I tried to make every race an unique experience. It is very easy to create many identical races with the same research mechanism, the same number of yards and ships, but then they all feel the same and no matter how many ships you add to each faction, it remains the same. The stock Armada II game did this (with some limited exceptions like the Borg and Species 8472). Fleet Operations definitely made a big step in the right direction and made every faction feel unique, but I want to go beyond even that and try to make every faction completely different from each other. I hope I made a pretty good job with the Klingons on that.
Historical and political background:
The Klingon Empire faced many bloody challenges in its past. It survived the attack of the Fek'Ihri, the Hur'q, several civil wars and internal crises. And each conflict sharpened and hardened the weapon that is a Klingon warrior. The Klingon Empire is a quasi-feudal state, the system is held together and in balance by a complex mesh of alliances and grudges of the Klingon Noble Houses. These Houses are not only the owners of most of the wealth within the Empire but are also responsible for operating the state in every aspect from economy and social services to military and technology.
Since the death of the last Emperor, the leadership is in the hands of the greatest Houses who form the Klingon High Council and elect its leader, the Chancellor. The High Council is the governing body of the Empire and they say that the Chancellor only has as much power as much support in the Council he has.
The Klingons acquired warp technology some time around the 20th century and by the 22nd century, they were a major regional power, fielding a formidable military, referred to as the Klingon Defense Force, which made several incursion into space of the Vulcan's sphere of interest that also includes Earth. However, as neither the Vulcans, nor the Andorians had a space navy that could compete against the KDF, the High Council considered that expanding that way would be without honor or glory and therefor encounter between the Klingons and the Vulcan allies were rare.
At the beginning of the game the Klingon Empire is recovering from the recent war with the Kzinti, the Hydrans and the Lyrans. The clash of these four powers with the ever shifting balance of force kept the Klingons busy for the last three centuries so they pay little attention to the newborn Federation.
This changes when the Federation's sphere of influence reaches the Klingon border. That's when the Klingons finally recognize the Federation as a worthy opponent and border skirmishes start immediately between the two factions. Klingon-Federation relations degrade to a point where both powers were in a state of constant unremitting hostility. Meanwhile the Klingons make first contact with the Romulans in "Klingon-style", but somewhat unexpectedly to them, the Tal Shiar responds hostility by opening negotiations of possible future cooperation in case of a mutual interest. Finally, the Four Powers Conflict slowly turns into the Klingons' favor.
After almost three hundred years of constant conflict, in 2221 the last Four Powers War begins when the Klingon and the Lyrans invade Kzinthi space to end the Barony once and for all. The conflict escalates when the Federation joins the Hydran-Kzinthi Alliance and soon the whole quadrant is entangled in a lasting war that the Klingons initially wanted to avoid and that was later named the General War.
How to play as the Klingons?
The Klingon Empire is arguably the easiest faction to play and an ideal choice for players who want to learn how to play the game.
Klingons keep their designs in service the longest, it is not unheard of that certain designs remain updated and kept in service for several hundred years. Therefor if you build ships early int he game they will be up to date for a long time. At the beginning of the game you'll find that R&D was somewhat ignored for years due the recent war. Only a handful of ships remained in production, and the available designs are obsolete. It's up to you to reform the KDF fast.
The Klingons don't have centralized research and development think-tanks, like Federation does, nor have the bureaucratic administration bodies like the Romulans have. The Klingon Empire is controlled by the Noble Houses. These houses can influence various areas of public life, especially the military R&D. Therefor, if you want a new ship, you have to turn to the Noble Houses. In the War Coordination Center you can pick and sponsor one of the Houses' project and they will take care of every other research and development that is required. Convenient isn't it?
However, as the High Council or the Admiralty has no real control over the Houses, the end result is always uncertain. If you're lucky, you get what you paid for. But what if they promise a cruiser but they end up with a battlecruiser? They may hit a bump during the development and they return to ask for more material support. It's even possible that they return empty handed. But it's also possible that despite the apparent failure of a project may come in handy later for another, so even if a research fails, it may not be a complete failure on the long run. Note that even the tooltips aren't that helpful either. The demand of the Houses and the time it takes to finish the project greatly varies, so you can never be sure if it worth investing into a project or not. This makes the Klingon research cost may vary to the extremes and the results uncertain, making it difficult to plan ahead. Another disadvantage of this method is that new Klingon ships come without special weapons or abilities.
Honor stands in the center of Klingon culture. There is nothing more honorable than meeting an enemy face to face. In space this is a difficult concept. Although space marines have a big respect, the most honored warriors will always be the starfighter pilots.
According to Klingons nothing can be more honorable than sitting in a small fighter craft and attacking a vessel thousand times bigger than yours. Therefor Klingons have the best fighters and the best space jockeys in the game and they rely much more heavily on squadrons than the other factions. For starters, the most important stations have their own defense squadrons. Even a mining facility has a pair of fighters to harass incoming enemy ships. But the most interesting ship in the Klingon arsenal is without doubt the Cha'Par and Enekti Class carriers which are formidable ships on their own, but they also have a powerful fighter wing at their disposal. And on top of that, they have industrial replicators and workbees on board, serving as construction ships too!
Finally, the Klingon player may gain access to the Imperial Reserve. Ships that are no longer retrofitted and aren't re-purposed go there, where they are armed and powered down, and are kept in somewhat care until they are scrapped fr spare parts or scrap metal. Or until need arises and they are reactivated. These reactivated ships may save you temporarily, but don't expect them to serve as an effective offensive force because they are still obsolete.
Strengths & Weaknesses
+ Long lifespan of designs
+ Powerful carriers and squadrons
+ Most stations have defenses
+ Imperial Reserve
- Cryptic research system
- Slow research
- Basic starships with little versatility
The Axanar Controversy:
If you are familiar with the story of Star Trek: Axanar (if not, check it out!), you know that it revolves around Gath of Izar's daring strategy in the Battle of Axanar that took place during the Four Years War. The story clearly states that the Constitution Class and the D7 Class were not in service at the beginning of the conflict. According to my sources this conflict took place between 2256 and 2259, but both ships were already in service for a decade before that. Therefor I placed the events of Axanar into the General War, so both the D6 (K't'ragh) Class and the Ares Class are available in the last era of the mod.
Next time comes - surprise-surprise! - the analysis of the Federation! Hopefully this weekend, but I make no promises.