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An ANSI text game that ran mostly over BBS doorways and BBS game portals in the heyday of BBSing. The basics of the gameplay are based upon its predecessor, also text based, Barren Realms Elite. It's a strategic multiplayer empire-building game that is turn-based. Turns are given out daily, and each one gives the player a chance to advance their empire one year, doing such things as expanding their planetary base, builidng more research stations, conducting espionage, trading goods and food, balancing the budget, attacking enemies, and exchanging messages and formal diplomatic proposals with other players, just to name a few.

The fullname of the game is acutally "Solar Realms Elite for DOS: Interstellar Imperialists". It's most recent release, as far as I can find, is version 0.994b, which was released on March 7, 1995. It was written by Amit Patel

The game used to have its own BBS - The Solar Realms BBS, which was sysoped by Sun Striker out of Houston, TX. The only place I know of that still has an active version of the game today is the Exec-PC BBS, (bbs.execpc.com:23, "Doors" menu 6, option "i", registration required) a cool little operation that used to be the most popular board in the Midwest, run out of Milwaukee.

The most common screen to look at in the game was the overall "status" screen, that gave a quick overview of your empire at a glance. It looks like this (but with perty BBS-ANSI color):

Empire Status
ÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄ
-*The Vortex*-
Score:      90,034
Turns Left: 9
Money:      311,760   (Bank Loan=317,325)
Pop:        98,174 Million   (Tax Rate=15%)
Food:       321,268 Megatons
Covert:     44 Agents
Insurgency: Peaceful
Cmd. Ship:  100% completed
Military:   [Soldiers=42,674] [Fighters=36,805] [Defense Stations=63,070
]            [Generals=5657] [Heavy Cruisers=4870] [Light Cruisers=2443
            [Carriers=5613] [Mothership=1] [Effectiveness=60%]
            (Net Worth=335,731)
Planets:    [Petroleum=973] [Education=169] [Tourism=3651] [Food=1031]
            [Research=105] [Ore=160] [Government=130] [Urban=636]
            [Supply=559] [Antipollution=154] (Total=7568)
It is year 143 after the end of protection.  You have 9 turns left today.
ÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄ

Most of that is probably self-explanatory. There's planets that each serve an ongoing purpose (tourism, petrol, and ore mining all produce expendable wealth), military and treaty status, and financial outline.

To quoth the manpage in the game's instruction file:

In Solar Realms Elite (SRE), you rule a solar empire. The goal is to become and remain the most powerful empire. You can gain strength by buying forces, and you can gain size by colonizing planets. You start with 6 planets, and a little bit of money. You are required to feed your people and army, and to pay to maintain your planets and army. If you fail to do these things, disastrous results may occur. You are given 20 years ("turns") of protection, during which you can not attack or be attacked. You can not perform covert operations (except Spy). This provides a way for smaller empires to build up their defenses and planets before they enter the "real world".

Of course, as with any strategy games, there are far too many quirks and intricacies to mention them all, but suffice to say, this was one of the most absorbing, intense, text games of the BBS era. Every bit as good today, as ever.

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