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: Mostly Positive (154 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."
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October 9

TLF Version 1.606 Released (Credit Bombardment)

Version 1.606 is an enormous balance to the Credit economy, as well as giving you newfound power to really effectively bomb your enemies from orbit.

There's a bunch of other great stuff, too, in the bugfix and clarity categories. Your options for dealing with rescued pilots are now a lot more obvious, for one. When planets are captured while defense fleets are still in orbit, those fleets no longer switch sides inappropriately. Fighting pirates no longer angers the race that the pirates happen to be. Several quests that had some bugs now do not.

Orbital Bombing, v2

Orbital Bombing is one of my favorite new additions. Let us know how you feel about the balance on it; it may be a bit strong, but it does cost money, so we'll see. Basically you used to be able to use a special ability to spawn Orbital Bombers inside battle, and then as long as they were alive they'd bomb the planet from orbit. This was fiddly and never felt right for a host of reasons (it was tedious, for one).

Now the Orbital Bombers themselves are attack craft like any other, and kind of send mini-nukes inside the battlefield, but don't affect the planet surface at all. Instead, you have a new dispatch that lets you do their old job for them -- but faster, and more effectively, thanks to the magic of dispatches and fast-forwarding in them. ;)

Earning Credit, v2

When it comes to Credit, hoo boy. There had been complaints for a long time that attacking the AFA to grind for credit was really the only viable way to get enough credit late game -- and that you could get a TON there. And that there were not enough ways to peaceably earn credit.

All right, so the first order of business was to heavily nerf the amount of credit you earn in combat -- you now gain 1/10th the amount you did before. That's a counterintuitive place to start, but basically if it was already so attractive to grind, and this was the primary source of income, then yeah we had a problem. When I looked at this, you could gain around 8000 credit in a solar month when fighting a sizeable battle, while the most generous dispatches were maybe 200 credit max. And many were more like 10 credit per month. Wow what a difference.

To add to the problem with the balance on the combat side, that was all income from fighting ships -- so you'd only get that full 8000 if you auto-resolved, or if you really fought an extended battle just for the sake of earning credit. We've had this sort of unintentional balance problem in AI War before, too: basically if you have a way to do grinding at all, for some players that means that they will do it (and hate it) in order to play "optimally." Depending on the game, I fall into that category of players.

All right, so killing everybody in combat is no longer so profitable that it encourages grinding much. So what is there to compensate? Glad you asked. :)

First of all, almost all of the existing credit-earning dispatches earn you far more credit than they previously did. Depending on the dispatch, they earn you 3, 6x, or 12x more. Expanding usable land area for a race was something that was never attractive to me to do personally before, but now I find that it's a key part of an early-game strategy. You can rack up 40,000 credits in just half a year or so. Doing this expansion actually has a lot of benefits for the AI, too: you make it so that they don't hit population density problems so fast, and you also make it so that they can divert that portion of their budget to other things -- like shipbuilding. This is an aspect of strategy that was never really viable before, because expanding the usable land area yourself was such a bad deal for you personally that helping the AI via it was not really on the table tactically.

Next up, a lot of the regular friendly actions that give you flat credit (like 5,000 credit for granting spacefaring tech) now give you a LOT more credit. The one for delivering spacefaring now gives you a quick 20,000, for instance. These particular missions that have been buffed in credit reward are things that you can't just do endlessly, and in some cases they come with drawbacks (like having another spacefaring race that you might not really trust). But they provide a way to get off to a much more profitable start to the game, which really opens up your options much faster -- with no grinding, but with appropriate tradeoff costs.

Then there are the assassins and thoraxian hunter that can sometimes sneak up and attack you. I don't know about you, but that has always kind of annoyed me, even if it does make great thematic sense. I've been tempted to remove the mechanic, but it makes just so much sense and is fitting when you are in the wrong part of the solar system and you've really made someone angry. So I had a thought, today: what if these were really big credit rewards? So when you get attacked, sure, it's annoying to have an interruption to whatever you were previously doing. But it's also a windfall, which makes it exciting. It will be interesting to hear how you feel about it, but it makes me go "ooh, assassins!" now. "Hey Greedo, whatcha got on ya, there? It's your fault for coming after me in the first place, you know..."

Lastly, we come to quests. A lot of the quests gave either no credit reward at all, or a very tiny one (in the 500 range, max). These quests typically represent some major powerful things that you can do for the races, so they were already attractive to do. And you can't farm them, because of their limited nature. So I thought: why not make it so that they are directly profitable to you, personally, as a mercenary as well? It makes thematic sense, and from a gameplay standpoint also works well. So the most stingy of these now give you 2,000 credit, and the most lucrative (and infrequent) offer 40,000.

All in all you will probably have more credit now than you did in past games. And I'm cool with that, because that gives you more options. Some options may now be overpowered since you can afford them more frequently, and so there may need to be another round of balancing in terms of either the costs of certain political deals or the scale of credit granted from various sources. In fact, I'll be shocked if some sort of further tuning isn't needed. But I figured I would err on the side of the player's favor in this case. Even having more credit, I don't think that trivializes the strategic game (particularly on higher strategic difficulties, whereas I think most people have been previously treating Normal as Hard, which is not great). But what having more credit does do is prevent the game from dragging on simply because you are waiting to have options. Not that that was previously epidemic, but it happened more than I liked.

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.

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October 8

TLF Version 1.605 Released (Disease And Order)

Version 1.605 is refinement.

The most impactful bit is how diseases affect death rates -- expect some much more substantial shakeups from diseases from now on.

There are also changes here that help to balance out the late game in Invasion and Betrayal mode, specifically making sure that neither players nor other races can go for a technological wipe-out victory by getting Time Travel or God Mote.

The "harm RCI" dispatches no longer pay you credits, and instead cost you a slight bit. Not much, but enough to make it so that you can't just do that with impunity for free indefinitely. Helping the RCI at a planet still gains you credits just like before, which makes sense.

There are a variety of other things that are fixes and clarifications and balance tweaks and so forth. It's really a completely eclectic list of small stuff, so it's hard to summarize without just repeating the entire release notes list, which is linked above.

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.

0 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
24 of 27 people (89%) found this review helpful
27.6 hrs on record
Recommended: Definitely a different spin to 4X strategy, this game will be a hit or miss based on whether you find that spin interesting or not, but it's worth trying to find out. It's a game where a lot of care has been taken with it's development and mechanics, and it shows.

The Last Federation is a hybrid 4X strategy game developed and published by Arcen Games, most notably known for their AI War series. It also serves as something of a counterpart to AI wars in concept: whereas AI wars was about carefully dismantling a much superior foe, The Last Federation is centered around you playing as the lone survivor of a race that subjugated the entire sector before one of the subjugated races uses a superweapon to wipe you out. The central concept of The Last Federation is that while you otherwise have all the typical elements of a 4X strategy game, you don't directly control the civilisations involved - instead you must use diplomacy, manipulation, intimidation, your superior technology, or your superior firepower to manipulate the course of events.

In essence, you go to different worlds in your super-starship, deciding which races to uplift with spacefaring technology, how you want to help the ones you want to ally with, how to undermine your enemies, and so forth. This takes the place of going to different worlds and stations and having several options of what you can do presented to you. You can do all the standard 4X stuff, but instead of it being for you, rather, when you're helping research a technology, build an improvement, or do one of the many other tasks at the planet, you're doing that for the other race. The benefit is furthering along a race you want as an ally, giving them better tools to succeed, with the ultimate goal of uniting the galaxy, by hook or by crook.

It's a different spin on that 4X genre, and to Arcen Games' credit, they've obviously put a lot of thought into how these mechanics will work in that context. Tutorials are provided and go into just enough depth without the amount of babying hand-holding most AAA games do. Most everything feels intuitive and easy once you get into the game. If there's anything that's a little rough around the edges as regards that, its that sometimes the data pertinent to the given task at hand isn't presented in the clearest fashion. There is a metric tonne of different things being simulated for each armada (unit), each planet, and each race at any given time, so it's a very dense amount of information to digest. For the most part the game does an admirable job of giving you the directly pertinent information but sometimes there's related data that doesn't get displayed. To give one example at time of writing, one of the tasks you can perform at a world is cleaning up space junk from battles, which clearly outlines what you get for doing so quite well, but what it doesn't tell you is how much space junk is up there - for that you have to go into the extended information of the planet and through dozens of detail fields to find the one that tells you how much junk is in orbit. It's not a game-breaker by any means, but it makes more work for a player that wants to play optimally than is strictly necessary.

The tactical combat when you get into direct combat is reminiscent of a sort of turn-based SPAZ. It works pretty well, although I would recommend if you want a challenge you kick up the difficulty. I played on the normal setting and once you got into the tech progression it pretty much became a cakewalk. One presumes, however, its more challenging on the harder difficulty levels. Especially so since you can enable a "permadeath" mode whereby if that ship of yours gets blown up its game over. (As opposed to otherwise, the game forcing you to flee if you get critically damaged.)

Production values of the game are good to high; as said prior there's a lot of thought that's been put into the game and that extends to the design as well. Sound design is good, the soundtrack is very melodic and is something I'd even listen to outside the game as something ambient, and the graphics while 2D are pretty neat, especially the world background graphics which has hand-painted scenes.

A lot of heart went into this game and it shows. Whether you like it or not will depend on whether that spin on the typical 4X formula agrees with you, but its worth the look and the purchase. Speaking on a personal level, I think this game will be a contender for game of the year for me this year. It's a really brilliantly-heartful and excellently-executed game. Whether you love it or you don't, I doubt you'll find anything else quite like it.
Posted: April 24
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8 of 8 people (100%) found this review helpful
20.5 hrs on record
I really enjoy this game because of it's ambition and presentation. The game in it's current state isn't complete and you can feel those kind of echos as you advance through various play-throughs. This feeling usually goes up as "how does helping X get me closer to Y or how can this impact relations with race A." Some of the newer patches make the game feel more complete and I really feel like the devs will keep making updates for this game.

The price is worth it in my opinion, you might be turned off at first by the fact that this is a 4X game where you control only a single person. This is why the game works, you feel like you ARE the last of an advanced race and that you ARE going to give fire to the other races. I really felt like It was my job to watch over these other races (most of the time) and the game seems balanced between being this merc and the actual race. You can't just nuke everyone off the galaxy (by yourself, any way.)

Alliances work pretty well in this game. A certain race can give aid to other planets, another can dump toxic waste and disrupt the economy, another can create deadly viruses and crash moons, and planets can even be destroyed. You can kill a Queen of a race, the senate of another, undermine a CEO's company, and kill the leading warlord in an honourable duel in order to get a better pull of that race decision making or to ruin their strength.

Combat is a bit simplistic but works very well and I found myself enjoying the combat system. It does get easier as you get stronger and more experince, so you can turn up the combat difficuility without making the strategy harder. Or you can turn up the strategy part and turn down the combat to make for a more decision-making gameplay. This is a very cool feature and I wish more 4x games would have this.

The solar system is a bit small in my opinion, but gets VERY VERY packed later in the game. After very long games, I loose the ability to speed through time because my computer ran the game very slowly due to the mass population of the system. This is likely more of a reflection of my system and less of a reflection of the game itself; besides the HUGE amounts of populations later in game, the game is pretty smooth.

Races are diverse and unique, but seemingly are in small numbers. I would love to see more races that can appear in different games (or not appear.) Planets seem to be quasi-random and I notice that race locations vary among games. Events are random and I've never had a game play the same twice (some times a "bad guy" race and befriend a "good guy" race and literally form a fear empire, or "good guy" coalation can form a union of planets.) These alliances are your competition and can overpower the federation you are trying to create and kill you.

I really enjoyed this game and I praise the devs for the presentation and deliverence of the product. I look forward to updates and more games by these creators.
Posted: May 10
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7 of 7 people (100%) found this review helpful
27.4 hrs on record
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.
Posted: May 1
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4 of 4 people (100%) found this review helpful
47.4 hrs on record
You, one ship, deciding the fate of 8 races as they expand, exploit and exterminate each other with extreme prejudice (planetcrackers anyone?). Manages to be small and intense and epic at the same time. I'd like some more planets for them to work with, but the close proximity and lack of space makes conflict an ever present (fun) problem. Unite as many as you can, replay it trying to keep a few more races alive and be proud of yourself if they all make it into "The Last Federation"

A very good game made by talented, hardworking, humble and just plain nice developers.

They read and respond in full to any questions or suggestions on their forum and list the names of users who contributed to spotting bugs or who, via their expoits in AARs - after action reports - have otherwise inspired every single change in their mammoth changelogs. (Who else does that? Anyone?) Plus they support their games for YEARS! that is indeed plural, 5+ for AI war now constantly updating, improving and expanding features for free as well as a yearly expansion pack that adds a mass of new content. Arcen games is a very small company, it doesn't have the 3D visuals of a massive studio but it doesn't need them to be amazing. Buy this game then take a good long look at the others. Get that AI War collection. Do it now. Thank me later.
Posted: May 8
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4 of 4 people (100%) found this review helpful
6.7 hrs on record
Absolutely fantastic approach to sci-fi strategy genres. Interesting races and interactions. The combat is fun to play and strategic enough to keep you interested. Personally I didn't like the humor that much, at some points it was a dull but mostly the game is serious enough.

There are some issues with the game not really "putting" you in strategic situations which easily results in very simplified stat grinding instead of actually doing the whole strategy game thing. If you are willing to spend some time thinking and planning on more sadistic things, this game offers A LOT of depth.

Also in the beginning I didn't quite understand the concept of time in it. I felt like I had to hurry (because of how quickly some races ascend to space), but in actuality you have a lot of time to perform your actions. Putting 12-24 months in to tech research for example is only a fraction of time you will, eventually, spend in converting races. I would have preferred non-realtime related numbers for things. E.g. Relative time of 10 minutes for someone's ascension feels like you seriously have to hurry things up when infact it's a very long long time in game.

All in all, I do highly recommend this!

At least after 5 hours this feels like Master of Orion on a smaller scale and as an agent and not an empire which is really cool experience.
Posted: April 23
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275 of 323 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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