The Ur-Quan Masters provides a networked Super Melee arena and point costs for all the ships, but no standardized rules. Thus, different groups of fans have developed different rule sets for putting together their fleets for battle. This page is an attempt to collect all such rule sets and describe them. If you've played using rules that aren't described here, by all means add them!
Rules that use point costs
The standard rules on #uqm-arena
Only one ship of each type, to a maximum of 200 points. Commonly phrased "200 points no dupes".
- In a serious game or tournament you are expected to build your team before connecting, so that you can't base your ship choices on what ships are on your opponent's team.
- Most players and tournament hosts ban the Thraddash Torch in vanilla UQM games, considering it unsportsmanlike. The ship has the potential to stall matches and upset balance if played to its limit.
- Excluding the Pkunk Fury will reduce the effects of luck, especially in small fleets.
- Point limits other than 200 can be used, although they are uncommon. The outcome of a lower point game is drastically affected by each player's fleet composition, while higher point games don't leave much room for choice in fleet selection.
The game can also be played simply with a point limit and no restriction on duplicate ships; this has fallen out of use since the result depends mostly on the teams used. Certain ship types tend to dominate most others. However, this ruleset has seen revival recently in games played with Shiver's Balance Mod, which handles duplicates better than vanilla UQM.
- In order to reasonably allow more of the same ship, players can take turns picking ships rather than coming with predetermined fleets.
- Capital ships can be limited or banned, to keep them from skewing the game heavily.
In order for some of the less commonly used ships to see use, some players like to play with each player designing the other player's fleet (of course, to a minimum of 200 points rather than a maximum.)
- This can be played with various point totals or allowances for duplicate ships, although duplicates can lead to undesirable results such as a fleet full of Drones.
- Each player designing half of each team is also used, as is each player selecting one ship that the other cannot alter.
A random team can be more interesting, as you will often end up without such omnipresent mainstays as the Earthling Cruiser or Utwig Jugger. A good online random team generator (for vanilla UQM) can be found here.
Random ship selection
Selecting ships randomly during melee can lead to very uncommon matches being played, since the players cannot attempt to counter each others ships. This is best combined with a ban on the Chmmr Avatar and Kohr-Ah Marauder (and the Ur-Quan Dreadnought in Shiver's Balance Mod), which tend to heavily skew a match depending on what is drawn against them.
Alliance vs. Hierarchy
A match with the predetermined teams "Old Alliance Ships" and "Old Hierarchy Ships". It's an interesting match, since the creators of the game went to a great deal of effort to balance it in Star Control 1. Unfortunately, it seems to favor the Alliance.
Each player gets a pool of "points" (It doesn't really matter how many; 200 and 213 have been used) and each ship (possibly excluding Thraddash in vanilla UQM) is auctioned off to the highest bidder. Details of the auction vary. The order the ships are auctioned in is arbitrary; it can be done in alphabetical order or ordered by original point cost, or in other ways. What happens if the two players try to bid the same amount can be ambiguous. The cleanest solution is to have the players take turns bidding, the first player to make the high bid buy the ship, and the players also take turns making the first bid on each ship. Sometimes a third player acts as auction master, but it isn't necessary if the rules are specified beforehand.
14 ships no dupes
Essentially any team you can build, as long as it doesn't have two of the same ship on it. Of course, cheap ships will rarely be played, but costly, somewhat overpriced ships (such as the Chenjesu Broodhome and the Ur-Quan Dreadnought) will see play. Combining this with the "design your opponent's fleet" rule could also be interesting. Note that this will be less interesting in Shiver's Balance Mod, because (deliberately) no ships are overpriced.
Point loss system
The victor is whoever loses the least amount of points, not whoever beats all the opponent's ships. So for example, if Bob destroys Bill's fleet, Bob loses 134 points and Bill loses 62 points, Bill wins. There is no limit to how many ships you can have and no points limit, although a point minimum may be wise.
Silly rulesets (also ideas for handicap)
Ships can't turn to the right - only to the left.
Deploy ships to the battle in the order they are on your fleet list, starting from the left, going to the right.
Play with a silly controller, such as a dance pad or something you've built yourself.
Play only with your left hand.
Caffeine will generally improve play, while alcohol will dumb it down.