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Galaxy is a free play-by-email interstellar wargame for several
players created by Russel Wallace somewhere in 1992.
A game usually has somewhere between 10 and 80 players and one Game Master that runs the game. Each player gets to play one nation. The game is set in a Galaxy filled with many planets. Each nation starts with one populated planet. The other planets are empty. The goal of the game is to conquer the whole Galaxy by colonising the empty planets and killing the other nations.
A game runs several turns a week. Players send in orders before each turn. These orders tell what the player wants his nation to do, and after each turn runs each player receives a report that states what happened that turn.
When you play a nations you can do many things. You can design your own ships. Each ship has many parameters, drive, number of weapons, shields, and cargo capabilities. These can all be tweaked to create many different ship designs. Populated planets can be used to build the ships you designed. The ships can be used to transport cargo and colonize planets, or to fight battles with your neighbours to take over their planets. Ships can be improved by technology research.
Experienced players do not operate alone, they use diplomacy to create a pacts with other players, and attack their enemies together. Back stabbing, double deals, and other treason are of course also possible, no-one is to be completely trusted, and you will find that Galaxy is a good simulation of real-world politics. It is also very addictive :)
The only thing you need to play the game is some time an an email account. There are also various tools that can help you with creating your orders and examining your turn reports.