Spaceward Ho! is a turn based strategy computer game. You start with a single planet and a small selection of space craft, money and raw material. You have to research new technology, discover and colonize new worlds and keep your enemies at bay.

Yes, it sounds exactly like Stars!. Spaceward Ho! is 10 years old, however, so I assume that Stars! is a rip off.

It is made by Delta Tao Software for Mac but the latest version is available for Windows as well. It won the MacWorld Game Hall of Fame award for Best Network Game of 1997. Spaceward Ho! consists of two simple components: resource management and exploration. You start with a planet that generate profits proportional to its population, and that can be spent on either research or ship savings. Money spent on research gives access to more advanced technologies, which in turn gives deadlier weapons, stronger shields and faster ships with a greater range. Profit spent on ship savings can later be used to purchase defense satellites and ships.

The most critical resource, however, is metal. In order to build your fleet of ships, you will need metal. There's only so much metal on your home planet, so before long you will have to explore other planets in search of the precious raw material.

When exploring other planets, you will run into more or less habitable planets. Some planets are worth colonizing, some only worth having for mining. It all depends on each planet's natural conditions.

This would all be easy if you were all alone, but that is not the case. The galaxy is inhabited by other races with the same goal as you; total galaxy dominance. This is why you have to build war ships and defense systems. When you least expect it, a fleet of alien warships can attack your planet without any warning.

All in all, a very enjoyable single and multiplayer game. The game allows chat, messaging, alliances and turn clocks .

And yes, Spaceward Ho! is also with a "!" at the end...

2005.9.8@16:25 smartalix says I think Spaceward Ho! is almost 20 years old. I remember playing a B&W version on the original Mac. It's available today for Palm devices on the Delta Tao site:

Spaceward Ho! is still around. As of 2015, the game is available for iOS and Android devices (including the Amazon Kindle), as well as on Mac OS X. While it is a faithful port, down to the easter eggs, the fact that multiplayer seems to be missing is a major disappointment. Still, it's nice to have one of the earliest 4X games (I think Reach for the Stars predates it) handily available on my iPhone and iPad (it's a universal app on iOS, so you only buy it once). The touch-screen interface, while functional, feels a bit clunky compared to the old simple mouse-driven one - managing fleets is not terribly intuitive (you don't select a fleet then drag from the planet it's at to the destination, you drag the actual fleet icon in the popup to the destination, e.g.; also, you can't move individual ships between fleets, just split them in half ad infinitum).

Still, at $4.99 US, it's a cheap nostalgic win. It's now made by Ariton Software (I'm not sure of their relation to the original makers, Delta Tao).

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