Culture is important. In a setting as expansive and technologically advanced as Mindjammer, being able to retain a single sense of identity as a civilization is key to the survival and continuation of the Commonality.
It’s no suprise then that the game itself has rules detailing conflict between cultures. Mechanics-wise Cultures are a form of Organization which use the same rules. That means that we’re looking at the usual suspects, Aspects, Skills, Stunts, Extras and Stress. The system allows for Cultures to evolve, changing Aspects to become like other Cultures. On the other hand, Cultures can also take actions to Assimilate or Provoke another culture, and engage in cultural contamination and psy-ops to achieve various objectives.
In addition to the mechanics, the chapter also goes into detail of the various Cultures of the setting, including the Commonality and the Venu Empire, but also a few others that are worth checking out. It’s a strong mechanical backbone to support the fun parts of the setting. I’m a big fan of interesting cultures in games, and Mindjammer’s has a pretty broad list of neat cultures.
Furthermore, Mindjammer also has mechanics that simulate large-scale change in the mindscape and thinking of entire populations. It’s not an easy task, and the time scale used for Cultural Actions aren’t exactly small, but it’s useful to track the evolution of Cultures in the setting. I don’t think I’ve actually run into something like this before that goes over the topic in such detail. While Exalted might have mass-combat social actions, Mindjammer raises it to the level of a science and subsystems that all tie in neatly with what you already know with FATE.
The fun part of this is the Cultures module is something that you can actually take out of Mindjammer and apply elsewhere. Definitely worth considering if you’re ever looking at a FATE based Mage: the Ascension game and mechanics to stat out and fight for the Consensus.