This are the rules for a two-player game.
- 10 Explorer cards
- 16 Scout cards
- 4 Viper cards
- 80 Trade Deck cards
- Authority cards, or some other means of keeping score
Object of the Game
Each player starts with a small personal deck of 10 cards representing their space armada. Each turn, players play cards to gain Trade, Combat and other effects.
Trade () is used to buy more powerful cards to add to your deck.
Combat () is used to attack your opponent or their Bases directly.
Authority () is your score. Each player starts with a score of 50 Authority. If you reduce your opponent's Authority to zero, you win!
Each player starts with a personal deck (containing 8 Scout cards and 2 Viper cards) and a score of 50 Authority. Leave space next to each personal deck for a discard pile. Place the 10 Explorer cards face up on the table.
Shuffle the Trade Deck and place it face down on the table. Lay out 5 cards from the Trade Deck face up on the table. This is the Trade Row. Leave a space next to this for the Scrap Heap (a place to put cards that are removed from the game).
Both players shuffle their personal decks. Randomly determine which player will play first. That player draws three cards (you always draw from your own personal deck), the other player draws five cards.
Players alternate taking turns. Each turn has three phases. These phases are played in order:
- Main Phase
- Discard Phase
- Draw Phase
1. Main Phase
During your Main Phase you may do any of the following, in any order you wish.
- Play cards from your hand.
- Use abilities of Ships or Bases in play.
- Acquire Ships or Bases with Trade and place them in your discard pile.
- Attack your opponent or their bases with Combat.
You may repeat any of these as many times as you like. For example, you may play two cards from your hand, acquire a card, then play another card from your hand, etc.
There is no cost to play a card, just place it in play (face up on the table in front of you) and do what it says. There are two types of cards you can have in your deck, Ships and Bases.
Ships provide a one-time effect each time you play them. Ships you put into play stay in play (face up in front of you) until your Discard Phase.
Bases stay in play turn after turn until they are destroyed or scrapped. Each Base has a Defense that represents the amount of Combat that it must be hit within a single turn to destroy it.
Some Bases (designated "Outpost") protect you and your other Bases. If you have an Outpost in play, you may not be attacked and your non-outpost Bases may not be attacked or targeted by your opponent until all of your Outposts are destroyed.
White in play, some Ships and most Bases have abilities that can be used at any time during your Main Phase.
Primary Base Abilities
Most Bases have an ability in their main text box. For example, Blob Wheel gives you 1 Combat. Some Bases have "or" between multiple abilities. You may choose Bases. one of these abilities to use each turn. For example with Barter World, you may choose to gain 2 Authority or 2 Trade, but not both.
Some ships and bases have Ally Abilites. This is in addition to whatever else the card does. Ally Abilites are indicated by a faction icon in the text box.
On your turn, an Ally Ability is triggered as soon as you have another Ship or Base of that faction in play. Once triggered, an Ally Ability may be used at any time during your Main Phase.
Some Ships and Bases have a Scrap Ability. This is in addition to whatever else the card does. Scrap Abilities are indicated by a trash can icon in the text box.
If you choose to use a cards Scrap Ability, remove the card from "in play" and place it in the Scrap Heap (the removed from the game pile). This card is no longer in your deck, so consider carefully if the ability is worth giving up that card forever! Scrapping a card in any other way does not give you the Scrap Ability.
Note: when an Explorer is scrapped in any way, it is placed face up in the Explorer Pile, not in the Scrap Heap.
Some cards allow you to scrap other cards from your hand, your discard pile or the Center Row. When you scrap a card in this way, place it in the Scrap Heap. The Center Row always has 5 cards in it, so if you scrap a card from the Trade Row, immediately replace it with the next card from the Trade Deck.
Some of the Ships and Bases you play will give you Trade. When you gain Trade it goes into a "Trade Pool" which you may add to and use over the course of your Main Phase. Trade is used to acquire cards from the Trade Row or the Explorer Pile.
A card's cost is found in the Trade symbol in its upper right hand corner. To acquire a card, subtract Trade from your Trade Pool equal to the card's cost and then put the acquired card directly into your discard pile.
Acquiring a card doesn't count as playing it, so it doesn't go into play and you don't use its abilities. Any remaining Trade is saved and can be used to acquire additional cards this turn. Sometimes a card's ability will instruct you to "Acquire a card".
In this case you get to acquire the card without using Trade. Remember, the Trade Row always has 5 cards in it, so if you acquire a card from the Center Row, immediately replace it with the next card from the Trade Deck.
Some of the Ships and Bases you play will give you Combat. When you gain Combat it goes into a "Combat Pool" which you may add to and use over the course of your Main Phase.
You may use Combat to attack your opponent or their Bases. To attack a Base, subtract Combat from your Combat Pool equal to the Base's Defense. That Base is destroyed and goes to your opponent's discard pile.
Sometimes a card's ability will instruct you to "Destroy target Base". In this case, you destroy the Base without using Combat. To attack your opponent, subtract any amount of Combat from your Combat Pool, and lower your opponent's Authority by that amount.
2. Discard Phase
In addition to a personal deck, each player has their own discard pile. When you discard or acquire cards, place them face up in your discard pile. Any player may look through your discard pile at any time.
During your Discard Phase you:
- Lose any Trade remaining in your Trade Pool.
- Lose any Combat remaining in your Combat Pool.
- Put all of your Ships that are "in play" into your discard pile.
- Put any cards left in your hand into your discard pile.
3. Draw Phase
During your Draw Phase you: Draw 5 cards, then your turn ends.
Note: if you need to draw a card and your personal deck is empty, shuffle your discard pile and that becomes your new personal deck.
Example: At the beginning of your Draw Phase you have three cards left in your deck. Draw those three cards, shuffle your dis card pile into a new deck, then draw two more cards.
End of the Game
The game ends when you are able to reduce your opponent's authority to zero and you are the winner.