Star Empires - Printable Version

+- PlayByMail.Net (
+-- Forum: Play-By-Mail Games (
+--- Forum: Games (
+--- Thread: Star Empires (/showthread.php?tid=68)

Star Empires - Ramblurr - 03-07-2011

Edit: Oops! Sorry Grim, I forgot this subforum was for current/active PBM games. I could have sworn there was a graveyard forum for older PBMs. Feel free to move this thread wherever you think appropriate.

Star Empires v3.0 was a PBEM game that ran from at least 1992-1994. It was originally created by one Al Green from UMass/Amherst, and recreated by Roger Lincoln.

I never actually played Star Empires, rather I found the information below on a FTP archive and found the game pretty interesting. All the information in this post can be found at a FTP Archive. I have a mirror (with the extracted plain text files) here.

A quick summary of the game in the game master's words:
Quote:Star Empires is a simple version of the traditionalspace domination games. It was designed to be quick and easy to play; Star Empires is to Galaxy what Checkers is to Chess :-)

This game at first glance seems relatively simple, indeed even the game master's explanation gives it a simplistic air. Although, from reading the end game reports it is evident that this game was anything but tame. From this simple set of game mechanics (build ships, move ships, shoot ships), complex political and economic interactions emerged. Over all it makes for some great after game reading (well, and the game master had a firm grasp of events and knack for recording them).

Some highlights from the rules file:
Quote:Star Empires is a multi-player strategy wargame in
which you compete against other players (up to 50) to
control the known universe. The "known universe" consists
of up to 250 planets. To accomplish this you will build a
space fleet and maneuver your ships to destroy your
opponents fleets, conquer his planets, and rape his women
and children (just kidding about the women and children,
what you do on your own time is not my concern). This game
is designed around the ships it uses. Ship designs are
preset and available to all players, you can't design your
own ship (but you can suggest changes to me). Planetary
economics, resource management, and politics were purposely
avoided or minimized; you assume the role of Fleet Admiral
and focus solely on the fleet itself.

Quote:Star Empires is unique in that, except for the initial setup of the universe, there is no randomness (randomninity?) involved in the game. The only uncertainties are those of your opponents strategies.

As stated above, the game was focused around ships and massive fleet battles, so the econmy mechanics were minimal:
Quote:In order to conquer the universe you will build a mighty starfleet, to do this you will need raw materials, Resource Units, hereafter referred to as RU's. Every planet has a certain Production potential, this is the number of RU's it creates per turn.

As the game is focused around managing fleets, there were 25 different types of ships:
Quote:1. Dreadnaught
2. Battleship
3. Battlecruiser
4. Attack Cruiser
5. Heavy Cruiser
6. Light Cruiser
7. Destroyer
8. Corvette
9. Raider
10. Frigate
11. Corsair
12. Escort
13. Fleet Carrier
14. Light Carrier
15. Transport
16. Strike Wing
17. Fighter Wing
18. Patrol Wing
19. Scout
20. Orbital Fort
21. Orbital MkII
22. PDC
23. Missile
24. Probe
25. Fleet Base

Conquering planets was relatively simple:
Quote:To conquer a planet you must be the only player with a ship (other than a scout, probe, or missile) in that star system.

Unfortunately, I don't have an turn reports, so I can't speak to what turns were like, but from reading the game synopsis, I get the impression the game was very tactical, much like chess or go. There was more to this game then massing blobs of fleets and overwhelming your opponents. Information was limited, and several enterprising players seem to make it quite far in the game by simple brokering information.

Moreover, there seemed to have been a heavy Diplomatic element to the game. The riveting political and diplomatic intrigue included shifting alliances, long term secret alliances (fake enemies), epic backstabs, seemed to emerge from the simple ruleset. Indeed, the end game reports note that it was not uncommon for players to rent , out right buy ir planets! Occasionally a stronger power extorted protection money from a weaker in order to put off an inevitable attack. These sorts of player actions were not built into the game, rather they emerged naturally from the players interaction.

I highly recommend taking a peek at the end game reports:
Did anyone play this game or have any exposure to it? Does/Did anyone know the game master (Richard Lincoln)?

RE: Star Empires - GrimFinger - 03-07-2011

That's a great posting, Ramblurr. I've never played Star Empires, though.

RE: Star Empires - GrimFinger - 03-31-2011

(03-07-2011, 03:16 AM)Ramblurr Wrote: Edit: Oops! Sorry Grim, I forgot this subforum was for current/active PBM games. I could have sworn there was a graveyard forum for older PBMs. Feel free to move this thread wherever you think appropriate.

Actually, this forum section is for any PBM game, current or not.