Each empire, that comes, appears out of nowhere, or because you went to sandbox mode, is perfectly normal, but when you look at the top right corner you see a colored box near an empire's name. This box is an empire's special trait. These traits give empires certain advantages and disadvantages.

Sometimes, empires are born with multiple traits. All traits affect the empire and quite often these empires beat other empires that don't have any traits.

Science/Sci(Dark Blue) Edit

Gains research bonus.

Build Science ships.

Diplomatic/Dip(Pink) Edit

More likely to make peace, and other relations bonuses.

Defense/Def(Yellow) Edit

Gains defense bonus, and more likely to make peace.

Build Gun boats.

Military/Mil(Red) Edit

Gains combat bonus, but receives research penalty.

Industrial/Ind(Orange) Edit

Builds more (and bigger) ships, develops faster.

Build Motherships.

Stable/Sta(Gray) Edit

Unlikely to change political state.

Unstable/Uns(Light Gray) Edit

More likely to change political state.

Explosive/Xpl(Green) Edit

Combat bonuses early, but grows weaker as it ages.

Fanatic/Fan(Light Pink) Edit

No research, but military bonus, and automatically transcends after some time.

Aggressive/Agg(Dark Red) Edit

Gains attack bonus, but receives a research penalty.

Reclusive/Rec(Dark Gray) Edit

Prefers to stay out of the limelight, but good at defense and research.

Slow Starter/Slo(Light Brown) Edit

Combat penalties early, but gradually becomes normal.

Capitalist/Cap(Green) Edit

Great at managing and wealth.

Horde/Hor(Red) Edit

Really aggressively expansive but will not develop their stars. Doesnt build ships.

Cult/Cul(Purple) Edit

Expands only throught direct missionary work