Space Wars: Interstellar Empires by Desert Owl Games is a strategy game. In it, you captain a starship for one of two factions vying for control of the galaxy.
A galactic map shows all the sectors of space that are owned by each faction as well as the ones that are currently being fought over. As long as a sector of space isn’t locked and is on the border of your faction’s territory, you can travel to it. This allows players to enter a map mid-match.
Combat is turn-based and occurs on a hexagonal grid. During every round, each player takes a turn controlling their starship. This continues until all players have taken their turn. Then a new round starts. This repeats until only one side is left standing on that map. Turn order is decided by each ship’s engine power.
Before each round starts, players are given a minute to allocate “initiative” points to weapons, shields, and radar. The leftover points are sent to the engines. The total amount of “initiative” points a ship gets is determined by its movement rating. For example, a ship with 42 movement rating will have a total of 42 initiative points per round of combat. Since the game tries to be balanced, ships with incredibly high initiative usually suffer a weakness in offense or defense to compensate. I would often use a scout ship that had high initiative and would employ a strategy of leaving the radar and rear shields unpowered. While this allowed me to move first most of the time, it left me weak to long-range attacks and attacks from behind. Additionally, since it was a scouting ship, the hull couldn’t take much damage before the ship was destroyed.
Aside from the ship you chose to start with, you can buy other ships using “leadership” points gained in combat. If the ship you are using in combat gets destroyed, you lose it. If you lose all of your ships, you can’t participate in battle until you have bought a new ship. The ship you chose to start with is always free (so as to allow players without any leadership points to continue playing), but the others cost leadership points.
As you can probably guess, the better a ship is, the more leadership points it costs to buy it. The purpose of this system is likely to keep more experienced players from overwhelming new players with fancy high-tier ships. By making these ships hard to get and easy to lose, they probably won’t be deployed nearly as often as low-tier ships.
While at times I found the game long and tedious—remember, new players from either side can enter a map mid-match, allowing for a losing side to suddenly have reinforcements—I thought that overall the game was well constructed. I can see this game doing well with strategy game fans.
Watch the Space Wars: Interstellar Empires Release Trailer:
Space Wars: Interstellar Empires is available for PC via Steam Early Access.