Simulating the struggle between the nations of the Star Trek universe, Begin: A Tactical Starship Simulation puts you in charge of a fleet or a single ship against adversaries of your choosing. Four nations are available for the player to choose from; Federation, Romulan, Klingon, and Orion. After selecting who you will play and who the computer will play as you will then need to select the ships involved. This step allows the player to adjust the difficulty of the game to their choosing. If you'd like you can have a one-on-one battle or if you'd rather have an all out war between nine ships on each side. It's also possible to have a battle where the odds are stacked in your favour or on theirs with completely adjustable numbers up to nine on each side. After the number has been decided upon you will have to select just which specific ships are engaged. The choice is yours from hulking freighters to agile birds of prey. Once all the variable have been decided on it is time to do battle.
Concentrating more on the various surprises of battle Begin: A Tactical Starship Simulation does not allow players to place their ships wherever they like. Your ships and your enemies' ships are placed at random places as shown on a small thumbnail and specified through written coordinates on the main play/command window. From this point on the strategies are all up to you. You may choose which weapons to fire with, where to move, and even choose to self destruct. Moves are made by typing out what you'd like to do, for example; "TORPEDO" or "TOR" for short (the game understands three letter summary commands). At this point you will be prompted which bays to fire from or what spread to use (for PHASERS) etc. After this the game will perform the commanded move and the turn will be over. A summary of events and outcomes of the turn will be listed and a read-out of ship status will be updated. Random events such as weapon malfunction are possible and you may get reports from other parts of your ship by typing in the right command. Reports available include; Casualties, Engine Temperatures, and lots more.
Battles continue until one entire fleet is destroyed and a report is given at the end as to how you have performed.