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How To Play Stellarion


In this post, I’ll explain how to play Stellarion and give you some handy hints on which parts are important and which rules can be easily missed. So, between this and the rulebook, you’ll be flying into space in no time.

What’s It All About Then

In Stellarion, you have eight decks of Celestial cards arranged in a 2x4 grid with the top cards turned face up. You’ll be manipulating these decks to get the right cards at the right time and go on 8 voyages (more on these later). Do this and you win the game.

Anatomy Of A Card

Now, I’m going to spend some time telling you some technical details about the Stellarion cards. Then at the end, I’ll tell you to forget most of it and make it all at least 17 million times easier.

·        The symbol in the top left corner tells you what type the card is, either a ship, nebula, star or planet. The art on the card also shows the type of card in a stylised way.

·        The symbol in the top right corner tells you which galaxy the card comes from, Alpha, Beta, Gamma or Delta. An easier way to tell which galaxy they come from is to look at the overall colour of the card. Alpha cards are black, Beta cards are purple, Gamma cards are blue, and Delta cards are orange.

·        The symbol at the bottom is to remind you which deck the card is from and which discard pile to put it in when it is removed.

·        Two cards with the same type and galaxy symbols but a different deck symbol at the bottom of the card are considered to be identical.

In reality, the only symbol you’ll look at for 99.7% of the game is the type symbol in the top left corner. You can tell the galaxy at a glance because of the colour of the card. You never even really need to know that this card is from the Delta galaxy. It’s orange. It’s the orange galaxy. That’s it. Job done.

You’ll only occasionally need the bottom symbol and that’s when you’re discarding from the Outpost (more on that later).

Anatomy Of A Galaxy Deck

Each galaxy has its own deck. So, let’s have a detailed look at the Alpha deck. All of the cards are black, they are all from the Alpha galaxy. The deck consists of 2 ships, 2 nebulas, 2 stars, and 2 planets. The other galaxy decks contain the same number of type cards but are a different colour. For example, the Delta deck cards are all orange and also contain 2 ships, 2 nebulas, 2 stars, and 2 planets.

Anatomy Of A Type Deck

In Stellarion, each type also has its own deck. Let’s look at the ship deck. Every card in the ship deck has the ship type in the top left corner. The deck consists of two Alpha cards (black), two Beta cards (purple), two Gamma cards (blue), and two Delta cards (orange). Again, the other type decks have the same number of galaxy cards but are a different type. For example, the star deck cards are all stars and contain two Alpha cards (black), two Beta cards (purple), two Gamma cards (blue), and two Delta cards (orange).

You may have noticed there are multiple identical cards. For example, if you look at the ship cards from the Alpha galaxy, you’ll see there are two of these cards in the Alpha deck and two in the ship deck. This holds true for the other cards.

Take some time to familiarise yourself with the contents of the decks. It will help you massively during the game.


Sort each deck by the symbol on its back. You will have 8 different decks. Set out these decks as shown in the photo above. The Galaxy decks make up the top row of 4 decks and the Type decks the bottom row of 4 decks. These decks form what is called the Observatory. Leave space for discard piles and a zone called the Outpost.

Place the Voyage cards at the side along with one shooting star token, and a space for a Victory pile.

Reveal the top card from each Stellarion deck.


Each turn you have to choose one of the following two actions:

·        Launch

·        Coordinate

To perform the launch action you have to discard four different Celestial cards belonging to the same galaxy (one ship, one nebula, one star, and one planet all from the same coloured galaxy – see photo above).

You can use a shooting star token to replace any one of the cards required. So, for example, you could perform a launch with one orange ship, one orange nebula, one orange planet, and one shooting star.

Once you have successfully performed a launch, take the matching voyage card and put it in your victory pile. Get all 8 of these and you’ve won!


To coordinate you have to discard two cards of the same type. For example, you could discard two star cards. If the cards are from different galaxies you will then perform a minor action. If they are identical, you perform a major action.

Ship Coordinate Power

·        Minor – Search through any one deck for the card of your choice. Shuffle the rest of the deck and then place your chosen card face up on top.

·        Major – Do the minor power twice with two different decks.

Nebula Coordinate Power

·        Minor – Choose one card from a discard pile and shuffle it back into its deck. Note – you can look through the discard piles at any point.

·        Major – Choose two cards from the same discard pile and shuffle those back into their beck.

Star Coordinate Power

·        Minor – Choose a deck, shuffle it and look at the top 2 cards. Put one face up on the top of the deck and the other face down on the bottom of the deck. Do this twice. This could be with the same deck.

·        Major – As above, but rather than doing the power twice you will do it four times.

Planet Coordinate Power

·        Minor – Put one card from the Observatory into the Outpost.

·        Major – Put up to 2 cards from the Observatory into the Outpost.

The Outpost

This is an area that lets you store cards for future launch or coordinate actions. It is effectively an extension of the observatory apart from two rules:

1.     The cards in the Outpost have all got to be from the same galaxy.

2.     The Outpost cannot hold multiple copies of the same card at the same time.

Pay attention to these two rules in particular as they are easily missed in the first playthroughs. Discarding from the Outpost is pretty much the only time you’ll use the bottom symbol on the cards. It lets you know which discard pile to put it in.

End Of A Turn

After performing either the launch or coordinate action when playing Stellarion, you’ll have some piles where the top card hasn’t yet been revealed. Turn these top cards face up.

Note that this happens at the very end of the turn and not during a coordinate action.

End Of The Game

You’ll win if you manage to get all 8 Voyage cards into your Victory pile. You’ll lose if you can’t perform either a launch or coordinate action.

Note On The Two-Player Rules

Although this is mainly a solo game there are some two-player rules. One omission from the rulebook is that players take turns in performing either a launch or coordinate action. Apart from that, the only real difference is that each player has their own victory pile and can only collect Voyage cards from two different galaxies.


There are 4 little expansions contained within the base game that I’ll leave you to discover on your own. You can play with just one expansion or even combine them. Good luck if you try to combine all 4. Your brain will probably melt!

That concludes our guide on how to play Stellarion. Did this help you? Let us know your thoughts and tag us on social media @zatugames.