I want to conquer the universe (in a game), what is out there?
July 19, 2011 6:43 PM   Subscribe

I want to play a (quasi-realistic) large-scale space combat strategy game. Gratuitous Space Battles isn't cutting it. Any suggestions?

These things used to be common: Homeworld, Master of Orion, Alpha Centauri, Sins of a Solar Empire, and the Jupiter Project (under-appreciated, but terrific) all met this to one degree or another, though I would ideally aim for a more realistic strategy game than a point-and-click RTS. I want to move around fleets, not just click on harvesters as fast as I can.

But I can't find anything good recently. Galactic Civilizations is a fine games, but not really realistic in any way. Gratuitous Space Battles is almost more a puzzle game than an attempt to do good science fiction. I feel like some indy games out there must do better. PC, iOS, Xbox, whatever - give me your best suggestions!
posted by blahblahblah to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 41 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I've been enjoying Flotilla (primarily about fleet battles) and Neptune's Pride (incredibly slow-paced space diplomacy).

Or, since Homeworld's code was open-sourced, there are all sorts of mods kicking around, like this one for Battlestar Galactica.
posted by running order squabble fest at 6:59 PM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I bought it during the Steam Summer sale, but I haven't tried it yet -- perhaps AI War: Fleet Command would scratch your fleet commanding itch? Also, another one I haven't had the time to try out and get into might be Sword of the Stars...
posted by Jinkeez at 7:07 PM on July 19, 2011 [2 favorites]

Seconding AI War. Also look at Master of Orion 2. It's one of, if not the best, "take over the universe" games.
posted by daysocks at 7:14 PM on July 19, 2011

yes, AI War sounds like EXACTLY what you want.

The game designers spent a lot of time trying to minimize the 'fast twitch' aspect of RTS games. Example: on each new world you claim, harvesters are automatically built on all asteroids saving your mouse clicks for more useful endeavors.

I love the game since although I like starcraft and gratuitous space battles, AI War feels more like a galaxy conquering sim with more emphasis on planning and leading a huge fleet rather than worrying about how fast I can click (I use the Pause button very liberally)

The only caveat is that it's only co-op so if you want a good PvP game, this isn't it. But personally, I think the game is great as it is (I usually prefer co-op games these days anyway)
posted by johnstein at 7:35 PM on July 19, 2011

I just came in to recommend Neptune's Pride, which isn't really what you say you want, but it's free and it's elegant.
posted by wilful at 8:26 PM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

By your requirements, Tradewars 2002vb is the first thing that came to mind. Cleverly written characters, mystery, from cargo ships to flagships, loads of evil/good ranks, the option to play strictly on the trading market if you want, Easter eggs, giant shipyards and ports, and massively multiplayer (depending on the board you sign in on, perhaps..). Just fire up Telnet and hunt up a board that has it installed, and you're set.
posted by Quarter Pincher at 9:20 PM on July 19, 2011

I was going to say, AI War. It's not really my cup of tea, but it's vast, complex, and my strategy-obsessed housemate swears by it.
posted by Ted Maul at 1:32 AM on July 20, 2011

I came in to recommend Eve Online, although I think the best experience it offers is in the multiplayer realm. The community is dedicated and helpful. It isn't exactly what you were asking for but if you try it and like it then a life sucker it will become.
posted by Odinhead at 9:45 AM on July 20, 2011

It's not quite what you're looking for, but if you've never played Freespace 2, you're seriously missing out.
posted by schmod at 11:36 AM on July 20, 2011

Oh, and the entire Escape Velocity series is delightful. Again. Not quite what you're looking for, but still extremely wonderful despite its age.
posted by schmod at 11:37 AM on July 20, 2011

Warning: Escape Velocity games will Eat Your Life.
posted by digitalprimate at 2:40 PM on July 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: AI War is well worth trying--it has a very generous demo available. It is very different from most other 4X strategy games where the main strategy is to out-expand your opponents.

Sword of the Stars is also very good--a combination of turn-based strategy with (optional) real-time control of major fleet battles. You will want to get the full "Ultimate Collection"--the expansions improve the game a lot.

Finally, Star Ruler is a recent indy conquer-the-galaxy game that you may enjoy. It has interesting ship design and most interstellar movement uses Newtonian acceleration/deceleration.
posted by verzor at 5:04 PM on July 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

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