The simplest game, RSW Core, is a basic game of tactical resource distribution. Each player tries to capture the biggest part of the galaxy, using their fleets and ships to the best advantage.
Another game, RSW Classic, is a more complex game, with greater levels of sophistication. In RSW Classic, each player takes on the role of one of the following character types:
RSW is an homage to the play-by-mail games of the 1970's, some of the earliest computer-operated games ever played. These games were played by people who didn't necessarily have computers; players received their turn report printouts in the mail, studied them carefully and drew up their own maps by hand, and then wrote out an order sheet and mailed it back.
Although you can play RSW this way, via email or the web interface, almost everyone prefers to use the graphical interface instead. This is a separate, downloadable application called the RSW Client. Once you install and run the RSW Client, all of your games will automatically appear within the client, and you can see each of your game turns and the movements of the other players within the game. Instead of typing orders, you order your fleets to move by dragging them onto their destinations. You fire by dragging your fleet onto an opponent's fleet. Gameplay looks something like this:
Or, depending on the game, maybe more like this:
There are many different kinds of strategies for success in RSW. Some people excel at negotiations and diplomacy, while others emphasize military force and battle tactics. Still others are masters of misdirection and deceit. The galaxy has room for all kinds of players--which one will you be?