This idea was inspired by an anonymous post for help creating a market for space trading elements of his game. The base idea is simple :
Trade goods, but be careful, there's a war on.
This is how I visualize the concept at this point :
There's a war on between several different races. You are neutral. You are a trader and nothing more. You can buy and sell whatever is available on a planet, carry it to another planet and trade.
The planets of each race create the market in this fashion :
A small group of planets are the main producers of base materials (say steel) who ship their products to …
Another group of planets who require that product to produce a secondary product (say steel plating)
The secondary planets send their products to the third tier of planets who make the final product (say, a space cruiser)
Gameplay will be focused around finding and making deals. The player will have to watch the news. Here's a blatant chance to make a buck :
In the news... * Zonti steel producers overproduce steel plating this month. * Kon shipyards report a lack of steel plating.
Even if the news is this blatant, the player will have to consider his current location and whether the costs of buying steel from the Zonti's and selling steel plating to the Kon is worth it. In addition, in the time it takes the player to travel from the Zonti steel plate planet to the Kon shipyard planet, someone else may have already made up for the shortage.