In Alpha Centauri you and all players play one of up to seven factions vying for survival and dominance of Planet. The factions that exist for a particular game are set at the game start as well as what faction you choose to play. These will not change during the course of the game. It is possible to play with fewer then seven factions and even to play with one faction. If you play with one faction, diplomacy will not be available and you won't have the benefit and detriments of opposing or allied factions and the enjoyment that comes with it but you will still have to fight Planet and could be used to try and speed to transcendence.
Factions control several bases and units which are connected together in a common goal as directed by the player playing the faction. Factions engage in social engineering and diplomacy as well as manage an economy and military
List of Factions
- Gaia's Stepdaughters or the Gaians. This is an ecologically focused faction with bonuses to Planet (+1) and Efficiency (+2) and with penalties to Morale (-1) and Police (-1). Gaians advocate Green Economics and cannot use Free Market Economics. They start with Centauri Ecology and can build formers from the start. They also get one additional nutrient in fungus squares. They tend to be better then any other of the original factions at using native life but have difficulty with supporting a competitive conventional military.
- Human Hive or the Hive. This is an industry focused faction with bonuses to Industry (+1) and Growth (+1) and with penalties to Economy (-2). The Hive advocates Police State Politics and cannot use Democratic Politics. They start with Doctrine: Loyalty and have a free Perimeter Defense at each base. Unlike the free Perimeter Defense given by the The Citizens’ Defense Force, this one can be destroyed or lost at an individual base (through mindworm attack or probe team action for example). They tend to have the largest army on Planet as long as they remain competitive but they will have a hard time maintaining an energy budget and will rarely be wealthy, limiting their otherwise huge strengths.
- University of Planet or the University. This is a research focused faction with bonuses to Research (+2) and with penalties to Probe (-2). The University advocates Knowledge Values and cannot use Fundamentalist Politics. They start with Information Networks, one other player selected technology, have a free Network Node at each base, and have 1 extra Drone at each base for every 4 population (rounded down). As long as this faction remains competitive, it will likely have the best research in the game but is vulnerable to probe team actions (including stealing their technology), have no native bonuses to their military and have a harder time than most factions managing their bases.
- Morgan Industries or the Morgans. This is an economy focused faction with bonuses to Economy (+1) and with penalties to Support (-1). Morganites advocate Free Market Economics and cannot use Planned Economics. They start with Industrial Base and with 110 credits but they have their base population limits decreased by 3 (so without any secret projects, a Morgan base cannot grow above 4 population before building a Hab Complex). As long as they remain competitive they usually have the largest energy reserves of any faction in the game and a quick research rate but they have trouble fielding an army.
- Spartan Federation or the Spartans. This is a military focused faction with bonuses to Morale (+2) and Police (+1) and with penalties to Industry (-1). Spartans advocate Power Values and cannot use Wealth Values. They start with Doctrine: Mobility and with a Unity Rover (1-1-2) as well as being able to prototype units for free. If they can stay competitive they tend to have the highest quality troops on Planet but they can have trouble growing a large army.
- The Lord’s Believers or the Believers. This is a Christian fundamentalist faction with bonuses to Probe (+2) and Support (+1) and with penalties to Research (-2) and Planet (-1). Belivers advocate Fundamentalist Politics and cannot use Knowledge Values. They start with Social Psych and their troops get a +25% combat modifier when attacking. They require some means other than research to gain technologies to remain competitive such as the use of probe teams. If they do then they are likely to have the best offensive army on Planet.
- Peacekeeping Forces or the Peacekeepers. This is the definitive average faction with penalties to Efficiency (-1). Peacekeepers advocate Democratic Politics and cannot use Police State Politics. They start with Biogenetics and receive a x2 modifier to their Planetary Council votes, can exceed the population cap on bases by 2 citizens (for an population cap of 9 citizens for an unmodified base), and have one extra talent at any base for every 4 citizens of that base (rounded up). This faction is quite flexible allowing for players to adapt to whatever strategy and play style best suited to the individual game as it presents itself, but this faction can lag behind the others without a player to give it a clear direction.
Alien Cross Fire Factions
- The Cybernetic Consciousness or the Borg. This is a research focused faction with bonuses to Research (+2) and Efficiency (+2) and with a penalty to Growth (-1). The Borg advocate Cybernetic Future Society and cannot use Fundamentalist Politics. They start with Applied Physics and Information Networks, they can steal a technological breakthrough when conquering a base even if the standard rules don't ordinarily allow for it, and they don't suffer the negative effects from a Cybernetic Future Society.
- The Data Angels or the Angels. This is an espionage focused faction with a bonus to Probe (+2) and with a penalty to Police (-1). Angels advocate Democratic Politics and cannot use Police State Politics. They start with Information Networks and Planetary Networks, and receive a free Covert Ops Center at each base once Pre-Sentient Algorithms is discovered, they also start out with a Probe Team, and they gain any technological advance known to any three factions they have infiltrated.
- The Free Drones or the Drones. This is an industry focused faction with a bonus to Industry (+2) and with a penalty to Research (-2). Drones advocate Eudaimonic Future Society and cannot use Green Economics. They start with Industrial Base, have 1 fewer Drones per base, have a 25% less chance of having a base defect during a drone riot, and have a increased chance of bases that defect from opposing factions during riots joining this faction.
- The Cult of Planet or the Cult. This is an ecology focused faction with a bonus to Planet (+2) and with penalties to Industry (-1) and Economy (-1). The Cult advocates Green Economics and cannot use Wealth Values. They start with Centauri Ecology and Social Psych, their basses receive a free Brood Pit with the discovery of Centauri Genetics, start with a mind worm unit, and any native lifeforms acting as a police unit have double the policing power.
- Nautilus Pirates or the Pirates. This is a naval focused faction with no bonus and with penalties to Growth (-1) and Efficiency (-1). Pirates advocate Power Values. They start with Doctrine: Mobility and Doctrine: Flexibility, they start with a sea base and a scout foil 1-1-4sea, have bonuses to resources in sea squares, have a free Naval Yard at every base and every unit is considered to have the Marine Detachment ability once the appropriate technologies are discovered.
- Manifold Caretakers or the Caretakers. This is a Progenitor faction with a bonus to Planet (+1). The Caretakers advocate Planned Economics and can use any Society Mode. They start out with Biogenetics, Information Networks, and Centauri Ecology, have a free Recycling Tanks at each base and, get a 25% bonus to unit strength when a unit defends, and can choose individual technologies to research even if the standard rules don't allow for it.
- Manifold Usurpers or the Usurpers. This is a Progenitor faction with bonuses to [[Social Engineering|Growth] (+1) and Morale (+1) and with a penalty to Planet (-1). The Usurpers advocate Planned Economics and cannot use Democratic Politics. They start out with Centauri Ecology, Applied Physics, and Biogenetics, have a free Recycling Tanks at each base, get a 25% bonus to unit strength when a unit attacks (similar to the Believing faction's attack bonus), and can choose individual technologies to research even if the standard rules don't allow for it.
Prominent Fan Factions
No prominent fan created factions have been added yet.
The game for some mechanic purposes considers Planet a faction called "Aliens." When the game refers to "Aliens," it is referring to the native life on Planet and not to the Progenitors which are referred to as Progenitors. In the original game, what left the artifacts and monoliths on Planet was left as a mystery. The Alien Crossfire expansion added in the Progenitors and their backstory.
The Alien Faction is designated by the color red and can be seen in the color of the square designating independent (of a faction's control) native life. Also if a base that built a secret project is destroyed, the secret project is considered to be owned by this Alien Faction and no (Earthling or Progenitor) faction can benefit from the project.
Choosing a Faction
Some factions tend to be better at war while others tend to be better during peacetime. The three of the classic seven factions that tend to be better at war are the Believers, Spartans, and Hive while the three of the classic factions that tend to be better in peacetime are the Morgans, University, and Gaians. The Peacekeepers can play either way depending on the player and how the game unfolds and is better than the other classic factions at adapting to the flow of the game and shifting gears. Peacetime actions include research, building base infrastructure, terraforming, and energy accumulation.
If you know your preferred play style from this or other 4X games then choosing a faction that matches your play style can be beneficial. That said trying to play a faction with a style not suited for it (for example, trying to win a transcendence victory with the Believers or a conquest victory with the Morgans) can be a worthwhile challenge. Additionally playing a faction in a manner that does not suit its strengths (such as focusing on infrastructure as the Spartans) can be advantageous when playing against other humans as they may be anticipating your faction adopting a more traditional strategy.
The Progenitor factions are more powerful then the Earthling factions and when played as opponents can offer more of a challenge and when played themselves can make the game easier, however these advantages are tempered by their inability to communicate with the human factions at first and the state of perpetual war that exists between the two alien factions. The other Alien Crossfire factions are more specialized than the classic factions and, when played to their strengths, can be powerful but require more nuanced play than the classic factions.
Creating a Faction
Each faction is listed as a text file in the root folder of where your game resides (for example, C:\GOG Games\Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri). For example the Hive is listed as hive.txt. This text file contains all of the information governing faction effects, behavior, and color. The images for the faction in the .pcx files in the same place for the same faction. To create a new faction, make a new text file. The text file FACTION.TXT in the same folder explains the options available and gives a template to work off of. If one doesn't give a faction it's own images, the game will use the images of some other faction in its place when the faction is loaded into a game. Factions are loaded during faction selection and the process depends on the version of the game you have.
Table of Official Factions
|Table of Official Factions|
|Faction||Society effects||Social preference||Social aversion||Technology||Base Facility||Combat||Starting Unit||Notes|
|Gaians|| +2 Efficiency
|Green Economics||Free Market Economics||Centauri Ecology||Scout Patrol||+1 Nutrient in fungus|
|Hive|| +1 Industry
|Police State Politics||Democratic Politics||Doctrine: Loyalty||Perimeter Defense||Scout Patrol||Immune to efficiency adjustments|
|University|| +2 Research
|Knowledge Values||Fundamentalist Politics||Information Networks||Network Node||Scout Patrol||Extra technology at start|
Extra drone for every 4 population
|Morgans|| +1 Economy
|Free Market Economics||Planned Economics||Industrial Base||Scout Patrol||Starts with 110 credits|
Maximum base size decreased by 3
|Spartans|| +2 Morale
|Power Values||Wealth Values||Doctrine: Mobility||Unity Rover||Free Prototypes|
|Believers|| +2 Support
|Fundamentalist Politics||Knowledge Values||Social Psych||+25% when attacking other factions||Scout Patrol|
|Peacekeepers||-1 Efficiency||Democratic Politics||Police State Politcs||Biogenetics||Scout Patrol||Extra talent for every 4 population|
Maximum base size increased by 2
Double Planetary Council votes
|Borg|| +2 Research
|Cybernetic Future Society||Fundamentalist Politics||Applied Physics
|Scout Patrol||Immune to negative effects of Cybernetic Future Society|
Can steal tech when conquering a base
|Angels|| +2 Probe
|Democratic Politics||Police State Politics||Information Networks
|Covert Ops Center||Probe Team||Automatically learn any tech discovered by 3 infiltrated factions|
|Drones|| +2 Industry
|Eudaimonic Future Society||Green Economics||Industrial Base||Scout Patrol||1 fewer drone per base|
Bases defecting due to Drone Riots prefer joining the Free Drones
Bases less likely to defect during Drone Riot
|The Cult|| +2 Planet
|Green Economics||Wealth Values||Centauri Ecology
|Brood Pit||Mind Worms||Native lifeforms double police effectiveness|
|Pirates|| -1 Growth
|Power Values||Doctrine: Mobility
|Naval Yard||Scout Foil||Starts with a sea base|
Has bonuses to water square production
Each naval unit has the Marine Detachment ability
|Caretakers||+1 Planet||Planned Economics||Biogenetics
|Recycling Tanks||+25% when defending||Battle Ogre||Progenitor benefits|
|Usurpers|| +1 Growth
|Planned Economics||Democratic Politics||Biogenetics
|Recycling Tanks||+25% when attacking||Battle Ogre||Progenitor benefits|
|Classic Factions||•Gaia’s Stepdaughters •Human Hive •University of Planet •Morgan Industries •Spartan Federation •The Lord’s Believers •Peacekeeping Forces|
|Alien Crossfire Factions||•The Cybernetic Consciousness •The Data Angels •The Free Drones •The Cult of Planet •Nautilus Pirates|
|Progenitor Factions||•Manifold Caretakers •Manifold Usurpers|