Spaceward Ho!

Back in 1990, Spaceward Ho! was my first 4X game. It introduced me to the genre, setting the stage for Civilization and every other 4X game I’ve enjoyed over the years. It was a fairly simple game by today’s standards but for a Mac game at the time, I image it was involved.

You start with a planet with a limited amount of resources. From there you branch out into the galaxy, either colonizing or strip mining each planet you came across. Planet’s cost money to have a colony on so you only kept valuable ones, unless you needed them as a refueling station. Some planets were easy to terraform, making them into money making colonies. Others were just strip mined for resources.

Travel took place from planet to planet, usually in a linear stepping stone way. Ship’s had a limited range and either needed to stop at planets you control to refuel or to have a tanker vessel with them.  You could leap frog planets if your tech was high enough and you built high range into the ship.

For the time, the ship design system was fairly involved.  You could designs ships with any value of Attack, Defense, Speed, Range and Miniaturization based on your techs and the type of ship. Fighters were faster and cheaper than Dreadnaughts but weaker. Satellites could not move and were purely defensive in nature but relatively cheap. Scoutships had a range boost but weak weapons. Whenever you first designed a ship, it cost a lot more than subsequent ships of that type in development costs. So you had an incentive to make good designs and only make new designs when an upgrade in tech was worth it.

I remember all of these things and the fun I had with the game even 20yrs later so you can imagine my joy when I heard the game was being ported to modern devices. Originally a Mac game, the conversion was done for Apple devices first.  But just recently an Android version came out. I jumped on that.

Unfortunately, it’s not really optimized very well for phones. As I don’t have an Android tablet (yet) I downloaded to my phone. The interface is to small and not easily manipulated on such a small screen.  I couldn’t even figure out the interface (while I remember some of the details, I don’t remember the interface after so long) due to the icons being so small and hard to click on.

Sadly this means no nostalgic gaming for me right now.  I have the game, so if we do ever get an Android based tablet I can play it but for now I’ll just have to make do with my modern, advanced games. Except I’m putting Civ on hiatus until the expansion comes out. But StarDrive will be out sooner…


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