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Getting Started with SuperNova: Setup
This is the first of four related threads on SuperNova: Getting Started, Your First Three Turns, How to Organize It All, and Expanding Your Empire.

SuperNova is a game of galactic colonization. For more info, see the SuperNova summary and links posted by Raven. This thread is about the first step of play, designing the creatures at the heart of your empire.

When joining SuperNova, it helps to keep in mind three things. First, to complete your Setup Sheet, you don't need to read most of the pdf of SuperNova Rules. The name 'SuperNova Rules' is misleading, since that document mostly offers flavor for the setting. If you'd like to read about different classes of stars and terrain types, you can do so in Chapter 2, or about economic balance in Chapter 4, or army life in Chapter 6. If you prefer to skip them, fine. In fact, you can skip ALL of the 'Rules' book, save for Chapter 11 and a brief bit of Chapter 10.

Chapter 11 has what you need to design your fledgling empire. Your Setup Sheet (available at the same link as the 'Rules' above) essentially asks what kind of lifeform you'd like for your empire. You allocate points to traits you'd like, and you add a short description of the physical and behavioral characteristics of your new race.

The second thing to keep in mind is that all your race choices are mostly for flavor, with three exceptions:
  1. Traits increasing your reproductive rate or ability to thrive in harsh environments will make it easier to colonize new worlds.
  2. Traits increasing your research ability will speed your access to new technology, but only slightly (from 5% up to a max of around 25%)
  3. Traits increasing your strength and size, etc, can give a boost in ground combat, though you may find you settle your conflicts through space battles anyway.
It is worth keeping from 50 to 200 points left over, which will become 'General Research Points' that can automatically complete research in one 1st or 2nd Generation technology for you each turn. This will speed your development more than traits for intelligence, though only for 1st and 2nd Gen tech.

One you've designed your race, add a Government Type and Tradition from Chapter 10-2 and a brief description of your race. Put in a deposit for a few turns (I send via PayPal to Russ, but apparently you can use a credit card form; info for both on the SuperNova Downloads page).

That said, the third thing to remember when you start is that your turns will consist of managing colonies, ships, and resources at a high level, like the game Civilization more than the character-focused RPG suggested by the Setup Sheet. In your forthcoming turns, you'll use orders from the Orders Supplement (the 'real' Rulebook, which I use every turn), plus information from the Installations Supplement and, later, the Convoy Supplement (all available at that same link above). To get a feel for the game, check out the Orders Supplement, and also Raven's impressive SuperNova Wiki for details on the installations and technology that help your empire grow.
Though SuperNova is a civilization building game, with most orders taking place at the organizational level, I liked having a sense of my empire's species, including a visual picture.
[Image: The-Eskar05-small.jpg]

And here's my physical description, as an example.

These smooth-skinned humanoids may be mistaken for inert. Between actions, they do not shift or fidget or blink.
    They gesture with smooth precision, but their punctuated movements lend them awkwardness in the manner of machines, though these beings are clearly organic. They have four arms, with webbing beneath the lower set that enables them to glide short distances. They walk at a stately pace and wear sashes of golden runes over their raiment.
Greetings - 

I am new to this board but have decades of experience with Supernova and these getting started threads are excellent even if I might have a few things to add.  

1 - It is hard to describe how important colonization is or isn't.  So much of depends on the luck of the draw, what your starting planet looks like and what sort of environment you find yourself.  What can be said is that an empire that does not colonize may be at a serious disadvantage at some point.  This also tends to impact ground combat capabilities.  

2 - Research bonus (RB) modifiers are from 5% to 50% 

3 -  Many a player has requested a specific HW system name.  If it makes you feel better you be from a system named Casino, go ahead and ask for it and you might get it.  Most folks I know will supply 3-4 names  just in case something has already been used.

Give it a shot, it is loads of fun.

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