Stellar Crusade (S.S.I. 1988) was an economic / military game set in the 24th century, in a remote open star cluster. At the heart of the game was a very complex simulation of an interstellar economy. Exploration revealed star systems with varying levels of metals, organics, etc. Colonization (and possible exploitation of native cultures) made these materials available for transport to industrial centers located in other systems, which in turn produced intermediate goods that could then be funneled into further expansion, the civilian economy (butter) or military hardware (guns). Organics might be produced in one system, shipped to another to be converted into refined goods, then shipped to yet another to be allocated to a shipyard where a new class of player designed ship was under construction. That new ship design might suffer construction delays or cost overruns, but eventually it would be produced and placed in transit to a training command, where it would be made ready for an active duty assignment. Production of subsequent ships in the class would be less expensive and more predictable.You could keep all of this running smoothly by following suggestions (complete with different economic data presentation options) from the program.
Eventually the bad guys would start taking covert potshots at your transport pool and organizing special operations to foment rebellion on your colony worlds, wreaking havoc on your carefully balanced economy. In turn, this usually led to open warfare, with both sides pulling ships out of their respective training commands and organizing combat ready task forces - a very expensive proposition.
If all of this sounds complicated, that's because it was. Even in open warfare, most of your ships were dispersed in various commands or "in transit" from one place to another. In order to take or defend a star system you had to wait until the last minute, then assign your ships to task forces where they immediately began to suffer breakdowns unless you maintained a _very_ expensive naval installation. Once formed, these forces had to be used quickly, because neither side could afford to maintain large active duty forces for an extended period. The timing was critical and difficult to pull off. All of this took place in three dimensional space. Depending upon your level of technology, some ships would make transits others couldn't handle. To top it off, there was always the chance that an excellent but elderly commander you were depending on to lead your forces might die of old age while you were getting organized.
The release version of the game suffered from a very readable, but rather vague rulebook. I have recently discovered an old copy of the original pre release Atari ST documentation. If you ever played the game, and are curious about the original docs, you can get an ASCII text version here (frontier.zip 45K).
Scale: Strategic, 25 light year radius sphere/3 months per turn.
Topic: Science fictional military / economic simulation, 24th century.
Systems: Atari ST, Amiga, DOS.
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