From the creators of AI War: Fleet Command comes an all-new grand strategy title with turn-based tactical combat, set in a deep simulation of an entire solar system and its billions of inhabitants. You are the last of a murdered race, determined to unify or destroy the 8 others.
User reviews: Mixed (146 reviews)
Release Date: Apr 18, 2014

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Recommended By Curators

"This is a game about being the space-illuminati and also a hydra of sorts. Turn-based shooter (yes really) combined with 4x elements and diplomacy."
Read the full review here.

Recent updates View all (38)

September 29

TLF Version 1.601 Released (Double-Wide)

Version 1.601 is refinement on a number of fronts. Perhaps my favorite improvement is one that was suggested by jaxxa and which lets us see both the Basic and Detailed Info tabs at the same time on the solar map on screens that are 1440px or wider. This cuts down on a lot of clicking back and forth on screens that can fit it, while not changing the experience at all on smaller screens.

There are a bunch of fixes to the armada management window in this version for betrayal mode, so you can really play that mode a lot more like it was intended to be played, now. Sorry about those!

The last two Obscura ship bullet pattern designs are now in place thanks to Misery, and boy are they doozies. These introduce the concept of "bosses," which I think is pretty cool, and something we will likely explore even further as part of a theoretical future expansion. For now it's a really nice sub-component of the Obscura, in any case.

There are also a number of fixes relating to defending various kinds of planets against invader armadas using your own flagship. These affect all modes of the game. Oh, and the Pirate Raven flagships now should be harassing pretty much only you, not flying about after other ships like crazy. So this is something where their extreme speed should no longer cause "I can't chase them" issues. The idea is that they come for you and you pretty much have to fight them broadsides for a bit until they speed off and then return.


Let us know how things are looking, if you have suggestions or bug reports, etc!

More to come soon. Enjoy!

This is a standard update that you can download through the in-game updater, or if you have Steam it will automatically update it for you. To force Steam to download it faster, just restart Steam and it will do so.

Click here for the official forum discussion about this release.

2 comments Read more

September 26

TLF Version 1.600 Released (Tsar Bomba)

Version 1.600 is gargantuan, and aptly named. This addresses a lot of the longest-standing balance/clarity requests for the base game... all at one time! This was kind of an all-or-nothing proposition, and it took a bit longer than I expected. Still, it's done now, and I'm super proud of how it turned out.

Science Revisions

60 very-boring-somewhat-confusing techs were removed from the tech tree, a ton of techs were changed quite substantially, and 19 all-new techs have been added. The way that research happens is more balanced now, and proceeds at a more interesting pace. Science Outposts have more of a clear and present purpose, and holding on to them can be key for both you and the AI to a degree that was never the case before.


Previously, the concepts of shipbuilding (for ships) and manufacturing (for buildings and outposts) were separate, and it was really confusing. These have been merged together in a sensible way, and also completely rebalanced from the ground up, just like the science stuff was. Manufacturing Outposts are also now more valuable, for you and for the AI, which again is great.

Ground Combat

Ground combat is something that could get absolutely bonkers out of balance in the late game, mainly because it was using multiplicative math instead of additive math. This was the problem with the other areas that are being rebalanced here, too. The ground combat is now balanced a new way, and much more sensibly. In the early and middle game, the results are pretty close to what they used to be, although there is more variance now in terms of decisions made during gameplay having larger effects (mainly in terms of which techs are or are not researched). And in the late game, the ground combat stays sane.

Space Combat Power

This was a huge thing to rebalance, and really important. Previously there were a lot of things that were really unclear, and those 60 "mark level for specific ship" improvements were a big part of that. In general there was just a lot of decentralization and special-casing here, so that it was incredibly difficult to tell what was going on at a glance.

But even more than that, the general feel of the progression of this has changed. There are now distinct jumps in power, rather than a slow small increase in power that is hardly noticeable. I spent a lot of time working on making the jumps in power something that were noticeable, but not so severe that they were frustrating or game-ending. I think I hit a good balance, but let me know what you think.

Why does it matter that the jumps are noticeable? Well, it helps with tension, honestly, and makes it so that it MATTERS if you are behind on techs. The new system also rewards you a lot more than before for unlocking more flagship abilities, too. The way that races handle the space combat power upgrades is now entirely different in terms of their tech research, and it can make science play a much larger role in space battles than it previously did.

Overall what this does is create desperate swings in power at various times, so that you have a chance to suddenly seize a temporary opportunity or you have to compensate for a poor oversight. You have a number of years before this really becomes a factor, and the computer adviser already tells you about this in no uncertain terms, so new players should be fine. But there were some players who previously just kind of ignored these techs and yet were still successful... I don't think that will be possible anymore, which is certainly by design. But at the same time, I believe the "this is so complex and also so incremental that I don't care to look into it" feeling that was causing the players to ignore these techs has been resolved.

Better Insight Into Ground Power And Space Power

And on the racial power grid and at each planet's details screen, you can now hover over the ground power number and see a breakdown of WHY the number is what it is. That's understandably been a longstanding request, and it was something we had already done in the past for manufacturing and science.

On the racial power grid, you can also see this same breakdown for the ship power multiplier. This is something that is completely centralized, so there's nothing needed anywhere else. For ground power there is a local component for defenders, hence being able to see it in both places.

Military Outposts

Military Outposts have a completely different function, now. They buff the space multiplier and the ground troop multiplier, end of story. They don't produce armadas or anything like that. This plays a lot nicer with Betrayal mode, which is good. But it also just makes more sense and is more clear with the AIs, too. Even in the standard federation-formation mode (or Invasion mode, for that matter), you can use military outposts gifted to the right races to really help shore up their weaknesses. Or ones for yourself to help increase your own flagship's power.

The AI for how the races deal with outposts in general, and what they prioritize building, has been completely reworked. The races are much better now at trying to shore up their weaknesses with the use of outposts, or to in general stack onto their primary goal (aka Thoraxians with space power). Previously it was a bit more generalized, not as good.

Invasion Mode Updates

In the prior version, Invasion mode was basically "you die now" mode. I had fixed the AI for the Obscura, and they were then just running amok. In looking at how to fix that, I was realizing that I really needed to go ahead and switch to the additive model for the space power and science and all that jazz. So hence the long foray into all the great base game updates that make this release so huge. Anyway, with all of those things in hand, I also did a bunch of balance work on Invasion mode.

This mode is still quite hard, but how hard depends on the strategic difficulty you choose. On normal, the Obscura tend to win within 60 years, typically. They don't lose. ;) On Easy, they'll still tend to win within 60 years, but sometimes they'll lose even in observer mode. Rare, but it happens. On strategic difficulty modes higher than normal, the situation gets increasingly dire increasingly fast. So basically you need to wipe out the obscura pretty quickly, or else you're frankly going to lose.

In general when it comes to invasion mode, if you get into a long stalemate, you'll eventually lose. On the higher difficulties for this mode, the only way to win is to basically play a "rush" style of game, in the Starcraft sense, where you deny them resources and expansion power, and just cut them off before they get started. Any way you play it, though, the strategies required for invasion mode really are incredibly alien to that of the main game mode.

(This post is so long that it has to be continued in the comments! Sorry...)

6 comments Read more


“For fans of space-faring simulation games, it's more or less a must.”
8/10 – Richard Nolan, Strategy Informer

“Arcen Games nailed it with this game.”
TotalBiscuit, The Cynical Brit

“A revolutionary twist on the 4X legends of yore.”
8/10 (Editor's Choice) – Jonathan Lester, Dealspwn

About This Game

From the creators of AI War: Fleet Command.

  • Turn-based tactical combat, with up to 5 factions competing at once.
  • Extremely deep simulation of an entire solar system and its billions of inhabitants. Even just watching everything unfold in Observer mode is entertaining, as nations rise and fall.
  • New-player-friendly ramp-up of complexity as you play, which you can disable if you're already a veteran.
  • Eight races each have very distinct personalities and attributes. Each one even has its own completely unique political system.
  • Difficulty levels split between the grand strategy and turn-based combat portions of the game, both ranging from quite casual to incredibly hardcore.
  • Save and reload your game with ease any time, or tough it out in ironman mode.
  • Composer Pablo Vega's best soundtrack to date, featuring 54 minutes of music and the vocal finale "Lay Down Your Arms."

    About The Game

    Greetings, Hydral. I will be your computer for this "grand strategy campaign with turn-based tactical combat." I think that's code for "we're going to die."

    Our solar system is vast and complicated, and I sense you are a little dimwitted -- so I tell you what, let's start with the simple stuff. Like escaping with this flagship you just hijacked from a bunch of angry robots. That seems important.

    Please excuse my impertinence, but I believe you are the last of a murdered race, yes? My records note you Hydrals were the dictators of the solar system, so basically you had it coming. And by "it," I mean the moon that smacked into your homeworld. Hmm. So people really aren't going to like you until they get to know you. Well, only you can use the scattered remnants of advanced Hydral technology, so that's something.

    Look, I'm not going to tell you what to do. My understanding is that you're trying to form the solar system's first-and-last unified federation, and that's noble enough. But right now nobody wants that except you, and you've got 8 very diverse, very angry races to either unify or exterminate. So... good luck with that. I'll help how I can.

System Requirements

    • OS: Windows XP SP2 or later
    • Processor: 2.2Ghz CPU
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Screen resolution at least 720px high, and 1024px wide.
    • Hard Drive: 1 GB available space
    • OS: Mac OSX Intel CPU and "Leopard" 10.5 or later.
    • Processor: 2.2Ghz CPU
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Screen resolution at least 720px high, and 1024px wide.
    • Hard Drive: 1 GB available space
    • OS: Ubuntu 10.10 or later, although other unsupported distros may work
    • Processor: 2.2Ghz CPU
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Screen resolution at least 720px high, and 1024px wide.
    • Hard Drive: 1 GB available space
Helpful customer reviews
269 of 316 people (85%) found this review helpful
25.7 hrs on record
One of the most accessible and deep strategy/simulation games I've yet played. It manages to be complex without being overly complicated. Are there screens of charts, graphs, and tables? Sure, but you slowly acclimate yourself to them at your own pace. You can be successful at the game without digging into them too deeply. To me, one of the turn-offs I have to these sorts of games is learning to play feels like a grind, or a chore. With The Last Federation, the act of learning to play the game is itself fun. The strategy portion even has a separate difficulty from the simulation, so if you're having trouble with one, you can dial it back without making the other too easy. The interface is quite intuitive and the artwork is mostly very attractive. Pablo Vega's soundtrack is easily his best yet, and would be worth a purchase on its own, but luckily there is a fantastic game to go along with it. If these sort of games are you thing, then you'd be doing yourself a disservice by not playing it. Even if they are not, give it a shot. It might surprise you.
Posted: April 11
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993 of 1,277 people (78%) found this review helpful
13.7 hrs on record
I'm really disappointed by the launch of this game. There is lots of depth in a way, but most of it is irrelevant. Most of the gameplay just boils down to slowly getting opinion modifiers to grow. The most efficient way to play the game seems to be to just ignore most of the game mechanics. For example, in my current game I have two epidemics on two different planets. It's plunged the health meter to -40K and it's sinking by 100 every month. Vaccines show up as available tech in the tech list, but I can't actually start a research project with the affected race to unlock it. Despite this massive plunge in health, the races effectiveness doesn't seem to be hampered much at all, and the only real problem for them is that they have close to no ground power, but their space power is completely unaffected.

The computer advisor also mentioned planetary bombardment at some point, but I've yet to find a way to actually do it. The other races seem to just kill themselves by throwing their troops at the Burlust homeworld meatgrinder. Solving anything in a military faction without having the Burlust at your side and space superiority seems very hard, and certainly not worth the effort. No, the far easier (and more boring) road is to just play the opinion slider game. After starting a federation it only took me about 5 minutes to get almost all the planets to join it by spamming influence tasks and giving away technologies. It's kinda weird that the game has so many mechanics and charts and such, and 99% of it is completely irrelevant and unimportant.

In addition it almost seems nigh impossible to actually lose the game in a legitimate fashion. The only things that have killed me so far has been ♥♥♥♥ing up a battle, rather than performing any overall strategical mistakes. As someone who has put more than 500 hours into Europa Universalis 4, I find calling this a grand strategy a huge insult to the genre. There is no strategic difficulty to be found here. The biggest (only) decision seems to be what order you want to do things in (which races to found your federation with).

The game also seems to have its fair share of bugs. In addition to the epidemic thing I mentioned earlier, I was also trying to get rid of insurgents on a planet and it put me up against 90 ships. The race I had selected to help me didn't send anything. I tried again with different members of my federation, but every time I didn't have a single ally in sight when the actual battle started.

And then there's how a boatload of the game mechanics make no sense at all. Take technologies for example: You can easily convince a race to give away a tech (any tech) free of charge (for the other race, you have to cough up a few credits) to another race without any difficulty at all, but there is no way whatsoever to make them give or sell it to you personally. It's pretty ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ that someone who is literally worshipping the ground you walk on wont help you outfit your ship (forcing you to attack them for their technology if there is noone who can, or is willing to, research it together with you), but they will give away their national secrets to a competing country for just a few credits.

Bottom line, in it's current form this game just seems to be broken on so many levels. It's not fun, most of the mechanics aren't important, although they seem interesting, and they seem to be implemented extremely poorly (I'm looking at you, epidemics and unbeatable Burlust ground power). The only thing that is keeping me playing for now is the potential for what the game could have been. But that's not what it is. There is the possibility of the game being hugely improved down the line through patches and DLC, but as it is right now I can't really recommend it.

Edit: If you feel this review isn't helpful, feel free to comment on it in the comment section (click the "Not Recommended" text on the top of the review - it's a hyperlink). If there is something about the game you'd like explained which I haven't adressed, I will try to explain it if you ask (and if it's relevant for the full review, I'll put it here). If you think I have some factual errors feel free to point it out and we can see if we can clear it up. If you just disagree with my opinions it'd be nice if you didn't rate it as unhelpful, as a review is just a collection of such opinions. If you feel that something I think is negative wouldn't affect your enjoyment of the game (or the other way around), the review would still be helpful to you since it gives you information about it : )


Updates since initial review:

What's been patched to my knowledge:
Testing during patch v1.002:
- You can now research techs with other races even if they already know the tech, giving you access to them without raiding. This seems to be a patchwork fix, though, as it thematically makes no sense that you help a race research something they are already supposed to know.
- Races with incredibly strong ground presence are now actually beatable. I'm not 100% sure exactly what caused this change, but I'm assuming it's the other races actually using planetary bombardment now (because the races I saw attack the Burlust in my game should not have been able to beat them in a ground battle).
Example graph:
The dip in the red/purple graphs is post-patch. Before that you can see the Acutians repeatedly dipping due to just being slaughtered over and over although the federation has complete space dominance:
Federation members are Acutians, Andor, Evuck, Skylaxians and Peltians.

Testing during patch v1.003/v1.005
- While ground combat seems to be fixed now, space combat seems to have taken a trip to nonsense land. Here is a screencap from my current campaign:
You can see the Acutians constantly sending ships to the Bovarine home planet, and in fact they have around twice as much total power on their planet right now (25026 vs 13332). Even so, the Bovarine completely annihilate the Acutian fleets over and over without any problem whatsoever. In fact, before that screenshot I completely wiped out all their ships with a direct assault and the Acutians started their ground assault while in orbit, but it took them literally seconds to kick them off their planet through their production alone from scratch. As the Acutians control 3 planets and have way better quality ones as well, this doesn't exactly make sense (not to mention their technological advantage). Illustrated in a power graph:

- The devs have now implemented "Federation points" which more or less represent a races desire to join a federation. If anything, this implementation shows how this is clearly a beta product right now, as this is a completely new feature coming out of nowhere.

Additional complaints:
- Attacking anti federation insurgents is a horribly bugged mess. I once managed to get an ally to actually join me in the fight instead of sending nothing, and their ships turned up... hostile to me and allied to the insurgents. That said, combat is ridiculously easy on the normal difficulty, and I can kill a fleet having 10-15 flagships (you have one) and outnumbering me maybe 100 to 1 (counting medium/small ships) without diverting ANY power to shields. I'd play Ironman if the combat was skipable, but I'd hate to replay an entire campaign because of a single mistake in a combat (although it's easy, you can die fast if you mis-play with no power to shields, but play correctly and you should be able to kill a fleet of almost any size).

Anyways, this is apparantly around the max size of a review, so I can't really document further testing. If you have any specific questions about the state of the game, feel free to ask in the comment section. If I ever feel like the game is in a state where I can recommend it, I will change my review accordingly.
Posted: April 20
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174 of 208 people (84%) found this review helpful
19.3 hrs on record
Quite a few games try to mash together different genres with only a few actually making something good of it. Arcen's newest game manages to do this exceedingly well. I got into the open alpha fairly early, and so had a chance to watch this game evolve into the gem that it is now, and to be clear, this review is aimed at the final alpha build.

In a normal game of TLF, you're an independant agent with the self-appointed task of unifying the system through any means possible. And there are quite a number of means to achieve this goal. Head of state being stubborn? Bump him off, the next will surely be more pliable... maybe. Entire race running amok? Pay another to crash a moon into their homeworld.

The combat side of the game has changed quite a bit since its original inception, now resembling something like a turn-based shmup. Combat is, in general, quick and messy. Often, you're not really expected to defeat all comers, though don't let that stop you. An average combat mission involves you warping in, determining what needs to be done, then moving to accomplish your objective. If all you need to do is destroy a space station, why bother with taking out every individual ship and risking health loss or failure?

With eight races, each with its own strengths, weaknesses, dispositions, and deals to make, things can get complicated rather quickly. A few will band together naturally, while most of the time each faction is pretty much out for itself. Of course, you have the power to influence this as well, and it's often necessary to get two races to work together to take on a much stronger foe. The amount of deals you're able to make is pretty staggering, ranging from simply killing pirates to smuggling freedom fighters onto a planet and starting a revolution.

As a fan of simulations, I love watching the races squabble and toil in their sandbox solar system with Observer Mode, in which the player is now just a bystander watching everything unfold instead of actually doing anything.

All said, I would recommend this game to any fan of strategy or simulation gaming. It does have faults, of course. Combat can be pretty tedious after a time, and despite the sandbox-y nature of the simulation, it does tend to unfold fairly similarly. Certain races, assuming they aren't gimped by a bad roll in planet generation, which is often the only factor that determines how successfull a race will be, will always become a major problem and have to be dealt with, invariably by wiping them out. I have yet to finish a game in which all eight races survive to the end.

Arcen has proven again that they are a truly unique development team, making the game THEY want, rather than the game they think WE want.

tl;dr Buy this. It's good, and so is the company.
Posted: April 15
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120 of 158 people (76%) found this review helpful
19.8 hrs on record
The Last Federation is a combination of Grand Strategy and Turn Based Tactical. Unlike most hybrids, however, this game could stand on its own for either genre.

The Grand Stratetgy is deep, but for a new player the heavy details are not necessary...but they are there if you are curious! Each of the 8 races you interact with are distinct and serve their owns uses both as allies and as enemies.

The concept as a concertrated force influencing a dynamic galaxy is not common and very satsifying. You can swell up a (potential) ally race into an even mighter one, save a weaker race so as to distupt your enemies, completely shut down an enemy by yourself , or a variety of other things. It is very dynamic. You change the galaxy somewhat, but you also have to react to the galaxy's own logic. The strengths and weaknesses of each race is constant each game, but their combatablilty with their starting planet and when they become space faring means each game will have a different balance of power to start with. The result is each game is different.

When you take part in battles you enter the tactical turn based game. The mode can either be slow and methodical or fast and quickly depending on how difficult your parcticular situation is. It is enjoyable to devastate enemy forces if you manage to get a tech edge. If you fall behind...just use tactics.

I would highly recommend this game to anyone with a mild interest in grand strategy games or turn based games. This game has the depth to be enjoyable for dozens of hours as is. The devlopers already say that they have a framework for years of expansions, (and even better, free content as well!)

An excellent title, one I would highly recommend.
Posted: April 17
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94 of 151 people (62%) found this review helpful
9.8 hrs on record
Arcen is known for breaking the mold when it comes to unique games. With TLF Arcen returns to space and prove they have what it takes to make an interesting game with a mixture of genres. I highly recommend!
Posted: April 14
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