In order to make the game as much fun as possible for every player, the SC community recommends that you read, understand, and follow these general guidelines. These rules of behavior have been generally accepted by most of the regulars in the SC community. Word gets around quickly of those who flagrantly break them, so do so at your own risk. On the other hand, remember that these are only reccomdations, and so should not be taken as hard and fast rules. Even some players who are normally scrupulous in adhering to this type of behavior have secret "evil" empires.
If you have any suggestions or comments about this page please feel free to e-mail me or find one of the regulars in the SC irc room (#Stellar_Crisis on irc.gamma.net) or on the discussion boards at the Yahoo Stellar Crisis Club.
Be kind to newbies
We were all newbies at one point. While newbies are fair game to be nuked, at least be kind to them as you nuke them. Offer suggestions on how to improve their game and point them to the FAQ or other players' pages if they haven't seen them yet. We want to keep people playing SC, not make them think SC is full of thugs who pick on newbies. Related to this, do not create a whole slew of emps and run them only through newbie games just to boost your stats.
Refrain from using foul languange
This is simple courtesy to other players. Remember that there are players of all ages, and sometimes parents watching to see what their kids are doing on the net. Abusive language shows little more than that person's own lack of class. Exchanges between players who are acquainted and just having fun with each other are not discouraged, but don't let it get out of hand. Use smilies :^) to emphasize the point that you are only joking around. If an argument gets out of control then use private messages rather than broadcasts or take it outside the game (e-mail, irc, grudge game, etc.) Repeated use of foul language will earn a player a bad reputation, and as word spreads that person will likely be placed on several people's nuke on sight lists.
Do not use nuke babies
This is considered a mortal sin by almost all SC regulars. Nuke babies are where players log into a game with more than one empire, and then use the second empire to get a free nuke and free planets to fight the other players. Veterans usually keep logs of who they meet in games, and so can often spot those using this tactic after meeting them once or twice. Using nuke babies is a sure fire way to get on nuke-on-sight lists.
Do not use more than one empire in the same game
Using multi emps is the second deadly sin of SC. Playing two or more empires in one game gives that player an unfair advantage and takes away the fun for the other players. This is especially true in daily games. Again, the veteran players typically know how to spot someone who is doing this, so it is difficult to get away with it anyway. Someone using multi emps will almost surely be put on nuke-on-sight lists.
How to handle alliances
This has been a gray area where there has been some disagreement. The prevailing view is that alliances, once made, are sacred. Do not break alliance for the sake of nuking your former ally. This is considered backstabbing and among the worst things you can do in SC. If you think you might want to go to war with that person, then stay at trade and don't go to alliance in the first place. Those who backstab should expect to be on several people's nuke-on-sight lists, be publicly flamed, etc.
However this is not to say that alliances are to be unbreakable. If both players agree to end an alliance then there should be no problem. There are also instances, such as where your ally has flagrantly violated other rules of behavior, which justify breaking alliance. In this case, though, you should make it very clear both to that person and to others in the game why you are breaking alliance. Some players also consider it acceptable to break alliance with players who have left the game and have been idle for several updates.
Once you are in an alliance, be loyal to your ally. If you are in a game where your allies are at war with one another then you should remain neutral. Do not help one of them by opening/closing jumps, by giving away information such as the location of home worlds, strength of fleets, location of ships, etc. You should also be sure that both parties know you are allied to the other side in order to avoid hard feelings. This type of situation is fairly common in large games, so use of diplomacy is important to keeping the teams straight.
There is no one way of handling games with odd number of players. Sometimes you just have to accept uneven teams, or sometimes you can agree to make it a blood game, let one player stay neutral (allying with everyone to keep the sides equal,) or just ally out. The best thing to do is to simply work things out in the game through broadcasts.
Handling truce and trade
This is another point upon which there is no unanimous agreement. In general, you should not tell someone to keep their science shipss out of your territory and then take advantage of truce/trade to explore his planets, especially if you know you are going to war with them. While no one should expect truce or trade settings to necessarily lead to alliance, you should not take advantage of the peace to get information about their systems unless you are willing to allow them to do the same. Some players go so far as to argue that gaining this information is an act of war and should only be done when you are actually at war with that empire.
Do not truce/trade with both sides. This practice can be seen as a significant breach of conduct. If there are two even teams (2 on 2, 3 on 3, etc.) then ally with your friends and stay at war with the other side. The benefits that you are getting hurt your allies and is unfair to the rest of the players. This may be impossible in large games because of the map. Daily games commonly result in intangled alliances where you are fighting one of your ally's allies. In this case, simply use your best judgement, but going to trade with everyone to boost your economy and then picking players off one at a time should not be done.
Use of HTML in the game
Use of html in planet names and ship names can be a fun part of the game, but should not be abused. Keep the annoyance factor down when doing this. Some players have attempted to crash games or prevent nukes by changing the html. This is probably the one unpardonable sin in the game. Such people are quickly identified and most of the time everyone in the game will agree to nuke out that person.
Try to keep the teams as even as possible. This may be impossible in games with an odd number of players or in large daily games, but there is no excuse for going 3-1 against anyone (except someone who breaks alliance, hacks the html, or commits some other major breach of conduct in that particular game.) Note though that in a typical game when one side starts winning and nuking the other side, they will have a numerical advantage. That is simply the nature of warfare and should not be considered gang banging so long as the teams were fair in the first place.
No pre-arranged alliances
Go into each game and play the map as it stands. Ally with the person who is in the best position to help; do not join the game with someone with the pre-arranged agreement to ally. The other players do not know of this agreement and it gives you an unfair advantage over them. An exception to this can be made when the whole game is arranged, such as a clan vs. clan game, where both sides know the situation or if you make your intentsions clear upon meeting other players in the game.
Clans are a fun enhancement to SC, but this is Stellar Crisis, not Stellar Clan Wars. Play games to win first and for the clan point second. This should be reflected in choice of allies, gang banging, etc. You can be loyal to your clan without letting it get out of control. This problem has contributed to driving several veteran players out of the game.
If you lose (it happens...) do so with class
Everone gets beaten every once in a while. Even me (*grin*) When it happens don't be a bad sport about it. If you feel the person won by using shady behavior then let the rest of us know, but if you lost simply because you were out-played then take your lumps quietly and perhaps even learn from the loss. Instead of pouting, watch to see why you were beat. You will usually learn more from being nuked by a veteran than you will in beating someone of lesser quality.
New versions of SC have brought new options to the game since this guide was created. Bryon Wyly, a.k.a. Stormer, has done an excellent job of summarizing these and codifying them into a companion Blood Game Etiquette page.
SC Etiquette Page originally designed and created by Charles Dauphin, a.k.a. Manetheren
Revised by Erick Beck a.k.a. Aggie Land