There is a lot to say about The last federation that already has been said by people better at this kind of stuff than me, but another voice in the ether never hurt nobody :)
Right of the bat it should be said that the general concept is a twist on the old grand strategy formula of "unify the world to win" but excecuted in such a way that your character aren't a contestant among others as much as the one that decided that an ensured galactic peace is something to work for. As such your job is to first create the federation, and then persuade the eight races of the galaxy to join it.
Actually, it would be more prudent to say that your first job is to make the rest of the galaxy not hate you enough to actually listen to what you say :). You see, your character is an Hydral, a space-hydra that the game tells you subjugated the whole galaxy and basically made everyone cross with them on a level that made them exterminate the entire race, save yourself. And since the other races is as aware of this as you are (however repentant you may be) their general opinion of you will be colored by this the entire game.
The game switches between being a strategy game to being a turn based shooter in the same vein as critical mass, with focus on dodging enemy fire and proper weapon and ability management. For those who don't fancy this, an auto resolve function was recently added in, but aside from fights being somewhat repetetive the combat is a nice touch of thinky action that ends up feeling significant while taking up no more space than it has to.
Management of the different races opinion of you is key during the game. It starts out negative but can be altered to the positive through friendly actions, such as giving a race back the power of space flight, and altered to the negative again by doing things the race doesn't like, such as giving the power of space flight to a race they don't think should have it.
Thats the key challenge of the game, to keep building up influence by helping the races while trying not to burn bridges as you go.
The relations between you and the races however is only the one part of the puzzle. As you might expect, if helping different races can put you on the wrong foot with someone, then naturally that someone will probably not like that race autonomously of what you do. All the eight races will either with or witout your help eventually reach the stars, and when they arrive, they will start to develop relations to each other. Some races, like the peace loving Andor will often (but not always since every game can play out very differently) ally themselves with others enjoying peace, while more warlike beings like the Boarines will more likely attempt to conquer other races.
This is where you as the player comes in as someone who can make sure that the different demeanors a race is having will work for them and the final goal of a unified federation. For a federation to form the races must like each other enough to actually want to unify. They wont do it just because you ask them and as such the relations between races are just as important as the ones between them and the player.
So, how exactly do you make the races do what you want them to? Through the friendly and unfriendly actions mentioned before. The game provides you with a plethora of different ways to affect a race ranging from helping them research technology to improve living standards or military prowess to providing more hands on medical help if a planet is in plight. Doing actions like that will provide you with positive relationship points as well as power up the race in some way. But these are only examples of the positive actions. On the negative spectrum there are things you can do ranging between attacking the race head on to weaken them, to instigating coup or undermine the relations between different races -a needed tool as other foci of power can crop up to challenge your federation.
The actions will affect the different stats of the races and allow for you to guide a race to a higher power level than the others, make them ripe for conquest or just as a tool to make you more popular with them. And the popularity is needed for the last thing il talk about that allows you to suggest things to a race. Namely:
The actual governments of the race. Through them the player can suggest bigger changes than just the general assistance or misdeeds otherwise open as options and ask a race head on to do something for the player. A race can for example be asked to stop makin war on another race, or to focus their attention on getting their economy straight. It is also for the most part here that the player can ask a race to join or found the federation. This is where most of all the different quirks of a race is visible as the government they utilize differ greatly from one another. This demands the player to change the way they approach the races initially as some cannot be bribed and others require another set of in-game resources to allow you to suggest things for them to do. It also means that both before and during the time the race is part of the federation the skills they bring to the table allows for different ways to work around your enemies.
They can be acessed when you are popular enough for them to actually care for what you say but some actions require more popularity than others and these levels differ greatly from race to race.
I dont know, this kinda went on, but the point is that if any of this sounded appealing to you, then the game is worth checking out. For what you get, 20 money is cheap and during any kind of sale it is a steal. The devs have been working full time on patching and adding to the game since launch and have so im told a reputation of doing so on all their games.
It is deap but easy to get into, hard to master and different every time. Combat and AI both feel like they are nailed down pretty good and the players choises are always at the center of the experience while they at the same time never take the cake from the eight races that act as both the pieces, the board and sometimes opponents in this game.
I like it very much and recomend it heartily.