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Sample Game Report

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This page isn't specific to any particular position in the sample game, because the selection of which game report is given as the sample is changed often, so the advice given here is going to be fairly generalised.

There are two other pages on this website that are about Star Chase, and you might find these helpful. One is the general Hints & Tips page and the other deals with the optional rules for Smart Actions.

The "smart" actions in Star Chase allow you to take a step back from the details of the game and issue general commands, like an emperor issuing orders to his court. You can give orders to go an explore, or plant colonies, build ships, increase your population, expand your industries or gather your fleets. The Hints & Tips page includes a suggestion for how to fill in your first turn by using only the smart actions.

WRITING SOME ORDERS

Most people prefer to attend to all the details themselves and write orders that are more specific, so we'll ignore the smart actions and assume that's what you want to do. Looking at the sample game report you've downloaded it shows "Systems Owned" and "Scouting & Probes" on the first page. The second page will be fragment of the map - eveything you can see so far (it'll expand as the game goes along).

The third and fourth pages are the roundup and messages, which in this case are a waste of space (they'll be important later on, and would be important right away in a full sized game). The fifth page is the turnsheet, on which you write your orders (even if you're going to use the website to send them it's best to write them out first).

THE SITUATION REPORT

The "Systems Owned" section contains one line for each star (or planet, or asteroid). It actually includes some you don't own, because we've found it's best to always show the planets and asteroids together with the star they belong to. The ones you already own are the ones with the three-letter code for your empire in the "Owner" column.

The different colums in this section include "Number" for the three-digit number that identifies each one, and "Name" which is blank and can be ignored for now. The "System Type" shows what sort of star it is, or whether it's a planet or asteroid. After the "Owner" column comes "Crs" for cruisers, "Ftr" for fighters, "Col" for colony ships, "Pop" for population, "Ind" for industry, and then several that you don't care about (for now). The final column is very important, as it shows what's connected to what. You'll see each planet and asteroid is connected only to the star they belong to, but the star is connected to other stars (as well as the planets and asteroids).

The "Scouting & Probes" section is laid out the same way. It shows all the stars etc that you can see, either because they're linked to the ones you own or because they're stars that are very bright. It includes some that you already own, because the planets and asteroids stick together with their parent stars.

The map on the second page shows how all these stars link together. The stars are shown by their code numbers, with lines of dashes to show the links, and planets & asteroids are bunched together under their parent stars.

CRUISERS & EXPLORATION

The first thing you want to do is explore and grab as much territory as you can. The scenario in Star Chase is that you're rebuilding after the fall of a galactic civilisation, so there's all sorts of useful stuff scattered across the map to be picked up as you go.

Cruisers are the only sort of ship that can move to somewhere you don't already own. You've got five of these, but you'll want to keep at least one at home to capture any other planets and asteroids in your home system. The other four should be sent on their way as soon as possible. That's done with the MOVE action, and you're going to make several of these.

MOVE ACTIONS

For each one, enter MOVE in the first column of the "Actions" section of the turnsheet, and the number of the star where your cruisers are in the second. In the third you put the number of the star you're moving to, and in the fourth you give the number of cruisers you want to move. In this case the number of cruisers is going to be one in each case - except that if you've got more cruisers than you need, then you'd best send the spares along as well, probably to whichever star looks (from the your map) most likely to have more destinations to go to next time.

Assuming you've held one cruiser back from the exodus, pick an unowned planets or asteroid that belongs to your home star and send it there (this cruiser is going to shuttle back and forth capturing them one at a time, until they're all done).

TECHNOLOGY

Once your ships arrive where you sent them they stop to dig around in the ruins to see what they can find, and this might be technology, more ships, population, industry, banks vaults stuffed full of cash, or whatever. How much you find depends on one of your Expo Tech, which is one of nineteen technologies your empire can invest in. It's so important at the start of the game that you don't need to waste time on any of the others in the first turn. In fact, investing in more Expo Tech stands a very good chance of helping you find other useful technology as you explore.

In the "Tech & Trades" section of the turnsheet enter "ET" in the first box on the first line, and a "3" in the first box in the third column. You can ignore the rest of this section for now. It's used on for trading, and you've got no-one to trade with, for now.

COLONY SHIPS

Of the other ships you start with, the fighters can't do much (a fighter is the equal of a cruiser in a fight, an they're cheap to build, so they're good for defence but they can't move on their own). So ignore them for now. Colony ships on the other hand are very important. They're big ships that care capable of transporting populations between the worlds and planeting new colonies wherever they go. They also have some pretty nasty habits that you'll discover more about when you see the rest of the rules. You've only got one to start with, but you're going to want at least two. So the next thing is to build another one.

Build a new colony ship with NEWCOL action. Build it in the same place as the one you've already got. You put this in your orders in the next line available in the "Actions" section, with NEWCOL in the first column, the start number in the second, leave the third column blank, and a "1" in the fourth.

PLANTING COLONIES

Decide which of the stars where you sent your cruisers you want to colonise first (avoid black dwarf stars, and go for one that has planets or asteroids if you can). Send one colony ship to that star, using the MOVECOL action, but leave the other behind.

You've probably got the idea of how to fill in the turnsheet by now. The format for this action is:-   [ MOVECOL ]   [ XXX ]   [ YYY ]   [   1   ]     where XXX is the number for where your're moving from, and YYY is the number for where you're moving to.

Now you can plant new colonies, using the COLONISE action. This has got two different formats, and you're going to use them both. At the star you moved to you're plant a colony where the ship already stands:- [ COLONISE ]   [ YYY ]   [     ]   [     ]

Back at your home star you want to throw a colony to the planet or asteroid you captured earlier in the turn:- [ COLONISE ]   [ XXX ]   [ ZZZZ ]   [     ]

Make sure you order all your cruisers before you start ordering the colony ships. If you try to do things the other way around then that won't work, for reasons you'll see once you get the proper rulebook.

That's all the things that are essential in the first turn, but there are still plenty of actions spare. Later in the game you'll need them all, but at the start you could get by with fewer and you can fill in the ones you don't need with TAX actions (these don't need anything in the other columns). Tax actions just raise extra Build Points (which are what we use for money and resources in Star Chase, as in all our similar games).

A couple of things it probably is worth doing, probably with actions 15 and 16, are a GROW at your home star and an extra SETTLE action. The SETTLE will probably fail and waste an action, except that if one of the things you find while you're exploring is a colony ship then this will mean you get to plant an extra colony right away. Which is worth enough that you can afford to waste an action on it.

SHORT HANDED GAMES

Short handed games are used mainly as throwaway games for learning the rules and the system. They're not necessarily easy to win, because the "dummy" players aren't actually dumb. You've got no-one to make alliances with and no chance to make trades, while none of your neighbours can be trusted for a moment. Full sized games are actually easier, up to a point, once you know your way around. Two players can decide to trust each other, and being able to trade is a big advantage.

We normally run these games at a discount, partly to encourage people to use them (if you already know what you're doing when you join a full sized game, then that makes for a much better game for everyone). The discount rate is 1 per turn in the UK (outside the UK the rate is 2 Euros, $2 US or $3 Australian).

If you don't get along with the game then you can drop out of a short handed game any time you like without spoiling the game for anyone else.

HOW IT WORKS

The reason you can pick up this game and play it, even though someone else can do exactly the same thing at the same time is that we actually "clone" the game each time. Two players can start with identical positions and identical empires, but the game number will be different.

When we get the chance we'll allocate more than one player per game, either at the start or by allocating another player or two later. If you think you'll want to play very fast and not have to wait for the deadline (which probably means having a game to yourself) then tell us and we'll restrict your game to be one-handed only.

WHAT TO DO

Having decided your orders there are two things you can do if you want us to run the turn and see what happens. One is to put them in the post, with a cheque. The other is to email us and ask for a user name and a game number to be allocated to you so that you can use the softsim website and input your orders online.

If you know anyone else that would like to join the same game as you, then that's OK. They'll need to contact us directly and tell us the game number they want to be allocated to. Once they've joined they'll have all the same facilities available.

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