Definitely some interesting ideas in there!
Von Neumann Cloud - A cloud of self replicating machines. Each machine acts as an automated self propelled war heads. As long as they have access to raw materials like a planet or moon the cloud can grow exponentially large. Each swarm can contain hundreds or thousands of machines.
So, by design, they'd be self-destruct devices (warheads) rather than actual ships? Technically, a cloud of sentient missiles so to speak?
Wouldn't the drawback be that one explosive device would set them all off?
Cyber Slicer Ship - Small stealth ship equipped with advanced hacking tools. Can steal information and credits from colonies or in battle hack enemy ships removing friendly ships from their sensors or change making their allies appear to be enemies.
I actually have three variants of these, but I like the implications you're listing here. Especially "removing allied ships from sensors". My other cloaked hackers deal mostly with sensor hacking, casting illusions, etc. Assuming one of these ships can only hack one enemy ship at a time, it would need to work in taskforce to defeat a fleet's vision and create an incursion, and I can see fun in trying to plan such an attack, or thwart it.
The stealing "information" part is a bit tricky, but its food for thought as well.
I also like the misinformation part where you turn allies into enemy blips, causing potential political turmoil. I have one species that focuses on that, so I'll be sure to include this somehow!
Dimensional Drift - A dimensional drift ships in not bound by standard 3 dimensional movement they can effectively move freely to anywhere in range by passing through another dimension.
Superconductive fan ship - A superconductive ship is completely immune to all energy based weapons. The hull transmits the energy and heat from these attacks harmlessly across the hull into arrays that radiate the energy into space.
Interesting. It's a bit of a "beam weaponry hoser" kind of hull, but it would be interesting to throw something similar into the mix and see how people would react (whether they expect their enemy to use it or not, and how they respond to it). I would try to make sure that it does not obliterate the use of beam weaponry though.
Hard Rock Powered Ultimate Weapon - As featured in my favorite anime series of all time Black Heaven( you can see it used at around the 50 second mark in this clip http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9LYz29JVHDc) The ultimate weapon is capable destroying an entire fleet in an single blast and is powered by groove. The collective excitement and happiness of the people watching the performance determines the power of the weapon. So it could a weapon the turns the empires moral into offensive weapon.
I like the idea of channeling morale, but this implementation feels indeed a bit anime. I'd want something a bit more science-related.
I currently have a species that has a strong empathic capacity, and the abilities of the ships become stronger based on the amount of population onboard. It sort of ties in with your idea here, except it doesn't apply to actual firepower per se.
Mouse Missile - Missiles that deliver of a payload of techno organic lifeforms that rapidly disable or destroy ships they hit.
Like nanobots? I'm trying to refrain from using uber-powerful concepts as they would be hard to counter and would make for potentially dull gameplay. Assuming the nanobots would work like a poison (take longer than regular weaponry to take effect) it could work for hit-and-run tactics perhaps?
Black Hole ship - a super weapon that once activated shrinks in size and grows in mass until forms an artificial singularity trapping and destroying nearby ships and forcing changes to navigation around the anomaly. Can be used a weapon or to create "walls" in space.
I actually had a static defense behave much like that, but the idea of a mobile starship performing this is actually great. Some kind of a mobile warp well is indeed something that I'd like to implement. One of my species deals in physics and could do with such a ship very well.
Tree Ship - A ships powered by a sacred tree (As seen in the tenchi muyo series) carries minimal weapons but a nearly indestructible defensive system in a one on one battle the Tree Ship will never be destroyed. They can also create pocket dimensions inside themselves making the ideal for tourism, travel, and colonization. One tree ship could carry hundreds of times as many people as a comparable ship of its size.
So, in essence, its cargo capacity would not be directly tied to extra mass? I'm affraid I already have one of those.
How exactly does it defensive system work? why is it so tough to break?
Cluster ships - are made of dozens of small ships joined together to function as single ship. They are effective transports as each is small an lightly equipped but combined act as a much larger single ship. They can also in emergency separate and scatter to allow most of the cluster to escape an aggressor. If worse comes to worse you might lose one or two small ships rather than a single large ship and all its cargo.
Third person to mention the Cluster Ship. I really need to look into this then
Forwarding Platform - A space platform that can send ships fast distance instantly. Of course if you con't have a forwarding platform at the other end then it will be a one trip or take a long time to return.
I've called them Warpgates, but they are the same in essence. Once again, only one species has access to this.
Solar Sailing ship - Requires no engine thanks to its light weight design and vast solar sails that propel it by the solar winds.
Yeah, one of the first ships I made, following some extensive research on wikipedia. The concept intrigued me and I messed around until I figured this one out. Sadly only good at transport, not warfare, but still a good economic ship because of the free movement.
Near Light Speed Accelerator escape pod. -Taking advantage of the effects of relativity the ship accelerates to near light speed and then slows down. Effectively sending it hours, days, weeks, or even years into the future.
I'm having a rough time figuring the implications of forward time travel in a turn-based strategy game. Would the ship disappear for a few turns, and then reappear someplace else afterwards? Would there be strategic gain and denying yourself the use of this ship for all of this time?
Or as you suggest, would it be a last resort to "spare" a ship from destruction (rather than being destroyed, the ship disappears for 3-5 turns, and then reappears).
Comfort Cruiser - Luxury ship that carries companions for "comfort" to planets. Generates income, increases the happiness of the colony, add establishes espionage networks.
The first two I can understand, but how would the comfort cruiser help espionage? Wouldn't the enemy see the ship? If I see a comfort cruiser I didn't build come my way, I'd probably shoot it dead unless I also get a benefit from it? Is the intent to have the ship increase the colony, regardless of the owner? in such a way, you could "loan it" to other players, but still get leverage on them as you would reap information from the "temporary trade" so an enemy will never know if your offer is genuine, or an attempt to doublecross them?
Holo ship - a simple drone designed to generate holographic ship and false sensor data. Useful for launching fake attacks on an enemy diverting their fleet away from the real fleet.
Got this one too already.
Thanks for the ideas, very clever concepts in there. I doubt I can implement all of them, but I might be able to modify some of the ideas and come up with great hulls!