A long time ago, an Ohio-based games developer called Blue Frog Gaming released a simple football-based RPG dubbed Football Tycoon. Frankly, it was a decent game, but in the past seven and a half months since then, they’ve been hard at work improving their craft with a new release: Starfleet Commander.
Essentially, the game is a marriage of both RPG (role-playing games) and RTS (real-time strategy) elements, in a space-age setting, and powered through both Facebook and Twitter. When just starting out, the player is presented with a in-game currency bonus for simply logging in (a bonus that increases with each consecutive day you play – up to three days), and 15 menu items of merit. This is a bit daunting at first glance as there is no tutorial to ease a new player in. Thankfully, however, one begins to pick things up extremely quickly by just clicking around (and without the FAQs or Wiki!).
This comes down to the fact that the game has a built-in “tech tree” like most RTS titles. Unlike many of the Facebook RPGs out there, each menu item tends to be dependant upon another. For example, you cannot build a fleet until you have ships, which require a shipyard, which requires resources, which requires buildings to gather them, which requires power supplies to actually function. Each successive structure is dependent on a previous one, so players end up just moving up the hierarchy until they are building the items needed from the menu item needed, allowing for a very natural learning curve. The more the player plays, the more options are available, and thus more complexity.
As expected each building requires resources to create. In this case, the resources are Ore, Crystal, and Hydrogen. Each item takes X amount of time to build that may range from two minutes to over an hour. Furthermore, in the case of buildings, players must also build energy producing structures to actually make them work (think Command & Conquer power plants).
Once a player has gotten past this slow start, they can then begin bolstering defenses, building fleets, and garnering allies as they expand throughout the universe. Also, like in a mafia-style RPG, players can fight one another for profit, plundering areas, destroying fleets, and taking over colonies. Of course, such attacks can be mitigated by significant defenses. Fleets can also be saved by sending them on missions (which garner rewards like RPG style missions). The missions take hours to complete, but keep the ships from being threatened by enemy raids. Nevertheless, there is one key phrase worth repeating: “Taking over colonies.”
This is actually one of the cooler parts of Starfleet Commander. Players are not limited to just their own home world. As a matter of fact, they can colonize up to eight more planets in order to increase production of war machines, resource gathering, or whatever else they might have planned. Unfortunately, that requires a bigger fleet to protect them all, but thankfully players can form alliances with other commanders and ban together for mutual protection.
As for your friends, they too can be brought on as a crew and work as a builder, miner, scientist, or captain. Like the majority of RPGs in circulation, this grants you “Crew Points,” that are required to run tougher missions. However, players can increase these ranks with droids as well, for a cost, even though friends are free, and add extra benefits (i.e. 4% faster build times from Builders).
There is a lot of information to absorb when it comes to this game, but it is definitely worth a go; especially if you are a fan of strategy or RPG games. It has more than enough familiar elements to get any Facebook veteran started and enough new features to keep them going for a while. Granted, it is a bit slow starting out, but all this is merely the tip of the iceberg (advanced play includes multiple fleets, gifts, tech research, and more), and once one does pick up some headway, Starfleet Commander is actually quite fun.
And, while the game is still tiny, according to AppData, it seems to be on an upwards growth curve.