One Deck Galaxy is all about choice. That starts with setup, where you'll build a unique combination of a Homeworld and Society Type to pair together, and an Adversary to face. Once you've got a few games under your belt, you can even decide to flip over the Adversary to its Hard Mode side!
Every turn, you'll be rolling a set of dice to create your pool. These dice can be used for many different purposes, and choosing how and where to apply your efforts is the central mechanic of the game. The corner of your Homeworld card displays icons showing what dice you'll be rolling. If you've played One Deck Dungeon, the layout might look a little bit familiar!
Dice (both high and low) are useful for many things, but their most important purpose is to fill boxes on Location and Encounter cards. Every turn, you'll refill the Discovery Zone to have four face-up cards from the Galaxy Deck, and they'll be a mix of the two.
Location cards have boxes that you can fill with dice of appropriate color and value, organized into two rows. Filling the rows will grant you Influence at the location at the end of the turn.
When you roll all your dice, high value dice will be useful for filling boxes on Location cards, but what can you do with low rolls? Build ships, of course. And do SCIENCE!
The Starbase allows you to use dice that won't quite fit elsewhere. With multiple dice of the same value, you can build fleets. You can also toss dice with any value into the Starbase's Research Lab. If there's a Location in play that you can't make progress on, you can Study it instead to make space for a new card. You're exploring the galaxy, building ships, doing science, settling new colonies, and discovering new technologies. Meanwhile, your Adversary is looming, growing in strength. Each has its own unique rules for how they'll oppose your efforts, and a set of Adversary Events - one of which will pop up each time you reshuffle the Galaxy Deck.
Each Adversary uses influence in different ways. The Neeble-Woober Colony Fleet, for example, gains a colony of its own every three turns, and then gets to roll dice! You don't want that, it's bad when other people get to roll your dice. If they gain colonies faster than you can raise your Federation Level, you'll be overwhelmed, and the game will end. The specific rules for each Adversary are different, but your Federation Level is always important to victory!
Your goal, then, is to win before they can overwhelm you. No adversary is a match for a united Federation, so you'll just have to build one! Your Federation Level increases by one each time you complete one of the Milestones from your Homeworld and Society cards. Raising it will upgrade your special tech, increase your capacity for colonies, and allow you to confront the Adversary. If you successfully confront the Adversary four times, you win!
Each game of One Deck Galaxy plays out differently, depending on your choices of Adversary, Homeworld, and Society. The Adversaries have an even more challenging version for once you think you're ready! Good luck, and may your Federation be strong and prosperous.