Well, for me it all boils down to one thing: I always view strategy games as existing on a scale, with "Boardgame-like" on one end and "Simulation-like" on the other.
- Construct a highly optimized set of tight gameplay rules
- Design every decision the player must make to carry weight, with no single obviously correct choice
- Do not include game mechanics which don't contribute significantly to the above
- Implement a broad set of rules and mechanics which simulate the subject matter as realistically as possible
- Let the player loose in the world, and see what happens
Now it's a matter of personal taste which one people enjoy, but I'm firmly in the Simulation camp. I love Distant Worlds and Crusader Kings 2, since they're both very firmly on the Simulation end of the spectrum. The original X-Com was quite Simulation-like, but the Firaxis version was solidly on the Boardgame end, which is why I found it to be a disappointment. I felt like I was playing the game in a straitjacket, due to what felt like contrived choices being forced on me.
In today's interview with Sid, he said that Starships is essentially XCOM with space ships, so I'm pretty sure it won't appeal to me. Firaxis seems dedicated to the Boardgame approach, which is fine. It's all a matter of personal taste, but it's not the approach that appeals to me. To me, the advantage of modern computers is that they can do things boardgames could never do, like simulate a massively complex world. Firaxis' XCOM could be turned into an actual physical boardgame, but it would be impossible to do the same with Distant Worlds or Crusader Kings 2.