Q: I have seen different versions of the Homeworlds rules about who builds first, and who takes the first turn. What is the official rule?

…The rules I originally saw had Player A building first, and then Player B taking the first turn, but that’s not how it works on SuperDuperGames.

A: The rules you originally saw must have been in the small booklet 3HOUSE. It had originally been simply Player A build, Player B build, Player A goes first. In the 3HOUSE booklet, Andy changed the rule, because it somehow seemed fairer to him at that time… but it turns out that that makes it possible for Player B to execute a two-turn win (in Chess known as a “Fools Mate”) which is inescapable by Player A, unless they specifically design their homeworld to defend against it (severely limiting their options).

If Player B takes both the second build and the first turn, the Fools Mate goes like this:

Player A builds their homeworld and first ship, and no pieces are red. Ex: b3y1 g3
Player B builds their homeworld to deliberately create a “tiny universe” (in which their homeworlds are a single move apart, instead of three as would be more common for better defense of both systems) and their first ship is red. Ex: y2g2 r3
Player B builds r1
Player A builds g1
Player B moves r3 to Player A’s homeworld
Player A is doomed: Moving away doesn’t help, and even changing their large to a red is futile, since Player B has the drop on them to take over all ships at their homeworld.

ANYHOW, when this fatal flaw was discovered, of course Andy abandoned the “player building second takes the first move” rule, and went back to alternating turns from the build, i.e. Player A builds, Player B builds, Player A takes first turn, and so forth. This should be considered the current correct game beginning sequence. This is how it is executed on SuperDuperGames as well.