To play with technology, after normal setup is completed, shuffle the technology deck and deal two tech cards to each player. Each player chooses one to keep face down in his or her home system and one to discard face up. Keep the rest of the tech deck face down within reach. Three tech cards bring specific tokens into the game; keep these tokens aside until a tech card puts them into play.
Researching tech cards
During each player's regroup phase, before the offense retrieves a ship from the warp, each player (not just the offense) has the option to perform one of the following actions to research or complete one of his or her tech cards. A player may choose to do neither of these technology actions, but may not do both technology actions in the same Regroup phase.
- Research: To research, the player takes one of his or her ships from any of his or her colonies and places it onto a face-down tech card in his or her home system. Ships researching tech cards are considered to be in their owner's home system but do not participate in encounters.
- Complete: To complete a tech, the player turns a face-down tech in his or her home system face up. If the number of ships researching the tech is equal to or greater than its research number, the tech is completed (kept face up) and may now be used according to its printed instructions; if not, the tech is abandoned and discarded without effect. A research value of X on a tech card means the player may use any number of ships to complete it. After completing or abandoning a tech, the player returns the ships that were used to research it to his or her colonies, or sends them to the warp if he or she has no colonies.
Technologies that state "do not reveal this tech until used" are researched the same way as other technology cards, but completing them does not count toward the player's one technology action per turn.
Gaining new tech cards
If a player has the opportunity to have a second (or further) encounter on his or her turn but chooses not to, he or she may draw additional tech cards. The player draws one tech card plus one more for each foreign colony he or she has, chooses one from among them to keep face down and discards the rest face up. There is no limit to the number of tech cards a player may have and no penalty for incomplete tech cards.
Trading tech cards
Tech cards may not be traded in deals; however, FFG's 2009 FAQ suggests that being able to do so could be a "fun house rule."
List of technology cards
- Main article: Technology/Card list