||A good follow up to Empires at War and also the least buggy of the series. Loosely based on the Starfleet Battles board games, it is quite simply the best tactical starship combat simulator ever put out for Star Trek. The main flaw with this game is that there is no story campaign available as in the first two games. The ability to play as one of eight new pirate cartels is fun and interesting for a while but the novelty wears off quickly as you are still playing the same kinds of missions, only now you are playing as an Orion Pirate. Contrary to what the above reviewer said, you have sixteen choices for race, eight empires including the usual suspects, Federation, Klingons and Romulans but also the Gorn and new comers from the Starfleet Battles universe, Mirak Star League (really the Kzinti with the name changed for licensing purposes), Hydran Kingdoms, Lyran Star Empire and the Federation's dark twin, the Interstellar Concordium. All of these empires have vast lists of ships to fly and each race plays radically different. The eight pirate cartels are essentially mirrors of the major empires with the only really notable one being the Hydran themed cartel which gives the player the option of flying Space Monsters. You have more or less total freedom to take your ship anywhere in the galaxy via a map that constantly updates to reflect territory and planets changing hands as the various empires go to war. Combat occurs in real time and takes some time for the uninitiated to master but once mastered it is the most rewarding capital ship space combat experience around and certainly the most fun to be had in a Star Trek game. Successful missions in enemy space may result in said space being handed over to your empire but without a story backing the game, you are effectively fighting over hexes on a map that make a negligible effect on the game. Had Starfleet Command II: Empires at War's campaign been bundled with this stand alone expansion, the game would have been dramatically improved.