StarBaron by Alien Process is one of the most addicting internet games I have come across in some time. It is one of the few games that I keep playing. It has changed some since my first game, but in positive ways.
The goal of the game is to conquer the universe. The universe is contained in the rectangular playing field and is comprised of stars of various sizes. The five sizes (tiny, small, medium, large, and huge) determine the star's potential strength, the larger the stronger. Their are a maximum of four sides trying to conquer the universe each represented by a color. They are blue, red, yellow, and green; you are blue.
The game starts with each color controlling at least one star. The harder the setting the more stars the enemies start with. You have to use your stars strategically to capture neutral stars and the enemies while protecting your own. The strategy comes in two forms, controlling your ships and determining what star type each of your star's should be.
There are currently seven star types (five when I first played the game). They are Standard, Defense, Mine Layer, Economic, Naval, Fighter, and Rockets (the last two mentioned are the new additions).
Standard - A combination of Defense, Economic, and Naval
Defense - Creates defense satellites around the star which are hard to kill
Mine Layer - Creates a mine field around the star which kill any ships (even yours) that try to pass through it.
Economic - Increases the maximum number of ships you can have at one time.
Naval - Creates ships faster then Standard stars.
Fighter - Creates small, automated ships which move to defend any of your star's in range or attack any enemy stars in range that are weak enough to be captured by it.
Rockets - Fire rockets at the most powerful enemy star which weaken it potentially making it neutral.
To move your ships, highlight the star(s) where your ships are by clicking on them or dragging a box around them. One click on a star sends half the ships on each of the high lighted starts to its target. A double click sends all the stars to the target.
There are a few basic strategy both for offense and defense. Defensively, you should put defensive star types between your enemy and your vulnerable stars. Defense, Mine Layers, and standard stars can be considered blockers. ships can not fly over them without taking serious damage and probobly being destroyed. Economic, Naval, and Rocket stars can not defend themselves. Fighter stars can defend themselves and others around them, but ships can fly over them without taking any damage. Make sure to cover all the angles or you may find the enemy shift their ships around to bypass your defenses.
For offense, your goal is the opposite. Try to find a way around the enemies defenses. Do not try to send your ships over the so called blockers. Whenever possible, attack from multiple angles for attack bonuses.
The game now has a map editor (I actually created the first two user generated maps for the game [Base War and Island Hopper]). After you create a map it is submitted and may be put into the challenge section. Their is also a tutorial and campaign as well as a skirmish section. Skirmish allows you to control the star density, number of enemies, speed, and difficulty level. It then creates a random level for you to play.
Select a star with a left click, hold shift to select more than one, or draw a box around them by holding down the left click.
Deselect all stars by pressing the space bar or left click on empty space.
Control A selects all your stars
Control D selects all your Defense stars
Control M selects all your Mine Layer stars
Control S selects all your Standard stars
Control E selects all your Economic stars
Control N selects all your Naval stars
Control R selects all your Rocket stars
Control F selects all your Fighter stars
When you have star(s) selected:
Pressing D turns your star(s) into a Defense stars
Pressing M turns your star(s) into a Mine Layer stars
Pressing S turns your star(s) into a Standard stars
Pressing E turns your star(s) into an Economic stars
Pressing N turns your star(s) into a Naval stars
Pressing R turns your star(s) into a Rocket stars
Pressing F turns your star(s) into a Fighter stars
When you have star(s) selected that have ships on them, single left click on target star to send half the ships, double left click to send all the ships.
The game is in a bit of flux right now with the settings being tweaked and new star types potentially being added. When the game becomes more stabilized I will write another post with some more advanced strategies and findings.
Head to http://www.alienprocess.com/StarBaron_Development/StarBaron.html to play the game. For the latest updates to the game, head to http://alienprocess.com/blog.