The similarities to Microprose's earlier title Master of Orion become easily noticeable when playing the game for the first time: "Anyone who has played Master of Orion will find Birth of the Federation very familiar". On WarZone you can still play this great game with your friends online in a dedicated Lobby!
The entire game is set in The Next Generation era, with only starships and races from that series and movies. There are no ships or races from the original series, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Star Trek: Voyager unless they appeared on The Next Generation.
Although the title of the game is Birth of the Federation, the player can choose from five political entities:
- United Federation of Planets
- Cardassian Union
- Klingon Empire
- Romulan Star Empire
- Ferengi Alliance
In addition, many minor races can be befriended by the player and can eventually become part of their empire (either by joining peacefully or by Conquest). There are 30 minor races in the game.
The purpose of the game is to create the most powerful Empire in the galaxy. This is achieved through diplomacy, colonization of new worlds and defeating rivals. Winning the game in an alliance with a rival Empire is also possible. Multiplayer is available over a LAN, or the Internet.
The game is played on a 2d Galaxy Map which represents star systems, task forces, empire borders and other space phenomena via the use of icons. Map size vary from small (10x13), medium(12x16) and huge (18x26). There are also separate screens for empire research, colony management, intelligence and diplomacy which are all accessed from a right-click main menu.
Space Battles are also turn-based, but are in 3D using software rendering. Tactics, such as ram and evade, are given to ships before the turn button is pressed.
The player can build a variety of starships for this task ranging from Oberth class starship scouts to colony ships, and Romulan Warbirds.
Random events (which can be disabled) include a Borg Cube, the Crystalline Entity, Gomtuu and other powerful craft.