Set the Galactic Center Sector in the middle of the table. Place a facedown Discovery Tile on the Galactic Center Sector's Discovery Tile Symbol, then the Galactic Center Defense System (GCDS) miniature on top. Shuffle each of the Sector hexes by Ring: Inner (I), Middle (II), and Outer (III). Note: if you do not want to play with the optional Warp Portals module described in the Game Concepts: Warp Portals section, remove Sectors 281, 381-382 from the game before shuffling the Sector stacks. Place the shuffled Sectors into facedown stacks with the Outer Sector stack containing the number of Outer (III) Sectors indicated for your player count. Give the Start Player Tile to the player who has spent the least time on planet Terra, in the Sol system.

Discovery Tile Symbol

Guardian Symbol

Outer (III) Sector stack size:

2 Players: 5 Tiles

3 Players: 8 Tiles

4 Players: 14 Tiles

5 Players: 16 Tiles

6 Players: 18 Tiles

Beginning with the player to the right of the Start Player and moving in counterclockwise order, choose a Species Board and take the Species Tray with a lid of the matching color (these trays contain all individual civilization components—see the 3 - Species Tray section). Note that since Species Boards are double-sided, each player selecting to play Terrans is effectively removing one Alien Species from play in that game. Place your Starting Sector in the Starting Zone closest to you as shown in the Starting Layouts illustration (oriented so that the arrow faces the GCDS). Next, fill all empty Starting Zones with random Guardian Sectors oriented so that the arrow faces the GCDS (Guardian Sectors are not used in 6-player games). Place a facedown Discovery Tile on the Guardian Symbol of each Guardian Sector , then a Guardian miniature on top. Put the remaining Starting Sectors , Guardian Sectors , and Species Boards back in the box—they will not be used this game.