Does such a thing even exist – a game that could be run without a Defense Department Subcommittee to crunch the numbers for you? I know there are miniatures available, but how do you play with them when combat is OTH and occurring mainly as missile salvoes and fighter sorties at hundreds of miles downrange? I’d love to know – the little 1/6000 fleets are nice looking bits. Maybe a space combat mod, like one of the Starmada mods?
the closest thing I can think of off the top of my head are the old Victory Games “Fleet” series of board games. we played them a lot at Uni back in the mid 80s, really good fun (and great for an all-nighter when playing some of the big scenarios)
The old miniatures game “Harpoon” comes to mind. We played the game with cardboard counters in an armoury gymnasium on a couple of occasions and had some fun doing it. Most of our time was spent moving missiles and aircraft however. At that scale the ships hardly moved at all.
I also give a thumbs up for Shipwreck. Some things are abstracted in but it is well supported by an active fan base. I can’t remember where I got my copy but it was pretty hard to find and that was in the UK. People like to tinker with the rules and there are some excellent articles on the shipwreck yahoo group. It is restricted so you need to join. I started with Harpoon but it was too detailed for the type of game I wanted.
I know you are in the US but it is in stock (apparently) at TSS