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"You know you’ve achieved perfection in design, not when you have nothing more to add, but when you have nothing more to take away." -Antoine de Saint-Exupery (1900 - 1944)

About Sword of the Stars

Sword of the Stars is an original 4X Strategy game developed by Kerberos Productions and published by Lighthouse Interactive. Its goal is to streamline the gameplay of the 4X genre to better suit multiplayer, while also including real time tactical combat.

Players take control of an interstellar empire and give strategic direction during turn based using a three dimensional star map, and then command their ships in combat at the end of each turn using the Tactical Interface

The fights that result from your strategic direction occur in real time combat rounds that can range 1 to 10 minutes, with a default of 4 minutes.

How the game plays out tends to scale with the number of stars per player. A game with 10 stars per player yields a tight, fast game, while 15–20 stars will give a fairly normal game. Over 25 stars per player results in an epic struggle and over 40 will give you a very long game.

Game Phases

It is more of a design philosophy than an exact new way or trick of doing things. Basically we have been feeling like the whole Civ/Moo (ed: Civilization and Master of Orion for any younger players out there) style of 4X game, be it on land or space has gotten ponderous (and conversely the RTS world has just gotten faster and shallower) with games where the first 100 turns are really just about clicking the end turn button while you micromanage a thing or two. For us quick play means the game does not restrict your choices as much as adds to them. If you can find an opponent in the first 10 turns then you can go to war. Granted the ships and tech you will have at 100 turns in will be much scarier, but you can still build good ships right off the bat.

The mid game is what we have come to call the Cruiser Age, the period when a player has enough worlds to pump out a few cruisers a turn while still keeping up with his research.

The late game is hardly tedious because in our game it is usually the Dreadnought era. These massive ships are:

  1. Truly impressive out in battle with dozens of turret banks engaging multiple targets
  2. Are very much world killers if not stopped.

So when each fleet action becomes a desperate battle to preserve or destroy a world, things tend to stay real interesting.

Racial Differences

Click one of these icons for the details on a specific race.

Humanhead.png Hiverhead.png Liirhead.png Tarkahead.png Zuulhead.png

For the more traditional 4X player I would suggest the Tarka. Their Hyperdrive is the most traditional movement system and they can expand in a very controllable spherical fashion.

For the tactical combat traditionalist I would suggest the Humans. Their ship strengths, weaknesses and maneuverability will be very intuitive. Strategically you are dependant on set routes through the stars so get used to defending choke points early and often.

The Hiver are great for players who like to craft their Empire and get very upset whenever anyone tries to wreck it. Slow strategic movement combined with the instant reaction time inside your own ring network means you tend to be very precise about where you are going and what you are doing but then you are completely xenophobic about any intrusion into your space.

The Liir are for the player who just has to get their hands on everything new and shiny. The Liir have the fastest research rate and the largest tech trees on average so they are definitely the race for players who want to build quality not quantity. Their Stutterwarp drives allows them to move through deep space quickly, but it slows down near gravity wells such as stars or planets.

Our goal is to provide what can be thought of as different games all within a single game. A player who can master all of the races will indeed have something to brag about and there will be a special player badge unlocked to help them with their bragging.


As each update is released for Sword of the Stars, new content is introduced. Whether new or expanded Unknown Menaces, weapon adjustments (including range increases) or improvements to the UI.

So why a dedicated expansion pack?

The introduction of a new playable race with underlying mechanics and graphics, the introduction of interstellar commerce complete with commerce raiding, entirely new weapons... well, the list goes on. :)

Born of Blood

The first expansion for Sword of the Stars is Born of Blood.

  • Play as the merciless Zuul Slavers with over 90 brand-new ship sections and their unique drive system – the Tunnel Drive.
  • Over 25 additional technologies, including new diplomacy and intelligence gathering techs.
  • 15 more weapons you can add to your ship designs.
  • New ship sections for the original four races, including: War, Projector, Boarding, and a new type of defense satellite – the Torpedo Defense Platform.
  • 4 additional galactic encounters, a new grand menace, plus 3 unique scenarios and 6 original maps.
  • New game features, including Slavery, Trade Routes, and Diplomatic Communications.

A Murder of Crows

The second expansion for Sword of the Stars is A Murder of Crows.

  • Play as a new race, The Morrigi, with its own method of FTL travel.
  • Over a dozen new ship sections for all races to match against your opponents.
  • 15 new weapons you can add to your ship designs.
  • 27 new technologies, including the new Xeno-Cultural and Drones tech trees.
  • New gameplay elements with Civilian populations, independent worlds, Espionage options, and demands for planetary surrender
  • New GUI enhancements and additions.
  • New ship types including Drone carrying ships, Construction ships, a variety of orbital stations, spy ships, Police Cutters, and more

Argos Naval Yard

The third expansion / tech and ship pack for Sword of the Stars is Argos Naval Yard. It differs from the previous two expansions in that it does not include a new race.

  • 19 new technologies, including advanced drones, over thrusters, two new satellite designs, defensive interceptor micro-missiles, and Polarized Plasmatics which will unlock a new weapon type
  • Over 75 new ship sections to build.
  • 10 new weapons, including the new inertial cannons, Kelvinic Torpedos, and the fearsome rail cannon.
  • 3 new scenarios

Sword of the Stars 2

Sword of the Stars 2: The Lords of Winter, the sequel to Sword of the Stars, was announced January 27th, 2010, after being "leaked" on Twitter by the CEO of Paradox interactive, on January 21st, 2010.

Kerberos confirmed the leak here.

A First Details piece by IGN UK includes some broad outlines of the game. And Games Reactor has the actual presentation that gives more detail.

"The desire and goal is for SotS II to be native 64-bit."

"The only thorn in the side of this plan is third-party dependencies that do not yet support 64-bit builds. I am actively working to avoid this situation and by release all should be well." - Kludgy

"there will be new things... but as far as foreshadowing goes, you have to remember that you are now at the end of the first trilogy, so to speak. From the beginning we wanted to tell this first SotS story/era in exactly this fashion...a big opening then supported buildup up and the 2 additions that are BoB and AMoC. But now this arc comes to an end and the gap between AMoC and SotS2, both in design and universe-time, is an order of magnitude greater and hence requires a bit of a curtain call between arcs.

"...just because I am saying that AMoC is not going to be filled with hints and references for a game 2 years away...long enough for things to be forgotten...that I meant everything will be all wrapped up. The SotS universe story is continous and coherent across all planned games. Trust on that one." --Mecron

Future Games

Other than Sword of the Stars 2: The Lords of Winter, no future games set in the Sword of the Stars universe have been officially announced, Kerberos seems to be looking at creating at least a few more:

"So, other than northstar, sots 2, and maybe fort zombie 2... what other types of games might be in kerberos's future? :)"

"Well, those are the core ones right there, the ones that we are comfortable talking about as we move forward. Beyond those, there are three being tossed about, but we're not ready to talk about them yet (too early) and a pile of designs looking for a good home (waaaay too early.)" -From Kerberos Facebook page

Forum Links

Official Sword of the Stars Forum


This category has the following 9 subcategories, out of 9 total.

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