All of the variations and themes listed below come from actual games, many of which have been played multiple times with varying modifications.
"Normal" games still attract the most players of any game style or theme and are one player or one alliance win games. The Standard Cheats Disclaimer applies, CA is usually banned or severly crippled and Joat is usually not allowed NAS. Other races may have minor restrictions according to the host's tastes. Sized for 30-40 planets per player with Distant Player Positions and AccBBS. Perhaps PPS and/or Clumping. Often the host will also play and seek a third party to check race files and submit the game to AH.
Blitz style play is where the game is played online in semi-realtime, new turns are usually generated every 5-10 minutes. Blitz games last several hours and be played in a single stint. Often multi-year generations are used to speed the begining of games. Blitz games are usually played in tiny or small universe, anything larger being extremely rare. Diplomacy is very brief, as the lack of time and pace of game don't allow time for big negotiations.
A duel is usually a game between 2 human players each controlling a single race. Most duels are fought until one player concedes victory to the other. Other duel styles include:
- contests between two teams(eg the famous EACvsIRC game)
- two players controlling multiple races each
- each player designing one race and both players playing both races 2vs2
Naturally, team games are games where teams of players compete for a team win. 2 teams of 8, 2 of 5, 4 of 4 and 5 of 3 are all popular configurations. Where teams consist of 3 or more players, the most popular combination is CA+IT+AR+extras.
One player games against the computer players are still popular with players both new and old. Players usually quickly move to games against other human players as, good as the AI is, it is nowhere near as difficult to face as human oppoenents. In addition many tactics and strategies have been developed since the AI's were written. Often testbed games will include AI players to simulate competition.
Variations & themes
- What is the AFON start?
- Xdude first used this setup method in a game called "A Force Of One", where 9 good guys in a rag tag formation arrived in an empty galaxy ready to settle. Each fleet comprised of 10 SFX, 40 Privateers, and 40 Large Freighters. Each fleet carried about 1 million colonists and the rest of the cargo space comprised of minerals, about 50%/25%/25% G/B/I. If you've ever seen Battlestar Galactica, you've seen the rag tag fleet I am talking about. -Xdude
- Each player gets at least Prop 8 and Con 8. This ensures all players get SFX and decent engines. A few players get extra tech due to differing costs and PRT(like SS).
- What does this setup do? With Pen Scanning, it allows quick colonization of greens, and movement of mins to accelerate growth. People can still screw up with this jackpot of colonists and minerals. Crash colonizing by sending the Privateer and Large Freighter leaves you with no cargo ships to move mins for 7-8 turns. One person dropped his entire 10/40/40 on a -12% yellow on the first turn of the game leaving him helpless for the first 50 turns of the game.
- This setup can allow you to kick some major ass. Use it well.
Rabid weasels in a box
This game variation restricted all participants to -f races and has had several sequels.
Primitive Stars! games are designed to make the game much longer and slower than a regular game. The aim of this is to make much greater use of the 'early' and 'midgame' and is achieved by a (relatively) extensive set of restrictions on race design and game play.
In the Random Plagues game, every 5(?) years, the host would change the current plague, which took the form of a special rule. eg Non-gating ships may not move East, no mine laying, no factory/mine building. Players who infringed on this rule were punished.
The idea of Pirates! was that the 10 pirate players(SS) have no planets, but instead prey on the other 5 empire players to steal minerals and amass the largest treasure horde.