This is one of my favorite games of all time. I started playing the 1.0 version for Windows 3.1 back in college (or shortly thereafter). About 10 or so years ago I picked up version 4.0 for Windows 95/98 at CompUSA for the bargain price of $2. Recently I picked up version 4.0 again while messing with CrossOver Games for the Mac (more on this later in another post). While doing this, I found out the makers of the games, Delta Tao, are still developing the game and have released a 5.0 version for the Mac (these guys are actually die hard Mac gamers and have developed every version for the Mac, and versions 1.0 and 4.0 for Windows). Since I bought version 4.0 for a measely $2, I figured I could pony up $29.95 for version 5 to the developers for the new features and to keep the flame alive.
Now you’re probably wondering about now what the heck is so great about this game that he’s blathered on for a whole paragraph, yet said nothing about it. Well, Spaceward Ho! is a 4X, turn-based strategy game (that’s eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, and eXterminate for all you non-gamers out there – see Wikipedia for more info) with a nice cowboy theme to it. You start out with one home planet, a couple of scout ships, a colonization ship, and a huge galaxy to explore. How huge depends on what settings you chose to start the game. You also compete against other factions for the planets (again, you choose how many before starting), which can be colonized or strip-mined depending on the terraformability of the planet. You will inevitably have to fight other races, so you have several technologies you also develop throughout the game such as speed, mini, range, weapons, shields, and radical which let you build more powerful, faster, less-costly ships and defenses. There is much more to the game (the manual for version 5 is available online) than can be explained here, but essentially the game is easy to learn, but a lot of fun to master.
As mentioned, there is a version 5 currently for the Mac, but version 4 is still available for Windows from the developer. Go to the Spaceward Ho! page on Delta Tao’s site for more information.