...and we're back. On with the show!
War and Peace:
Moving on, let's say that the player has achieved space superiority around an enemy colony. In most 4X games there's really only two ways to go from here, orbital bombardment or planetary invasion. Both tend to be very dull affairs and usually involve siege-like tactics mixed with systematic destruction. The way I see it though, a player in this sort of situation should really have three options. First, they could knock out any connections the colony has with space, essentially making it a non-contributor to the war effort. Second, they can devastate the planet from orbit (an act that will likely upset empathetic being everywhere). Third, the player could enter negotiations with the colonists for the surrender of the planet. When you get down to it being a colonist in an interstellar empire is a bit like being a peasant in medieval fiefdom - the lord of the land may change, but what's expected of you will most likely remain the same. As for invasion...it's a logistical impossibility for anything bigger than an asteroid base or miniscule outpost. One thing the original Master of Orion got kind of right was the number of troops needed for full-scale planetary conquest. Typically the armies were measure in the tens (if not hundreds) of millions. The lack of large-scale ground combat might sound like a turn off to some traditional 4X fans, but I think this unorthodox approach has some interesting gameplay mechanics baked in.
Next time I'll continue this section on War and Peace by going into detail on leaders, diplomacy and espionage...