The warp (capitalized as Warp until the current edition) is the area in which lost ships are placed. Once in the warp, a ship cannot be used until it is recalled through regroup or released through a game effect such as Mobius Tubes.
In previous editions, the warp was a hexagonal board that players would place their planet systems around. In the current edition, the warp is a free-standing circular board, and features a scoring track that players can use to keep track of their progress toward the five foreign colonies needed to win the game.
As the warp is central to gameplay, many aliens' powers interact with it. Examples from the FFG base game:
- The Healer may free other players' ships as soon as they enter the warp.
- The Remora may free one of its ships from the warp whenever another player does so.
- The Warpish adds the number of all players' ships in the warp to its total in every encounter.
- The Zombie's ships never go to the warp. In addition, it may free other players' ships from the warp as part of a deal. The Observer protects its allies and protects itself while it is an ally in the same way.
- This article or section uses Eon and Mayfair terminology: e.g., ships are "tokens" and colonies are "bases."
The Praw was introduced in Eon's ninth expansion, as part of the Reverse Hexes module (containing stickers to be applied to the back sides of the planet system and Warp boards). The Praw board depicts a large region for the Warp and a smaller region for the Praw.
The Praw is a more permanent holding area than the Warp. If the number of all players' tokens in the Warp ever equals or exceeds "critical mass" (the number of players times three), then all tokens in the Warp descend into the Praw.
Tokens may not normally be directly released from the Praw; instead, whenever a player is able to release a token from the Warp (as part of regroup, for rewards, etc.), he or she has the option to raise a token from the Praw back to the Warp instead. With this variant, when Mobius Tubes or Warp Break is played, the player may choose to either release all applicable tokens in the Warp as normal or release all tokens from the Praw (skipping the Warp) and return them to colonies.
The Fan was introduced in Mayfair's base set. The Fan itself is a series of colored sections, corresponding to each of the player colors, extending out from the Warp.
The Fan is a less permanent holding area than Eon's Praw but is somewhat more complicated.
Rules for the Fan:
- During setup, a marker is placed on the Fan section corresponding to the color of the player going first. At the end of each encounter, the marker moves clockwise to the next Fan section (regardless of whose turn it was), skipping any colors that do not correspond to players in the game.
- If any tokens would be lost to the Warp as a result of a challenge, they are instead placed into the section of the Fan that the marker is on (regardless of the color of the section or the color of the tokens). Tokens in the Fan are not considered to be in the Warp and are immune to all game effects that affect or care about tokens in the Warp (including ones like Mobius Tubes); however, being placed in the Fan is still considered "going to the Warp," so consolation can still be collected and powers like Zombie can still be used. Tokens lost other than via challenge results are sent to the Warp (not the Fan) as normal.
- Each time the Destiny Pile is flipped, all tokens in the Fan section of the corresponding color move to the Warp, unless the card is a Reverse Cone card (in which case the tokens stay where they were). If a Wild is drawn, the color of the player chosen to be the defense determines the Fan section to have its tokens moved to the Warp.