Star Trek: The Next Generation: Birth of the Federation
Star Trek: The Next Generation: Birth of the Federation is a 4X turn-based computer strategy game, based in the Star Trek fictional universe, that was released in 1999. It was published by Microprose, makers of Master of Orion and Civilization.
The similarities to Microprose's earlier title Master of Orion become easily noticeable when playing the game for the first time: "Anyone who has played Master of Orion will find Birth of the Federation very familiar.".
The entire game is set in The Next Generation era, with only starships and races from that series and a few ships from Deep Space Nine included. There are no ships or races from the original series or Star Trek: Voyager unless they appeared on The Next Generation.
Although the title of the game is Birth of the Federation, the player can choose from five political entities:
* United Federation of Planets
* Cardassian Union
* Klingon Empire
* Romulan Star Empire
* Ferengi Alliance
In addition, many minor races can be befriended by the player and can eventually become part of their empire (either by joining peacefully or by Conquest). There are 30 minor races in the game in total: the Acamarians, the Andorians, the Angosians, the Antedeans, the Anticans, the Bajorans, the Bandi, the Benzites, the Betazoids, the Bolians, the Bynars, the Caldonians, the Chalnoth, the Edo, the Ktarians, the Malcorians, the Mintakans, the Mizarians, the Nausicaans, the Pakleds, the Selay, the Sheliak, the Takarans, the Talarians, the Tamarians, the Trill, the Ullians, the Vulcans, the Yridians and the Zakdorn. Each Minor race has its own special building that, when built, gives the player's Empire some benefits. For example, the Bajoran Jalanda Forum improves the player's empire morale. In addition, each minor race has its own political preferences for certain empires: for instance it is quite difficult for the Federation to convince the Chalnoth (a violent warrior race) to join them; however it is far easier for the Klingons to do so. Though because getting minor races to join your empire essentially involves just giving them money, any empire can get any minor races, if it has enough funds (although some races, like the Mizarians, will willingly surrender to the first empire they meet). In addition, if a race joins the empire peacefully, they will retain the option of seceding. This can be used by a rival empire to diplomatically steal systems from others.
Another important part of the game is morale. Each system has a morale rating which depends on many factors, which differ from empire to empire. For example, if the player controls the Federation, a declaration of war will significantly lower morale. For Klingons, it is the opposite. Federation morale is very difficult to maintain, while Romulan is the easiest. If a system's morale falls too much, the population of the system attempts to rebel. If the rebellion remains unchecked, the system will declare independence. Unlike major and minor races, conquest is the only option for returning an independent system to the empire.
The purpose of the game is to create the most powerful Empire in the galaxy. This is achieved through diplomacy, colonization of new worlds and defeating your rivals. Winning the game in an alliance with a rival Empire is also possible. Multiplayer is available over a LAN, or the Internet.
The game is played on a 2d Galaxy Map which represents star systems, task forces, empire borders and other space phenomena via the use of icons. It is similar to the one used in Master of Orion. There are also separate screens for empire research, colony management, intelligence and diplomacy which are all accessed from a right-click main menu.
Space Battles are also turn-based, but are in 3D using software rendering. Tactics, such as ram and evade, are given to ships before the turn button is pressed.
The player can build a variety of starships for this task ranging from Oberth class starship scouts to colony ships, and Romulan Warbirds. Cloaking represents a huge advantage in the game, and cloaking fleets can easily put the outcome of a battle beyond doubt with their strike on the first turn. The non-cloaking races are given powerful fast attack vessels like the Federation Defiant Heavy Escort for example. If set to "evade", these ships can dodge fire and wipe out a large fleet.
Random events (which can be disabled) include a Borg Cube, the Crystalline Entity, Gomtuu and other powerful craft, most of which take a fleet to destroy. Unfortunately, they may appear at the very beginning of the game and destroy your empire before you even have a chance to start it. Another vehicle appears as a random event that was featured in a previously developed Microprose Star Trek game: The Chodak were a powerful and ancient race that featured prominently in Star Trek: A Final Unity, there they were aggressors against the Federation in numerous confrontations and their dreadnaughts appear randomly on the BOTF galactic battlefield.
Some warp-capable neutral races will have powerful defense ships of their own, but will not attempt to capture other systems.