Having distilled the core elements of 4X strategizing into a sleek and easy to get into game, and thus having done away with lengthy tutorials and hefty pdf manuals, I am happy to declare that Star Commander has achieved an uncommon straightforwardness.
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It's the most accessible explore, expand, exploit and exterminate sim I have ever played. Not that I've played many in the past few years, but that's all the more reason to be impressed and surprised with how gentle Star Commander was with me. Besides, I can't think of many freeware turn-based 4X games of this scope.
Star Commander progresses in the traditional fashion of turn-based decision making, as you aim to claim a strategic victory via superior technology, well-run star bases and vast fleets, and canny maneuvering upon spacey, turn-based battlefields. All for the greater good, obviously.
Managing crew, hiring officers, harvesting planets for resources, and designing your very own, specialized ships are both beautifully handled and deeply addictive, as your craving for one more turn while, ignoring important deadlines and/or sleep will undoubtedly prove. The satisfaction of conquering one of Star Commander's procedurally generated galaxies can be immense, especially when your strategies and tactics have refined themselves to the point of allowing you to tackle the hardest difficulty setting.
Star Commander is available for Windows, Mac and Linux right here.