Aim of the game
Gain the most influence (victory points) by colonizing and conquering planets, trading goods, researching (building) and using "Technology" cards effectively.
- Planets typically score between two (2) and five (5) influence a piece.
- Goods (and sometimes fighters) score typically one influence a piece and are renewable.
- Researched technologies scores two (2) or five (5) for intermediate and advanced cards.
At the start of the game and the end of your turn, you are dealt a hand of cards from your deck. You customize your deck as you go. During other player's turn you may either Follow their role and perform the actions using cards in your hand or Dissent giving you an additional card to use later. On your turn you may perform an Action and must perform a Role.
If at any time you get the message you have yet to do something, you probably have a passive ability that you may use at the time. Review your cards in front of you to ensure you are getting the most of your turn
On your turn, you may first take an Action. This is done by selecting a single card from your hand. Only the Action listed on the card is performed and other players may not follow.
After your action, you then take a Role. You may always select any role, and this will usually give you a card from the relevant role stack which will be added to your deck. When you play a role, its strength can be further boosted by also playing cards from your hand with the matching symbol.
Once this is done, every other player may either follow your role or dissent in which case they are dealt one card from their deck into their hand.
After you have played a role, you must discard your hand down to your current card limit (starts at 5, may increase) or less. Additional cards you will discard have an outline on them. You will then draw new cards from your deck up to your card limit.
Dissent/Follow phase - Inactive player(s)
During other players' turns you are given the ability to follow the Role of the current player. This allows you to perform an additional albeit limited version of the Role phase. If you choose to Dissent instead you draw an additional card from your deck to your hand.
The game ends in the round that follows the depletion of a number of role card stacks (1 stack for 2-3 player game, 2 stacks for 4-5 player game), or when the influence token supply is exhausted. All players get the same number of turns.
There is an extended 3 player variant which ends when 2 role stacks (which start smaller) are depleted.
The winner is the player with the most influence, in the case of a tie count the total fighters + resources of each player. If this is still a tie an extra round is played.
Draw 2 cards from your deck to your hand.
Collect 1 fighter token or attack 1 planet (spend as many fighters as the planet fighter cost to flip it over).
- Place the Colonize card on a planet or
- Settle one (1) planet see section under Roles for more details
Only flipped planets with an available slot may Produce. Only planets with a filled slot may Trade.
- Produce a single good on an available slot, different slots represent different commodities or
- Trade a single good on a filled slot for one influence.
Remove up to two (2) cards in your hand from the game (and effectively your deck).
When you play a role you may also play cards with that symbol to give more strength to that role.
When you choose a role you also get the leader bonus. Any players that Follow just get the normal role.
Roles as leader
Note that the leader will also get a card from the role stacks which is played on that turn so they gain an additional symbol for the role of their choice. For example they only need 2 basic research cards in their hand to buy a 3-cost technology card.
Look at one planet card per survey symbol played. Choose one planet that will be added face-down to your empire.
Collect one fighter per warfare symbol played or Attack one planet (in the same way as when done as an action).
- Settle one (1) planet. To settle a planet you must have the minimum amount of colonies minus the total planets/technologies you have with a Colonize power/symbol i.e. Your surveyed world requires four colonies to settle. You have already colonized a world with colonize symbol and also have the Fertile Ground technology. You need only have two colonies on the surveyed world in order to settle it. or
- Select and place as many Colonize cards (these represent colonies) on a planet (or planets). These cards will not return to your deck until the world is colonized or conquered. Note: if there are no Colonize in the Role deck you do not gain the +1 for selecting the role.
Choose either Produce or Trade.
Produce - Add one resource token per production symbol played onto empty resource slots on your planets. If the Produce/Trade resource stack is depleted get one extra resource token.
Trade - Remove one resource token per trade symbol in resource slots on your planets and get that many influence tokens in return. If the Produce/Trade resource stack is depleted remove one extra resource token.
Buy a technology card with Research at minus one cost. You must meet the world prerequisites and have enough research symbols to afford the cost of the technology which is either three, five or seven (3, 5 or 7). When the Research stack is depleted you still get the reduced cost of one research symbol.
- The starting technologies (1 world) give an enhanced action or may act as either symbol (when performing a role).
- The intermediate technologies (2 matching type worlds) are worth two (2) influence. and tend to give an improved ability or power to your hand. Those that have an action associated must be played during the Action phase to get their benefit.
- The advanced technologies (3 matching type worlds) tend to give significant game altering rules and are also worth five (5) influence.
Some Intermediate and Advanced Technologies are double-sided, once one side is taken the other side becomes unavailable.
Roles for following players
Look at one planet card per survey symbol played minus one (so you need at least 2 survey symbols to make it worth following a survey role). Choose one planet that will be added face-down to your empire.
Collect one fighter per warfare symbol played.
Place as many colonize cards as played on a planet.
You must follow the leaders choice of either Produce or Trade.
Produce - Add one resource token per production symbol played onto empty resource slots on your planets.
Trade - Remove a resource token per trade symbol in resource slots on your planets and get that many influence tokens in return.
Buy a technology card. You must have enough research symbols to afford the cost of the technology (3, 5 or 7).
Planet cards have a cost in colonies or warfare. You can turn the planet over by paying either of these costs.
Once a planet is turned over, it may have resource slots(s) which allow you to produce on and trade from it. It may also have bonus symbols on it that are added to your symbol count when playing the role for that symbol. Some planets have a +1 game effect which increases your end of turn hand size by 1 card.
Technology cards have a cost which is paid with research symbols and require a certain amount of settled worlds of the same type.
Some technology have an action which are played during the Action phase these cards also have symbols and can also be used during the Role phase. When used as an action they only provide the ability not the symbols listed on the card.
Some technologies are permanent and are added to your empire's abilities. If it provides symbols those add during the appropriate Role phase similar to planets.
How to Use Technology Cards (User Interface)
A Permanent Technology refers to a card that does not get shuffled into your deck but instead is placed face up and available during the appropriate phases.
One World Type Cards
- Improved Colonize - Play during your Action Phase
- You may settle one world if it is colonized then you may place this card on another world that still needs to be colonized (as a Colonize) -or- You may settle a second world
- Improved Production - Play during your Action Phase
- You may immediately produce twice on your choice of planets with available slots or any planet with more than one slot or any combination thereof
- Improved Trade - Play during your Action Phase
- You immediately gain one influence - you do NOT need a good to trade to get this benefit. The card does NOT provide a Trade to the Leader role if you choose Trade during the Role phase
- Improved Warfare - Play during your Action Phase
- You may build two fighters or attack one planet
Two of a World Type
- Diverse Markets - Play during your Action Phase
- This will affect your Role phase. Trade different goods for more influence - you must use multiple Trade in your Role phase to get this benefit. The card does NOT provide an additional Trade to the Leader role only the additional scoring
- Data Network - Play during your Action Phase
- Immediately draw two more cards to your hand and choose to remove any cards in your hand and in front of you from the game (similar to Research action). You will get information that you still have actions left just select the card you want to remove before continuing
- Specialization - Play during your Action Phase
- Plays like Diverse Markets this will affect your Role phase. Trade the same goods for more influence - you must use multiple Trade in your Role phase to get this benefit. The card does NOT provide the Trade to the Leader role only the additional scoring
- Weapons Emporium - Permanent Technology - Works during any Trade role
- You may use your Trade cards to sell fighters as well as goods
- Streamlining - Permanent Technology - Occurs before your Cleanup Phase
- Select the Streamlining and then the card you wish to remove
- Artificial Intelligence - Play during your Action Phase
- Select any Two Role Cards from the Role decks - if this causes the pile to exhaust it does affect the Game End. If a Role is not available you may not take it
- Genetic Engineering - Play during your Action Phase
- You must choose Produce during YOUR role phase. For each good you produce you get an influence. The card does NOT provide the Produce to the Leader role
- Terraforming - Play during your Action Phase
- Plays similar to the Colonize action. If the world can be settled with the addition of up to two colonies it is automatically settled, otherwise it is played as if two Colonize have been provided to the planet This card does NOT provide the Settle benefit if it is used during any Colonize Role phase'
- Fertile Grounds - Permanent Technology - Works during any Production or Research role
- All your planets require one less to Settle and during any Production or Research roles this counts as those symbols
- Abundance - Permanent Technology - Works during any Settle or Attack Planet actions
- Upon taking this you immediately gain four resources. Whenever you settle a Planet or Attack a Planet you immediately produce two resources. Scenarios Variant: If you start with this upon your first two worlds attacked or settled they have room for a second resource.
- Mobilization - Play during your Action Phase ability occurs before Clean-Up phase
- You will get two fighters during your Action phase. At the end of your Role phase select the Mobilization card then choose which planet you wish to attack. You can still perform a Warfare role as normal for two attacks in the turn
- Survey Team - Play during your Action Phase
- You immediately draw the next world in the deck and add it available worlds to attack or colonize
- War Path - Play during your Action Phase
- You may attack two worlds immediately and still choose Warfare during your Role phase for a third attack this round if you desire. If you also have Scorched Earth policy the reduction applies only to one of the attacks.
- Imperialism - Permanent Technology - Works during any Survey, Trader or Warfare role
- You have an additional symbol in each of the above when you are Leader or follow
- Scorched Earth Policy - Works during any Attack Planet action
- You use up to two less fighters to attack a Planet, planets attacked may not store any goods. If the planet has two slots only the first one will be unusable. The bonus applies only to each Warfare played not every attack.
Three of a World Type
- Logistics - Occurs during your turn
- You may chose which order you play Action and Role. At the end of the game take one more turn. Other players may still follow the role you choose during this extra turn
There are a number of additions in Escalation including the ability to attack other players. When another player's world is attacked a reparations of two influence is granted to the defender.
In addition to a card's action available each player has an additional action which affects their fleet
- A player may convert three fighters to a destroyer
- A player may convert two destroyers to a Battlecruiser
If the player has upgraded to the Improved Fleet
- The player may convert two fighters to a destroyer (multiple times)
- A player may convert two destroyers to a Battlecruiser
Having a Battlecruiser in your fleet reduces the amount of fighters needed in an attack planet by two fighters, a Battlecruiser may also be used to attack and win against any planet, however to attack another player's world you will need the matching Action card
- Hostile Planets - Show the Destroyer Symbol and NO Colonize symbol
- These worlds may be only taken over by the player using a Destroyer and may not be colonized.
- Bustling Planets - Show the Destroyer Symbol and Colonize symbol
- These worlds may be only taken over by the player using a Destroyer and they may be colonized as per usual instructions.
- Civilized Planets - Show the Battlecruiser and Colonize Symbol
- These worlds may be only taken over by the player using a Battlecruiser for warfare they may be colonized as per usual instructions. They all have the Peace Treaty ability.
Some technology cards shows the fighter symbol or a resource symbols, these cards may be used as additional fighters or the resource they represent by selecting them during the appropriate phase.
- Peace Treaty - Permanent Technology ability occurs when Dissenting Warfare Phase
- You gain a single influence per Peace Treaty you have in play