When HomeGnome and me (Archenemy) began working on 10 min space strategy our basic idea was that we should keep it as simple as possible. Bonuses must be clear and understandable. What happens must be easy to understand even to the first time player. At the same time keeping the stample 4x space strategy elements: exploring, building up fleets, space combat, research trees and technologies, colonising, building facilities on planets.
Now I have to admit our game isn't as straightforward and intuitive as our inspiration, Desktop Dungeons is. There you controlled a lone character while here, as the game progresses, you have an increasing number of planets, fleets, and menaces you have to manage. But still I think our game is far easier to understand and the pace is much faster than in a traditional 4x game.
There were some corners we cut, some things we threw away. For example, you can colonise any type of planets from the beginning. That is not the usual case in most 4x games.
Groups of monsters are placed around larger planets to encourage early agressive play and allow a more fascinating and challanging early game play before meeting other empires.
We completely cut out diplomacy. It was a painful decision but made the game flow more smoothly. Now it is a FFA basically - everyone is your mortal enemy.
We settled with only 3 types of spaceships: fighters (your main force), bombers and coloniser ships. No dreadnoughts and Death Stars... yet :)