In a PERFECT universe we could have a real command structure style system that can be set up in different “theater of operation”. Each ship has: x crew, x officers, 1 captain. Each fleet has an admiral who in turn answers to a regional admiral.
At each level of command you need to train/maintain the manpower to support your ships. Depending on the size of ship it’ll take more/less crew/officers to man the vessel. Each officer will impact a certain number of crew members dependent on their skill level, perhaps some can juggle more crew members then others. In any case every officer provides a chance for imparting bonuses to his crews skills and/or perks. The crew themselves can also themselves come with innate bonuses to skills and/or perks. You could do this to as many levels of chain of command you want.
A few levels in chain of command bonuses would be sufficient to make contact between two different samples of the same species of similar technological advancement by a 3rd party very different based on the stacked interaction of: admiral(s), captain(s), and crew of varied training levels AND experience levels.
There is very much a difference between: Training, Experience, and just plain old Intelligence/talent. I know it’s probably asking way to much, but i was just putting that out there. Heck even ships could “level up” in a manner of speaking, thematically it could be thought of as the dedicated crew having spent so much time getting to KNOW their ship that they’re able to get it operating above factory specs in some fashion or another, or in a number of ways for that matter. Some of the “leveling up” could also perhaps be due to the ship having gathered somewhat of a name for itself which has a negative impact on enemies coming up against the ship of a less grand renown. Also could simply be specialized modification the crew have made to the ship that will not make to the factory floor due to them requiring periodic tweaking which needs the know how of the crew that installed them. All of these could of course add to what ever UPKEEP is finally added to fleets. Could get that in depth for ground units as well if you wanted too
I think it’d be cool to have Ships out there that actually have a story to be told, famous crew/officers/captains etc etc. Battles/stats could be logged by the ship or admiral? Perhaps just track things different for the admiral and the ships/captains?
My brain is just about literally mush so i know this comes out jumbled, but if any of this makes sense then feel free to comment/discuss good/bad doesn’t matter, just worth talking about either way to waste some time. This could be fleshed out to the nth degree i’m sure, and i’m just spitballin here. I really like the idea of the possibility of actually getting attached to some of your ships and their crew as they develop through their jouneys. Also adds yet another potential element if folks are into trying to track down and take down renown ships of the galaxy.
NOTE: As it stands ships do not utilize popullation, but just like ground troops it could be implemented that crew/officers/admirals have to be trained. I’m hesitant to suggest yet another building to suck up yet more of an already precious resource but things could be ballanced out OR perhaps barracks could pull double duty and have a setting to train one of the following: troops/crew/officers/admirals. Obviously training times would be different as we don’t need THOUSANDS of admirals, but this is just a rough idea anyway.