Homeworlds Settlers

From Looney Pyramid Games Wiki
Homeworlds Settlers
Bruno Curfs
Players vie for resources on a conquered Homeworld.
:Players Players: 2
:Time Length: Medium
:Complexity Complexity: Medium
Trios per color: 3
Number of colors: 4
Pyramid trios:
Monochr. stashes: 4
Five-color sets: 3
- - - - - - Other equipment - - - - - -
Homeworlds Settlers Board
Setup time: 1 minute
Playing time: 15 minutes - 40 minutes
Strategy depth: High
Random chance: None
Game mechanics: Movement, Placement, Capture, Color powers, Turn-based, Resource management
Theme: Space
BGG Link:
Status: Complete (v1.0), Year released: 2020

Homeworlds Settlers is a deep abstract strategy game for two players that uses a Homeworlds Set. Players vie for the resources and territory on the Homeworld that was conquered in the prequel: Homeworlds. Homeworlds Settlers borrows thematic elements from Homeworlds.

Setup[edit | edit source]

Place the board (see Homeworlds Settlers Board) between the players, tilted 45 degrees (like a diamond), so that a dark corner points to each player.

Set up the Bank. To do so, stack the pyramids by size and group them by color: Large to Small from back to front; the colors in the order Red, Yellow, Green, and Blue from left to right. Put the bank next to the board where both players can easily reach it.

Gameplay[edit | edit source]

Decide who begins. Players take turns.

On your turn, you get one or more actions, based on the size and color of a piece you own on the board. See Using Actions.

Passing is allowed and you can forfeit any action. If during your turn you don’t have a valid action available, you are forced to pass or forfeit that action.

Using Actions[edit | edit source]

Action Choose a piece you own, this is the action piece. Its color determines the action type: Red ~ Conquer, Yellow ~ Move, Green ~ Build, Blue ~ Trade/Upgrade. Its pip-size determines the number of actions of that action type. Note. If you don’t own a piece, you can Build (see under Green). In particular, your first turn consists of building a Small Green.


  • Bordering - Two fields are bordering each other if they are horizontally, vertically, or diagonally adjacent. A piece on a bordering field is called a bordering piece.
  • Having Space / Out of Space. A Green piece with an empty bordering field is said to "have space"; if it doesn't have an empty bordering field, it is said to be "out of space".

For each pip of the action piece, you get one optional action of the action type associated with its color. You can choose how to use each action according to the following. Unused action pips are forfeited by the end of your turn.

  • Red ~ Conquer. You can conquer an opponent’s piece bordering your Red action piece if a.) the piece you try to conquer is not larger than your conquering piece, AND b.) the total pip count of all of your Red pieces bordering the opponent’s piece is larger than the total pip count of all the opponent’s Red pieces bordering it (and if the attacked piece is Red, then its pips must also be counted). To conquer a piece, turn it 180 degrees on its field, pointing away from you. Note. Red pieces can therefore attack (on your turn) and defend (on your opponent’s turn). Once you conquered an opponent's ship, it counts as yours, even during your current turn if you still have actions available.
  • Yellow ~ Move. You start with as many unused action pips as the pip-count of your Yellow action piece. Repeat the following move procedure until either a.) you’ve used all your action pips, or b.) you decide to forfeit any unused action pips. Move Procedure. Choose a number N up to the number of unused action pips (not more than 3) of your chosen Yellow action piece, and do the following:
    • first, choose a moving piece, which can be EITHER the said Yellow action piece, OR a ship bordering to the current position of said Yellow action piece;
    • then, move the moving piece over the corresponding number of spaces, one space at a time (to move a ship one space, choose an empty field bordering it and then move the ship there);
    • finally, subtract the used action pips from the number of unused action pips.
    • If you still have unused action pips, you may repeat this procedure, or forfeit them to end your turn.

Note. For a Large action piece, you can choose up to 3 moving pieces. You first choose and then move each moving piece, before you choose and move another. In particular, when you move your Yellow action piece, there will be different ships bordering it before and after moving it, affecting the available moving pieces for any remaining actions! Example. If you choose a Large Yellow action piece, you can either move 1 ship (itself, or a bordering mid) 3 spaces; or you can move 2 ships, one of which you move 1 space, and the other you move 2 spaces; or you can move 3 ships, each 1 space. If you first move the Yellow action piece less than its number of pips, you must choose any consecutive moving piece among the ones bordering it, after it has moved.

  • Green ~ Build. For each pip of your chosen Green action piece, you check these conditions in sequence 1.) build, 2.) transfer, and 3.) landing, as follows:
  1. Default: Build. If your chosen Green action piece has space, choose any color available from the Bank. You can build a ship as follows: take the smallest mid in the chosen color, available from the Bank, and place it flat and pointing away from you (to indicate ownership) on one of said Green action piece’s bordering empty spaces. Note. If your chosen Green action piece doesn’t have space, but you have another Green ship that has space, you can transfer your building effort (see below); if you don’t have a Green ship that has space, you can land a ship (see below).
  2. Bonus: Transfer. If your chosen Green action piece has run out of space, your unused build actions are forfeited, but you can transfer your building effort: choose any other Green ship you own that has space, and continue as if you started your turn choosing said other ship as your Green action piece (see 1.). Note. Basically, transfer gives you a bonus turn; it’s to promote building! Your successively chosen Green action piece can be of any size. You can have as many bonus turns as the number of your Green ships that have less space than their pip count. Example. At the beginning of your turn, your G3 action piece has only 1 space left, and you build a Green ship there so that it runs out of space. Now, you can choose another Green ship with space (even the one you just built, if it has space) as your successive Green action piece and keep building, etc.
  3. Bonus: Landing. If your chosen action piece doesn’t have space, and if none of your Green ships have space (i.e., you don’t have a Green ship, or you can’t transfer), your unused build actions are forfeited, but you may land a Green ship as follows: choose the smallest Green mid available from the Bank and place it on any empty field, pointing away from you. This concludes your turn. Note. Basically, if you can’t transfer, landing is a bonus turn. You can only land a Green ship, so if there aren’t any more Greens in the Bank, you can not use this action and you must forfeit it. Also, if your current Green action piece runs out of space, you can not automatically land a ship, because if any of your Green ships has space, you must transfer your building effort (see 2.) and build there first (see 1.).

Summary. If one of your Green ships has space, you must build there. But if your current Green action piece runs out of space, you can transfer your building effort to another Green ship (effectively getting a bonus turn). However, if you don’t have a ship that has space, or you can’t transfer, you may land a new ship (effectively getting a bonus turn).

  • Blue ~ Upgrade/Trade. You can Upgrade or Trade the chosen Blue action piece or any bordering piece you own.
    • To Trade a piece, replace it with a piece of the same size and different color, available from the Bank.
    • To Upgrade a ship, replace it with a piece of the same color and exactly 1 pip larger, available from the Bank.

Clarification. When the Blue action piece is Traded or Upgraded, the new piece in its stead becomes the action piece, but its action type (Blue) and remaining action pips (related to the size of the original action piece) are not affected. Note. You can use all your action pips to affect the same ship, and switch between Upgrade and Trade for each action. Note. If the ship you need is not available from the Bank, you can not use the chosen action. Any piece you return to the Bank is immediately available for the next Upgrade/Trade, if you still have unused actions.

End[edit | edit source]

  • End. The game ends when
    • there is no valid move for either player, OR
    • both players pass consecutively, OR
    • when, after 36 turns, no ship was conquered. Note. The choice of 36 allows for all ships to move a space, but is rather arbitrary. More importantly, it creates a finite game in which stalling will fail.

Note. In most cases, the game ends when the board is full. But if captures are still possible, they can be executed after the board is filled. If one of the players is behind, while the other player has no valid move or passes, 36 turns is an arbitrary limit to make a capture. This ensures that the game ends.

  • Win. Each player scores the number of points equal to the total pip count of the pieces they own on the board. Max score wins. Note. If one of the players has more than 36 points, they win.
  • Tie Break. If both players score an equal number of points, the second player wins.

Sample Game States[edit | edit source]

Hover over the pics to see a short description.

Midgame game state

Oppponent just moved

Strategy[edit | edit source]

  • This game is quite deep and, just as Homeworlds, has a large number of options available during each move. Beginners will likely be overwhelmed with the possibilities. Play the game a couple of times to understand the dynamics. See also the Variants.
  • Keep Green pieces that “have space” positioned at the border of your settlement. If you don’t have any empty fields bordering a Green piece you own, and the Bank doesn’t have Green pieces, you can’t build. If this happens, it is unlikely that you will be able to build again. But you could have a clever move using a Medium (or Large) Blue piece: trade one of your Greens for another color available from the Bank, and then another of your pieces at the border (bordering to the Blue action piece) for that Green you just put back in the Bank.
  • The beginning of the game seems to be about the power balance of Red. It is a quite balanced battle, but the use of Yellow can shift the balance. There is a Yellow/Red dynamic that allows Red pieces to infiltrate and wreak havoc if unchecked by the opponent. Stay on guard for the possibilities of Red pieces moving to unexpected places.
  • During the middle game, there is a Green/Blue dynamic that allows for rapid (exponential?) growth if unchecked by the opponent.
  • The endgame may allow the use of Yellow/Red to conquer a few more pieces, and smart use of Yellow/Blue/Green to Trade/Upgrade/Build another few points.

Variants[edit | edit source]

Redless. Play by the same rules except remove all Red pieces from the game. Note. To practice the use of Green/Blue, it is instructive to try the game without using Red at all. There will be only 27 pieces in the game, so not the whole board will be occupied by the end of the game.

Handicapping. The weaker player starts with a Medium or even a Large Green, but the stronger player gets a bonus turn on their first turn.

Acknowledgments[edit | edit source]

Chris Cieslik designed a game called Landing Zone and published the rules on the Facebook Starship Captains group. It inspired me to design Homeworlds Settlers. Here are the Landing Zone - rules.

Creative Commons[edit | edit source]

This game is designed by Bruno Curfs licensed under the Creative Commons International BY-NC-SA 4.0 License.

Official rules (V2) can be found here: Homeworlds Settlers Rules. Note. The official rule document has some extra info regarding acknowledgments, designer notes, and the board dimensions.

Feedback Welcome[edit | edit source]

Questions, remarks and suggestions are welcome. (Use the Talk: Homeworlds Settlers page for discussion.) Thank you.

Links[edit | edit source]

CubeMan69. Play More Games with the Homeworlds Set, Aug 2023.

Bruno Curfs. Facebook Starship Captain Group entry since Dec 16, 2020.

Change Log[edit | edit source]

20230814 - Added a link.

20230616 - Many edits to clarify the actions. Especially, the Yellow action type was affected most. Also, the End conditions have changed somewhat, because after the board is full, captures can still happen. Unfortunately, the type setting is not yet ideal. Notes were added under the paragraph, but not indented.

20210418 - Small edits; Green actions clarified with the use of a definition of "has space" and "out of space"; Handicapping corrected.

20210210 - Added the link to Landing Zone, the game that inspired Homeworlds Settlers.

20210207 - Added a clarification for the Blue ability. You are free to trade or upgrade your Blue piece, and it doesn't affect its ability until the end of turn. You don't lose or gain pips, but the ones you spend.

20201225 - Added caption Links and a link to Facebook announcement, corrected categories (theme, equipment, mechanics, etc.), referenced uploaded board.

20201223 - Updated board (V2), adding mechanic "perfect information", with no effect on list of "Category:Perfect_information" games.

20201222 - Updated rules (V2), clarifying the third option for Green actions. You forfeit your unused actions, but are allowed to build Green. Clarifying that conquered Red ships can be used on the same turn. Some minor edits.