I'd like to reiterate what Sepiche said, Zeitgeist. I also had a hard time really getting into the game when I first tried it (when it first came out). I thought it was okay, the tactical battles were pretty cool, but the strategy layer was just too shallow.
I tried it again when the first two expansions were out and picked up the complete version and I was completely hooked. Not only did the tactical side have tons of new toys, but the strategy layer had trade, space stations, etc.
As for a 3D starmap, why is it "Not a good idea"? I thought it worked great in SOTS1, which also has 2D maps if you're so inclined. I always preferred the 3D ones, though.