Who wants to be space king? I know, I know: All of us. Star Dynasties (opens in new tab) is a strategy game of space feudalism right out of the best of '60s and '70s sci-fi. Your goal is to lead your house of space aristocrats to victory in turn-based scenarios set in a new Dark Age after the destruction of Earth. You do this by ruling half or more of the civilized galaxy. If you can avoid debilitating sex scandals (opens in new tab), that is.
Star Dynasties isn't so complex that it'll drown you in detailed succession laws and tax hierarchies, nor is it too simple. Barons rule individual systems, while dukes rule their own system directly, as well as over a few nearby barons. Archons, meanwhile, rule a League, commanding the loyalty of one or more nearby Dukes. They're at the top of the space feudal pyramid.
So, to help you get from zero to space-dominating hero, here are my top beginner tips for Star Dynasties.
Appoint your spouse to your council
To start a game, you'll need to assign members of your house to your council—you do this from the house screen, which you can bring up from the house banner on your character portrait or by clicking on your territory. The house screen is where a lot of vital information is located: the members of your household, vassals, income, and more. Prioritize giving your spouse a position on your council if possible—it'll avoid bad vibes not just with your spouse, but with the members of your royal household.
Focus on these actions
More often than not, you should prioritize the following actions. Once you've spent your actions for the turn assigning councillors, give them something to do. Assign someone to start Rebuilding Fleet at your home world—it won't start at max strength, and this key action is one you'll come back to over and over. Keeping your fleet at maximum size means you can put down rebellions, aid vassals in need, and generally be most prepared for the curveballs the galaxy throws at you.
Other similarly important actions include assigning someone to manage the medical care of any ill household members, denoted with a little green heart. You'll also want to send out household members to assist your bigger vassals in collecting taxes, to boost your income. A key job for your house members is training not just your current ruler character, but your chosen heir. Getting good training will, over time, pump your characters' stats up to the point where they can rule a large realm, win big fights, and get the best deal in diplomatic encounters.
Finally, putting someone on the job of beefing up infrastructure is expensive, but it pays dividends in future income and increased fleet size. Always do it if you can afford to.
Don't be afraid to do nothing
Much of the strategy in Star Dynasties is fulfilled by a bit of waiting. Get a good marriage, then wait for the inheritance to play out. Set up a clever general to plan the invasion of a nearby system, then wait. Fight a war, then wait as your ships replenish. Don't be stressed about time passing too quickly. Consolidate your position, resolve your notifications—just above the character portrait—then click that End Turn button.
End Turn is your friend. Delight as your realm's infrastructure prospers from peace while your enemies feud among themselves. Star Dynasties can get quite hard, so resting and recovering between fights is key.
In space, everyone can hear you being a jerk. As a rule, avoid actions with red daggers and take actions with blue shields. Make moves like taking advantage of crimes by others to punish them, forging claims on systems to conquer, or taking in stray people with claims to the systems you want and then pressing their claims.
Why are you being honorable? Well, your public reputation is worth its weight in gold. It helps your character to be happier, which boosts how much you can get done in a turn. It also makes others look bad for getting on your bad side: A higher reputation means even people you don't know are less likely to come after you or side against you in a fight in which they have no stake.
Work with your family
Looking to conquer a new system? Put your second-born kid in charge of it. Or your brother. Or your mom. Whatever relation you've got lying around. This will split off cadet branches of your family as new houses, meaning you end up with a vassal line that's related to your own, meaning they're less likely to attack or rebel because it'll mean taking a hit to their honor.
Arranging advantageous marriages is a key way to get ahead in Star Dynasties. There are two ways to do this: First, arrange marriages for your heirs that allow your house to inherit new territory. Marrying your heir to the heir next door is one trick to constantly look out for. You can also find someone lower in the line of succession for a nearby dukedom to marry your kid off to and then press that claim to get it for your kid's spouse to rule—putting it right in your hands. Click on nearby areas and go to the claims tab in order to get a list of who can has a legitimate claim on it.
You can also use marriages to secure what are effectively non-aggression pacts with other states. Marrying your second-and-later-born children off to the siblings and children of other heads of state will ensure those heads of state are closely-related kin, meaning they'll get dishonor for attacking you. Try not to box yourself out of military expansion by making too many friends, though.
Or do, if a recent war has put you on the back foot. Your options will only increase in complexity as the development of Star Dynasties continues. For now, look out for assassins, assign medical personnel to your best people, and try to keep sweet that counsellor with 75 more military skill than you have.