Has anyone ever heard of this game, "Stars!" that you play by email?
I picked up a copy years ago and I'm just now playing my second online game. It's really a unique experience, especially for people like me (and I know there are a lot of people here) who are hard-core science fiction fans.
In the first game I played, I was fighting tooth and nail right from the beginning. In this game, I am lucky enough to be out near the galaxy's edge and surrounded by friends. But the races in the core are fighting. There are three separate wars going on (that we know of, it's a big galaxy, there are probably other wars happening). Three of my allies are fighting a coalition made up of the two strongest races. It was bad at first, but they've managed to fight their way to a standstill. For the last several years, we've been discussing our counter attack plans.
Me? I've never even seen an enemy warship. Not even a scout from one of the hostile races has made it far enough from the core to enter my territory. I'm building bombers and other support ships and giving them to my allies. There is just something really cool about the fact that I'm building ships to fight a race I've never seen - only heard about. Doesn't that sound like something from a classic scifi story?
There is another race out near the edge where I am and that player has apparently quit. He hasn't submitted a turn for several years. I tried getting in touch with him, but had no luck. So it's as if his race had some kind of calamity and fell into a dark age. If he had just talked to me, I could have helped him along and he could have joined our alliance. But now it looks like his species will go extinct - steamrolled by larger and stronger races. It's a little sad. Nobody will ever know or care who he was. We wont even give a moment's pause as we take planets that used to be his.