The ancient Galactic Realm, ruled from the Core Worlds of the galaxy, is waning. Now, the barbaric kingdoms that lie beyond the galactic frontier are amassing their strength, choosing this pivotal moment to strike at the heart of the fading republic, establishing new empires built upon the ashes of decaying civilizations. But these outer systems are not yet strong enough to engage the forces of the Core Worlds directly. The young kingdoms must first gnaw at the edges of the crumbling frontier, developing new types of units and shrewder tactics. They must build up their energy resources to launch magnificent fleets and overwhelming ground forces. Then, when the time is right, they must strike at the galactic core itself, claiming the most exalted planets for themselves. The barbarian kingdom that achieves these goals will carve out the greatest empire in the galaxy.