Pandora: First Contact is a science fiction 4X turn-based strategy game on a planetary scale. Our Earth has been exhausted and colonial attempts on other planetary bodies have been in vain. Finally, after decades of exploration, an interstellar probe has brought promise of a new world.
User reviews:
Mixed (376 reviews) - 67% of the 376 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Nov 14, 2013

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Buy Pandora: Complete Edition

Includes 2 items: Pandora: Eclipse of Nashira, Pandora: First Contact

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Recent updates View all (22)

February 29

Eclipse of Nashira Version 1.6.6 Released

Improvements to the AI across the board and its focus to play to win have have made it frustrating to play on easier difficulties. Today's update should be a good start to make easy and very easy difficulties more manageable and enjoyable.

* AI will no longer embark land units when they are seen by an enemy.
* AI formers will now cancel their action when they stand an in ion storm.
* AI will now be much nicer to other players on very easy and easy difficulties.
* AI will now be less aggressive on very easy and easy difficulties.
* AI will no longer declare war on human players on very easy difficulty.
* AI now has a very high inhibition threshold before it would declare war on a human player on easy difficulty.

* Fixed an issue that prevented AI formers from clearing fungus.
* Fixed an issue that could lead to unwanted war declarations.

Change log history.

2 comments Read more

February 19

Eclipse of Nashira Version 1.6.5 Released

This update speeds up turn times, further improves the AI and fixes some inconsistencies.

Please see below for the full list of changes.

* AI will now lower their population growth if they suffer from overpopulation while at war.
* AI will now take aliens much more seriously and design more units in order to counter them early on.
* AI will briefly pause defending their formers while they have a colonizer so they can make sure the location they want to found their new city in will be properly defended.
* When a city is under siege and the attacker has enough cities to shut down healing completely via one orbital bombardment each turn, the defending AI will now act as if the city was sieged by artillery.
* AI will now move their units one tile per cycle as long as there are enemy units in the units' vision range. This allows them to react to units discovered while moving and generally improves their tactical ability with units that have more movement than vision.
* AI now considers faction boni for resource yields when evaluating terrain and tile improvements.
* AI will now consider resources inside the radius of a hive when evaluation locations to expand to.
* Changed how AI determines their relationship to other factions.
* A lot of tweaks to how the AI evaluates certain technologies.
* AI will now properly defend against aliens and lose newly found cities less frequently to them.
* AI will now scan bonus resources in order to nuke them.
* AI now prioritizes refitting formers to amphibious formers over any other refits as long as they are not at war.
* Slight improvement of AI early game unit composition.
* Income generated by units no longer impacts trade pacts. This change significantly reduces lag.
* Reverted earlier change that caused the AI to not attack things outside of its territory when being significantly weaker than its opponents.
* Improved AI's tactical behavior when fighting with larger amounts of weaker units.
* Against an opponent who has enough cities to cease healing with bombardment every turn the AI will fight more recklessly as opposed to sitting back in town and just taking damage.
* AI will now value buildings that grant operations more highly.
* The AI will now consider standing modifiers for war declarations.
* AI now considers the Advance Cost Computation device less useful for watercraft and mechs.
* AI is now much better at predicting how someone else will act in the case it would declare war. Beware: this makes it far more likely for them to help each other against a common threat.
* When considering war declarations the AI now considers the importance of distance to a possible target less important the when it gets closer to any victory type.
* AI will now make an educated guess about how much human players like it instead of always assuming a neutral standing.
* Reverted change where AI would value attacking enemy units inside their territory much higher than usual as this could lead to weird behaviour when fightning near borders.
* AI will not gather units at a rally point when the unit already is rank 10 or higher. This is to prevent first strikes with nukes becoming too effective.
* AI will now prefer to scan nearby enemy cities instead of random ones.

* Killing spies in transports should no longer result in an automatic unannounced war declaration.
* Selling units now grants you the intended 25% of their value instead of 12.5%.
* Fixed a comparison error that resulted in the AI not properly ensuring whether or not to build a colonizer early on.
* Fixed an error in the evaluation algorithm of buildings that caused the AI to build way too few units early on and making them very susceptible for rushes.
* Fixed French translation error.
* Fixed an issue where the pact leech of the ambassadors was only 1/25th as strong as it is supposed to be.
* Moving units and refreshing your unit positions during turn change no longer triggers a recalculation of your resource yields to be shown in the top bar. This drastically increases performance!
* There is now a preselection of unit designs to choose from for the AI. This reduces turn-time by quite a bit!
* Fixed an issue where the one tile per cycle movement would cause aliens, who have only one cycle, to not attack after moving.
* Fixed an issue where the calculation of what research to pick would be extremely slow due to inefficiently recalculating a value over and over. This drastically reduces turn-times!
* Fixed an issue where the AI did not properly consider technologies two technologies down the line by how important they are.
* Fixed an issue where the AI believed they could build an improvement on top of fungus.
* Fixed an issue where floating units would not move out of fungus when they should.
* Fixed a rare crash that could happen when loading a save game.
* Fixed an issue where the AI would never cancel an attack on a unit with the Pre-emptive Strike Initiator device even if it wasn't in range.
* Fixed updater crash when removing redundant files on Linux.
* Fixed Agents outdated hints.
* Fixed ruin explored report wrongly showing when a Messari Portal is destroyed.
* Fixed an issue where the AI was so afraid of entering enemy territory with transports, that it would rather just leave them on the sea.

Change log history.

5 comments Read more

Includes Free Add-on: Return of the Messari

The ancient Messari return to Pandora with all their might, deploying portals and terrifying ion storms. From these portals come forces never before seen by mankind, and an infestation spreads across Pandora. The strongest factions are the ones that have to fear them most, but they will spare no one.

About This Game

Pandora: First Contact is a science fiction 4X turn-based strategy game on a planetary scale.

In the future, factions have risen up from opportunities and ideologies independent of governments. Private corporations and religious movements have started wars over greed, ideology and power. Many have died and many lands lay in ruin. Planet Earth has been exhausted and colonial attempts on other planetary bodies have been in vain.

Finally, after decades of exploration, an interstellar probe has brought promise of a new world many light-years away. The most powerful factions have gathered their best men and women to send on a long journey to Pandora.

Far from desolate, the earth-like planet has been found to host a plethora of indigenous life forms. While the gigantic monstrosities inland and at the oceans seem relatively calm, human-sized bugs and fungus are threatening to stop mankind's expansion.

As the various factions strive to take control, each will research and develop numerous new technologies, discovering new weapons and industry, whilst opening trade agreements and forging alliances with other factions to gain a foothold. As they spread, they will discover ancient ruins from alien civilizations that will grant them advantages over their rivals.

Key Features

  • Explore a new world harboring a variety of eco-regions, from the frozen ice lands of the north, to vast deserts and lush tropical forests in the south.
  • Survive encounters with the planet's dangerous wild life. Deadly swarms walk the lands and agile predators fly in the skies. There is even talk of a giant creature in the oceans.
  • Live in harmony with nature or use it to further your cause. The indigenous life will react to your actions and treat you accordingly.
  • Discover ruins and artifacts, the relics of an ancient alien civilization long forgotten that can give you an edge against the planet life and other rivaling factions.
  • Found new cities to expand the borders of your empire. Manage cities by adjusting the tax rate, choosing production and assigning colonists to jobs.
  • Operate a fully globalized and pooled resource and growth system. Specialize one city to harvest minerals while churning out units in another.
  • Adapt your empire to pressing demand. Your colonists will migrate between cities based on factors such as pollution and living space.
  • Shape the landscape with terraforming, construct farms, mines, forts, and other improvements to increase the productivity of your colonies or to fortify positions.
  • Progress through a vast randomized research tree spanning dozens of technologies providing operations, buildings, units, weapons, and more.
  • Negotiate trade and research pacts with other factions for mutual benefits. Forge alliances to stand united against common foes.
  • Design your own units by choosing from a range of different classes, armors, weapons, and devices to maximize the strength of your forces.
  • Command vast armies across the battlefield against enemy factions, making use of the variety of terrain types to gain an advantage.
  • Unleash hell on your opponents with powerful military operations, ranging from drop pods behind enemy lines to black hole generators eradicating entire landscapes.
  • Prove yourself in multiplayer with friends or strangers and discover entirely new strategies.
  • Customize your experience through easily moddable XML data and well-known image and audio formats.

System Requirements

Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    • OS: Windows XP SP2 / Vista
    • Processor: Intel Core 2 or equivalent
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: OpenGL 2.0 compatible with 256 MB VRAM (NVIDIA GeForce 6600 series / ATI Radeon 9500 series)
    • Storage: 1 GB available space
    • OS: Windows 7
    • Processor: Intel Core i3 or equivalent
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: OpenGL 2.0 compatible with 512 MB VRAM (NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260 series / ATI Radeon HD 4870 series)
    • Storage: 2 GB available space
    • OS: Mac OS X 10.7
    • Processor: Intel Core 2 or equivalent
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: OpenGL 2.0 compatible with 256 MB VRAM (NVIDIA GeForce 6600 series / ATI Radeon 9500 series)
    • Storage: 1 GB available space
    • OS: Mac OS X 10.8
    • Processor: Intel Core i3 or equivalent
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: OpenGL 2.0 compatible with 512 MB VRAM (NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260 series / ATI Radeon HD 4870 series)
    • Storage: 2 GB available space
    • OS: Linux
    • Processor: Intel Core 2 or equivalent
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: OpenGL 2.0 compatible with 256 MB VRAM (NVIDIA GeForce 6600 series / ATI Radeon 9500 series)
    • Storage: 1 GB available space
    • OS: Linux
    • Processor: Intel Core i3 or equivalent
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: OpenGL 2.0 compatible with 512 MB VRAM (NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260 series / ATI Radeon HD 4870 series)
    • Storage: 2 GB available space
Helpful customer reviews
82 of 105 people (78%) found this review helpful
8 people found this review funny
590.9 hrs on record
Posted: December 1, 2015
I've finally played enough that I think I owe this a review.

Pandora's very clearly inspired by Alpha Centauri, but the underlying mechanics are quite innovative and different. At core this game is about super specializing your cities, micromanaging the population in your cities, and fighting the other factions. Unfortunately, the game doesn't really *tell* you how to manage your population or make the interface intuitive to focus around it. At best, it offers 'lock buttons' on population types. The combat is so-called multiple unit per tile, which removes some of the problems of Civ's one unit per tile.

The game falls down badly in diplomacy, where the AI seems to essentially perform a force count comparison to decide whether to attack. Get behind in military force and you'll suddenly find yourself under attack. Lose or even have a few units weakened in the skirmish and suddenly the other AI will all decide to join the fray and you might as well restart. The tension, of course, is if you're building tons of military to avoid the AI pile-on, you aren't shotgunning ahead in science.

In combat, the AI seems to be decently competent, although late in the game they build tons of lower-tech units as opposed to higher tech ones. They will brutally shell your cities with artillery and destroy modifier tiles. The guy who rewrote the AI deserves a pat on the back for the challenge they offer in combat.

As for personality, Pandora doesn't have any wonders or memorable personalities like Civ's Montezuma and Ghandi, just the brutal optimization game of managing your population and keeping up your military. The game's systems are too brittle to allow for casual play. If you're not carefully optimizing everything from the beginning, then you're not going to have fun. This game was a missed opportunity. Civ needed some competition or at least someone doing something new and different. This isn't it.
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37 of 55 people (67%) found this review helpful
65.7 hrs on record
Posted: December 7, 2015
Buy it on sale if it's under $10.00. As so many others have said, I like 4x type games and I loved Alpha Centauri. I still play AC every so often. This game has some interesting ideas, some fun units and some nice artwork. What kills it for me and why I had to down vote the game is the lack of replayability.


After the first couple of games, you know basically how the eras are going to go. You know that night will fall, you know that an alien menace will come from gates that must be closed and what kills it is that you know WHEN and HOW these things will happen. These aren't cool random events, they happen every time. So all you're really doing is playing the exact same set of "Random" events again and again.

Perhaps WWII simulation players who enjoy re-playing battles over and over using slightly different tactics or from different angles would be more appreciative of this title. For 4x players (or at least for me) it's too static.
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29 of 42 people (69%) found this review helpful
22.6 hrs on record
Posted: November 27, 2015
I frankly wasn't expecting anything more than a bland generic Civilization or a bland generic Alpha Centauri...

And indeed, the game is pretty much a generic Alpha Centauri. But it's much more well made than I imagined it would be. The presentation is pretty good, the interface might not be the most beautiful one in the world but it is polished and functional, the tooltips are truly helpful, ingame information is easy to find, etc.

The semi-random tech tree is pretty big, with each research unlocking one specific item (a building, operation, project, unit part or such). Research seems to be quick overall, so are you constantly getting new stuff in small increments.

I tend to dislike unit customization in 4x games; more often than not that's just busywork. I enjoy the way customization works here, though, some of the pieces you unlock give you interesting specialized units.

But more importantly, I think, is that ultimately what bores from other 4x games and make me go back to Civilization (or to Grand Strategy games) is the AI. There are a number of 4x games out there that are extremely polished and sleek, with interesting and well designed system... but ultimately I grow bored of them rather quickly because the AI doesn't seem to have any clue whatsoever about the game. It's like I'm playing alone in a sandbox, no matter the difficulty. As much as the AI of CivV is criticized, it at least tries to win and to interact with the player.

From what I could gather, Pandora is now being patched by a person from the community, who has been focusing on AI improvements. Obviously I haven't played a lot of it yet, but from the matches I've played, I really enjoyed the AI behavior I saw (except perhaps by how quickly they changed their mind regarding diplomatic agreements) - it seemed to react really well to what was happening around it, I felt like I was having an actual impact in the game world instead of playing by myself while the AIs played by themselves.

Bottom line is: Pandora is giving me the "one more turn" vibe that non-Civilization 4Xs almost never manage to give me. The fact that there are decisions to be made almost every couple of turns (instead of long dull periods) and the fact that the AI seems to be really trying to compete with me are what collaborate to this, I think.
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14 of 19 people (74%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
8.6 hrs on record
Posted: January 25
Pandora is an awesome game with one fatal flaw... And it's not the flaw you think. It seems like the problem would be that it's not "Alpha Centauri", like it's some kind of cheap rip-off of the classic.

The *real* problem is the opposite. Pandora is filled with innovation and a completely distinct storyline... And then they shoe-horn features or decisions that *don't feel right* just to be a SMAC rip-off.

How do I mean? The faction leaders have moderately interesting, tongue-in-cheek stories... until you read through and realize they are reskins of the SMAC faction leaders, with almost identical abilities. They could've gone far, but instead painstakingly modeled them to remind you of the SMAC leaders. It gets most painful when the abilities of one of the factions (Divine Ascension) don't really match the story... because she was so clearly meant to be a reskin of Sister Miriam. Her story really doesn't justify the research penalty like Miriam's does...but she has it. Why? To be just like Miriam.

Then they have a bad thing called "fungus" (like Civ:BE did with Miasma in a way). It has some similarities (and many differences) from the fungus in SMAC... but it clearly meant to be the same thing.

Somewhere in their dev shop, there's incredible innovative design talent, and in many ways it shines. The pollution system works well, the resource-sharing with minerals for workers just *works*. This would have been a 4/5 or better if they'd just left out the heavy-handed "we'll surely succeed if we rip off SMAC!"

Instead, a "buy it on sale" 3 out of 5.
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13 of 21 people (62%) found this review helpful
60.7 hrs on record
Posted: December 18, 2015
Had a bit of trouble getting it to run at first, but after a reboot it works perfectly on Windows 7 x64.

I honestly prefer it over Civ: New Earth.

Be aware the AI is incredibly aggressive and at a certain point in the game if the other AIs think you are weak they WILL declare war on you.
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