Space Empires is a game in the tradition of 4X space games - eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, and eXterminate. Each player builds up a space empire and uses it to conquer the other players. Exploration on the mounted map is simple for players (and dangerous for their ships), revealing different space terrain that affects movement and combat.
The game includes carriers and fighters, mines, cloaking, a very large technology tree, fifteen ship classes, merchant shipping, colonization, mining, terraforming, bases, shipyards, black holes, warp points, and non-player aliens. Yet the rules are short and intuitive: The basic rules are 8 pages long and increase to 11 pages in length when the advanced rules are included in play.