In Falling Stars: War of Empires, space exploration serves as a way to find out what resources and planets surround your home system, and also gives you a way to earn some victory points. Of course, nothing comes without a cost, and you can potentially lost your whole fleet by moving into the wrong system without scouting it out first, but that keeps it exciting! So first off, in order to move anywhere, you have to place a fuel counter on the system you would like to move into. Players start with 3 fuel counters, and get more each round. In the image below, this shows what the game play area looks like in the beginning of the game, and we're playing as the Terran Matriarchy. I've placed a fuel counter on a system one hex away, but cruisers can move up to 2 hexes right off the bat. After placing fuel there, we can go exploring. I've moved one cruiser there to see what the system contains (which was a bit dangerous since there could potentially be a supernova there, which would wipe out all ships from the hex). And how fortunate! We found a wormhole! Wormholes serve as a "tunnel" to wherever the corresponding wormhole is in the galaxy. It's better to find them sooner rather than later so one of your oppents doesn't surprise you with it. Especially since it's right next to your most prized planet, your home world! Next, I load up a carrier with some ground forces and move to another adjacent system. This time we got lucky once again, as we could have only discovered empty space and been stranded for a turn with none of the extra resources that a planet gives (or barters from inhabitants, but we'll get into that in a later post). I unload the ground units on the planet, and now a few things happen. First, you can see that the planet now belongs to me, so it has the same color on the outline as our home system. This lets you know at a glance what belongs to whom. Also, we get a victory point as you can see at the top of the screen. There are 24 planets, so with even distribution each player can get 6 of their 20 victory points from exploration. Next round, we'll also get to use the resources from our newly found planet. Last, we use another fuel counter to send our cruiser into deep space. They are the only units that can move 2 hexes in the beginning of the game, so it pays to use them to scout as much as possible. This is probably not a great move since one ship will get destroyed easily by a stronger force, and it's an expensive unit, but we are within striking distance of the most sought after planet in the system, Arkis Vir. For my next update, I'll go a little more in depth on interaction with alien planets, beyond just overthrowing them with ground forces and taking their resources!