I wrote this awhile ago for someone on here in a PM. I thought I'd share it here for anyone else that might be interested. It's from an indie dev and they finally got it boxed in-stores. If you're not down with strategy games like VGA Planets/DarkSpace/Deadlock give this one a pass.
---Time of Defiance
It was worth it to try the 7 day free trial (they got me to subscribe after all). I'm not sure the whole game is worth it though. The main problem being time is still a great equalizer. Everything takes so damn long in the regular games and in the blitz game you feel like you have to play 24/7. I've played 2 blitz games and 3 14 day games. There are usually less players in the blitz games.
There are multiple game types with different lengths and parameters. There are blitz games which last 3 days and everything runs at 8X speed. Then there are the league games which run 14-28 days and are either 1X or 2X speed. League games give you league points for being the winner (ala battle.net).
You start out on a single island out in space (or maybe an exploded planet). Why there are islands floating in space I haven't figured out yet. There are 6 types of minerals to mine from each island. Not all islands have every mineral (which means you have to transport minerals that you need from island to island). Materials can also "drip" from island to island with a communication building. There are also warpgates that can jump your ships to other locations or the merchant spacedock.
There are two types of technologies (Cog and Shadoo) or human and alien. Human craft run on one mineral (coal). Shadoo craft run on one mineral (crystal moss) and also use a second mineral as shields (water). Cog ships take wood, metal, and stone to build. Shadoo ships take only metal to build.
You send water and moss to the bank (note it is also Shadoo fuel). The material that you bank can be used to buy ships, resources, new jump gates, and intelligence. Everyone starts out as Cog so you have to bank moss and water to buy a Shadoo colonizer. Some Shadoo ships can only be built they can not be bought.
The main goal of each game seems to be suck as many islands dry of minerals as possible to feed the bank which feeds your war machine. Kill or capture any islands around you. Repeat. To take over a virgin island you have to send a colonizer to build up a new colony. If it is occupied you have to nuke any resistance and then capture the buildings.
There are land based mines and then there are ship based miners. You pretty much have to take a swarm of ship based miners and park them at and island to suck up all the resources in a reasonable amount of time. One land based mine by itself is really slow. The Cog miners mine everything except crystal moss. You need a Shadoo miner to mine crystal moss.
Cog vehicle builders build Cog ships and Shadoo vehicle builders build Shadoo ships. Also there is limited space on an island so you can only build so many builders per island. Land based defences can also be built on an island.
As far as military strategy is concerned it relies a lot on the jump gates. You can buy locations with crystal moss and then you load up your ships and port them there. Generally Cog ships go half as fast as Shadoo ships if you travel the conventional way (which is what you do most of the time). The map is split up into sectors and there can be anywhere between 0 and 4 islands per sector. If you have something in a sector you can see everything in the sector. There are scout ships to scout other sectors as well. You can buy IIBM silos from the space dock and set them on an island. It takes metal to build missles and then you can nuke other islands with them. Generally everyone has ground defences to shoot down the missles.
You have a score each game which is based on how much hardware and islands you own. I'm sure kills are also factored into the points. Players are ranked in real time and it tells you what your rank is. It also tells you if the other players are online or not.
For taking over and island you mass as much firepower as you can and then you jump in via the gate and swarm the island until someone loses. For big battles it is usually all or nothing. The general strategy is to take 10 Shadoo bombers, drop in, and you should be able to take an island with ground defences and few ship defenders. Shadoo ships are much more powerful than Cog ships. There are also Cog carrier ships which hold 5 fighters for sale from the ship dock only. I assume fighters are better against other ships but I don't really know.
My experience with carriers was some guy dropped 20 carriers on my home island and had 110 fighters swarming around in reatime. I was obliterated to say the least. My Shadoo bombers were off at another island and the 5 carriers I had at my home island weren't stocked with fighters (which take resources to build). When I did bring it all my firepower they were staggered out because of different ship speeds and I still only had half as many ships as he did.
When you start taking over islands it is like a steamrolling rolling down hill. Each island you take just adds to your resource network. The top dog in each game usually has at least twice as many points as anyone else and I attribute this to the steamroller effect. When you rape everyone elses islands for the resources they built up and mined you don't have to waste time managing that yourself. They built it all for you. The jump gates really allow you to hit anywhere anytime you want. I assume the top dog player searchs out any island that has a jump gate, drops on it, and owns it. Then they just search out again for another gate island and repeat. Effectively you have a single front of attack if you use the jumpgates for major attacks.
The parts that I don't like about the game is how long everything takes to build or to get anywhere via normal ship. Ugh.
One thing I think I miss in the game is a human element. You aren't trying to colonize or build a civilization. You build mines and defences. Repeat. There is no empiring building and no AI's report to you with a human face telling how your people are doing. You aren't researching new technology (it all already exists). You really don't have people. You have mines and defences. There is no intrigue. There aren't any palaces to build or any perks that might come with that (think Dune II or Emporer of Dune). No purpose really other than mine so you can fight and you fight so you can mine. It feels somewhat like playing the Borg.
One thing they did add after I wrote this is a materials stock market which allows you to buy and sell resources through your warp gate.