Sins of a Solar Empire Entrenchment First Look

The three great powers of the galaxy dig in for the ultimate space strategy showdown in this expansion.

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Entrenchment. It's a strange title for the first expansion to Sins of a Solar Empire, one of the most free-flowing and open strategy games in recent years. The innovative and seamless blend of real-time strategy with "4X" empire building--what developer Iron Clad games has dubbed "RT4X"--led to one of the highest-rated strategy games of the year. So to dig in, hunker down, or entrench, seems contrary to the sprawling nature of Sins. But as we saw in our recent first look at the first of three reported Sins expansions, the military and defensive-themed Entrenchment also looks like a lot of fun.

The wars among the Trader Emergency Coalition, the alien Vasari, and the human splinter faction known as the Advent continue to rage in Entrenchment. But as the years have passed, the multiple battle fronts have stabilized, forcing each faction to dig in. Technology has also advanced, and Entrenchment will introduce a new superunit, the star base, which Iron Clad says will radically alter Sins strategy and gameplay.

That's no moon. That's a giant star base.
That's no moon. That's a giant star base.

Each of the three faction's star bases will be very expensive, far and away the most costly unit in the game. To put it into perspective, a star base will cost roughly the same as five capital ships, the most expensive unit in the original Sins, and Iron Clad estimates you won't even have enough resources for such a unit until mid-to-late into a game. But it's worth the wait. Once constructed, a star base can be placed anywhere on the map, including the previously inaccessible gravity wells of stars. A star base will allow you to attack and defend at two key points on the map. Once constructed, your fleet will be available to make key offensive attacks, while the base can manufacture frigates, as well as defend your own planetary systems with its formative attack power and range. Star bases are massive in size--a typical fighter is about 10 meters long, while a base is more than 1,000 meters long. They are not invincible, but eliminating an enemy star base would be extremely costly, requiring several capital ships and super weapons.

A problem with Sins, notes Iron Clad, is that once you took your massive fleet on the offensive, this would allow a weaker enemy to circumvent your fleet and attack a poorly defended homeworld. It was very difficult to wage wars on multiple fronts, so the star base will allow you to move the battle lines in your favor. Should you choose to go on the offensive with a star base, you could, for example, construct it in an enemy's gravity wells. All of your enemy's resources would be devoted to destroying your star base, and you would be free to mobilize your fleet.

Like capital ships, star bases will be upgradeable and able to level up. However, you will have to pick the specialization of your upgrades among military, manufacturing, and trading, so you'll have to choose your deployment location and specializations wisely.

To balance out the incredible defensive advantages of a star base, Iron Clad has added several new offensive superweapon units. The TEC, for example, has access to the Ogrov Torpedo Cruiser that is designed to be a giant missile silo in space. It fires a pair of slow-moving nuclear missiles that cause immense damage to enemy structures. The Ogrov has tremendous range, so one strategy is to take out defense turrets from distance, forcing the enemy to engage outside the protection of its turrets. Of course, you have your fleet waiting to pick off these foolhardy frigates.

Even with star bases and fleets, it can be difficult to defend some of your remote planets. Each faction will have access to powerful minefields that are undetectable to most ship types. Only scouts will be able to detect these highly dangerous explosive fields, so be careful to perform proper reconnaissance before ordering an attack. A single mine is capable of putting a big dent in your prized capital ships.

There are a number of other additions as well, including new artifacts and new upgrades to existing units, all with the goal of further balancing the gameplay. The Gauss defense turrets that became obsolete in the endgame of the original Sins are now upgradable with an armor-piercing laser and missile launchers. Ship hangers can also be upgraded with flak cannons to ward off enemy fighters.

The Ogrov Torpedo Cruiser is a missile silo in space.
The Ogrov Torpedo Cruiser is a missile silo in space.

Entrenchment is the first of three planned expansions that will be released in rapid succession and focus on the various elements of gameplay. As Entrenchment brings back a sense of battle lines and defensive play, the second expansion will focus more on nonmilitary aspects of Sins, such as diplomacy. That as-of-yet unnamed expansion will most likely be released in the next two to three months, with the third expansion to follow shortly thereafter.

Entrenchment is set to be released for $10 on November 18 on publisher Stardock's Impulse digital delivery service. Because it is an expansion, you will need the original Sins of a Solar Empire to play it. But if you're any kind of a fan of space strategy, that's a game you already owe it to yourself to play. While we only got a look at the TEC in action, we'll have more on the Vasari and Advent factions in the coming weeks.

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Avatar image for Bokica1000
Bokica1000

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Sins is a great game but it is very long and sometimes tiresome... So star base and new ships would be an welcome edition to the game. Oh, and it would be great if they add new planet types too.

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lebman69

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I was hoping they improve Diplomacy and other counts as well. It's hard to want to keep playing when it's unbalanced like that...adding more weapons of mass destruction makes it more unbalanced, I will check it out though I could be wrong

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Megaship

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Sounds like Iron Clad is putting in too much overpowered weapons. This is reminding me more of Star wars lol

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Bluey64

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"That's no moon!" LOL

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Wings_008

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I WANT A STAR BASE.

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Gedthegeek

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I am at present downloading the expansion pack through www.impulsedriven.com/ It's more convenient to order Entrenchment online than wait for it retail. It is 293.7 mb, so it would take roughly 45 minutes to an hour to download. I can't wait to try it! I'll post a review on it hopefully by tomorrow.

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suprosa

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"we'll have more on the Vasari and Advent factions in the coming weeks" How much longer?! The beta is already out now!

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utdagny

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Sins is a great game, but if you've only played it in single player, you owe it to yourself to log onto Ironclad Online and play it in online multiplayer. You'll find that playing against other people is a greater challenge resulting in more intense and fulfilling games. You'll have human teammates and be able to make friends online, etc. Those who are afraid to go against other people can play humans v. AI games and have human teammates. Entrenchment sounds interesting but I wonder how it will affect the online game. I'm not sure I'd want to plunk down a cost of five capital ships' worth to build an immobile defense unit.

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Zee666

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Sins rocks, and I've only played it on single player.

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Sr_Waffles

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The star base kinda looks like the Cylon Basestar in Battlestar Galactica. Looks like its time to wipe out the Cylons once and for all lol. Seriously thought, looks like a great game.

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maynevibe

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Sins Blew me away... This Looks awsome.. $10 dollars thats like £4 gbp Man! That cant be right????

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Dalek200

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Sins is awesome, can't wait for this, but is it gonna be download only? 'cause thats what it implies here.

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Ahmid_milad

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i cant wait to lay my hands on the new star base!

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Raeliquae

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Sexual. Well think that explains my love for Sins! *Winks at Stardock and Ironclad*

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mightyflapjack

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I just want phase inhibitors to be improved so that instead of delaying the ability to jump they should completely prevent jumping (by enemies) unless the inhibitor is destroyed.

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matthew770

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I just wish it had a story ala Homeworld and the 3-D navigation.

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FomarThain

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@Kristophski I guess you could look at in terms of three major changes along with patches released in between. They seem to patch and make changes to balance and address bugs pretty regularly. So $30 total worth of expansions with continued support and smaller additions as we go is still a pretty good bargin. I didn't play GalCiv but as I understand it they have kept adding and changing that game alot well after release. I would imagine it will be alot like that for Sins.

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oclane

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finally, the game was getting a bit repetitive owning every one in sight LOL

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Zee666

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yumm,shiny big flying things. More expenses!

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Kristophski

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I agree with X3; but here is my question: Why stop at only three expansions?

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X3Warrior

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Ironclad is an amazing developer with a lot a creativity and imagination. Sins will (hopefully) get an awar for best RTS of the year, as it is extremely unique, having big maps and huge unit amounts, rather most most other RTSs. ;) And since this is the first in a series of expansions, Sins is gonna get BIG. Go Ironclad and Stardock!

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Duke-666

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Loved the original sins...this looks like it'll be interesting to say the least

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rpgsuperfan

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I just want them to fix the long-range frigates. The game was so broken the last time I played because of them, I'm not even going to bother getting this if they haven't been nerfed yet.

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NightmareCV

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i just recently got Sins and i love the game, i just have to be careful of when i play it so im not up all night playing. i will definatly be buying the expansion and am trying to get my friends to but the game so i can play with them. this will easily keep me busy till SCII, maybe even after.

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winmill

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Cool Banana's! Single Player Campaign would still be great too though, and some developing story!

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Exostenza

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Sold

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qioden

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the best news i have heard this year!!!

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BlueBirdTS

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If there's one thing I love about Stardock, it's their post-release support for a game. It looks like they will repeat the stellar job they did with Galactic Civilizations II with SoaSE.

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Elhan

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Nazi Bethesda? Um... nevermind. Anyway, looks worthwhile buying.

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2point5boogers

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i find that if you make a custom map and make it one star, with all colonizable planets, at the *same distance from the star* you get a perfect circle of planets around one star (i had 100 planets in one perfect circle) you can have at max a war on two fronts. just a heads up if this is currently frustrating.

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dark_monk56

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$10? For what'll pretty much be a fix-all to my only issues with Sins? EPIC WIN!

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xenotraveller

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That is brilliant. I am looking forward to it.

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Ahmid_milad

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am drooling ,cant wait

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AurusRegulus

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Now this is a good way to split a game into three parts (granted, its an expansion). Blizzard should be paying attention. If their move to split Starcraft II into three parts is anything close to what I fear, then it will kill what little interest I have in it. Stardock is officially my favorite game company.

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IMaBIOHAZARD

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10$? wow. That's AWESOME. epic win for PC Gaming :D I don't quite think it'll kill piracy becuz the point of piracy is to eliminate any cost AT ALL, but it will certainly slow it just a little bit.

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J-REAL

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Thats what im talking about. Look at the price this is what will kill piracy. Good job guys at stardock.

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yaba

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Looks good to me.

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thewilyranger

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Wow this expansion looks awesome and for the price, Stardock is amazing.

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2point5boogers

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these people know how to make PC gamers happy. 10 dollar expansion? im sold. Nazi bethesda still wants half that for horse armor, and that game is 6 years old.

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Zarcon94

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OK, this sounds awesome, and for 10 bucks, it's an insane bargain. You could just buy one, or pay the price for a normal expansion and get all 3.

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chuamishael

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I always wanted a star base, with lots of firepower. playing a long game with an AI now will be much more entertaining. :D But it won't take too long for me to build one, I always press +/- button to Speed up when necessary.

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rasik

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no campaingn yet? :( Awesome... looks really good tho

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mo0ksi

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More Sins is good Sins. Since that it's only $10 there's no reason to not have Entrenchment when it comes.

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adal8or

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Sweet, i love the original, can't wait for the expansion. star bases sound awesome!

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Mystoksor

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Stardock rules. These people should be an example to EA: DRM is not the way

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ravagerXI

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My only anoyiance with SoaSE is that they dont seem to plan on revamping the TEC ships ,they look like junk ships,even traders wouldnt fly those.Apart from that SoaSE rocks. The new Space Stations look awesome.

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blowtrees

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I hope the timetable goes as planned, at that pace I can wait until 2 if not all of them are released before I play sins again anyway. My last huge game took the better part of two weeks.

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titanviper2000

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I've so been hoping for an expansion. This should be good. If they follow the same formula and don't stray too far, I think we'll be amazed again. From what they're saying I don't think anyone will be disappointed.

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G4m3rF0rL1f3

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looks good

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shadowhunter0

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that star base is a good idea but i really dont need it but it will be fun 2 attack it though

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