I listened to Cliff’s interview on pcpcgames.com and heard that a 4X style meta-game will not be considered. There has to be a new take on the subject.
So I’ve had a think and came up with an idea:
‘The Journey Home’
You are the space admiral of Deep Space Station 5. Long range sensors detect an incoming armada of hostile ships! Quickly, fleet command is informed and they begin to form a defensive line. But in space, travel takes a long time. Fleet command has set the defensive line some way back into friendly space. It’s the only way to assemble a defense strong enough in time to meet the armada’s attack.
Knowing that the Station defense fleet cannot possibly fight the armada by itself, you order the fleet to assemble and begin the long journey back to Starbase I-1. Only the massive space fortress and the entrenched allied fleet can stop the armada. Can you make it back to I-1 across an unexplored stretch of space, filled with adventure, peril and fortune? Or will your fleet fall prey to one of the various warring races, a space anomaly monster or be caught by the advancing armada?
Commanding your fleet as it travels across unknown stars, you will detach smaller fleets to mine asteroid fields for ores to process, send out recon fleets to scout ahead, and manufacture ships and components from acquired resources or gather what you can from the wreckage of destroyed ships. Balance your ship designs for new production, mining and cargo modules to enable your fleet to grow. Briefly trade with minor worlds and some may even have short missions for you to complete. But time presses, for the armada is advancing!
The game ‘Strange Adventures In Infinite Space’ would give a vague idea of what this game mode could be like. The duration is decided by the width of the map (or the speed at which the armada advances). Maybe as little as 10 minutes to complete or as long as several hours. Maps could be randomly generated adventures or designed ones. Being turn based, it has a lot of scope for much beard stroking. It adds a Star Trek style exploration and mystery element, strategic planning, and maintains the existence of quality space battles.
Should the player succeed in reaching the Starbase then time will advance and the armada will face off against the allies in a massive gratuitous space battle. The allies always win this big Endor style battle - A reward for the player’s success.