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Star Battle - Revised Rules January 27, 1996

TYPESET/edited for clarity August 11, 1998

Rules By Merle D. Zimmermann - Free-Ware under the GNU GPL.

Equipment needed to play:


Normal (old version):

Shuffle the deck of cards, and deal 8 to each player. The person to the right of the dealer places their highest valued card (King = High) in the center of the table, representing the Core of the Galaxy. The players take turns to put down a card that can be moved from onto any previously placed card. (refer to Table 1) When all hands are exausted, Stage 2 Begins.

"Unknown Universe" :

In this version treat each player's "Home Base" as the "Core of the Universe" for them (Q. Does this mean that each player gets a bonus ship for each Home Base that they control? A. Probably. I haven't played this game for a while and I am not quite sure what we used to do. You can try both ways and then do whatever you like better. Come to think of it, probably not. You should still probably try both ways, though). Shuffle the Deck of Cards, and Deal it into a 5x5 square face-down. (or larger, if you are adventurous (or have hours free to spend playing this game). If you do this, though, you will probably need to shuffle several decks of cards together to allow this to work.) Each player turns up a random card on the perimeter of the playing field ("Star Chart") to represent their "Home Base" or starting square. As the game progresses, only cards that have (or have had) ships on them are turned face up. (As soon as a ship moves onto a card, that card is turned face up.)

Stage 2:

Phases Rule A: Players take turns after the Player ("Star Lord") on their left finishes.

Phases Rule B (a fun variation): Disregard Rule A. The player with the fewest ships at the end of the last player's turn goes next.

After Stage 2 begins and before the first turn, each player gets two ships, (one of each type ("Scout"s and "Dreadnought"s)), and draws a hand of 2 cards. See Table 2 for suggested US coins.

--- The Turn: - During the Turn, Aces are rendered High - ---

Turn Sequence:

Choose one of the following actions to take place on your turn:

  1. Build a Ship: Ships may not be built on cards that are Clubs. Ships may not be built if another "Star Lord" is in control of your "Home Base". Discard a card higher in value then one of the "Star Systems" that you control. If the suit of the card discarded does not match the suit of the "Star System", then you may build a "Scout" coin. (refer to table 2 for coin reccomendations for a 2 player game). If the suit matches, you may either build a "Dreadnought" coin, or elect to build a "Scout" coin and take a free turn.
  2. Move a Ship: Moves may only be made in the directions documented in Table 1. These moves are calculated from the Starting card, not the Destination. Discard a card higher in value then the card to be moved to (Aces discarded are higher then any other card), and transfer one "Scout" from the first card to the second. If the suits of the Destination card and the discarded card are the same, you may move a "Dreadnought" from card to card, or you may move a "Scout" and take a free turn.
  3. Rebuilding: If you discard one of your ship coins, you may replace the card previously occupied by the ship discarded with a lower valued card of the same suit, or a higher valued card of a different suit. (Q. Where do you get the card that you are replacing the "Star System" card with? A. This card must be discarded from your hand when you make your move, I think.)
  4. Discarding: You may take any number of cards from your hand and place them in the discard pile. This ends your turn.
  5. (Take a "Free Move": You select another of the actions listed above (1-4) and complete it normally. (Q. If I get a free move when I complete the action, do I get to use it right away? A. Yes. ) (Q. Can I save free moves for later turns? A. When I was playing this game, if you neglected to use all of your free turns, they were lost. However, if you think that you can deal with the other properties of this rule change, you are free to do so. I do not advise it, though. ) ) If, after the actions of a player's turn are complete, the player's Ships share spaces with one of the other player's Ships, either of the two "Star Lord"s may initiate a "Battle", the mechanics of which are detailed below (or use the non- revised rules.)

Battle Resolution:

There are several different types of methods used to evaluate the battle situations:

Remember that if you lose ships, you hand size is going to shrink.

After all battles have been evaluated using any of the above methods, The current player draws cards until they are holding five cards, or the number of ships that they have in play, whichever is lower. Then, the turn passes to the next player, according to one of the options detailed on the previous page (phrase A is greatly reccommended).

End of Game:

The winner is found by one of the following methods: ---The method to be used MUST be agreed upon before the game begins.

A) When the deck runs out, the winner is the player with the highest score, calculated by the following formula:

B) The player who is the last remaining with ships.

C) The player who controls the majority of Home Bases.

Reference Tables



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