Game Variants

There are several game variants possible, on top of the basic game type and scheduling parameters. You can select any or all of these game variants when you suggest a game. Each of the selected game variants will be listed in brief in the available game description.

Variants you might see listed in a game description include the following:

This is a private game.
This means that the game will not be listed on any public list of games, either before or after the game has started. Only people who know the game ID can sign up for the game, or see any details about it; and the only people who will know the game ID are the person who created the game, and whoever that person shared it with.
Typically, people create a private game to enjoy a game among a specific group of people, without implicitly inviting the rest of the RSW community to play as well.
Tournament Game.
Some games are tournament games. These games will contribute to each player's tournament rating, which is displayed on the leaderboard. See Tournament Games for more information.
Jump start: players start out owning worlds.
Normally, each player starts out with only one world to their name, and the first three or four turns of the game are devoted to spreading out and discovering the worlds in the immediate vicinity of that one homeworld. Since these first few turns usually happen before any player has encountered another, it means RSW games get off to a fairly uninteresting start.
This variant starts off each game by pre-assigning each player ownership of several worlds around their homeworld. Very often, the worlds immediately outside the visible spectrum of worlds will be owned by a neighbor, which means that players will usually encounter each other on turn 2. This makes the game get off to a roaring start more quickly. It does, however, eliminate some of the opportunities for players to differentiate themselves with their finely-tuned opening strategies.
Note that, although the RSW server will make an effort to assign everyone a similar number of worlds to start with, there are no guarantees. Some unlucky players may begin the game with less than their fair share of worlds, while others may start out with more.
Anonymous finish: players' names will not be revealed at game end.
Although all the players' identities are kept secret during gameplay, normally when the game is over the RSW server will reveal each player's identity to all of the other players in the game (as well as to any casual browsers, if it is not a private game).
When this variant is enabled, players' identities are never revealed by the RSW server, at game end or at any other time. This might give some people an excuse to act especially ruthless, without much fear of retribution in future games.
Don't confuse this option with a no-communication game, below.
Random character type assignment.
Normally, players may choose their own character types when they sign up for a game. If this variant is enabled, players will sign up for the game without choosing a character type, and when the game begins, the server will assign each player a character type at random (according to the set of available character types for this game).
This is a no-communication game.
Diplomacy and player-to-player negotiations are a major part of the excitement of many RSW games. Sometimes, however, you just want to play a simple game of tactics and maneuvering, without committing yourself to the level of involvement necessary to maintain diplomatic relations with all of your neighbors.
One straightforward way to solve this is to play a no-communication game. In this kind of game, no communications are allowed between any players. A no-communication game therefore tends to require less time to play, and turns can be made much more quickly. Many people prefer to play no-communication games to reduce their time commitment to RSW.
In addition to disabling the in-game communication systems, the no-communication rule is enforced by scrambling the turn report for each player, so that the player handles, and the world and fleet numbers, appear different for each player. This is intended to make it difficult for players to cheat the no-communication rule by comparing notes out-of-game.
Some people refer to a no-communication game as an "anonymous" game, for historical reasons, even though every game is technically anonymous. Don't confuse a no-communication game with an anonymous finish game (above).
Opponents' character types will be revealed.
Normally, in games which involves characters of different types, the RSW server will not reveal the character type of the other players you encounter. You must ask your neighbors to tell you their character type, or you must deduce it on your own somehow.
If this variant is selected, then the RSW server will eliminate this guesswork, and simply tell each player the character type of all the other players they meet. This may eliminate part of the excitement of a normal game, but on the other hand can be a very useful thing to facilitate cooperation, especially in a no-communication game.
This is a multi-position game: 2 positions each.
This variant allows each player to sign up for and play multiple game positions within the same game. You may also see 3-position, 4-position, or any greater number of multi-position games as well.
In a multi-position game, each player's final score is the lowest of all of the game positions they are (or were) responsible for. There is no guarantee that a player's multiple positions will start out the game near each other (and, conversely, no guarantee that they will be far apart). However, each of a player's initial multiple positions are considered to have already met each other at game start, which allows the player to exchange gifts between their different positions from turn one.
Multiple positions are kept secret.
In a normal multi-position game, the RSW server will inform all of the other players automatically about the set of positions controlled by a single player. If this game variant is selected, then the server will not reveal this information, and it is up to the players to determine which game positions are controlled by the same player.