Each player controls a faction that wants to develop its presence in the galaxy by exploring new planets and establishing colonies on them.
By controlling planets you will be able to gather the resources that you will use later to explore other planets, build colonies and factories, and, sometimes, terraform distant worlds.
All these actions are accomplished using action cards. Players will take turns in placing their cards on the planning board during the planning phase, at the beginning of each game round.
Actions are then executed in sequence, during the action phase (see page 5), and each player may act when a new card is revealed. When each of the action cards on the planning board has been executed in sequence, the game round is over and a new one begins, with a new planning phase.
- 1 planning board
- 150 resource cards
- 55 action cards
- 25 starship pawns
- 25 colony pawns
- 25 factory pawns
- 25 terraformer pawns
- 11 alien artifacts cards
- 43 planets:
- 9 stars
- 5 scoring tokens, 1 per player
- 1 first player token
- 5 player reference sheets
Object of the Game
The players' successes in developing their civilization are turned into victory points by means of scoring actions, one of the different actions players may perform.
The game ends when one player scores 50 points, or when all planets have been explored. At the end of a round in which either condition has been fulfilled, the game ends and the player with the most victory points is the winner.
Each player chooses one color and takes all the gaming components in that color:
- 11 action cards
- 4 starship pawns
- 4 colony pawns
- 4 factory pawns
- 4 terraformer pawns
- 1 scoring token
- 1 reference card
Place the nine stars, face up, on the table. Eight of the stars are either yellow or red, and have a distinct shape (large, small, twin, or nebula). One of the stars is white, instead. This is Sol, our sun, where the players start the game.
Place as many face down planets around the white star as there are players. This is the starting system (each individual star with planets surrounding it is called a system).
Each player turns one of the planets in the starting system face up, at random, and places a factory on it. No player should have an alien planet as his starting planet. If such a planet is drawn, replace it with another random one.
Place all other planets around the other suns, face down. There should be three to seven planets in each system, in any combination.
Sort the resource cards by type. Then place them in separate drawing decks next to the gaming area, face up, forming the resource bank.
Shuffle the alien artifact cards and place them in a drawing pile next to the gaming area, face down.
Note: Players should decide before beginning whether they want to use the optional "Omnibus Rebus Responsum" (Answer to Everything) and "Magnum et Antiquum Arcanum" (Great Old Secret) cards.
Each player takes one resource card of each type. The planning board is placed on the table. With 3 or 4 players, the first 12 spaces are used. With 5 players, all 15 spaces are used.
Players randomly select one player to be the first player, who takes the first player token. All players place their scoring token on the victory points track of the planning board, on the "0" space.
Each player places one of his starships in "deep space" (anywhere on the table in-between the star systems). The first round can now begin.
Example of Setup
The game is played in rounds. Each round starts with the planning phase, followed by the action phase.
In the first round, the first player is randomly determined. This player remains the first player until a player reveals a scoring card. From then on, the first player is the player who last played a scoring card.
Starting with the first player and proceeding around the playing table in clockwise order, each player plays one of his action cards, face down, on any of the empty spaces of the 12 (or 15 with 5 players) spaces on the planning board.
This continues until all spaces are full. Each player will play a total of three cards during this phase in a 4- or 5-player game, or four cards in a 3-player game.
Note: You may place the action cards anywhere on the planning board, as long as you place them on an empty space. It is not necessary to fill the lower-numbered spaces before the higher-numbered ones.
After all the spaces are filled, the cards are then revealed. Starting with the card on the first space of the board, reveal the card and completely resolve it before revealing the next.
When resolving a card, the action it depicts may be carried out by each player, starting with the owner of the card and proceeding clockwise around the table.
Exception: The "Identical Resources" and "Different Resources" scoring cards specify that they are carried out starting with the player to the left of the owner.
Each action must be completed by all players that wish to, before proceeding to reveal and use the next action card.
End of the Round
After the last action card is resolved, no player may have more than 10 resource cards in hand. If necessary, players must discard cards to reduce their hand to 10 cards.
Players then take their used action cards back in hand (except their scoring cards, which are only taken back when all three are used), and the next round starts.
The Action Cards
When a production card is revealed, the owner of the card chooses one of the two resource types shown on the card.
The owner's choice applies to all players using this card - another player cannot decide to produce a different resource.
Each player then receives 1 resource card of the chosen type for each colony and starship on a planet matching the chosen resource and 2 resource cards for each factory on a planet matching the chosen resource. These cards are taken from the resource bank.
For example, if a player has a starship and a colony on the planet matching the chosen resource, he receives 2 resource cards. If a player has a factory and a starship on the planet, he receives 3 resource cards.
Special case: If there are not enough resource cards of the appropriate type in the bank, players receive their resource cards in clockwise order, starting with the owner of the action card, until the bank is empty.
Note: Alien planets never produce resources.
When a movement card is revealed, the owner of the card may move one of his starships, either to one of the two star systems shown on the card, between two planets within one of the two star systems shown on the card, or from a star system into deep space.
Then, proceeding clockwise around the table, each of the other players may move one starship, following the same restrictions.
Then, the owner of the card may move all his other starships, again following the same restrictions.
Moving a starship requires the expenditure of *r resource cards, as explained in the next column.
Note: Unlike a production card, where only one resource type is used, the movement card enables movement to either of the systems listed.
Movement from "deep space" (the area of the gaming table between systems) to a planet is always free. This includes the very first movement in the game, the first movement of a newly built starship, and the movement of a starship that moved into deep space earlier in the game.
No matter what the two systems on the card are, it is always possible to move into deep space by spending 1 f resource card.
You must spend 1 5 resource card to move within one of the systems shown on the card - from one planet to a different planet in the same system.
You must spend 2 5 resource cards to move from a planet in a different system to a planet in either of the systems shown on the card.
How to Move
When a player moves a starship to a new system, or moves from a planet to another planet in the same system, he may look at all the face down planets in that system, without revealing them to the other players.
Then, he can either move his starship to a planet in the system that was already face-up - leaving the other planets face down - or reveal one of the face down planets to all players and place his starship on it.
A player cannot move a starship onto a planet containing any pawn (colony, factory, starship, and/or terraformer) that belongs to another player. It is of course possible for a player to move a starship to a planet where one of his own pawns is already present.
Notes: Since the starting system is not represented on the movement cards, it's impossible to move a starship to it.
Additionally, since each player has only six systems represented on his movement cards, he will have to use the action cards of other players to move to the two remaining systems.
Discovering an Alien Planet
When a player reveals an alien planet and moves his starship to it, he immediately draws an alien artifact card, at random, from the alien artifact deck.
However, if a player moves his starship to an alien artifact planet that is already face-up (because it was revealed earlier in the game), the player does not draw an artifact card.
When a build card is revealed, the owner of the card may build any number of items (colonies, factories, starships, or terraformers).
Then, proceeding clockwise around the table, the other players may build one item each. When a player builds an item, he pays the required resource cards by returning resource cards he possesses to the bank.
If there are no unused pawns of the appropriate color, a player cannot build that item.
Building cost: , plus any one ore ( ).
A player can only build a colony on a planet where he has a starship, or on a planet he has terraformed. The player places a colony pawn of his color on the planet. There can be only one colony or factory on any one planet - once one is built, neither the controlling player nor any other player can build an additional colony or factory on the planet.
A player who builds a colony on an alien planet scores 3 points. A colony on an alien planet never produces resources.
A player can only build a factory on a planet where he already owns a colony. The colony is removed and replaced with a factory pawn.
Note: When a player builds a factory, he takes the colony pawn back from that planet and may re-use it later in the game.
A player who builds a factory on an alien planet scores 6 points. A factory on an alien planet will never produce any resource.
Building cost: .
A player can only terraform a or planet on which he owns either a colony, a factory, or a starship.
The player places a terraformer pawn of his color on the planet and scores 4 points.
Note: There may be a colony or factory on a terraformed planet, and the colony or factory will keep on producing once the planet is terraformed. It is also possible for a player to terraform a planet where he only has a starship. In that case, the player may later build a colony there without having a starship there.
Building cost: plus any one ore ().
The newly built starship is placed in deep space, not in any particular system. Its first movement into any system will be free.
When a trade card is revealed, all players must display their resource cards in front of them.
The owner of the action card can trade resource cards with any other player. If both players agree, the trade is immediately carried out.
The owner can also trade with the bank by returning two cards of the same type to the bank and receiving one resource card of his choice from the bank in exchange.
The owner can make as many trades as he wants, as long as other players want to trade with him or he has enough resources to trade with the bank.
The other players cannot trade between themselves, or with the bank. Finally, all players take their resource cards back in hand.
When a scoring card is revealed, the owner of the card chooses one of the two game elements shown on the card, and all players score points based on that choice.
Another player cannot decide to score points using the other element shown on the card. When a player reveals a scoring card, he immediately takes the first player pawn.
Note: A 3-point bonus is granted to the player who scored the most points using the chosen element, as described below. In the case of a tie, no player receives this bonus.
Important: Unlike other action cards, scoring cards are not given back to the players at the end of the round in which they are played.
Instead, they are set aside next to the planning board, face up. A player retrieves his scoring cards only when all three of them have been played.
Colonies / Factories
Each player scores 1 point for each colony and 2 points for each factory he has in play. The player scoring the most points also receives a 3-point bonus.
Each player scores 2 points for each starship he has in play. The player with the most starships in play also receives a 3-point bonus.
Each player scores 3 points for each planet he has terraformed. The player with the most terraformed planets also scores a 3-point bonus.
Each player scores 1 point for each system where he has a presence (that is, the system contains one or more pawns of his color - colonies, factories, starships, and/or terraformers). The player with a presence in the most systems also scores a 3-point bonus.
Starting with the player to the 1 left of the owner of the action card, and continuing clockwise, each player may discard as many resource cards (with a minimum of 2) of the same type as he wishes to the bank, and scores 1 point for every discarded card.
The owner of the action card is the last to choose how many resource cards to discard. The player discarding the most identical cards also scores a 3-..point bonus.
Starting with the player to the left of the owner of the action card, and continuing clockwise, each player may discard as many different resource cards (no two may be of the same type) as he wishes to the bank (2 to 6) and scores 1 point for every discarded card.
The owner of the action card is the last to choose how many resource cards to discard. The player discarding the most different cards also scores a 3-point bonus.
Whenever a player discovers an alien planet, he randomly draws an alien artifact card.
The "Repositorium Alienum" (Alien Warehouse) must be revealed and applied immediately, as stated on the reference card. Any other alien artifact card in a player's possession remains hidden to the other players, until the owner decides to use it later in the game.
Each alien artifact card can only be used once - after the card is used it is removed from the game.
See the player reference sheet for the specific effect of each artifact card.
End of the Game
When the last planet in play is revealed, or when a player reaches at least 50 victory points, the game ends when the current round is completed. The player with the highest score wins.
In the first rounds, try to get a producing planet - you will need it to move your starships. If you can't, go for and , which you'll need to build colonies and are easy to trade.
Colonies are cheaper to build, especially in the first rounds, but starships can be more versatile. Normally you can't win if you don't build at least one additional starship.
Alien planets can slow you down in the first rounds, but they can be very valuable when making a run for victory during the late game. Don't underestimate them!
Look at the resource coupling on your production cards and try to focus your strategy on resources produced by different cards. This will increase your capability to produce more resources when necessary.
Avoid focusing on multiple elements that you use the same score card to turn into victory points, since you won't be able to use the card score for both during the same turn.
Adapt to the strategy of your opponents, and try to have one or two scoring elements that will give you the 3-point bonus.
Scoring cards are critical. Don't wait for the fourth of fifth round to play them. Playing scoring cards early, even when you are not sure that you will get the 3-point bonus, can be useful.
Playing a scoring card gives you the first player token and, most importantly, it makes easier for you, later, to retrieve your cards.
If you play two scoring cards early and then focus on a game element that the third score card converts to victory points, you'll be able to play this third card in two consecutive rounds.