I'd really like to play this and stuff like Privateer but was wondering what a good stick would be. I don't want to break the bank or anything but I'd just like to be able to enjoy these games with fun controls.
Logitech 3D Pro if you find it at decent price (in theory it's $30 or less), or the basic Thrustmaster T-flight (not the HOTAS versions) is also good enough (TM) and should go for a similar price.
If you don't want to break the bank for these old games avoid the T-flight HOTAS or similar "faux hotas" joysticks with the full throttle lever incorporated instead of the small wheel or slider because:
1- most games have enough keyboard commands that the "HOTAS" (hands on throttle and stick, that is a flight control system that allows to have all relevant functions on throttle and stick) nature of these peripherals is moot because you'll be reaching for the keyboard all the time;
2- most old games before windows 95 don't support a throttle axis no matter what, the oversized lever would just get in the way when you need to reach the keyboard;
3- they are big but have few buttons for their overall bulk.
Privateer in particular doesn't lend itself to throttle controls even with mapping software trickery (I did something with CH Control Manager but it's... not great).
Personally I play these games with a CH Product HOTAS (568 Combatstick USB and Pro Throttle) but I am much more into them than most people.