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This is a Great Game!
If you like space games, you will love this game
Pick Your Level of Play
Lensman provides three versions, each more complex and detailed than the last. Game 1 is a fun, quick game that plays in a few hours. Game 2 is a longer game with exploration, industrialization, production and lots of combat. Game 3 is the most complex version with tactical combat in deep space or in star systems uniquely generated for each game.
Enormous Variation in Play
One of the best things about it is the great variation in play from game to game. Although the game is not very complex the choices you have allow you to have really different strategies and tactics. You create your own, rather than picking from a chart.
Some games can be enjoyable if replayed, but even individual combats in Lensman can be replayed. Here's why. Each ship has a power factor and a shield factor. A typical ship might have 7 power and 4 shield factors. You can allocate your power to beams or shields, but no more than your shield factor. So those 7 power factors can put up a nice 4 factor shield and leave 3 left over for beam attacks. But if your opponent follows suit, neither of you will be able to do much damage. Maybe you could reduce your shields a bit to get some more offensive capability. Or you could put all your power into beams. That means that you'll be destroyed if even one beam factor is used against you. But, maybe your opponent won't fire at all of your ships. You could get away with it! Maybe you should put at least one beam factor against every one of your opponent's ships to discourage such aggressive tactics.
This means that even combat between two freighters (1 power and 1 shield each) can be exciting. In most games, freighters wouldn't be able to attack at all. In Lensman it's a mini-game all its own!
In Game 2 and Game 3 your exploration strategy is crucial. But, what's the best way? Do you send a few scouts and have them move on after exploring a star system? You could build lots of scouts and send one to each star system so they can occupy it once they get there. But you need radioactives, and it will take extra time to send a freighter when you find them. Maybe you should send freighters instead of scouts. But freighters are very slow compared to scouts. Maybe you should send a scout followed by a freighter, to every star system. That would be optimal. It would also be very expensive. It really depends on what your opponent is doing, along with your luck in finding resources.
Also, since star systems are generated anew for each game, in Games 2 and 3, you never know exactly what you'll find, although the star's spectral class, represented by its color, gives significant clues.
Tactical combat is particularly cool with orbital forts, torpedoes, tractor beams, mines, freighters, troops, planetary bases, asteroid belts and gas clouds. The forts orbit the planets they defend and if you do it just right you can slip a ship up to the opposite side of the planet from where the fort is. That lets you drop troops or fire on a base or wreak havoc on the industry of the world without being fired on by the fort. But it's not easy to do.
The original Lensman game is © 1969, Norstrilia Software, Inc. All other material is copyright 2004 - 2010, Norstrilia Software, Inc.