You are implying that a simple system as proposed by Geoff is boring - that is however not necessarily true. Especially at such an early point, where we don't have any prototype to play with, it is quite a statement. Strategy will arise from other aspects of combat than shields and health.
Well yes -- strategy
will arise from other aspects. But what about tactics
? Certainly, for initial implementation, however, the simpler approaches are better.
Think about it this way: As an emperor you don't want to know all the details of your ships, you are working on a macro level, giving rough instructions(positions, formations, securing supply, etc).
As an emperor you wouldn't even see the battle happen at all, unless it were within immediate range of command. We are assuming here that in each battle you play the role of the general -- and such information as which systems are impaired to what degree is exactly the sort of information you run into as a commander in battles. Simplifying the reporting system means that this information can be assessed in a simple, facile way.
In addition, having ships basically fully functional to the end(but doing less damage) will also be easier on the AI programmers, because ships don't have to be judged by the AI on what components are working.
Which is why I suggested that the computer opponents have automatic regeneration to all systems (except main structure) based on a sliding scale tied to the game difficulty level. This eliminates the need for the AI programmers to code in for such assessments.
And we're already assuming that the player is going to handle it for their own ships.