How to play


Games are played on a donut shaped hexagonal map, if you go off one edge you appear on the opposite edge


Initially you are allocated a home hex with some ships and stargates. Ships are primarily used to attack neighboring hexes, this is done using stargates to send ships to the hexes.

One stargate can send one ship to a neighboring hex each turn, then the next turn it's available to send another ship and so on.

New stargates are created by dismantling ships and turning them into stargates. Three stargates are built from one ship's parts and are available for immediate use.

New ships are created by the built industry present in each hex


Typically the home hex has an industry level of 5 at the beginning of the game, which means that 5 new ships will appear at the beginning of each turn. Unowned hexes start with no built industry.

The industry level of a hex can be increased by spending ships. There is a maximum value for the industry level of each hex, which can differ between hexes but is never greater than nine. As you increase the industry of a hex, the cost in ships for each increase becomes greater as it nears its maximum value.

This means that hexes which have a high maximum value are much more valuable than hexes with a low maximum industry value. This is because their first few industry level increases are inexpensive when compared to hexes with a lower industry value maximum.


One stargate can move one ship each turn, move ships into unowned and enemy hexes to attack them


If there are no ships to defend the hex, the attacking player wins it without loss. Otherwise to win, the attacking player must have more attacking ships than the target hex's defensive value.

A hex with no industry will have a defense equal to the number of ships it has, a ten percent bonus is gained for each level of industry. So a hex with an industry level of five will gain a fifty percent defensive bonus.

When you win a hex off another player you keep any stargates and industry they have built.

Read further about attacking and attack reports.



In order to see what is in a neighboring hex you must scan it - this is done by unused stargates (ie they haven't moved a ship) at the end of each turn. If there are not enough unused stargates to scan all the foreign neighboring hexes then scanning for each hex starts from the top hex and proceeds clockwise until all available stargates are used.

Previously scanned hexes which were not scanned in the latest turn process will show the information gathered the last time they were scanned. The age of this information is indicated in number of turns (since last updated).


Turns will process once each player has completed theirs, or after 24 hours

Once you’ve made all the changes you want to do in a turn (building, moving, attacking etc...), mark that turn as complete by clicking the grey tick. Doing this changes the tick to green, makes the map read-only and tells ESDAO that you have finished your turn. If you are the last player to complete your turn it will process straight away allowing you to do your next one.


If you subsequently want to make changes , you just need to click the green tick and it will change back to gray. Remember, the tick must be switched back to green again once all the changes are made.

Turns are processed once all players have marked their turn as complete or 24 hours after the previous turn processed - whichever occurs first. So if you've forgotten to do your turn ESDAO will process the game's turn after 24 hours without waiting for you. If you've issued some commands but not completed your turn those commands will still execute when the turn processes.

If you repeatedly don't complete your turn then you'll become classed as inactive and the game will stop waiting for you. If you are the last player to complete you turn it will process immediately once you do complete it.

It is important to note that ESDAO turns are not like turns in board games, ie Chess or RISK, where players do their turn one after another; and thus you have to wait for the player before you so you can do your own turn. In ESDAO everyone can do their turn at the same time without waiting on any other player.


You win games of ESDAO by having the most developed industry at the end of the game with your ranking based on your built up industry. This is then factored into your rating as shown on the leaderboard.

Read further about how the scoring system works.

Joining a game

You must register to join multi-player games

To play ESDAO against other players you need to join a game which is waiting to start, or start a new game yourself and wait for others to join it. Games are set with a minimum number of players needed before they start; once this is reached the game will start after 24 hours or immediately upon the maximum being reached.

The map can be of various sizes which determines how close your starting hex is to other players. Everyone starts with a single home hex containing the same amount of industry, ships and stargates all ready for use. The surrounding hex's maximum industry totals up to being the same for each player, although the distribution is different. Maximum industry for the rest of the map is randomised.


Finally there is an active forum which is worth checking out especially if you have questions, want to start a game against players of a similar skill level or simply to introduce yourself etc... Additionally the updates and announcements forum categories are where important information regarding ESDAO such as enhancements and bug fixes are posted.