After the invention of Jump Drive, every colony could expand to new worlds and dream of empire... In New Frontiers, players build space empires by developing technologies, exploring and settling worlds, producing goods, and trading these goods for credits or victory points.
Can you build the most successful galactic empire?
- 8 empire mats
- 60 goods cubes
- 60 colonist pieces
- 2 development mats
- 56 development tiles
- 60 world tiles
- 7 action tiles (gray)
- 8 goal tiles
- 5 stockpile mats
- 1 setup summary/colonists mat
- 1 world summary tile
- 40 victory point chips (hexagons)
- 56 credit chips (rectangles)
- 1 priority track
- 10 player disks, 2 each in 5 colors
- 1 bag
Put the two development mats in the center of the table and place the developments on them:
First game: place the 8 large development tiles on their mat in their indicated spaces with their white square (□) sides face up.
Then, place 1, 2, or 3 each of the small development tiles, depending on whether +2, 3-4, or 5 players are playing, respectively, on their mat in their indicated spaces with their white square (□) sides face up. Return any unused developments to the box.
Later games: set out the developments as above.
Then, flip a coin for each large development and each stack of the small developments in the right two columns on their mat: on a "heads" result, leave that tile/stack as is; on a "tails" result, flip that large development or entire stack of small developments over to its reverse side.
Place the 7 action tiles in a row between the two development mats. Leave some extra space so that each action tile can be slid down about halfway when it is selected during play.
First game: use the Retreat into Isolation action tile side (marked with □). Return the Goal tiles and stockpile mats to the box.
The action tile order is not important. A useful teaching order for new players is: Retreat into Isolation, Develop, Explore, Settle, Produce, Trade-Consume, and Send Diplomatic Envoys.
Later games, if using the optional goals: Flip the Retreat into Isolation action tile over to its Chart Galactic Goals side.
Shuffle the 8 Goal tiles face down and stack them below it. Give each player a stockpile mat.
Use 12 victory points (VPs) per player in 1-VP and 5-VP chips to form a common supply. Return any remaining 1-VP and 5-VP chips to the box. Put the 10-VP chips off to one side (for use in the final round of play).
Put 12 colonist pieces per player on the colonists mat to form the colonists supply. Return any remaining colonist pieces to the box.
Set the goods cubes and credit chips nearby to form a supply. Place the world tiles in the bag and mix them thoroughly.
After players have selected their colors, randomly determine the initial player order, placing one of each player's disks on the priority track to mark this, keeping the first space of the track clear.
2-player game: place the second disks for both players on this track, after their first disks in the same order.
Give each player 3 credits. Give the last player +1 credit (4 credits total). In a 4 or 5 player game, also give the second-to-last player +1 credit.
Randomly shuffle the 8 empire mats and deal one to each player:
First game: all players use the sides with numbers in white squares.
Later games: in player order, each player chooses their home colony from the two colonies located on either side of their empire mat.
In games with 3 or more players, players mark their colors by placing their second disk on the numbered circle of their empire mat. (In 2 player games, the second disks are used to mark the players' second actions).
Give each player 1 colonist (from the supply) to place on the preprinted home colony in their empire mat. If any player's home colony has a colored "halo", they put a good matching that color on it. Begin play.
A game typically consists of 12 to 15 rounds.
In each round, the first player selects an action tile in the center, shifting it part way down in its "slot" and sliding their turn order disk halfway to the priority track's first space. Then, each player - in order as shown on the priority track - does that action, with the first player receiving its bonus.
After this action has been done by all players, the first player shifts their disk the remaining way to occupy the first space of the priority track.
The next player in order selects an action tile which has not been selected this round and shifts their turn order disk forward halfway to the next vacant space.
Each player, starting with this player and in priority track order - "wrapping around" the track to include players who have already selected actions this round - does this action, with the selecting player receiving its bonus.
After all players are done, the selecting player shifts their turn order disk forward fully into the next vacant space.
Continue this action selection process until every player has selected an action (and all players have done these tiles' actions).
Third Action, selected by Green and done in order by Green, Yellow, Red, and Blue.
2-player game: continue until each player has selected two actions.
If the Produce action was not selected this round, add 1 credit to its tile. Then, shift all the selected action tiles upward, slide all turn order disks back 1 space on the priority track, and begin a new round.
Notes: Some action tiles have no associated action; they only grant a bonus to the selecting player. Actions are resolved in order from the current player, wrapping around the priority track, not in clockwise order.
Priority order does not change from round to round unless a player selects an action (either Send Diplomatic Envoys or, if goals are used, Chart Galactic Goals) that alters the priority order.
There are four different ways the game can end. If any of these occur, players finish the round. They then score their empires' tiles, VP chips, and bonuses. The player with the most VPs wins!
Each action tile is described in detail below.
Retreat Into Isolation
Bonus: gain 2 credits.
This tile has no action, just a bonus for the selecting player, who gains 2 credits.
Action: buy 1 development.
Bonus: -1 cost.
Each player in order may buy one development, paying credits equal to its cost, the number (1-9) in the diamond of the development. The selecting player pays 1 fewer credit.
If powers or the Develop bonus reduce a development's cost below 0, it remains 0.
A player may not buy a development already in that player's empire.
Players place development tiles in the central area of their empire mats. The larger 9-cost developments occupy two spaces. Players may freely rearrange their developments to make them fit more efficiently, but may not place any tiles in the "reddish" portion of their mats until all ten other spaces are (or would become) occupied.
If any player has covered more than 10 mat spaces of developments after a Develop action, then the game will end after that round is complete.
Most developments provide a power which modifies the rules, see below.
Each development built will score victory points at game end equal to the number in its hexagon. The "?" on the 9-cost developments indicates a variable number of victory points that will be scored at game end, as detailed on that tile.
Most developments and many worlds provide a power which modifies the rules. The symbol in the black "beam emitter" that leads to the power's icon indicates which action it modifies. This action is also listed in bold text in the power's text description.
A power cannot be used in the action in which its tile is placed. Powers, unless they say "may", must be used if applicable. Power effects are cumulative in the action they modify. If powers ever reduce a cost below 0, that cost remains 0.
A power that modifies a rule (e.g. by reducing the cost needed to settle a world) modifies it only as listed; other rules pertaining to that action (such as needing colonists to settle a world) still apply.
Some powers are conditional, based on whether a given game event, such as producing a good on a world or settling a world, occurs. These powers do not produce effects if their corresponding game event (or "trigger") does not occur while resolving that action.
If a given game event, such as settling two worlds in one Settle action (via Improved Logistics' power) does occur twice, then effects based on this, such as Terraforming Robots' power, take effect twice.
Home colonies are considered colonies for all rules, powers, and effects.
Powers are described in text on their tiles. See the notes section under the power's action for any additional details about specific powers.
The Alien Oort Cloud Factory's ability is not a power and may affect its own placement. Its owner sets its kind - Novelty (cyan), Rare Elements (brown), Genes (green), or Alien Technology (yellow) - once each action for that action. This has no effect on a good already on it.
Action: pick 1 world from the 7 worlds drawn from the bag.
Bonus: pick a second world (after everyone has picked a world).
Draw seven world tiles from the bag and arrange them gray-side-up in the center area. In player order, starting with the selecting player, each player picks one world and adds it to their explored worlds in their empire.
After all players have done this, the selecting player picks a second world and adds it to their empire. Then, return the unpicked world tiles to the bag.
Important. Explored worlds are different from settled colonies.
To keep your explored worlds separate from your settled colonies, add them to your empire starting from the right end of your empire mat. Then, as you settle these worlds, flip them over to their colored sides and add them to your empire starting from the mat's left end.
Explore powers that grant an extra world draw from the bag, such as Survey Team's power, occur after a player picks their world from the center (or, if they are the selecting player, after they pick both of their worlds), but before returning any unpicked tiles to the bag.
Your total number of explored worlds and settled colonies, including your home colony, at the end of an Explore action may not exceed nine.
If you have more than nine, return any excess explored worlds to the bag, freely choosing among all your explored worlds which to keep and which to return.
Note: An explored world's powers, victory points, and properties are inactive until that world is settled, becoming a colony (see below).
Bonus: gain 1 colonist.
Action: either gain 2 colonists or settle 1 world.
The selecting player gains one colonist and then each player, in order starting with the selecting player, either gains two colonists or settles one explored world in their empire, converting it into a colony.
The selecting player gains their bonus colonist first and may use that colonist to immediately settle a world.
Players who can settle a world are not required to do so; they may gain two colonists instead. However, each player must either gain two colonists or settle a world; they cannot "pass".
Place new colonists in the colonist area of your empire mat, shifting them to worlds as you settle them.
To settle an explored world, a player must have both its listed number of colonists - one or two - and either sufficient credits or military strength to place it, depending on the world's type: non-military or military.
A non-military world has a black circle and a solid black number, its cost, which must be paid in credits to settle that world.
A military world has a red circle and an outlined red number, its defense, which the empire's total Military must equal or exceed to settle (conquer) that world. Military is provided by Settle powers on home colonies, developments, and previously settled colonies.
You may not combine Military and payments to place a world.
After settling a world, flip its tile over to its colony side, put its colonists on it, and add it to your empire, starting from the left end of your mat. If it has a colored "halo" - cyan, brown, green, or yellow - it provides a windfall good when settled. Put a matching good on the colony.
After a Settle action, if any player has more than seven colonies in their empire (including their home colony) or if there are four or fewer colonists left on the colonists mat, then the game will end after that round.
Many colonies provide a power which modifies the rules.
Each colony will score victory points at game end equal to the number in its hexagon. The "?" on a few colonies indicates a variable number of victory points that will be scored at game end, as detailed on that tile.
Notes: Some Settle powers provide specialized Military against certain types of military worlds, such as those with the Rebel keyword or Rare Elements military worlds. Other Settle powers allow a player to remove a good to provide temporary Military for that action. That good can be removed from any colony in your empire.
When using Improved Logistics to settle two worlds in one Settle action, any temporary military used to settle the first world may be used to settle the second world, but any powers of the first world cannot be used to settle the second world. Powers "triggered" by settling a world, such as Terraforming Robots' power, do occur twice.
Contact Specialist allows its owner to settle a non-Alien military world as if it was a non-military world at -1 cost (with any applicable discounts).
Terraforming Robots provides a world draw from the bag after its owner settles a world. If a player has more than 9 explored worlds and
colonies (including their home colony) at the end of a Settle action, they return any excess explored worlds to the bag, freely choosing among all their explored worlds which to keep and which to return.
Terraforming Engineers allows a player to replace a non-military colony with another non-military world of the same kind, either Novelty (cyan), Rare Elements (brown), Genes (green), Alien Technology (yellow), or - for this power only - gray, whose cost is 0-3 credits higher. Using this power is not a Settle action.
It cannot be combined with any Settle powers or used on a colony settled that action. The Alien Oort Cloud Factory's owner cannot set its kind to "gray" when using this power. Compare printed costs (ignore all discounts) when using this power. Return the replaced world to the bag at the end of Settle. Return any good on the replaced colony to the supply. If the new colony is a windfall world, place its good on it.
For this power and Doomed Colony's power, if the new world requires more colonists than the existing colony has, then its owner must supply that colonist to use the power. After replacing a world, return any surplus colonist to the colonist area of its owner's empire mat.
The game end condition of four or fewer colonists is checked only at the end of a Settle action. If it occurs in other actions, continue play normally. Very rarely, there will not be enough colonists for all players to gain during a Settle action.
Players late in the Settle order gain as many colonists as present (possibly none); they are not required to settle a world.
Action: produce a good on all production colonies (without goods).
Bonus: collect any credits on this tile and produce a good on one windfall colony (without a good).
If Produce was not selected during previous round(s), this tile will have one or more credits on it. The player selecting this action collects all credits on it.
Then, every production colony - with a solid cyan, brown, green, or yellow colored circle - that does not have a good receives a matching good. Gray colonies never have goods. A colony cannot have more than one good.
The selecting player then, if possible, selects one of their windfall colonies without a good and produces a good on it.
At the end of every round, if the Produce action was not selected that round, add 1 credit to it (before shifting all the action tiles selected that round upwards).
Notes: Some colonies, such as Comet Zone, provide credits when a good is produced on them. If a good is already present, then no credit(s) are provided. Similarly, Mining Industries' power compares only Rare Element goods actually produced that action.
Enough goods are provided for all worlds in the game. However, if goals are being used and the Stockpile Resources goal is in play, this may not be true. In that case, players produce their goods, including any windfall goods, in order, starting with the selecting player.
Players late in the order might not receive all (or any) of their goods. If a player has several more production colonies of a kind than goods are available for, then the player chooses which of them produce goods.
Bonus: gain 1 VP chip.
The bonus is listed first on this tile as, otherwise, the selecting player often forgets to collect their bonus victory point. Take it immediately!
Action: may sell 1 good before using Consume powers to convert goods into VP chips and/or credits, returning spent goods to the supply.
This action has two parts, both done together by each player in order, starting with the selecting player.
Trade: Each player may sell one good, returning it to the supply for 1-4 credits, depending on its kind: Novelty (cyan), Rare Elements (brown), Genes (green), or Alien Technology (yellow). No power is needed to sell a good. Trade powers increase the credits received when a player sells a good. If a player does not trade a good, then these powers have no effect.
Consume: Then, if the player has some Consume powers and goods, that player must use each power - in any order - until that player either has used all their applicable consumption powers or has no goods left that can be consumed. Each power can be used only once. A player without consumption powers cannot consume any goods.
If the initial common pool of victory point chips runs out, add the 10-VP chips (set aside during setup) and make change until all players receive all the victory point chips that they are entitled to. The game will then end after this round is complete.
Notes: Trade prices in this game are one value smaller than in the game Race for the Galaxy. Some powers, such as Spice World's power, apply only when trading a specific kind of good. A good on the Alien Oort Cloud Factory cannot be sold.
Many consumption powers return 1 good to the supply for victory point chips and/or credits; others consume 2 goods for 3 victory point chips, or a specific kind of good, such as Galactic News Hub's power, etc.
A few consumption powers, such as Imperium Arms Factories' or Consumer Markets' powers, consume "up to" two or three goods, receiving victory point chips and credits for each good actually consumed. Once used, these powers must be fully used if possible.
Trade League has both a Trade and a Consume power; its Consume power is optional.
Prosperous Economy's power does not consume goods. Instead, it grants 1 extra VP for each good its owner consumes, plus 1 VP if its owner also owns the development Galactic Salon (if it is in play, instead of Drop Ships).
Example: if a player with both Prosperous Economy and Galactic Salon uses New Vinland to consume 1 good for 2 credits, Old Earth to consume 2 goods for 3 VPs, and Galactic Salon to gain 1 VP (its power), then Prosperous Economy would add 4 VPs, for a total of 2 credits and 8 VPs.
A player may use their consumption powers in any order, even if a given order results in some goods being left in their empire that could have been consumed with a different order.
Send Diplomatic Envoys
Bonus: gain 1 VP chip and shift your priority disk to the first position of the priority track.
This tile has no action; just two bonuses for the selecting player, who gains one victory point chip and shifts their priority disk from its current position to the first position of the priority track (shifting all the disks previously in front of this disk back one space).
Notes: The new player order applies when doing all remaining actions in this round. In a 2-player game, this action can result in players selecting two actions in a row in future rounds. If the initial VP chip pool is emptied by this action, then the game will end after this round is complete.
If the game has not ended, then:
- If Produce was not selected this round, add one credit to its tile.
- Slide all selected action tiles upwards for the next round.
- Slide all player disks back one space for the next round. Continue play with the first player selecting an action.
End of the Game
The game can end in one (or more) of the following ways:
- Any player's developments cover more than 10 empire mat spaces.
- Any player has more than 7 colonies (including their home colony).
- The number of colonists left in the supply - after completing a Settle action (only) - is fewer than 5.
- The initial pool of VP chips is emptied (in any action).
In all cases, finish all the current round's actions before scoring.
Before scoring, remove all explored worlds from players' empires. The Alien Oort Cloud Factory owner chooses its kind for scoring purposes. When scoring, remember to include your home colony. If using goals (see page 11), flip up any face down goal held by a player.
Each player's score is the sum of the:
- victory point chips they gained during play,
- victory point values of their empire's developments and colonies,
- victory point "?" bonuses of their empire's 9-cost developments (and a few colonies), and
- (when using goals) any victory point bonuses for each goal in play.
The player who scores the most wins!
If a tie exists, the tied player with the most credits and goods in their empire wins (do not include any credits or goods on stockpile tiles). If there is still a tie, all these tied players jointly win.
Limits, Etiquette and Timing
A player may have any number of credit chips. Unlike colonists, goods, and tiles, the number of credit chips provided is not a game limit. If they ever run out (unlikely), make up some substitute counters.
The number of credits and victory points in chips that each player has is public information.
Players may not give away or exchange tiles, goods, colonists, credits, or victory points with each other.
While the Explore and Develop (due to the limited number of tiles) actions should be performed in player order, the Settle, Produce, and Trade-Consume actions can often be done simultaneously by players. When a game end condition might be met (that could result in different decisions by the later players), then do these actions in player order.