeps the game moving as your empire grows

Deep Turn-Based Combat: Build your ships around multiple systems and functions, and command them with ease using Stars in Shadow’s multi-ship commands

The Mercenaries are coming… HIDE!

Sven Olsen, lead developer of Ashdar Games, expressed gratitude for the participants whose support and feedback have given SiS a successful EA debut. “The game has come a long way in the last few months,” he said in a press release, “and the Early Access community has been an important part of that progress.”

Who doesn’t love a pace mon…Er, Star Harpy?

For more information on the update and the new factions, check out Ashdar’s official Stargate announcement, see eXplorminate’s Stars in Shadow coverage or the official Steam page, or have a look at Mark a.k.a. Army Pea’s Let’s Try series.


  1. i see high potential in the SiS. The stargates make the Ashdar Imperials stargate is an extrem advantage at any time. As soon, and it’s normaly pretty soon, with the major colonies outfittet with their own “small” stargates you can hold your empire with a small elite fleet on ashdar prime. Attacking and conquering gets pretty easy, as you scout out your targets in reach and divide your troops accordingly and next round you rush all thats in reach.
    Coilguns and especially railguns are stil so superior because they bypass the shields and shields are superior against anything else. So all have shields and higher beam weapons are pretty useless against few of your ships. and then Longrange Railguns outrange so far any midgame planet defense that is not railguns too, well missiles and torpedos, but too slow and PD is very effective and shields work against them too.
    Fighters and bombers are pretty useless too, so far. not fast, not much reach, one single attack, easily taken down by PD and normal weapons. So, as soon as shields are used on the battlefields, there is no point of using anything but coilguns and then railguns.

    techs come fast midgame, i would like to have more options about the amount of habitable planets, even with the option set to rare, they are pretty common and midgame with tech and conquered races that can use other planets every system often has multiple colonies.

    Gremak slavery is right now more a weakness than a benefit. i try to get rid of their starting one as early as possible, as they lower the potential of the planet and forced labor has later on so much negative consequences with the negative penalties to any other race than Gremak. Although their ships are pretty neat, only the viper launcher is only little bit usefull as it gets more range with tec and as long their are no enemy ships with shields.

    I’m pretty sure they are aware of this balance issues and i hope they will have enough time to finetune. Diplomacy is just barebones too. your not even able to make gifts.

    But still with all it’s flaws, with it’s great and consistent arte style and mechanics, it’s for me the most worthy successor of MoO2 to date. but it has still it own tweaks and is not just a simple clone. so don’t wait and get it and give them the opportunity to polish it as long as possible! ;)

    Liked by 2 people

      • No need to apologize. I share alot of the same complaints.

        Railguns are way too powerful and forcefields (the shields that don’t get rekt by kinetics) come way too late. They did say that weapon balancing was low priority (so they may fix it later) but still I don’t think that was a wise choice to make.

        Games like these benefit when there are few hard counters and more tactical and strategic design decisions to be considered.


  2. It’s so close to being a great game, but the UI needs some serious love. The hyperlinks stuff, the lack of a tech tree, and other UI wonkiness is off-putting. Otherwise, the gameplay mechanics are shaping up nicely.

    Here’s hoping…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I still miss sortable empire table review with ships, colonized planets, habitable, uninhabitable … in normal size space .. /argh iam so used to play excel sheet game in all kinds of strategies/


    • Well that’s true, a little bit more excel sheet would help to manage the empire. a list with all known planets, sortable for all manner of things, like population max, fertility, minerals etc, with indicator if it’s in reach, if the system is occupied by an other empire. Send colony ship or outpost ship if one is available.
      Well would nice to have that for fleets and colonies too for quick management and overview. the colony overview was my most used surface in master of orion II.

      i would like too, to have options of what i get notifications. i often like one when a ship/fleet arrives its destination. but really make it optional, ;)

      oh, and the reach of a ship or fleet should be visible imidiately and not need an extra click, or if you find it so disturbing, make it optional. but i would prefer the reach always visible when you select a ship/fleet.

      In generall, UI developer should test their build with a really slow reacting mouse, then they would see the flaws pretty easily. the ship editor is a bit messy too. all this drag and drop from one side of the screen to the other, really!? make at least double click possible that that component fills a possible slot, if repeatedly till all possible slots are filled. or is there a point i need to drag the armor over the screen or missiles to missiles slots or heavy to heavys, but if you wish you can still do it how its done now.



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