This variant represent the spread of the alien races when each was still young and undeveloped. These are expanding races, and everyone begins the game as an expanding player. Eventually, each race will develop to its full potential and become established. The pace of this growth varies, and the necessary criteria to becoming established are detailed below.
Game Preparation: Each player begins the game as an expanding player. He gets a system hex and a star disc, which should be placed in teh system white side up; it will be flipped when the player becomes established. Moons are set up but not looked at, even by the player who owns them; they will be revealed normally when occupied. Each player starts the game with six lucre, but no income. Once those six lucre are gone, the player is broke until he becomes established. Eight tokens of each player are placed amongst any found planets in the player's system. Finally, alien powers are determined in the usual manner, but each is set aside, not used while the player is still expanding. We found the hidden Power variant described in the rules to be especially fun with this variant.
The Play: Each player is dealt a seven-card hand and play occurs almost normally,. Expanding players do not get a lucre income and may not use their alien powers. The major exception to standard play is the Expansion Rule, which symbolizes the young and poor races' susceptibility to high warfare costs and the accessibility of planets to inferior warp drives. The Expansion Rule decrees that as an offensive challenger, the expanding player must attack a planet on which the defensive player, as indicated by the destiny pile, has a base, unless his own color came up in the destiny pile , and unless the offensive expanding player play as attack card of 15 or greater, in which case he may attack any planet or moon in the system. As play proceeds, each time a player wins a challenge as main player, whether offensive or defensive, he may bring one or two of his off-board tokens into play. These tokens re placed anywhere the player has a base.
An expanding player cannot win the game. The winner is the player to become established and then fulfill game victory conditions. As established player is a player who has all eight off-board tokens in player and has bases on all five of his system's planets - i.e., to become established, a player must win at least found challenges and have bases on all of his home planets. Once established, a player flips his start disc over. At this point he may (1) look at the moons in his system, (2) gain a standard lucre income, (3) reveal and use his alien power (subject to standard rules), and (4) ignore the Expansion Rule, since he is now a fully developed power and threat to the Cosmos. Once a player is established, he remains so, even if he loses his home planets.
Variant by Jeffrey Field (Space Gamer 66)