Crusader Kings II in outer space. Do I need to go on? I do, actually, in order to get paid, but the concept is immediately appealing. Instead of counties and countries, there are star systems. Instead of dukes, lords, and kings, there are Fleet Admirals, Space Commanders, and Intergalactic Presidents. Regions are connected not with roads and trails but jumpgates. And yet, all the petty squabbles and back-stabbing (sometimes literal) are still present in the Crisis of the Confederation Mod for Crusader Kings II.
One thing this mod has in common with the other full-conversion mods for CK II: it's a work in progress. A lot of features aren't yet complete and there are plenty of issues to still be worked out. At the moment, though, you can still jump in and play the early-alpha version that's been released.
Start with the map, which looks far different than anything we've seen in a CK II mod thus far. Star systems are laid out, taking the place of towns and cities but still essentially functioning in the same fashion. Checking out the Sol system, I see that it's controlled by the President Morgan, a Terran Republican, residing on Earth. Morgan's territories include The Moon, Mars, Titan, Ganymede, and Europa. Yes, you can build stuff on these moons and planets, futuristic space-stuff, like cybernetics and robotics labs, spaceports and vehicle hangars. Cool. I'll finally have that Moon base I always wanted.
Getting your troops (space troops!) around isn't much different, for the most part, and your troops do still look like medieval soldiers, though hopefully in the future they'll be replaced by something cooler, like robots or drones or at least medieval soldiers with laser guns. However, not every star system is connected with jump-gates, and to reach those you're not connected to you'll need to travel via deep space fleet (boats, in other words), taking a winding route through the nebulae.
There's already some great custom portrait work in the mod. I played for a bit as Grand Admiral Wei of Confederate Space Command, decked out in uniform with a suitable cap, and all of my vassals wore matching uniforms, because if science fiction has taught us anything, it's that people who fly around in spaceships together all dress the same. A few characters also are dressed in jackets and ties, the corporate executives of the future. I also noticed a few characters had visible cybernetic implants, such as Pirate Lady Amanda of FN-1237 (yes, there are space pirates!). Amanda has what looks like a spherical red implant in place of one of her eyes.
This implant, the Odin Mk I cybernetic eye, isn't just a bit of aesthetics, it's an actual attribute, increasing her martial ability as it scans for known military vehicle profiles and camouflage patterns during battle. There are other implants, less visible ones, that function as on-board computers for characters, providing bonuses to other stats.
Naturally, one of the first things I did (other than give a gift to my space-wife to charm her into having a future-baby with me) was try to assassinate someone, just to see if there were some futuristic new ways to kill my enemies. After building a plot against a space businessman named Aarav Jha, because I felt his mustache wasn't sci-fi enough for my tastes, I sat back and waited, and was a little disappointed to see that he met his demise from a giant pile of exploding manure. Don't get me wrong, exploding poo is far and away my favorite way to kill someone in Crusader Kings II, but I was hoping for something a bit more Assassination 2.0, you know? Hopefully, in a later update, there will be nanite murder bots and sabotaged shuttlecraft, or at least you'll be able to slip a miniature black hole into someone's Earl Grey.
One thing the mod has added is a new succession rule, that of appointed succession. As per usual, when a title holder dies, the title will typically revert to his or her heir. However, there's also a minor title called "Expected Successor," which may be held by a vassal, meaning they would inherit the title instead. You can't grant the Expected Successor title to your vassals: only your liege can do that. You can, however, nominate a relative or try to become an Expected Successor yourself to gain titles you wouldn't normally receive upon the death of the original holder. This means, basically, there's going to be a lot of space-bribery, zero-G butt-kissing, and jockeying for favor. And, of course, eliminating those who would sleazily schmooze titles away from your kin.
There's also a galactic senate, which can only mean one thing, the biggest nightmare ever to be visited upon the universe: democracy. This allows factions to introduce laws as bills, circumventing the wishes of the liege. Luckily, there's a mechanic to dissolve the senate, though, as you might expect, doing so could lead to a constitutional crisis or civil war.
As I said earlier, this is all still in the early stages, but the idea of Crusader Kings II in outer space is hard not to get excited about. You can download the alpha from moddb.com and while there's not a whole lot of info there, the readme file contains a deeper explanation of some of the planned features, as well as instructions on installation.