You own an artifact when you own the world (or fleet) on which it is found. Owning certain artifacts will earn you points every turn, while owning certain other artifacts will cost you points every turn. Usually the point cost is not large, but it can add up.
Most of the artifacts have a two-part name, consisting of one of the adjectives from the left column below, paired with one of the nouns from the right column:
Each combination of words uniquely defines an artifact; for instance, there is one Mythical Sceptor, and there is one Cursed Conduit. With the ten adjectives and nine nouns, this makes for 90 unique artifacts.
In addition to the artifacts described by the above combinations, there are also ten additional special artifacts:
|The Key to Time (segments 1 through 5)
|The Rock of Diamante
|The Philosopher's Stone
|The Deadly Nightshade
|The Pandora's Box
The one truly special artifact is The Pandora's Box, which has some special behavior, chosen randomly each game.
The other artifacts are worth points only. If you are playing a Collector, of course, they are the key points in the game; but even if you are not a Collector, it may be worthwhile to hang on to these artifacts, to use as bargaining chips should you encounter a Collector who has something you need.
If you want to get rid of one or more artifacts, for instance a cursed or radioactive artifact, you have a number of choices. You could, for instance, hook it onto a fleet and fly the fleet into a Black Hole. Alternatively, you can put it on a world (or fleet) and give the world to another player. If you're lucky enough to know a Collector, you can hook the artifact directly onto one of their passing fleets. But it's usually easiest to fly the fleet over an opponent's or ally's world and just drop it. (You might want to declare your fleet At Peace first so you don't inadvertently capture the world.)
Note that you may directly hook an artifact from your world onto another player's fleet only if that player is a Collector. In order to give an artifact to a non-Collector ally, you will have to fly it over one of your ally's worlds and drop it (or, you may give the entire world or fleet holding the artifact to your ally). When using the client, the order to hook an artifact onto another player's fleet will not be offered to you unless you have indicated in the Players panel that the player in question is a Collector.