Master of Orion

Snap133Among the old 4x classics (Explore, Expand, Exploit, Exterminate) is Master of Orion. As in other games of its type, the goal is to spread your race throughout the cosmos, colonizing new planets, developing new technologies, designing new ships and dealing with other space-faring races. Master of Orion (MOO) lets you fiddle with various play options to suit player skills, which include things like choosing your race (there are ten to choose from) or the size of the game world. Each race has a different special ability, an aptitude for various technologies and varying feeling towards the many competing race.

MOO is very complex. There are many facets of the game that you must consider during each turn, so a long brush with the game’s manual is unavoidable. Success relies a lot on effective resource management, research and communication skills. Each planet you own produces a certain amount of resources per turn, depending on its population and number of factories. You can then spread these resources among the five industries – defense, factory building, ship building, planetology and research. You can also spend money on security or spying.

Technology plays an important role in all of this. The proportion of production you allocate to tech on each world is first converted into research points. You then decide the proportion you want to allocate on several basic fields (stuff like computers, propulsion, or weapons). After heavy research, new tech becomes available, and your civilization becomes incrementally more advanced.

Snap137A few interesting twists appear as you play the game. For example when you’ve colonized two thirds of the game world, the races of the game all form a council to elect a leader. The rulers of the two most powerful empires are then nominated, with each race’s vote calculated according to their population. You can get votes if you have strong diplomatic ties with at least some of the other empires, but you can always rise against the counsel if you do lose this election. All of the races will consequently declare war on you, however.

Master of Orion will mainly suit those from the Civilization school of strategy gaming. Except here you rocket into space whilst still trying to achieve the same goals using a different set of tools.

System Requirements: 386 CPU, 4 MB RAM, DOS

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