Into the Void

1Into the Void is designed according to those old space empire-building classics such as Master of Orion, providing some possibly unique and definitely interesting aspects of interstellar expansion. In the game players can test their galactic exploration and conquest skills against up to 9 other players who can e-mail, network, or be represented by the AI in turn-based play. At set up, the options include the number of other players, the size of the universe, the star density within that universe, and the turn limit. Next, one of the six canned races is selected for or by each player.

You make money via a tax system. The tax base is represented by population points assigned to work in one of the six planetary activities. The empire’s tax base/population is increased by colonizing more planets and increasing population capacity of held planets through ever-more-advanced agriculture structures. The more people that work, the more that can pay taxes and the more tax capital the empire has to spend on ships, additional planetary surface structures, and technological upgrades to existing structures.

The interface in Void is not all that great, requiring you to engage in routine clickfests in keeping all of your population actively employed, intelligence operations sustained, and ships within range of the enemy. Two tutorials help offset woefully inadequate documentation. The system/galaxy layered map system is a good feature, and a twist on interstellar travel was new to me, but the rest of the design does little to advance genre standards.

The combat system is especially disappointing in that the enemy always has the option to move away before being engaged unless they begin the turn within range. In one instance an enemy transport was chased around the same system for 30 turns without once being engaged for a result–not exactly pulse-pounding action. It might be possible with advanced weapons technology to station ships at regular intervals throughout a system so that at least one group could engage an enemy regardless of their starting position, but who wants to? Then there’s the game crashing bug caused by splitting up a ship group after sending another to meet it.

System Requirements: 386 CPU, 4 MB RAM, DOS

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