After a devastating war, peace is declared among all the major races of the galaxy, creating the Alliance. The first initiative announced by the Alliance is the creation of space stations throughout the galaxy to promote trade among the races, strengthen diplomatic relations, and help keep the newly-established peace.
In Among the Stars, the players are leaders of various races each trying to build a space station for the Alliance. Who will build the most efficient station in time?
In Among the Stars, each player takes on the role of an alien race trying to build a space station for the newly-formed intergalactic Alliance. They accomplish this goal by drafting Location Cards to be placed in their play area in the best possible way. The player with the most efficient space station after 4 years is the winner!
- 4 Main Reactor Cards
- 12 Conflict Cards
- 16 5-Credit Tokens
- 2 VAK Main Reactor Cards
- 4 Player Aid Cards
- 20 Energy Cubes
- 72 Basic Location Cards
- 1 Score Board
- 8 Race Tiles
- 44 Special Location Cards
- 4 Player Markers
- 16 Power Reactor Cards
- 1 Year Marker
- 8 Objective Cards
- 32 1-Credit Tokens
The game can be played in two modes: Aggressive and Non-Aggressive. The core game is the Non-Aggressive Mode. The Aggressive Mode is for players who want more direct confrontation in their game.
What follows are the rules for the Non-Aggressive Mode. It is suggested you play a few Non-Aggressive games before trying the Aggressive one.
Before beginning to play, separate all the Basic Location Cards from the Special Location Cards (Special Location Cards have a symbol in their lower, right-hand corner; see graphic below).
If you are playing a 3-player game, remove the Basic Location Cards with the number "4" written in the lower, right-hand corner and place them back in the box. These are only used in the 4-player game (for a 2-player game, see the appropriate section near the end of the rules).
Power Reactor Cards should be separated as well to form a new deck.
Without looking at the Cards, draw 6 Special Location Cards per player and add them to the Basic Location Cards, (so in a 3 player game you should add 18 Special Location Cards and in a 4-player game, you should have 24).
These cards (the Basic and the Special Location Cards) form the Location Deck that will be used for the game.
Each player takes a Player Marker and puts it on the Score Board at 0. Every turn, these markers will be moved according to the points gained or lost by the players. Put the Score Board somewhere on the table where it can be easily seen by all players. We recommend having one of the players be responsible for keeping track of everyone's points.
Each player takes a Main Reactor Card and puts it on the table in front of him with 2 Energy Cubes on it. Put the remaining Credits and Energy Cubes at the center of the table where every player can reach them. This will be called the Supply.
If this is the first time you are playing the game, you can skip the rest of the game setup. You can add the Racial Abilities and the Objectives after you have some experience with the game.
Each player chooses a race to play and takes the tile with its Racial Ability. The choice can either be random or by agreement. Finally, shuffle the Objective Cards and randomly draw as many Objectives as the number of players.
Put these cards face up on the table where everyone can see them. You are now ready to start playing!
The game is played over a period of 4 years, each of them represented by a single round.
At the beginning of every round, each player should:
Take 10 credits and put them in his play area.
Draw 6 cards from the Location Deck. These form his hand and are kept secret from the other players.
The player responsible for tracking the score moves the Year Marker to the correct year.
The symbol around each year shows the direction in which the cards are going to be handed from player to player (clockwise or counter-clockwise) and the Year Marker should be flipped accordingly. Every round consists of 6 turns. During these turns, all players play simultaneously.
Every turn, each player selects a card from his hand and puts it face down in front of him.
After everyone has done so and then passed his remaining cards to the next player (as determined by the year, as noted above), they simultaneously reveal their selected card and choose one of these actions to perform:
- 9 Build Location
- 9 Build Power Reactor
- 9 Discard and Gain 3 Credits
Location Cards may only be built adjacent to other Location Cards (see example below). At the beginning of the game, the only location in your Station is the Main Reactor, so any Location Card you build must be adjacent to it.
The Location Cards in the game belong in some categories and are color-coded accordingly:
Two locations are considered adjacent if they are placed next to each other orthogonally. If they are placed diagonally from each other, they are NOT considered adjacent.
In order to build a location, you have to pay its cost. Every location has its cost in credits in the upper, right-hand corner of the card. Some also list an energy requirement directly below the credit requirement.
This energy requirement must be paid by a location in your Space Station with Energy Cubes on it and within 2 distance of the location you are attempting to build. Distance is counted through built locations, orthogonally, with each card counting as a distance of 1.
There are 2 Energy-providing locations in the game: The Main Reactor (the card with which each player started the game) and the Power Reactor. They both come into play with 2 Energy Cubes on them.
After you pay the cost and build the location by placing it adjacent to a previously-built location in your Space Station, you gain the amount of Victory Points listed on the lower, left-hand corner of the card.
However, you may also need to check the ability written on it. There are 2 kinds of abilities: If it is written within a white box it is considered to be an immediate ability.
You immediately follow its instructions and check if you gain anything (usually more Victory Points). If, on the other hand, it is written within a yellow box, it is considered to be a delayed ability. In that case you don't do anything at this point - you will check it again at the end of the game.
It is the 3rd turn of the 1st round. Sandra's Station, looks like this:
The card she has selected is "Holographic Display Area", and she wants to build it. In order to do so, she must pay the cost and place it adjacent to one existing location:
The "Holographic Display Area" location card
This location card may be built in any of the orange spaces.
The cost for "Holographic Display Area" is 2 credits. Sandra takes 2 of her credits and returns them to the Supply.
She then removes 1 Energy Cube from her Main Reactor (since it is within 2 distance of "Holographic Display Area", she can use an Energy Cube on it to pay the energy requirement of her new location) and returns it to the Supply as well. She can now place the card in her Station:
Next, she calculates the Victory Points (VPs) she gains. The card lists 2 VP in the lower, left-hand corner, so she gains 2 VPs. However, she also reads the immediate ability on the card, which states that it gives +1 VP for every adjacent location.
Since there are 2 adjacent locations to her newly-placed "Holographic Display Area", she gets +2 VPS for a total of 4VPS.
Sandra moves her Player Marker 4 places forward on the Score Board.
If the ability was a delayed one (written in a yellow frame), then Sandra would only get the 2 points listed on the card when building the location. She would check the ability to see how many extra points she would gain only at the end of the game.
If you select a card but are unable to pay its cost, then you cannot build the location and must select another action instead.
Build Power Reactor
You will need to build Power Reactors in order to pay the energy requirement for other locations.
In order to build a Power Reactor, discard your selected card (after revealing it simultaneously with the other players), pay its cost (1 credit), take a Power Reactor card from the Power Reactor Deck, and build it anywhere in your Space Station adjacent to an already-built location.
You also put 2 Energy Cubes on it, representing the Energy it provides. Keep in mind that these Energy Cubes may only be used for locations built within 2 distance of this Power Reactor.
Reactors count as locations but do not have a location type of their own.
In the rare occasion where there are no Power Reactor Cards available (or if a player has no credits left), this action may not be taken and another action must be chosen instead.
Discard and Gain 3 Credits
Discard your selected card (after revealing it simultaneously with the other players) and immediately gain 3 credits.
Keep in mind that all discarded cards are placed face up in the discard pile, available for all players to see.
End of the Turn
After 6 turns, the players are left with no cards in hand and the round ends. Before beginning the next round, it is recommended that every player takes a look at the Space Station of another player to check for errors (such as building 2 locations with the MAX: 1 limit).
If such an error is spotted, the player who built the rule-breaking Space Station must remove as many locations as needed in order to have a valid Station (for example, if he has 2 identical locations with a MAX: 1, he must remove 1 of them).
The player also loses the VPs he gained when he built the cards just removed, but he does NOT get any credits back. If for some reason the VPs cannot be calculated, the player loses the amount listed on the card, plus 3.
In the rare event where the removal of a location due to the above reason causes a station to "split" in two, turn it face-down and leave it on the same space as a placeholder. When counting the number of locations in your station, do not count this one.
Most of the players' actions in the game are performed simultaneously. However, there are cases where timing issues arise.
Whenever a location's ability asks the player to do something regarding another player (for example, take credits from him), that action is carried out after all other players' actions are completed (build a location, discard for credits, build a Reactor) unless specifically stated otherwise.
The same applies when Conflict Cards are played: Their effect resolves after the other players have played their card for the turn.
Whenever 2 or more players want to do something at the same time (for example, use their Racial Abilities or play Conflict Cards), they do it in the order their Player Markers are on the Score Board.
The player with the highest score goes first, then the player with the second highest score, and so on. If both players are on the same spot, then the one with the most credits goes first. If they have the same amount of credits, then the order is chosen randomly.
End of the Game
When the 4th round ends, the game is over. To calculate his final score, each player should do the following:
Check if any Objectives are met, and gain the bonus VPs they provide (only if you play with Objectives).
Check all the cards in his Space Station with delayed abilities for any VPs gained.
Gain 1 VP for every Power Reactor that DOES NOT contain any Energy Cubes.
Gain 1 VP for every 3 credits remaining (rounded down).
Each Objective can only be claimed by 1 player unless stated otherwise. If 2 or more players are tied for any Objective, no bonus is given.
The player with the most Victory Points is the winner.
In case of a tie, the winner is the player with the most locations in his Station (excluding any Power Reactors).
If there are still tied players, the winner is the one with the most remaining credits. If there is still a tie, all tied players share the victory.