Each player is a new space captain, given an old and failing starship by mysterious aliens with which to make a name for themself. Local space is a cluster of a hundred stars or so, containing about fifteen hundred assorted locations of interest: any other stars aren't accessible yet. A typical turn consists of having the four officers do things (for example, the science officer might go netrunning in the old Empire's computers while the weaponry officer hunts criminals and the engineer raises cash by asteroid mining), exploring for hidden opportunities, possibly a battle with another player or alien, and often ends with a jump to a different star for the following turn's adventures.
"I've been playing TBG for 7 years now (more than 1,000 of TBG's 1,200+ turns), and the depth and quality of the game continues to amaze me. This is the ultimate thinking-persons game -- excelling at TBG means being able to develop your ship while engaging in a careful balance of exploration, combat, diplomacy, role-playing, and more.
TBG has seen the rise (and fall) of sophisticated alliances -- often with even more sophisticated data-collection and analysis systems -- yet independent ships can and do thrive (and arguably are even better positioned to ascend to positions of power).
-- Andy Spafford, Feb 2005
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