Quick Start Guide

Luke Voss


The goal of this guide is to get you up and running in a game with minimal fuss. Here we will look at getting started with your first game and many of the common scenarios you will face. The official game rules have a lot more detail on the topics covered here as well as other topics and special cases, so check them out when you have time. Other articles have discussions on game strategy and tactics.

Goal of the Game

The goal of the game is to conquer the galaxy. You will begin with control of your home star system and grow your empire across the galaxy. To win, you must exterminate all other civilizations or convince all remaining players to surrender.

Game Map/Star Systems

At the begining of the game, each player will begin with control of one Homeworld planet. Your homeworld will be the only listing in the "Your Systems" section of the Turn 0 email you recieve at the start of the game. For example, the section might look like this:

		Your Systems

  N   #   X Y    S    P    I  R P     C $ M 
  185 185 0 0 1000 1000 1000 10 Drive 0 0 0 

Your homeworld, then, in this example is system #185. It has a maximum population Size (column S) of 1000 and a current Population (column P) of 1000. The rest of the galaxy will at this point be unexplored.

The Turn 0 report will list the locations of each of the other star systems in the galaxy, but you will have no further information on population capacity, resource richness, and enemy occupation until you send a ship to explore/observe the system. All locations are by default described as XY coordinates with your Homeworld at the "center" (0,0).


[From the Rules]
  Note: The map is not set up as you would expect. The Y-axis is flipped:
  
                  -Y
                   |
          -X, -Y   |  +X, -Y
                   |
     -X  ----------+--------- +X
                   |
          -X, +Y   |  +X, +Y
                   |
                  +Y

This orientation can be important in diplomacy in describing locations as "North" (-Y direction) or "South" (+Y direction) of a particular star system number.

The galaxy also "wraps" so that if you were to send a ship "East" along the +X axis, when it reaches the edge of the map it will jump to the far "West" of the map coming from the -X axis. The same is true in the Y direction where you will eventually wrap from the top to the bottom of the map. This is important to remember when calculating distances between systems as star systems near the edge of the map will be close to star systems on the opposite edge of the map.

Colonization

If you follow only one rule of thumb in Blind Galaxy, it's that you should always be trying to grow your population at the maximum possible rate. The population will grow at 8% per turn on all of your populated worlds. When the population grows to maximum supported population size, then and only then will your "excess" population be turned into colonists. Colonists are produced at a rate of 1 colonist per 8 excess population. For example, your homeworld will start with a population of 1000 at the begining of the game. After the first turn, population growth of 8% would give you 1080 population. But, because the maximum population size for your homeworld is also 1000, the 80 new population are converted to 10 colonists. When sent out to new worlds, those 10 units of colonists will be turned back into 80 population on the new worlds.

Build Colony ships:

The next step is to move your colonists from your homeworld to begin populating a new system. To do this, you'll need to build ships. Blind Galaxy has a very flexible ship design system which will be discussed in more detail later. For the moment, we will focus on building a simple freighter to move your colonists to new worlds. A ship can consist of components for DRIVE (ship engines), WEAPONS, SHIELDS, and CARGO. A ship design is typically defined by 5 numbers with the first being drive, the second is the number of weapons, the third is the strength of each weapon, the fourth is the size of the shield, and the fifth being the cargo. For our colony freighter, we only care about the first and last components and will set to zero any possible weapon and shield components.

So, we will want to know how far each ship can travel in one turn to see which nearby star systems we can send colonists to next turn. Let's say we want to load 1 colonist onto a ship, then we'll need a minimum of 1 unit of cargo components. Now, we need to figure out how big of an engine the ship needs. The speed of a ship is based on the size of the engine compared to the total size (mass) of the ship. A ship that is 100% engines will travel 20 light years per turn. A ship that is 50% engines will go 10 light years per turn and that is what we will design for. So, for a freighter with 1 cargo component loaded with 1 colonists for a total of 2 mass, we want to have a drive of mass 2.

So, we will be designing a ship that is two parts drive and one part cargo container. A reasonable first set of email orders for a new game might consist of nothing more than the ship design for your first type of freighter and the command to produce it at your homeoworld.


  #galaxy SampleGame player_1
  d freighter 2 0 0 0 1
  p 185 freighter
  #end

First, note that the ship you just designed here has a total mass of 3. This is the unloaded mass of the ship. Right now, if you were to send the ship off, because the drive is 2/3 of the toal mass, it would travel at 20 * 2/3 = 13.33 light years per turn. When you load 1 colonist on the ship, the total mass will become 4, and so the ship will travel at the slower 10 llight years per turn we originally designed for. A normal homeworld system can produce 99 total ship mass, so next turn you will have 33 freighter ships available.

Load and send colony ships:

If you used the sample orders above to build freighters, in your NEXT turn report you should find a section that looks like the following.


		Your Groups

  G  # T          D   A W   S   C T   Q   M     S D   L      R 
  1 33 freighter  2.0 0 0 0.0 1.1 --- 0 3.0 13.33 185 185      

What this section tells you is that you have a Group (Group #1) with 33 freighter ships of the given design D/A/W/S/C (Drive/Attacks/Weapon/Shield/Cargo), loaded with nothing (T is --- and Q is 0), with a mass of 3.0, a speed of 13.33, and located at #185 (your homeworld).

Because the game automatically collects ships into groups, to send individual ships off to separate worlds for colonization, you will need to break a ship off from the main group, load it with colonists, and send it to a destination. The break-load-send routine looks like the following example. (Check the official rules for the break, load, and send commands to see more options for how to use them.)


  #galaxy SampleGame player_1
  ; Send the new freighters out to colonize some empty worlds.
  ; Break 1 ship from the freighter group.  Then load it with colonists.
  ; Finally send it to one of the empty worlds.  Rinse and repeat.
  B 1 1              ; Break off one ship from group 1.
  L MAX COL 1 1      ; Load MAX (the new group number)'s 1 ship with 1 COL.
  S MAX 233          ; Send this max group to planet 233.
  B 1 1
  L MAX COL 1 1
  S MAX 285
  B 1 1
  L MAX COL 1 1
  S MAX 36
  B 12 1
  L MAX COL 1 1
  S MAX 205
  ...
  #end

Typically you will want to look at the list of Unknown Systems or use a mapping tool to find systems close to home.

Unload colonists at their destination:

On the turn after you load up your colonists and send them to new worlds, your turn report will show your freighters loaded with colonists (COL) at their destinations (unless they are still in transit - see the R column for the remaining distance to the destination).


		Your Groups

   G  # T          D A W    S   C T   Q   M     S D   L      R 
  ...
  13  1 freighter  2.3 0 0 0.00 1.1 COL 1 4.3 10.70 233 233      
  14  1 freighter  2.3 0 0 0.00 1.1 COL 1 4.3 10.70 285 285      
  15  1 freighter  2.3 0 0 0.00 1.1 COL 1 4.3 10.70 36  36       
  16  1 freighter  2.3 0 0 0.00 1.1 COL 1 4.3 10.70 205 205      
  ...

The next set of orders you send in should unload your colonists onto their new worlds. Then you can send those freighter ships back to your homeworld to pick up more colonists resulting from population growth there.


  #galaxy SampleGame player_1
  ...
  U 13       ; Unload group 13 at its current planet (233 above).
  S 13 185   ; Send group 13 back to planet 185.
  U 14
  S 14 185
  U 15
  S 15 185
  U 16
  S 16 185
  ...
  #end

Remember, you can't move population around, only colonists. And colonists are only produced when a planet's population is full. Your homeworld starts out full so it will be the only place you can pick up colonists for several turns most likely.

Some rare systems have a size of 0. This means that the world cannot be colonized or industrialized. (This also has implications for war discussed in a later section.) If you send a freighter with colonists to any such world, they will simply not be unloaded from the ship.

Industrialization

People are your most important resource in Blind Galaxy. Your newly colonized star systems now have a growing population, and if you continue to send more colonists you will see their populations grow quite quickly. But there are things you can (and should) do to make them more effective. Most importantly, you can build up your industrial base. For a planet that is completely industrialized like your homeworld, each unit of Population gives you one unit of Industry to apply toward ship production, etc. On the other hand, if you have a completely unindustrialized planet, it takes four units of Population to give you one unit of Industry there. So, by industrializing your planets, you can make your people 4 times as productive at building ships, etc., as they would be otherwise.

Production:

Now, your homeworld or any star system you own can be set to produce ships, but there are other types of production you can do as well. There are 4 types of research into ship technology that you can produce, but that will be discussed in a later section. The other two types of goods you can produce are raw materials (MAT) and capital goods (CAP).

In your email orders, you saw in the last section a production order for building the freighter ship you designed. The general rule for a production order is outlined below. In your email, you would begin a line with "P", followed by the star system # you want to set production for, followed by the name of what you want to produce.

[From the Rules]
  P system produce-what
  Set production for a system.  The following things can be produced:
  ship-type             Ships of the named type
  CAP                   Capital
  MAT                   Materials
  DRIVE                 Drive research
  WEAPONS               Weapons research
  SHIELDS               Shield research
  CARGO                 Cargo bay research

    Example:
     P 185 freighter

    Effect:
     Sets system 185 to producing a freighter.

    Example:
     P 234 CAP
     P 234 DRIVE
     P 234 MAT

    Effect:
     Sets system 234 to producing CAP, DRIVE, or MAT.

Note that a single world can produce only one type of thing each turn. Whatever production command for a planet that is last is the one that gets executed (so in the example above, planet 234 will build MAT). We will leave MAT production as an advanced topic for you to learn more about later. For the rest of this section, we will be talking about industrializing using CAP.

Building CAP:


[From the Rules]
  A newly colonized system produces capital, until changed.

When you have a system set to build CAP, you are essentially builing up Industry for that system. You can see in your turn report how much CAP your systems will build each turn by looking at the "$" column in the "Ships in Production" section. (For reference, the "S" column tells you how much ship mass you can produce in one turn.)


		Ships in Production

  N   #         I        M      $     S T      C   U 
  36  36    21.21   205.46   3.48  2.09 -   0.00 0.0 
  185 185 1000.00 10000.00 163.93 99.00 -   0.00 0.0 
  205 205    2.60     3.45   0.39  0.24 -   0.00 0.0 
  233 233   26.78     5.43   2.45  1.79 -   0.00 0.0 
  285 285    2.44     0.53   0.23  0.16 -   0.00 0.0 

Now, after the CAP has been built, there are two constraints you need to know. First, CAP becomes industry at a rate of 2 Industry from each 1 unit of CAP. Second, you can never have more Industry than you have Population on a planet.

Shipping CAP:

Newly colonized worlds, if left building CAP, will slowly industrialize themselves. This process will be faster or slower, however, depending on the resource richness of a planet. A planet with a Resource value (R column in "Your Systems" and "Uninhabited Systems" sections of your turn report) between 1 and 10, as a rule of thumb, will be a good manufacturing world. A planet with a Resource value less than 1, as a rule of thumb, will not be fast at building up Industry or Ships on it's own (though it would be a good world for researching since technology research does not require any resources).


		Your Systems

  N   #      X     Y       S       P       I     R P   C $ M 
  36  36  7.45  3.43  915.01   69.12    5.24  9.69 CAP 0 0 0 
  185 185 0.00  0.00 1000.00 1000.00 1000.00 10.00 CAP 0 0 0 
  205 205 1.70 -9.69   10.99    8.64    0.59  1.32 CAP 0 0 0 
  233 233 4.17  4.09  992.51   95.04    4.03  0.20 CAP 0 0 0 
  285 285 2.57  3.52  352.19    8.64    0.38  0.22 CAP 0 0 0 

		Uninhabited Systems

  N   #        X      Y      S    R 
  11  11  -16.36  -2.29 916.29 1.05 
  25  25  -13.04 -10.27   3.20 1.11 
  85  85   -1.90 -16.64   7.07 0.96 
  140 140  -4.39  13.88  10.09 1.60 
  ...

In either case of resource rich or poor worlds, you may want to ship in CAP to more quickly industrialize the planet. Looking again at the "Ships in Production" section of your turn report, you'll see that your homeworld at 185 can produce 163.93 CAP each turn. If you ship that to a newly colonized world, at the 2-to-1 conversion ration, you can turn one turn of CAP production at your homeworld into 327.86 Industry if you ship that CAP to your colony. To do that, you may want to build a larger freigher than you have built so far.

The original freighers we designed for moving colonists around were set up to ship 1 colonists per ship. However, we glossed over the details of cargo shipping in that first turn. The actal cargo capactiy of a ship a greater than simply the total mass of cargo modules you put on the ship. The formula is actually:


  cargo + (cargo^2)/10 = cargo capacity

So, our original freighter with cargo size of 1 will have 1+1^2/10 = 1.1 cargo capacity. If we build a ship with 10 cargo units, it will be able to carry 10+10^2/10 = 20 cargo.

Now, if we want to build a ship that can carry all 163.93 CAP to one of our colony worlds in one load, we would need to have 35.8 cargo units (which can carry 163.964 cargo) in the ship.

So, if you wanted to spend one turn of production at your homeworld on a mass 99 ship capable of carrying all of the CAP your homeworld can produce in one turn, you might put in your email orders the following lines:

  d big_freighter 63.2 0 0 0 35.8
  p 185 big_freighter

Once built, you can load CAP onto your big_freigher the same way you loaded COL before:

  L 2 CAP

Now you can issue a "send" command to send that CAP to one of your worlds.

Pro-tip: add the following line to your orders to set up your ships to auto-unload over worlds you have colonized.

  O autounload

Otherwise you have to manually unload your freighters each and every turn at every world. One other bonus is that COL and CAP (and MAT) will be unloaded onto planets you have colonized before the production/growth phases and that gives you a little extra benefit. You will still need to manually unload at systems you haven't colonized yet. There is also an Advanced topic using Routes to perform a similar trick for systems you haven't yet colonized.

Research Technology

Ship design and construction is one of the main parts of the game. One of the ways you can gain an edge over your neighbors is to have more effective ships. The way to get more effective ships is to research in the four areas of ship technology.

Drive, weapons, shields, and cargo are the four ship technologies you can research. Researching Drive tech will increase the speeds your ships can travel. Researching Weapons tech will increase the damage each shot your ships take can do. Researching Shields will increase the defensive value of your shielding. Researching Cargo technology will increase the amount of cargo your ships can carry.

To research a technology, you set one of your plantes to that technology with a production command. For example:

  #galaxy SampleGame player_1
  P 185 DRIVE
  #end

Each technology starts out with a research level of 1.0 and it takes 5000 industry production to raise the technology level by a full point. So, with an Industry value of 1000, your homeworld set to produce Drive for one turn will raise your Drive technology from 1.0 to 1.2. This means, a ship of the same design if produced after increasing your drive technology to 1.2 will travel 1.2 times faster than a ship with a Drive tech of 1.0.

As a rule of thumb, upgrading your Drive tech earlier in the game will pay off in improving the speeds of your freighters, probes, and warships.

It is important to note that your older ships, the ones built before your research, are not automatically improved. Thus, it is possible for you to have many different versions of the same ship design but with different technology levels, and thus many different speeds, weapon power, shield effectiveness, or cargo capacity. However, there is an upgrade command you can use to bring your older ships up to your latest technology levels.

  #galaxy SampleGame player_1
  G 1
  #end

As an advanced topic, you can build ships to "partial techs" which will allow you to build lower tech ships more cheaply, but the specifics are left to the description in the rules and advanced descriptions.

Diplomacy

The galaxy is a dangerous place, and to rise to the top, you may want to have some allies along the way. The formation of alliances, the negotion of borders, and the cooperation in war are all part of the diplomacy aspects of the game that are available to you. Diplomacy is managed via messages that can be sent between players once certain conditions have been met.

At the start of the game, you will be alone in the galaxy. As you explore, you will eventually encounter the ships and planets of other empires. There are two ways to open initial communications. The first is to have a ship over an inhabited world. (It doesn't count if the ship is destroyed when it arrives.) The second is for two ships to meet and at least one of them must not be made of pure Drive components. (For example, if a probe and a freighter meet, communications will become available, but not if two probes meet.)

The server also shows has instructions on how you can enable communications between two other players who cannot yet talk to each other.

War

In your conquest of the galaxy, you're going to want an edge. The only way you're going to get that edge is by having the better ships or better intelligence gathering.

Intelligence:

Blind Galaxy is "blind" precisely because the fog of war is thick and you cannot see what goes on except at your own worlds or whever your ships happen to go. Diplomacy is an excellent way to gather information on your neighbors, but remember that what you are told by the other players may not always be true or correct. Sometimes, the only way to be sure aboue what is going on is to see it with your own eyes. Sending "probe" ships out early in the game is a good way to scout for valuable star systems to colonize and discover where your neighbors are expanding.

  D probe 1 0 0 0 0

Later, when borders have been established, sending probes to enemy worlds can be considered a hostile act, but it can also yeild valuable information if you are planning an invasion.

There is one other special aspect of the probe design above - it does not generate an "Incoming" report when a single probe is sent. Ships can be sent on journeys that may take several turns. When this happens, if the target system is colonized by one of the other players, they will see a section in their turn report indicating which of their systems are the destination, how much ship mass will be arriving, and from which system the incoming ship(s) originated. The report will not give any information on what type of ship or ships are arriving, however. It is important to note that sending two probes to the same system will generate an Incoming report, so be careful in your orders (especially if sending them from your homeworld because that may make your most valuable world early in a game a target for agressive neighbors).

War and Peace:

In addition to diplomatic communications, there is a mechanism within the game for setting other players to a status of War, Peace, or Guard. These three settings will affect when your ships will fire on the ships of the other players. This will be important if you want to cooperate with one of your neighbors and send a combined battle fleet to attack a common enemy. It would be difficult to cooperate if your ships always attacked your allies as well as your enemies.

The "War and Peace" section in the official rules has a good explination and a lightly-edited version is included below.

[From the Rules]

  At the start of the game you are assumed to be at war with all
  the other races. You can change this status only after meeting
  each race.  After you know their name you can change status at will.

  Exception: You can set your default to peace, guard, or peace for all races,
  via the A MyRace, H MyRace, and W MyRace commands, see below for details.

  When at war with another race your ships will fire whenever
  they meet ships of that race, and will bomb any of that
  race's systems which you are orbiting after a battle phase.

  When you are at peace with a race your ships will not fire
  at them unless they would fire upon you first. At that
  point all ships that of yours at that system will behave as
  if they were at war for the duration of that battle only.
  You will not, however, bomb the system if you win the battle.

  For example: If you are at peace with a race but they are at war with you, 
  you won't shoot at their probes unless there is an armed unit of theirs at 
  that system- your ship captains take their peace orders seriously, and won't
  risk shooting first unless the enemy has guns pointed at them!

  In addition, you may choose to adopt a defensive posture with respect
  to another race, such that you will fire at their ships if they
  venture into to any of your systems, but will not fire at them at
  neutral or foreign planets. You also will not bomb their planets.
  This choice is typically called Homeguard (H) or Guard.

The rules have a complete description of the commands and special cases that are worth further reading.

Battles:

When ships meet, there are several possible scenarios depending on War/Peace/Guard settings. The following snippit from the rules outlines the scenarios that will trigger a battle.

[From the Rules]

  Two groups will fight each other under the following conditions: 
    a) If player A has armed ships and is at war with B. 
    b) If player B has armed ships and is at war with A. 
    c) If player A owns the planet and has Guard status vs. B. 
  The K command (optional feature, see below) adds this case: 
    d) If player A owns the planet, and has set the status at the planet 
       with respect to B to be war (setting it to peace ensures that 
       there will be a battle if and only if condition (b) above is true.

  Hint: If you are at peace, and only unarmed ships show up at your system,
  you will not fire upon them, even if the owner of the unarmed unit
  is at war with you.

When a battle is triggered, the following procedure is used to resolve the combat.

[From the Rules]

  A ship is picked at random.
  It selects a hostile target at random and fires.
  The target may or may not be destroyed, depending on weapon and
    shield strengths and on luck.
  If the attacking ship has multiple attacks, it will fire again at
    randomly selected targets until it has used them all.
  Then another ship is picked at random to fire its shots.

  This continues until all ships have fired. If neither side has been wiped 
  out another round of combat takes place, and so on until only one side is 
  left (unless no remaining ships can harm any remaining hostile ships).

  Battles will stop after any round of combat that no ship has any targets
  which it is able to destroy, e.g. if a small fighter is up against a
  huge unarmed freighter whose shield it can't possibly break through.
  When hostile units are present, at least one round of combat will take
  place in any case.

When battles are complete, populated systems can be bombed by enemey ships. If this happens to one of your worlds, all the people and industry there will be destroyed. The "Conquering Systems" section of the rules is included below.

[From the Rules]

                        Conquering Systems

  If an armed ship is left at an enemy race's system after all
  fighting has been done, it will bomb the system and sterilize
  it, wiping out the population and all goods present. The
  system is then uninhabited and colonists may be landed on it.
  This is how you conquer systems occupied by another race.

  Note: Bombing will occur if there are unfriendly armed ships
  at the system, even if you have ships there as well.

  Hint: Some players make large, lightly armed but heavily shielded units to
  take advantage of this...

Weapons vs. Shields:

The previous section alluded to the possibility that some ships may have shields so strong that an enemy ship may not have powerful enough weapons to break through. There is a specific numerical formula that is used to determine if one ship can kill another. We look at the weapon strength value (taking into account technology research improvements) and compare those to a target's shield strength value (again taking into account technology research improvements). If the weapon is 4x stronger than the shield, the weapon will destroy the target 100% of the time it shoots at that target. If the shield is 4x stronger than the shield, the weapon will never be able to destroy the target and the target is "safe". If the weapon and shield strengths are equal, the weapon will destroy the target 50% of the time it shoots at that target.

When it comes to ship design, calculating weapon strength is simply ship-weapons-tech * ship- weapons-mass. The shield strength calculation is somewhat more complicated.

[From the Rules]

  Effective shield strength = 
     ship-shields-tech * ship-shields-mass 
     ------------------------------------- * cuberoot(30)
          cuberoot(ship mass)

The "Combat" section in the rules covers these topics and includes some further examples.

One important caveat in ship design with respect to weapons should be mentioned. The cost of building a ship with multiple attacks is cheaper than simply the number of attacks times the weapon strength. Each attack beyond the first adds half the Weapons number to the ship's mass, so a ship with 1 attack of strength 1 costs 1, 2 attacks of strength 1 costs 1.5, 3 attacks of strength 1 costs 2.0, etc. This makes it more efficient to put multiple guns on one ship. However, the bigger a ship gets, the less effective the shielding becomes. This will be an important balancing act when deciding how to design your ships.

Fleets:

For convenience, you can group a collection of various ships into a Fleet for simpler management. This will make sure all of your ships travel together and arrive at your destination at the same time. In addition, when you see an enemy you may want to be able to track down and destroy their ships. Rather than try and guess where to send your ships to attack their, certain conditions are met, your ships and fleets can intercept enemy ships and fleets. These advanced topics are covered in the "Fleets" and "Interception" sections of the official rules.

Before seeing your first enemy fleet in game, it might help to have an idea about what to expect. Below is a list of some of the types of ships you may encounter and why. You will see a whole range of ships that fit none of these types (trying out unique ships designs is part of the fun!) so make sure you design ships appropriate for the galactic conditions you find yourself in.

Mass 9 Raider -
  D raider 3 1 3 3 0

It is an efficient way to spend a turn building ships at your homeworld to defend early in the game or to serve as part of a widespread attack later on. Sometimes you will see a mass 9.9 version of this type of ship to give it a little more speed, shielding or firepower.

Probes or Flak - 
  D probe 1 0 0 0 0

A probe is simply a ship made of a single drive unit. Sending a collection of probes along with your battle ships will give you "probability cover". In battle targets are selected randomly, so an enemy has an equal chance of shooting at any of the ships in your fleet. Thus, if you send in 1 raider and 1 probe, an enemey has a 50% chance of shooting at your more valuable ship. If you send 1 raider and 9 probes, an enemey has only a 10% chance of shooting at your more valuable ship. Because this ship type has no shields, any shot will destroy it.

Shielded Probes or Flak -
  D ShieldedFlak 1 0 0 1 0

Another type of "probability cover" can come from giving your enemies a collection of shieled probes to absorb enemy shots. You can only build half as many compared to probes for the same amount of production, but by adding shields there is a chance it can survive one or more shots. And by researching shield technology, this can make a significant impact.

Probe Killer -
  D ProbeKiller 33 65 1 33 0

To combat enemy "probability cover" you want to destroy as many of the Flak type ships as quickly as possible so that your big guns can be brought to bear on the enemy's most heavily shielded ships. You may see a similar ship design with fewer but stronger weapons to kill shielded flak more effectively.

Battleship -
  D ProbeKiller 33 1 33 33 0

This is where you bring in the big guns to take out heavily shielded enemy ships. Having a big gun around makes it less likely that your enemy can bomb a planet out from under a defending fleet by sending in one "safe ship" with super strong shields.

Safe Ship -
  Varies, but with lots of shields

On rare occasions you may see a huge ship with unbelieveably high shield values. This type of ship may take 2, 3, or even 4 or more turns at a world to be constructed. This type of ship is so shielded it doesn't need a fleet to defend it. This type of ship is used to take out a heavily defended enemy world (and possibly to intimidate their neighbors as well).

Typical Game Flow

Now you have a good understand of the mechanics so where do you start? Generally, the first half a dozen turns involves exploring the worlds around you, starting your first colonies, and fielding a few ships for defense. The next half dozen turns typically involve building up your new colonies with COL and possibly CAP, and then starting to research techs. By turn 12 you should have started encountering your neighbors and opening diplomatic relations (best case) or bumbling into a war (worst case). Well you've only got so much space so you're going to be fighting a war eventually. [dramatic music]

Helping Hands

At some point you're going to want a little help managing the information from your turns. A good map will help you understand the strategic situation. And calculating distances can get tedious so a little Excel file or script can help with that. Some players have developed more sophisticated tools (see the links on this web site). Some examples of situations that people use tools include: ship design, battle simulators, automatic COL/CAP/MAT shipping, battle summarizers, inteligence analysis, etc. Some people use just Notepad. It's entirely up to your personal style and skills.

Advanced Topics

Check out the official rules for more information on advanced topics like:

Understanding the nuances of these topics can help you be more efficient and effective in your empire management and understanding of the game.