Look — the game’s complicated enough, right? So don’t waste so much time reading about it; pick one and play already. Yeah, you’re gonna spend the next six months getting your ass handed to you, but so what? If you wanted easy, you’d be back on Facebook playing Farmville.
Unless you’re clinically insane, you’d better start with an easy one. Best thing is, pick a race that suits your personality. I’ll list them off for you in inverse order (so it looks different).
Colonies is easy but weak mid-game and against cloakers. If your version of a toolbox is a Swiss army knife and duct tape, this race isn’t bad.
Rebels are very powerful early and late, but again have that anti-cloaker weakness. They’re like a faster version of the Colonies with a bit of subtlety thrown in.
Robots have those lovely massive minefields and they’re very powerful, but they’re a logistical nightmare. It gets very frustrating unless you sweat fuel.
Empire is powerful, but it’s hard to learn since you’ll tend to die young. Perfect for bitter and cynical people, the Empire is even worse with fuel than the Robots. Two of the best ships in the game, though.
Crystals are weak; this is their strength. If this makes sense to you, give them a try.
The Cyborg is perfect for those who love playing Microsoft Excel: The Game. This race is massively powerful and has tremendous logistical advantages. If you enjoy hard work and four-hour turns, this may be the race for you.
Privateer is excellent for tacticians and challenging for strategists. If your view of tactics is limited to the charge, this will be frustrating; if your grasp of strategy is similarly limited, go play the Lizards.
Fascists are popular with tax collectors and sadomasochists… but I repeat myself. The lover of glorious death in small ships will find this a perfect fit. George Patton would have played this race if only he could have gotten past the name. He would have won, too.
The Birds are perfect for the lover of nuance and the sneak backstab. They have power and stealth, and there’s absolutely no reason to suspect that they won’t use both. Which is why it’s sometimes fun to play them as noble, truthful, trustworthy and honorable; nobody will ever see it coming.
The Lizards are easy to play badly and still win. Strike first; strike hard; strike last; strike once. They’re a bit tougher to play at endgame or at expert level, but so what? At least in this game, you’ll live long enough to learn how to play them.
The Federation is the most powerful fighter in ship-to-ship combat. They blend this ability with the second-worst ship list in the game. If you make friends easily, love trading and diplomacy, and above all if you play a paladin in your weekly Dungeons & Dragons session, you’ll love this race.
Whatever you choose, remember that you probably won’t win your first game. You might as well have fun and go down in flames, though; am I right? So pick something that looks like fun and go blow up some enemy ships (along with your own, of course).