Imagine playing Risk in real time, with new armies showing up continually and attacks occurring as fast as you and your opponents can order them. Or imagine a 4X space conquest game stripped down to the barebones essentials. With graphics that look like they come from a minimalist shmup. With games typically taking 5 minutes, and playable online against up to 11 other players...
Sounds wild? It is, and you've just imagined Galcon.
You start with control of one or a handful of stars, each with some number of ships. To attack another star, you click on the origin and then the destination; by default, 50% of the ships at the origin are sent on the attack, although you can change that with the scroll wheel. Overtime, every star you own generates new ships--the bigger the star, the faster. Initially, many stars are neutral, with some number of defending ships.
There's a short set of tutorial games to teach you the controls, and a series of 'missions' you can play by yourself (but only one is available in the demo). But where the game shines is in multiplayer--frenetic space combat with an element of diplomacy (there's a chat scroll, with messaging to other players for those quick, expedient alliances). The developer hosts a pretty well populated server, or you can set up your own for play over the LAN.
Fast, fun, multiplayer with the fiero engendered by crushing your foes under the assault of your massive fleet of starships... So fast, in fact, that you can get a cathartic half dozen games in during your lunch hour before going back to whatever brain-benumbing task your supposed to be accomplishing.
It Came From Ludum Dare
Phil Hassey decided to participate in the annual Ludum Dare competition, in which people are asked to program and upload a game within 48 hours. This game is the result (read Phil's blog post on his entry). It swept the competition, winning #1 in the categories of Fun, Graphics, and Sound, and #2 in the Innovation category. Since then, he's been expanding and updating the game, to produce the current polished (but from our perspective, still pleasingly lo-fi and indie) game.
If the gameplay sounds like something you'd like, you have to check it out.