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Fire on the Suns (FOTS) is a strategic space empire game originally created by Greg Ellis. Like all 4X games, FOTS has exploration, expansion, exploitation, and extermination. FOTS is a' play by e-mail game with each game session controlled by a game master (GM). FOTS is a dynamic game where diplomacy, black ops, and wildcard technologies are just a few examples of the tools available for the player in game. There are literally thousands of technologies that a player can develop to shape their empires, to enable them to play toward a concept.

To help organize and contain all the data that a large space empire can generate, FOTS uses Excel spread sheets to package orders and turn results. The GM has a suite of macros and utilities to manage R&D, economics, survey missions, and combat.

Playing FOTS via e-mail is free, memberships to the various IO group mailing lists and Discord channels we use are free, and we usually have one or more open games going on at any time. New players are always welcome!

There's a fairly standard checklist for playing in a FOTS game.

1. Contact us on the contact page if you are interested in playing a game of FOTS, we can send you an invite to join our mailing lists.

2. Download and browse through the core rules and the tutorials on the Game File page, it will give you a feel for the game and its scope. Once a member of our mailing lists, more experienced players are usually on hand to answer any questions you might have and are normally happy to give advice.

3. Submit a request to join a game (some game scenarios may not allow for new entrants once started, check with the GM first). Once you have been given a slot, you will be provided with a standard race setup or be asked to design a race using the guidelines in the core rules. All race designs must be approved by the GM. After that, turn zero is your pre-build phase where you can customize your infrastructure, unit designs, and fleets.

4. Once in game, turns are a matter of sending in your orders to the GM and waiting for the turn results to be sent back. Of course, while the GM is processing everyone's turns, players are free to engage in diplomacy, forge alliances, and create trade agreements (remember to CC the GM on all message traffic, if the GM does not have a copy of the message, it is not official). A player's responsibility to the game mainly involves being timely on submitting orders. The GM always sets a due date for them usually a week or two after the results are sent out. Turning in your empires’ orders late is frowned upon and the in-game penalties can be pretty harsh. FOTS is human-moderated and the GM has the option of outlawing anything a player might do in a turn if it is not in keeping with the players race or is seen to be 'gaming the system'. Since the GM and the FOTS core members are very accessible, feel free to ask if you have a rules questions or need help with a topic.


While FOTS is essentially an empire building wargame, it has a lot in common with role-playing games due to its open-ended nature and specific game scenarios. Political intrigue, horrible threats (HTs), genocidal machines, ancient cultures, and warmongering neighbours are all part of the Fire On The Suns universe.

Like many role-playing games, being a Game Master (GM) is a big job. It requires in-depth knowledge of the game systems and tools, the ability to fairly use the non-player races under your control, and time to process orders and resolve battles and the numerous questions players often ask in the process.


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