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The Solar Federation
The good guys?

The Solar Federation is a cooperation of all mankind, who after decades of internal warfare finally realized that all their struggle for dominance would eventually lead to would be their own doom. Once formed the Federation took mankind to a new level of civilization, far beyond their greatest expectations. Crime, warfare and money were abolished and once earth was living in harmony the Federation began to look beyond it's own hemisphere. With their superior intellect the Feds quickly developed their first spaceships and started exploring. Not much later they were able build safe and reliable warp engines, and exploration took a big rise. Now that most of their own solar system has been charted and explored, the Federation has reached the Echo cluster. They realize they are not alone here, and although they would rather include the other races into the Federation they are aware that warfare might very well be inevitable.

Race advantages
The Solar Federation is very good at making friends with the natives that they contact: because of their kind nature and good diplomatic relations the natives pay the Federation twice the amount of money when being taxed. Hard-working Federation colonists also gladly pay twice the normal taxes. The highly skilled Federation crew gives the Feds some powerful advantages in battlesituations: no matter how damaged their ships are, they will always use all of their weapons. Between battles the Federation crew is able to re-strengthen their shields, and because the crew works very efficiently any fightercarrier controlled by the Federation launches fighters at a speed as if it had three extra launchbays.

Race disadvantages
The Solar Federation has a set of strict laws that are enforced by the universal environmental protection agency (UEPA). In order to follow all the laws the Solar Federation can only mine at 70% of the normal speed. When it comes to battle the Federation lacks a real big warship, forcing them to often sacrifice two of their ships in order to kill a large enemy ship.

Special mission
The Solar Federation is the only race that can upgrade the tech levels of old starships, if a Federation ship sets their mission to "Super Refit" and is at a Federation starbase for one turn. The chief engineer will remove the engines, beam weapons and torpedo launchers and replace the parts with the highest tech level parts available from the starbase's parts inventory. If a higher tech part is not available the chief engineer will not swap parts. Old parts taken off the ship will be placed in storage. Super refit requires a full set of parts for the ship to work correctly.

When it comes to battles in space, the Federation can certainly hold their own. Just to make a point, they have a strange tendency to paint their ships bright white and use exterior lighting for extra effect. Over time the Federation has developed a good range of warships, ranging from the very small Nocturne which can be of good use in the very early stages of the game up to the impressive Nova, which is one of the biggest torpedo-ships in the universe. The main components of the Federation battlefleet will be the medium battleships such as the Nebula, Diplomacy and Missouri. Their only fighter-carrier design, the Kittyhawk, can also be of good use in the fleet and in certain situations the Thor is a cheap but deadly component of the fleet.

Special ships
The Federation has two terraforming ships, which can be used to change a planet's climate to the ideal temperature of 50 degrees. The Bohemian Class Survey Ship will make planets warmer, the Eros Class Research Vessel will make a planet cooler until climate type 50 is reached. The Brynhild Class Escort has a bioscanner built in to it, with which the Federation can scan planets for natives without actually going there. The Feds can also build the Loki Class Destroyer that can decloak enemy ships within 10 lightyears.

Gameplay in short
It is important for the Federation to colonize planets and make maximum use of the resources and natives they provide. The Federation should try and build a Merlin Class Refinery ship early so they can convert supply units into minerals and with that overcome their low mining rate. Since the Federation lacks a large powerhouse of a ship they need strength in numbers. This can be accomplished by running a tight economy (maximizing the large cashflow and working to overcome the low mining rate). The Feds must work on building a second starbase soon, and from there on build more starbases and ships than any other race. The Superrefit mission can be a great help in doing so: because of this ability the Federation starbases can produce a high number of shiphulls, outfitted with lowtech engines and no weapons. These ships can then at a later stage be upgraded with better engines and state of the art weaponry. With some effort and attention the Federation fleet can grow into one of the largest and most impressive fleets in the cluster, at which point sacrificing two ships to kill one enemy ship is not such a big burden anymore.

UP: Races of the Echo Cluster

NEXT: The Lizards

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