Windows - 1996
Description of Stars!
Undoubtedly one of the best and most underrated 4X strategy games ever made, Stars! is a massive strategic romp through the universe that plays best in multiplayer mode.
Your goal? To take over said universe... or any of several other victory goals; universal domination is just the most fun and challenging.
What distinguishes Stars! from other galactic conquer titles is the multi-faceted complexity that is concealed beneath a deceptively simple mouse-driven interface. The game runs smoothly in a window, and everything you need to know about your budding empire (or a thriving war machine) can be accessed via menus or shortcut keys. After choosing the size of the universe you want (five sizes are available, from Tiny to Huge), you can add up to 15 (!) other players, both AI or human. Then you can set this up as play-by-email (PBEM) -- a welcome feature that unfortunately not too many games nowadays support.
The beauty of Stars! is that the game gets more complex as you play, without bogging you down with tedious micromanagement. It is not uncommon for a huge battle later in the game to involve hundreds of ships or more, but the interface is so well-designed that managing your fleet is a breeze. The ship design interface is one of my most favorite features in the game: similar to Master of Orion, you can design your own ships by choosing various components.
Stars! boasts even more components, and numerous technologies that can upgrade each area. The computer AI is more than adequate, although the game is most fun in multiplayer mode against fellow human commanders. With a top-notch user interface, addictive "just one more turn" gameplay, and a challenging computer player, Stars! is a worthy entrant in our Hall of Belated Fame.
Aside from dedicated support to the game, developers Mare Crisium are also hard at work on Stars! Supernova Genesis, the sequel that has all the makings of another underrated classic (note: the title got cancelled). Highly recommended!
Review By HOTUD
Captures and Snapshots
Comments and reviews
Alex 2022-07-29 1 point
I seem to have made it -- the key being http://www.abandonia.com/vbullet/showthread.php?t=27770 to install a 16-bit windows on dosbox. (It takes peazip or some other decompressor, since the file comes as a .RAR which one must unpack). I'm finally seeing Stars!'s initial window... now to do the tutorial to refresh my memory of something I haven't played for 20+ years!-)
Alex 2022-07-28 0 point
I'd love to revisit memories of a quarter century ago by playing Stars! -- but all I have today is a brand-new Windows-11 machine. I've spent hours struggling with virtualbox, dosbox, virtual CD utilities such as magiciso and wincdemu... the most "success" I've had so far is a dosbox showing a z:\ prompt with the Stars!.cue file "mounted" as e: and a dir e: showing an apparently correct list of files, including a setup.exe -- but when I try to run e:\setup.exe from the prompt it immediately exits with the error message "this is a Windows 16-bit executable". Can anybody suggest the best, simplest way to proceed...? Thanks in advance!
simplyme 2022-02-28 -1 point
thanks heaps to GRANDIZER's post.
RE : using "WineVDM".
Used to really enjoy this game - but late 2021 upgraded comp from Win Vista to Win 10 64bit ... and since have been unable to play it.
the WineVDM trick worked (although did have to install an update for Microsoft Visual C++ first, so I could get WineVDM to run on win 10).
James Miller 2022-01-12 1 point
In the top 3 of best strategy games I've ever played, I first tried it back in 1997 and now have it loaded via Virtual Box on Windows 10 and it works fine. The AI in this game DOESN'T cheat but it is good. Endless gameplay, you can use varying strategies, automate cargo, mine, and other ships to automatically load all load only particular minerals, fuel, cononists, etc. and it all just works. Very simple interface but it's all in one window (you can resize it to whatever size fits you. They made this game right.
Grandizer 2021-08-19 1 point
A true classic! Currently playing on Win10 (64bit). Search for and download "WineVDM", edit the install.reg and change the path ("c:\\otvdm\\otvdmw.exe") for the two MappedExeName lines, save & double-click the install.reg file to add to the registry, and you can now run all 16-bit windows files in Win10, including stars26x.exe. It might give you problems on a 4k display, but at 1920x1080 looks as good as it did back in 1995.
Webjam 2021-07-04 0 point
You can play Stars! On Windows 10 as long as you install the 32 bit version of Windows 10. It is working fine for me.
aaqarab 2021-04-12 -1 point
One of the best games I never played, and after all not so difficult , the manual is impressive but easy to learn.
KingCrispy 2019-10-03 5 points
I have been playing this masterpiece for 23 years... that alone should say enough... endless variety and endless strategies to explore.
AlEcyler 2019-06-26 2 points
I'd been hunting this down for ages.
This is one of the best 4X games I've ever played to date.
Graw 2019-02-28 1 point
It is best use free Oracle VM Virtual Box in case you own windows 95/98/XP. You can get much better resolution and it works quite well.
It is much better than use it on Win 3.11.
It is really good game, it is pitty that the Stars! Supernova Genesis was not finished.
Your name here 2018-10-28 0 point
Hi, I just wanted to add one comment about the complexity of this game. It lets you design your own race in ways I have never seen in any other game - from the general type (warmongers, star gate specialists etc.), through climate requirements and reproduction rates down to small industrial details. Moreover the choices aren't made in vacuum and picking some options will change the cost of others. You can spend countless hours tweaking and testing your favorite race. On the other hand, you can simply take one of those pre-made by the developers and have fun.
HOW_TO_PLAY 2017-04-04 2 points
I use Daemon Tools Lite to mount and install the game to hard drive. Also, Normal Dosbox won't work because this is a Windows 3.11 game. You will need to do a web search for: Windows 3.11 for Dosbox and follow that setup guide. Once you have all that done, you will need to mount the game like any other game in Dosbox to play it. Hope this helps.
Skypup 2017-01-11 -3 points
Hello...Thanx for providing this 4X strategy game. I read your Abandonwre Guide first by I still have problems understanding how to effectively start this game... After downloading & unzipping the large (windows) download, I get 3 files. A bin, cue and store file. All 3 files are associated with VCG (Virt. Clone Drive) and have the sheep icon next to them. I left click or right click on them, but get 'error - Cannot open VCD'. Am I supposed to do an IMGmount with the big ISO folder within Dosbox? - Any info appreciated.
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