One hundred years ago, the Earth was nearing calamity: global warming had started causing the water level to rise, and the destruction of most of the developed world was inevitable.
It was then that astronomers located a star cluster teeming with habitable planets. The hope for a new home, free of the pollution and over-crowding faced on Earth, drove the creation of great colony ships, capable of traveling the massive distance to this star cluster.
Now, these ships have arrived and have established new colonies on some of the most Earth-like candidate planets. Far from the companys and nations that created them, these new colonies begin to grow and look towards the other planets nearby.
Who will reign supreme amongst these unexplored stars?
And this totally isn't a cop-out to avoid having to invent aliens. It's also a cop-out to explain why all the civilizations start with the exact same level of technology on the exact same day.