Not sure if i'm being dense, but it seems to me that the Homeworlds PDF doesn't actually tell you how to play the game.
I am new to Pyramids in general, only having played Ice Dice and Launchpad 23. I got the impression that the current rules available for download are more of a primer for experienced players.
Is there a resource that someone could point me toward to help me better understand this game?
Homeworlds is not an easy game to get started, and it definitely helps to have an experienced player teach you, but I believe that PDF does explain all the rules necessary to play. I'd be happy to try to help you, what questions do you have?
Yes that's the one.
I think my biggest hold up is the abstract nature of the star system. The set up is puzzling me a bit. Is the placement of connected star systems arbitrary? How is the size of star system determined once you get there?
It does take some getting used two. Any two systems are connected if they do not share an upright piece of the same size. So your homeworld (which has two upright pieces) is only connected to systems of the third size.
So if your homerworld is small blue, medium yellow, then it is connected to all star systems that have only a large upright piece defining them.
When you use yellow to move, you can move to an existing, connected system, or you can discover a new connected system, of any color available.
To continue the above example, if you were to use the yellow power of your small/medium homeworld above, you could move to any existing large systems, or discover a new one by taking any available large piece from the bank and making a new system.
I hope that helps. Keep sending me questions. Homeworlds is one of my favorite pyramid games, so I'm always happy to help grow the field of players.
I see. So size is determined, initially by your homeworld itself, but color is user defined? What about after you go one step beyond? are you free to pick any size and color as long as it's not the same size as the previous one? Also what determines your proximity to a system as opposed to your opponent?
Yes, the size of the first system you will discover is determined by the sizes you pick for your homeworld. From a normal system (with only one upright piece) you can discover systems of either of the other two sizes, as they're all connected.
I'm not sure what you mean by proximity, if do systems do not share an upright piece of the same size, then they are connected. From there you can draw a graph. Most homeworlds are three 'hops' apart, meaning that a ship has to travel to two intermediate systems before it can get to the other homeworld. If my homeworld has a small and a medium, and yours has a medium and a large, then I would have to move a ship from my homeworld to a large system. Then to a small system. And then I could move into your homeworld. That would take three turns, provided there was yellow for me to use in each system. If our two homeworlds use the same size pieces, you get what we call a 'small universe' because it's only two hops to get from one homeworld to the other.
Thank you. Your guidance has helped.
No problem. Happy to help. If you come up with more questions, don't hesitate to ask. There are several emergent properties that come out through play that are very interesting.
Neat. I like unexpected outcomes.
As a companion answer to Tim: Yes, placement is completely arbitrary. Andy Looney has explained it like this: There are lots and lots of stars in the universe, and they might be anywhere at all in relation to each other; We are only interested in a few at a time. A space ship might move to a new star, and that star can be anywhere on the table.
All that said, people tend to put stars in rows across the table, especially when playing Binary. This helps you see what things can travel where, a little easier.
The questions you are asking seem answered in the PDF you linked. E.g. about the size and color of your initial homeworld:
Two Stars and One Large Ship: To begin, take a Large spaceship (of any color) along with a Homeworld made of two upright pyramids (also in your choice of colors).
E.g. about connections between star systems:
Star Travel: You can move a ship from one star system to another ONLY if the stars are of different sizes.
Differently-sized star systems are connected... ...but same-sized stars are not.
E.g. about how to discover a new star:
Discovery: Take a piece of your choice from the Bank, add it to the board as a star, then move your ship to that star.
You may just need to read the rules through a second time now that you have a loose idea of what the game is about. Try doing a few sample turns, asking yourself "what are the possible actions I could make in this situation? How can I use each of the 4 colors in this situation?"
The rules are a bit more complex than a typical abstract strategy game (but still much simpler than a typical medium/heavy eurogame) and the game has some novel/unusual mechanisms, but all the info is there in the rules; just follow the rules literally! It's a clever deep interesting game well worth learning.
While i realize that the information was presented in the rules, it was not immediately apparent to me how it fit together. It is not presented as linearly as how you have formatted it above.
After talking with Tim, I feel i understand the move options better.
It's obviously going to take a while to learn good strategy through game play but I don't think the rules to play are all that complex, just that they are not well organized. No game is so abstract that clear and concise rules cannot be written to accompany it. I believe the phrase is " Minutes to learn, a lifetime to master".
I was kind of lost the first time i played too. Just reading the rules didn't really give a feel for the flow of the game. It would be helpful if the instructions included a small sample game or if there was a youtube video of someone going through a game.