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Designed by Robert Dudley
A game of space conquest mixing light strategy and luck.
:Players Players: 2 - 4
:Time Length: Fast
:Complexity Complexity: Medium
Trios per color: 1 (2 for 3-4 players)
Number of colors: 5
Pyramid trios:
Monochr. stashes:
Five-color sets: sets = 1 Rainbow Stash, 2 for 3-4 players
- - - - - - Other equipment - - - - - -
Treehouse die
Setup time: 1 min
Playing time: 5 min
0.0833 Hr
- 15 min
0.25 Hr
Strategy depth:
Random chance:
Game mechanics: Stacking, Color powers
Theme: Space
BGG Link:
Status: Complete (v), Year released: 2012

What You Need

Colonization requires one rainbow stash and one Treehouse die.

About the Game

You are a civilization that has recently conquered the mysteries of space travel. You set out to colonize your galaxy and almost immediately discover that you are not alone! Now it's a battle to see who will be the true rulers of the galaxy!

The Basics

The green pyramids are the planets players are trying to colonize. The other colors of pyramids represent ships (when they're not in a planet stack) or colonies (when they are in a planet stack). Planet stacks consist of a planet and any colonies stacked with it. Ships and colonies use Action Points, gained at the start of each turn, to perform a variety of powerful actions.

The ship bank is the area where all ships that have not been placed or purchased are kept. All ships begin the game in the ship bank. A player's reserve is the area where ships are placed once they are purchased. Once in the reserve, ships can be moved into orbit around any of the three planets. A ship's orientation is whether it is standing up or lying down. All ships that are lying down must be pointing toward either planet they don't orbit.

In addition to other effects, certain Treehouse die actions allow ships to colonize planets. A colony is dominant when it is either the top colony above a planet or the bottom colony below a planet in a planet stack. Colonies can only be dominant if they're on planets of the same size or smaller. Colonies that are too small to be dominant are ignored when checking for dominance.

Example: If a planet stack from top down is small yellow, large blue, large planet, large black, and large red, then the large blue and large red colonies are dominant.

Starting the Game

Place the three planets spaced apart in a triangle shape. Set aside a space by each player for that player's reserve.

Choose which player will control the red and yellow ships and which player will control the black and blue ships. Play begins with the red and yellow player going first.


A player wins when he or she controls four dominant colonies.

Steps of the Turn

1 - Gain Action Points: Gain 3 AP. Instead gain 4 if you have any number of dominant medium colonies or 5 if you have any number of dominant large colonies.

2 - Buy Ships: Purchase ships of your colors from the ship bank. Small ships cost 1 AP, medium cost 2 AP, and large cost 3 AP. You may purchase any number of ships each turn.

3 - Move Into Orbit: Move ships from your reserve into orbit around a planet. Moving a ship into orbit costs AP equal to the ship's purchase cost. Ships are placed standing next to the planet they orbit. You may move any number of ships into orbit each turn.

4 - Perform Actions: Use AP to perform any number of colony and ship actions.

5 - Roll the Die: You must perform whatever action you roll if possible. If you can't, proceed to step six.

6 - End of Turn: Discard unspent AP and end your turn.

Die Actions

Wild: Choose one of your placed ships or colonies and return it to the ship bank.

Tip: Lie down one of your standing ships and point it toward a planet. Ships may not point toward the planet they are orbiting.

Dig: Choose one of your ships that is lying down. Move it to the bottom of the planet stack that it is pointing at.

Aim: Change the orientation of any of your ships or change the direction one of your ships is pointing.

Hop: Choose one of your ships that is standing. Move it to the top of the planet stack that it is orbiting.

Swap: Swap the location of any two ships, colonies, or combination of the two. A colony or ship gains the orientation of a ship it swaps with and will point in the same direction if the ship was lying down.

Colony and Ship Actions

In addition to purchasing ships and colonizing planets, action points may be spent to perform special actions with your ships and colonies. Actions listed below a certain color may only be performed by ships of that color.

All Colors

  • 5 AP: Swerve! Aim any one of your ships.
  • 5 AP: Greener Pastures! Choose one of your dominant colonies and move it to the other side of the planet (top to bottom or bottom to top). You may only use this action if there is no dominant colony on the other side of the planet.


  • 2 AP: Fire Lasers! Choose any ship orbiting a planet pointed at by one of your red ships. The targeted ship is destroyed. Return it to the ship bank.


  • 1 AP: Fade! Choose one of your yellow ships or colonies. Return that ship or colony to the ship bank. You may use this action during the ship purchasing step of the turn.
  • 2 AP: Tractor Beam! Choose any ship orbiting a planet pointed at by one of your yellow ships. Move the targeted ship into orbit around the planet the firing ship is orbiting. You may choose a new orientation and pointing direction for the moved ship.


  • 2 AP: Freeze! Choose any ship orbiting a planet pointed at by one of your blue ships. The targeted ship may not be moved in any way or given actions on its next turn. The ship may still be returned to the ship bank with a Wild.


  • 1 AP: Fade! Choose one of your black ships or colonies. Return that ship or colony to the ship bank. You may use this action during the ship purchasing step of the turn.
  • 3 AP: Teleport! Move one of your black ships currently orbiting a planet into orbit around a different planet. It keeps its orientation, but you may point it at any planet if it was already lying down.

3-4 Player Variant

One additional rainbow stash is required. Instead of color specific actions, all players use the black actions along with Swerve! and Greener Pastures! No other colony or ship actions are used.

Planets are placed as normal. Each player receives all six ships of a single color. A player only needs three dominant colonies to win.


Complete Rules - PDF with the complete rules of Colonization.

Reference Sheet - Only the second page of the rules PDF with the reference sheet for turn order and all actions.