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I remember both these games in the mid to late 90's and it gave me many hours of enjoyment and is so easy to just pick up and play. You start with a simple colony and colonize the solar system from there on out, but sooner or later you will meet another civilization.
This is one of the things i loved about this game , depending on your research at the time your ships actually fire different beams/guns !. So instead of the usual one beam that gets more intense , you get different colours and shapes and end up with doomsday like weapons. In number 2 there is a powerful race out to get you and they will at times turn up and at first are not easy to beat , sooner or later you will have to take the fight to them!. This game as i said before is just so easy to pick up and play it's a shame that newer games are not as simple. There is a reason these games won so many awards :)
Oh and did i mention the space creatures?