Objective: Each of the players takes over as the commander-in-chief of a major world in a sector on the verge of war. There could be multiple winners and multiple losers.
Secrecy: Don’t communicate with other players about the game. Don’t identify your game persona/planet base to other players in real life or reveal your real name to other players in messages sent in the game.
When the game begins you will be advised of how many players are participating but not what worlds they represent.
If a player drops out you will receive a message relating to regime change on that player’s planet, that the new regime is pursuing a more peaceful course of action and is recalling all fleets to defend the world or worlds they already control. This message arrives to you as quickly as communications in the game allow.
Time: Each day that passes in real time equals one week that passes in game time. Each week is handled abstractly, certain things happen in a certain order. For example, it’s not possible to dispatch a fleet with orders to arrive somewhere at the end of the week.
Referee: The Referee sends out one email per day advising on what has happened that week. Any orders received after that email is sent are for the following week.
When conflict occurs the referee also runs all the battles.
Powers: Certain major worlds are referred to as “Powers”. The use of the term implies the ability of the world to build a starfaring navy and project power beyond its own system. All of the players are operating a power but the rest of them are nonplayer worlds and will act in their own interest. They build and maintain navies as though they were at peace unless they are attacked at which point they will change to a war footing. They will always defend themselves and may attack players. Typically they will not permit a naval fleet to refuel in their system. They may be willing to make diplomatic arrangements of any kind or may refuse to do so.
Messages and diplomacy: You can communicate with other worlds by sending them a message. You need to have a courier ship to do this as radio messages only go out at the speed of light. Most non-player worlds will receive, consider your message for a week, and then respond. The same courier will return with their answer. So typically this whole procedure takes three weeks if they are within jump range. It may take longer if your message is complicated or requires resources to respond that are not at hand. They may decline to answer at all.
Trade: This has no specific effect on the game, except that players may purchase civilian type trading vessels and use them to spy on other worlds. Further, traders will bring news to your world of things they have heard about or witnessed abroad. You may find out that fleet you sent out was destroyed only because of news carried on a tramp freighter who heard about it second hand. Generally trade works its way around the sector at about the speed of a Jump-2 ship so things that happen six parsecs away will generally get reported in three weeks. There are exceptions, if something comes up that restricts trade like a blockade or piracy, a system may be cut off.
Interdicting trade is generally considered an act of war. Certain worlds require trade to survive and interdicting trade to those worlds may result in their surrender.
Money: Each power has its own currency, called by a local name but referred to in the game as a Credit. Credits are abbreviated Cr. but you will normally deal with Megacredits or MCr. which represent 1 million credits.
Direct trade between governments of different powers usually means purchasing ships, but could also involve a cash transfer for some other reason. These transfers are done in precious metals, commodities or in a recognized alternate currency. The most common such recognized currency is the Washington Dollar (WA$) which is the currency used by the neutral world of Washington and its government, The Consortium.
Other worlds, not major powers, maintain their own currencies as well, but these are usually worth far less. Any funds or resources you get from them will be worth less as well.