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Factions and their leaders in Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri.

These factions are the following:

  • Gaia's Stepdaughters: Led by Unity Chief of Hydroponics "Lady" Deirdre Skye, of Scotland, the Gaians believe the greatest mistake humanity made on Earth was the blatant disregard of Earth's biosphere. They desire not to repeat this mistake with Planet, and attempt to live in ecological harmony with the environment. Other factions tend to view her as a tree-hugging hippie and/or a pagan heretic due to her overt environmental concerns, and she might very well declare war on another nation to stop them polluting or exploiting the planet's resources--or perhaps just to prove that their lack of empathy with Planet will bite them in the ass. The Gaians prefer Green economics and will not pursue a Free Market due to the rampant environmental damage it causes. They are pacifistic (-1 Morale, -1 Police) but are all environmentalists (+1 Planet), and in pursuit of this have become skilled at eliminating waste and inefficiency (+2 Efficiency). Their artificial symbiosis with the environment always lets them capture the first mindworm they fight, and unlike everybody else, they can harvest the xenofungus for 1 extra nutrient. The Gaians make planetfall with Centauri Ecology, allowing them to harvest xenofungus squares for nutrients, construct Formers, and build the Weather Paradigm Secret Project. This balance of advantages and disadvantages--which are balanced in the mid-game and late game but provide a distinct advantage in the early game--makes them a preferred faction for beginners.
  • Human Hive: Led by Unity Executive Officer Sheng-Ji Yang from Great China. Yang's philosophy takes influences from communism, collectivism, and elements of Buddhism and Taoism to produce a society with a strong emphasis on sacrificing the individual for the greater whole. Yang himself is something of an amalgam of historical communist leaders, and his plans for social experimentation and mind control rival those of SEELE, Vault-Tec and Ingsoc, although his philosophical quotes exhibit a strong Nietzschean influence--which he then subverts, by embracing the collectivism Nietzsche rejects. He's very much his own man. Yang prefers a Police State and will never allow a Democracy dictatorship of the masses. The Hive breed/are bred quickly (+1 Growth) and work hard (+1 Industry), but the extreme levels of collectivism repress free enterprise and economic development (-2 Economy). Hive society is well-structured, and therefore ignores choices that would result in penalties to Efficiency. In addition, their bases are always well-protected by being mostly built underground (represented in-game by a free Perimeter Defense). The Hive makes Planetfall with Doctrine: Loyalty, allowing construction of the Command Nexus secret project (and, if they did not already get them, allowing them to build Perimeter Defenses) and selection of the Police State governmental choice.
  • University of Planet: The University of Planet is directed by Academician Prokhor Zakharov, something of an Omnidisciplinary Scientist from Russia who served as Chief Science Officer aboard the Unity. The University believes that human survival and welfare are best achieved through the constant pursuit of science technology. To this end, however, the University can and does often disregard ethical concerns, and Zakharov is vocal in his condemnation of all forms of religion or spirituality. Ultimately, he treads a fine line between the famous German scientists Albert Einstein and Josef Mengele (although he appears to be named after Soviet physicist--and human rights activist!--Andrei Sakharov). Prefers to value Knowledge and will not use a Fundamentalist government. They're all highly scientific (+2 Research), but their devotion to freedom of speech, inquiry, and information means their government leaks like a sieve (-2 Probe), and their underclasses are not very happy about being used for experiments, resulting in an extra unhappy drone for every four citizens. The University make Planetfall with Information Networks (this would allow them to build Network Nodes, but all University bases come with one for free anyway) and one other technology of the player's choice.
  • Morgan Industries: Subordinate to CEO Nwabudike Morgan, a wealthy Namibian plutocrat who established a small autonomous empire on Earth through diamond and gold mines, and arms sale to warring African nations. He went on to finance the entire construction of UNS Unity in exchange for a cryogenic cabin on board. Morgan and his followers are highly individualistic and value the pursuit of wealth above all means, and believe that free market capitalism leads to prosperity for humanity. His faction resembles a monopolistic corporation more than a nation, and contains a few Shout Outs to Microsoft. Prefers a Free Market economy, dislikes Green (although this doesn't keep him from allying with Dierdre if she's a good enough market/big enough to defend him), and will not choose Planned economics. Excellent economic knowledge and sharp business minds are common among Morganites (+1 Economy, + 1 Commerce with other factions) but their luxurious lifestyle taxes their economy in other directions (-1 Support, -3 max base size). Morgan Industries makes Planetfall with Industrial Base, giving access to synthmetal armor and the Merchant Exchange secret project, and begins with an extra 100 energy credits.
  • Spartan Federation: True to their namesake, the Spartans, led by the Puerto Rican Colonel Corazón Santiago, Unity Chief of Security, are militant survivalists, and believe that a strong military is essential for humanity to overcome the dangers inherent in Planet's dangerous ecosystem. The Spartans value discipline, order, strength and a chain of command, and are naturally tolerant of martial law. If anyone could pull off a Police State, it might be Santiago. (Or perhaps her staunch militarism will get her killed in a preemptive strike. Who knows?) On the other hand, they believe strongly in the right to bear arms (not a trait widely associated with authoritarians), and a strong case could be made that they are some sort of libertarian or classical republican (Robert A. Heinlein's vision in Starship Troopers wouldn't be a bad analogy), so running them as a democracy (or perhaps "service democracy" based on military service) wouldn't be too far off the mark, either. The Spartans value Power highly, for obvious reasons, and will not pursue Wealth as they do not want to become soft. They are devoted to their leader and nation (+2 Morale) and not particularly concerned with police carrying military-grade weaponry (+1 Police). However, their huge "defense" spending penalizes their other industries (-1 Industry). In return for this, the Spartans spend much of their time making war with the other factions--they can often win, and even if they don't, the other faction is left with nothing besides having to rebuild underdeveloped, starving Spartan cities. They make Planetfall with Doctrine: Mobility, allowing them to build units with the Rover chassis and the Command Center base facility, and start the game with a Scout Rover rather than a Scout Patrol. They can also build prototypes of their military units for the mass-production cost instead of the prototype cost.
  • Lord's Believers: Led by Unity Psych Chaplain sister Miriam Godwinson from the Christian States of America (although the "CSA" might just be a personal preference or pressure organization), the Believers are fanatical Protestant Christians who view the destruction of Earth as the wrath of God. Their unfaltering faith places them frequently at war with factions who refuse to support her construction of the Promised Land. Whether she is justified or not is unclear--certainly she manages to never become a true straw man of her religion, for while she is aggressive, the other factions rarely treat her or her followers with much respect. The Believers have a Fundamentalist government (-2 Research, no technological advances the first 10 turns of the game) and will not pursue Knowledge, and their belief that Planet is their Promised Land prevents them from worrying overmuch for its state (-1 Planet). However, their fundamental, uncompromising nature make them hard to infiltrate or influence (+2 Probe), grants them devotion in battle (+25% attack), and lets them see the necessity of fighting for their government (+2 Support). The Believers make Planetfall with Social Psychology, letting them build the Recreation Commons base facility (which knowing the Believers is likely a church in their case).
  • UN Peacekeeping Forces: Led by Unity Chief of Surgery, the Indian Commissioner Pravin Lal, the UN forces attempt to remain true to the ideals of the UN Charter. Lal, the appointed successor to Captain Garland, has constructed a faction strongly dedicated to peace, tolerance, and humanitarian ideals. Pravin Lal is quite possibly the most level-headed of the factions leaders, but occasionally his "peacekeeping" heads towards "police actions" and "occupations". They will not pursue a Police State, and favor Democracy. Their bloated UN-style bureaucracy makes their government inefficient (-1 Efficiency), but they are very experienced in political matters (2x votes in Planetary Council), and their intellectual pursuits both attract the intellectual elite (+1 Talent for every four citizens in every base) as well as resulting a certain level of ascetic restrain, making it easier for bases to grow (+2 max base size). They make Planetfall with Biogenetics, rendering them able to build the Recycling Tanks base facility and the Human Genome Project secret project. This distinct lack of significant disadvantages (efficiency doesn't really become important until the midgame, and besides, Democracy provides +2 Efficiency) makes them the second-best choice for beginning players (after the aforementioned Gaians).

Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri Alien Crossfire (SMAX) Factions:

  • Free Drones: The Free Drones are led by Foreman Domai, an Australian mining expert who was turned into a drone by an accident shortly after Planetfall. Domai led a rebellion against his treatment as a second-class citizen and founded the Free Drones, a socialist nation without class segregation. (Or so they claim...) The Drones are numerous and powerful industrialists, but lack advanced technology, so they must often resort to human-wave tactics. Unlike most socialist societies, Domai has no qualms embracing the Free Market since it represents economic freedom; what the Drones can't stand are tree-hugging lefty intellectuals and their pie-in-the-sky Green economics. Prefers a Eudaimonic future and will not use Green economics due to the demands for population control, and dislikes Cybernetic societies for trading away their humanity. They're highly productive (+2 Industry) emancipated drones (one fewer drone in each city; rioting enemy cities may defect to the Drones) but their population is composed almost entirely of blue-collar workers with little in the way of education (-2 Research, no research points the first 10 turns). Makes Planetfall with Industrial Base.
  • Data Angels: A renegade faction of hackers led by Datatech Sinder Roze, a Trinidadian cybercriminal who parleyed her sentence into community service (specifically, working for Morgan Industries during construction of the Unity). The Data Angels are concerned with the freedom of information and the freedom of the individual. They are highly trained in information technology and information warfare, which makes them experts in all forms of espionage (+2 Probe). However, their anarchist tendencies means they're barely a full faction (-1 Police). Prefers a Democratic government and will not select Power as a value. They make Planetfall with both Information Networks and Planetary Networks (allowing them to build spies Probe Teams computer enthusiast clubs right off the bat, as well as the Hologram Theatre base facility and the Virtual World secret project, and giving them access to the Librarian specialist and the Planned economic model. Highly skilled in Black Ops (-25% cost of probe actions; free Covert Ops Centers with Pre-Sentient Algorithms; free probe team at start) and automatically gain any tech known to three other factions via their superior infonet.
  • Cybernetic Consciousness: Under the command of the cold and calculating Prime Function Aki-Zeta 5, a union of an illegal pre-sentient computer algorithm and the Norwegian computer technician Aki Lutinnen (her dad must have been Finnish or something...), a programmer working for Zakharov, the Cybernetic Consciousness offers advanced cybernetic augmentation in exchange for joining their minds with AIs. They are highly intelligent, rational and logical, but they tend to have problems understanding and interpreting emotion--their own and those of others (they have a particular problem understanding love and even lust, making procreation rather rarer than elsewhere). Prefer a Cybernetic future (they ignore the penalties from it; it is the "most rational") and will not use a Fundamentalist government (nothing against religion, it's just totally irrational). Highly efficient (+2 Efficiency) and scientifically-minded (+2 Research) but have a low growth rate on account of their awkwardness with respect to, well, you know... (-1 Growth). The Cyborgs make Planetfall with Information Networks and Applied Physics, allowing them to equip units with lasers.
  • Nautilus Pirates:' Currently led by Captain Ulrik Svensgaard, a former fisherman, U.S. Navy Captain, and Unitys chief navigator, in charge of his own hive of scum and villainy, the Pirates are primarily water-bound and benefit from expert sea-floor mining and farming skill. Svensgaard has no particular ideological beliefs and is extremely flexible in his pursuit of wealth and power. Especially other peoples' wealth and power. Prefers to value Power. They suffer -1 Efficiency and -1 Growth on account of being sea-based pirates. The Pirates make Planetfall with Doctrine: Mobility and Doctrine: Flexibility (without the latter, they wouldn't be able to put out ships or sea bases until later...), and begin with a sea base instead of one on land. Their close relationship to the seas grants them free Naval Yards with Doctrine: Initiative and free Marine Detachment on all units when they discover Adaptive Doctrine. Since the Pirates start out at sea, they have a strong initial defensive position, and a halfway decent player can maintain naval superiority for the rest of the game without any trouble.
  • Cult of Planet: The Cult of Planet are under the spiritual command of orphaned empath-psychic Cha'Dawn, a messianic child prodigy, who was found unharmed in a fungal bloom field. The Cult preaches the cleansing of humanity from Planet, and will go to any length to achieve it. Their followers are fanatical and believe Cha'Dawn to be the physical incarnation of the Planetmind. They benefit from a natural affinity to the local Mind Worms. Prefer Green Economics and have an aversion to valuing Power. Fanatically devoted to Planet and it's native life (+2 Planet), averse to heavy industry and the pollution it creates (-1 Industry), as well as to the trappings of wealth (-1 Economy). The Cult does not make Planetfall; the game starts with their base already upon Planet, with Centauri Ecology and Social Psych technologies. Their close relationship with Planet grants them a free Mind Worm unit at start, Mind Worms count as having Non-Lethal Methods (when you worship Planet, having Mind Worms patrolling the base is actually a nice thing), and gain free Brood Pit base facilities in all cities as soon as Centauri Genetics is researched.
  • Manifold Caretakers: One of two factions of Scary Dogmatic Aliens that crash-land on Planet after a violent confrontation in orbit. Led by Conservator Lular H'Minee, the Caretakers intend to maintain Planet's pristine state while searching it for the mysterious Manifold Nexus -- even going so far as to knock their Usurper rivals and any human obstacles out of the way. The more reasonable of the two, but still doesn't think much of humans. Prefers a Planned economy. Enjoy a deep understanding of Planet's inner workings (+1 Planet). Makes Planetfall with Information Networks, Biogenetics and Centauri Ecology. Alien faction; +25% defense bonus; cannot build the Voice of Planet; Recycling Tanks at every base.
  • Manifold Usurpers: The second faction of Scary Dogmatic Aliens, led by Conqueror Judaa Marr. Having exhausted their technological advantage while fending off the Caretakers in the search for Manifold Six (their name for Planet) and the Nexus within, they seek to affect the evolution of the Planetmind as a means of restoring contact with the Progenitor home system. Of course, if they can just as easily dominate alien and human alike through military force, that's a fair cop as well. Prefers a Planned economy and will not choose a Democratic government. Their culture is warlike in nature (+1 Morale), abuse Planet's resources to expand their population (+1 Growth), which Planet doesn't like one bit (-1 Planet). Alien faction; +25% attack bonus; Recycling Tanks at every base.
  • Firaxians: The Lethal Joke Characters, led by either Sid Meier or Brian Reynolds (depending on which of their profiles you import into the selectable factions). Bereft of all the other factions' distinctions and idiosyncracies, their main claim to fame is bringing singularity technology to Planet about 300-350 years before it would normally develop. No bonuses or penalties, but start the game with Singularity Mechanics, a Discovery 12 tech that allows a reactor upgrade that can vastly improve unit mobility while also decreasing costs. The other factions will want to trade for it.
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