I cannot duplicate this problem. How are you installing the package?

# apt-get install netrek-server-vanilla
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree       
Reading state information... Done
The following extra packages will be installed:
The following NEW packages will be installed:
  libgmp3c2 netrek-server-vanilla
0 upgraded, 2 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded.
Need to get 923kB/1358kB of archives.
After this operation, 3396kB of additional disk space will be used.
Do you want to continue [Y/n]? y
WARNING: The following packages cannot be authenticated!
Install these packages without verification [y/N]? y
Get:1 http://ppa.launchpad.net hardy/main netrek-server-vanilla 2.13.0ubuntu0.3 [923kB]
Fetched 923kB in 7s (131kB/s)                                                  
Preconfiguring packages ...
Selecting previously deselected package libgmp3c2.
(Reading database ... 13344 files and directories currently installed.)
Unpacking libgmp3c2 (from .../libgmp3c2_2%3a4.2.2+dfsg-1ubuntu2_i386.deb) ...
Selecting previously deselected package netrek-server-vanilla.
Unpacking netrek-server-vanilla (from .../netrek-server-vanilla_2.13.0ubuntu0.3_i386.deb) ...
Setting up libgmp3c2 (2:4.2.2+dfsg-1ubuntu2) ...

Setting up netrek-server-vanilla (2.13.0ubuntu0.3) ...

Processing triggers for libc6 ...
ldconfig deferred processing now taking place
/# echo $?

server runs as root unecessarily
You received this bug notification because you are a member of Netrek
Server Team, which is a direct subscriber.

Status in Netrek Server: In Progress

Bug description:
The server runs as root, but it does not need to.

To run as non-root, the packaging should create a username to operate within, and chmod /var/lib/netrek-server-vanilla, and the init.d script should use the created username.  A username of netrek is suggested.