Some friends and myself picked this game up for a small lan party we were going to do over New Year's. We were all a bit ambivalent about IF this game would be fun. Disparaging comments were made about the graphics. We even argued about the merits of buying from Steam or directly from the game creator.
So some time in the morning of Jan 1, we booted up the game and muddled our way through getting a server up. We didn't bother with the manual (a few of us did while we tried to figure out how to get our main screen turn on) since things appeared fairly straighforward. We settled down to our command stations, and since I didn't scramble for a specific station I was pegged as the captain. We set the game on the lowest difficulty settings and said "It's only 6 bucks. Not too much of a loss."
We finished that map in 15 minutes. We were clamouring for more, so we made the sector a bit busier, and the enemies tougher. What followed was over an hour of organized yelling, hasty planning and tense staring at our screens as we fought to save the space stations, guide errant freighters away from black holes and deal with angry space life. We all had our moments: Weapons lofted a pair of nukes and blotted out an entire fighter strike. Engineering somehow kept us intact and powered even though we barely managed to keep him ahead of our flailing. Comms got a trio of enemy ships to surrender in quick succession. Our helmsman suckered an invincible alien life form through a minefield to its death. Sensors ID'd targets and made damn certian we knew everything around us and made each beam shot count.
So our opinion after 80 minutes of fast and furious play? We all agreed on one thing. AGAIN.
Who got which seat, on the other hand...