Welcome to Stars!
It's a Relatively Small Universe, After All
Somewhere out on the edge of the Universe, two great races (the Sznip, a race of crustaceans, and the Fermis, a race of nuclear plasmatoids) have destroyed themselves and the chance for all remaining sentient races to evolve and expand into (nearly) infinite space. Once upon a time there was a Theory that said the Universe was made up of interconnected bubbles of space/time. The Sznip and the Fermi War proved it. The detonation that destroyed both these super races also caused these bubbles of real space to pop (actually a simultaneous replacement of real space with null). All the bubbles but one. This bubble of space/time, your bubble, is all that remains. And it's small (too small) and full (too full) of sentient species, each on the verge of colonizing other planets and traveling between the stars. Each race hungry to control the little bit that's left.
There's bound to be trouble.
What You're Doing Here
Fortunately, the element found in the terrible weapons of the Sznips and Fermis does not exist in the Universal Remnant. So there's a limit to the trouble you and your opponents can cause. During your first year, you'll be ready to build your first simple space ships. Eventually you'll build interstellar cruisers and planet bombers, freighters the size of small moons, and weapons that will make your opponents tremble (or shrug, depending on their confidence level). You'll colonize world after world as quickly as only your race can. You may get lucky, and find artifacts left by those ancient races that catalyze your research efforts, or encounter transdimensional beings offering you knowledge that only they possess, and at low, low prices. By the time the space dust settles, 100, 200, perhaps 500 or more years will have passed, and either you or one of your undeserving opponents will be calling the shots. Or, shot up, war-scarred, and with too few resources to continue, you'll call a halt, shake hands and all settle down for a foot stomping game of Fizbin.
It's the 2400th year of the Planetary Era. Your world is resource rich and bustling with technological development. Your political leaders are giddy and, with much fanfare, have just declared this as the first year of the Galactic Era. Your people are looking for a real leader.
You are the Master Strategist
Use the Stars! control panels to command your capitol worlds and fleets, to seek out strange new worlds and new civilizations, to boldly help your neighbors understand their role in the doctrine of Manifest Destiny.
Stars! may seem complicated at first glance. Lots of tiles and windows, lots of text, lots of colors. These things require a little explaining. Only a very little.
But not here. You won't need to pay more than cursory attention to most of the information on the screen, most of the time. It's there when you need it. You can even temporarily collapse some pieces if you find them distracting.
To orient yourself, before you go nose to beak with the other spacially challenged races, PLAY THE TUTORIAL GAME. Just click on New Game in the opening screen, then click on Tutorial in the New Game dialog.
Get going. The universe is waiting, along with up to <tooltip text="15 other star-hungry races">Multi-player games
You can challenge your opponents on a single computer or across a local area network, or by transferring turn files using ftp, modems, email, computer bulletin boards, or any other file transfer mechanism you can think of. There's room for up to 16 of you in the Stars! universe, with any mix of human and computer opponents.</tooltip>.