Play one game in a heat. Enter as many heats as you like, with best finish considered in seeding. Top 16/20/25 finishers advance to semifinal but no more than half the field. Top five finishers advance to final. This is a Beginner's Event, which means that the game will be taught only to those attending the scheduled demoes in the Exhibit Hall Annex.
The GMs will assign four or five players to each table. No relatives or teammates may play at the same table prior to the final. Otherwise, seating will be random, with the option of spot adjustments as determined by the GM.
Each table will play one game, with each players score determining finish. If there is a tie for the most influence, the tied players determine the value of the cards in their hands. If a player has any cards in reserve, they do not count towards tiebreakers! Each ally ship or ship of a surviving world is worth double its value. Each ship of a surrendered world is worth its face value. Each technology card is worthless. The tied player who has the highest-valued Hand finishes higher. If still tied, the tied player who played last finishes higher.
At the start of each game, seating at the table will be randomly determined by drawing a poker chip with a table number and seat number on it.
Between 16 and 25 players will advance to the semifinal round. Heats will be games of four or five players at each table. I hope to avoid having to turn someone away from the semifinal because they only have one win and another player has two, but the priority for the semifinal is going to be 16, 20 or 25 players. If I get one of those exact numbers appearing for the semifinal, then it will not matter how many wins you have. I'll still keep track of all runners-up, but Im not really excited about doing all of that math to try and figure out how to get any runners-up to the semifinal.
Table talk suggesting alliances or a specific course of action is permitted; however, such verbal agreements are not binding. The only restriction is that you may never show any card to another player until you play or discard it, except as required by the rules of play. If you show a card by accident or otherwise, the card is considered played and the player to your left draws one random card from your Hand which is discarded as a penalty. (Thus, any card played is played. You cannot take it back.)
Spoils of victory are awarded when a world surrenders, starting with the player whose turn it is and proceeding clockwise. Once the next round has begun, no spoils of victory can be awarded for the previous round.
There is no limit to the number of cards you can hold in your hand. At the end of your turn, you may either draw one new card from the Draw pile or pick up all the card(s) in your Reserve. If the Draw pile is exhausted, you may not draw new cards.
Any undefended, visible Base on any row can be attacked by any Fleet Ship with a combat opportunity. A Base is undefended if it has no ship in the current row of the world's column.
If you are not already governor of a world when you play your ship card, you may not use that Governor power that turn; however, you may use a Governor power in the same turn you become Governor. The ship you play need not survive the action phase to trigger use of the Governor power.
You do not have to be governor of a world to use a ship power. If you play a ship card, you may use the power listed on the card or attack with the card, as appropriate, regardless of who is the governor of the world.
Face down ships cannot use their ship power (even when turned face up during the World Surrender Phase); however, face down ships defend bases.
When the Governor of the Divergence exercises his or her power, he or she may play a second ship in the Action Phase after the first ships power (including attacks) is used or forfeited. The second ship may not be played in the Divergence column. If the second ship is played on a world where the player is Governor, the world’s governor power may be exercised.
Technology cards augment a player ability for the duration of a round (until a world surrenders), except Advanced Processing, which may be used only once.
If no player at the table can either play a card or discard a card, the game ends, and the winner is determined by calculating the value of the bases on all remaining worlds. As you may understand, this means that it is possible for a game to end with more than three worlds surviving.
When a player a) plays/discards the last card in their hand, b) has at least one card in their reserve, and c) the draw deck has been exhausted, they must pick up those cards from the reserve as their action in the Draw Phase. They are not allowed to leave the cards in reserve and thereby passing whenever it comes around to their turn again so as not to have to play a card that is in their reserve that they do not want to play.
Late Arrivals and Long Games
Late arrivals will be accommodated in the heats, as possible, if a full game (five players) can be formed; however, all games must be completed by the end of the scheduled period.
For the semifinal and final rounds, players must check in with the GM by five minutes after the beginning of the scheduled round or they may be disqualified, if an alternate has already checked in to replace them. Games that are not complete by the end of two hours may be adjudicated by the GM, at his discretion.
For any game that the GM is playing in, an assistant GM will make any necessary adjudication. Decisions made by the GM (or assistant, as necessary) are final.