Sid Meier’s Starships is a new spin-off of the most famous saga of Firaxis , although it is much more related to the universe of Civilization: Beyond Earth that with the usual development of the series. However, this time we are far away from the management of
civilizations in the usual style, to immerse ourselves in a much simpler turn-based strategy game. In command of a fleet of spacecraft, we will have to travel through the galaxy, annexing new planets to our side, gaining influence in different worlds while preventing
our rivals from doing the same. The game that we analyze presents much less profound mechanics than any Civilization, condensed so that the game experience does not last more than a couple of hours.
When standing in front of this new game, one can not help but remember the science fiction of authors like Isaac Asimov. That kind of future in which man expands through the Universe, but without finding any kind of alien race. At least, that can be considered intelligent. The hegemony of humanity is thus transferred – easily – from Earth to space, dominating each and
every one of the Systems it encounters. Up to 6 sides can compete for maximum power gain, through any of the 4 existing victory types: Domination,
Population, Wonders or Science. If we want, we can configure the game so that all of them are possible, or limit them to a single type of condition. Also the size of the star map, from Small to Epic … Although this last definition is a bit exaggerated.
We must choose one of the three affinities – coming from Civilization: Beyond Earth– and one of the 8 Leaders available. This double election will provide us with different bonuses, which will remain valid throughout the game. Then, the game takes us directly into action:
Travel from world to world, obtaining enough influence for the planets to join our empire. For this, we only have one fleet -initially, with 2 or 3 ships- and we will be able to carry out different actions.
The most common will be the realization of missions: Protect ships, eliminate pirates, hunt fugitives, … All of them are made on a tactical hexagonal map, with each of the sides acting in turns. If we fulfill the objective, we will obtain rewards: Influence on the planet and resources for our faction.
In the battles we will control all the ships of our fleet. The maps are all very similar, plagued by asteroid fields -which can serve as a cover- and wormholes that serve as portals, although we will take another by chance. Each turn, each ship can move as many hexes as its speed value.
We have long and short range weapons, and shields and armor to protect us. We will also have special abilities, such as the possibility of launching torpedoes,
fighters, making ourselves invisible to the enemy or using sensors to detect hidden ships. In some maps we will have to annihilate all the enemies,
in others to hold a series of turns or reach a specific point of it. There is not an excessive variety of missions, and it is easy to find them repeated.
The ships are defined, therefore, by a series of values that express the characteristics mentioned in the previous options. They can be improved, obtaining better performance of each of these actions, such as greater speed or the possibility of launching more torpedoes.
Also available are Battle Cards: Special effects that are activated for the entire fleet, such as an improvement of aim during the match, additional movements or penalties for enemies. Before a mission, we are offered a percentage of victory … Although the real possibilities are
always higher than expressed by that value. Generally, it is not difficult to succeed in a match. The battles – when we try to conquer a planet already dominated by another faction, or want to exterminate its fleet – work exactly the same.