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Master of Orion II: Battle at Antares is a turn-based strategy game that puts you in complete control of your species' race for galactic control and domination. When setting up your game, you can either take control of one of 13 pre-designed alien races or design your own custom built race with the advantages and background of your choice. You also determine the size of the galaxy, the number and intelligence of your opponents, and the age of the starting civilizations.
Once you start the game, you immediately begin making decisions that will determine the future viability of your species by setting production orders, research goals, and career assignments. Once you have the capability, you will design ships to take advantage of your latest technological advances and begin exploring and colonizing the galaxy.
The game features over 200 technologies available for discovery, through research, trade with allies, or espionage. You may also stumble across ancient artifacts left behind by civilizations unknown that can give your scientists a great leap forward. Fleet combat can be handle either strategically or tactically, with you in direct control of every ship and action.
A complex diplomacy engine allows for trade with other computer or human players, as well as espionage and declarations of war. If you prefer a more peaceful existence, play or design a race gifted in the diplomatic arts and try to be elected ruler by the Galactic Council. Watch out — the Antarrans, long banished from this reality and their home world of Orion, may be coming back! ~ Jason A. Osborne, All Game Guide