I tried out the challenge feature and found a very tough one, but in the end I managed to win. Then I decided to try to beat the fleet that I just won with, so I uploaded it. But something went wrong, at first I thought the game froze, but it didn’t. When I looked for the challenge, I found that it had posted ten identical challenges. How I managed to do this is beyond me. Is there a way I can delete the redundant challenges?
Now in my first post I want to say thanks to cliffski for this fantastic game. I played the demo a few times and found the game okay, tactically very interesting, but somewhat shallow, something was lacking, I didn’t know what. But then someone gave me the DRM-free version, and I found out that there is a campaign mode. And then I knew what I felt was lacking in the original game and in the demo: Continuity. As a fleet manager I didn’t care who lived and who died, as long as at least one ship survived to be the last living thing on the battlefield. As a strategist I tend to be much more careful with the lives of my crews, because I need them for my next battle.
So I bought a registration key and now I am totally addicted. Integrating custom made challenges into the campaign is just a brilliant idea. Also, the campaign map may seem a bit simplistic, but the fact that you cannot just go back to an old save if something goes wrong makes those simple choices into something that you think very carefully about.
GSB also possesses a quality that I find in only very few other war games: The outcome of a battle can be in doubt until the very last moment. This, combined with no save-spamming, makes for very interesting battles. I have panicked and I have triumphed, often in the same game.
My only issue with the game is that ship design and campaign mode isn’t the best of friends. After designing a new ship the game always crashes just before the next battle starts. Most of the time it is no problem, after restarting the game everything is wad again. But I have lost one campaign to this: I was thrown out from a planet, so I specially designed some new ships, built them, attacked, and crashed. And from then on, the game crashed every time I attempted to take that planet back. I could attack elsewhere with no problem, and I could start a new campaign and attack, I just couldn’t attack this planet. So I had to abandon the campaign.
Also, the direct orders are unstable and makes the game crash. (edit: perhaps this is fixed in 1.62?) But I couldn’t care less, as I believe direct management is a violation of the basic game rules. What makes GSB unique is that you control everything except the actual battle. I have had perhaps a hundred lost battles now, and all of them I could have easily won if I had been allowed to annul some inconvenient order. To me, the challenge is to win the battle by deployment alone. No other games I know of asks me to play hands off (except an old game from the 90ties, Legion, where you deploy Romans against barbarians, then push the button and watch them fight). Changing orders in the middle of a battle degrades the game to just another war game, imo.
Anyway, I am very happy to see that the forum is alive and the game is getting support. I believe this will be one of those games that i will play intensely, then leave for a while, then play intensely, then leave for a while, etc. for several years.
edit: When I started the game today, it was automagically updated to 1.62, and now this issue seems to be fixed. And not only fixed, but organized in a way that is far superior to most other spacecraft building games ’ design clutter is always a problem, but the option to save the new design as an overwrite will help reduce this clutter.