Super Melee rulesets

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The Ur-Quan Masters provides a networked Super Melee arena and point costs for all the ships, but no standardized rules. Thus, different groups of fans have developed different rule sets for putting together their fleets for battle. This page is an attempt to collect all such rule sets and describe them. If you've played using rules that aren't described here, by all means add them!

Standard Rules for #uqm-arena

Players may use only one ship of each type and build up to a maximum fleet size of 200 points. The Thraddash Torch is banned. No game modifications are used.

  • In a serious game or tournament you are expected to build your team before connecting so that you can't base your ship choices on knowledge of your opponent's team.
  • Point limits other than 200 can be used, although they are uncommon. The outcome of a lower point game is drastically affected by each player's fleet composition, while higher point games don't leave much room for choice in fleet selection.
  • The Thraddash Torch is banned because the ship has the potential to stall matches and upset game balance if played to its limit.
  • Stalemates are resolved by forcing the faster of the two ships in play to go on the offensive.
  • Game modifications have become quite prevalent recently, making the standard rule set less ubiquitous.

Fleet Setup Rules

No Duplicate Ships

No more than one of each ship type can appear in a player's fleet. This forces ship variety and prevents a player's fleet setup from having too much impact on the outcome of the melee match.

Duplicate Ships

The game can also be played simply with a point limit and no restriction on duplicate ships; this has fallen out of use since the result depends mostly on the teams used. Certain ship types tend to dominate most others. However, this ruleset has seen revival recently in games played with Shiver's Balance Mod, which handles duplicates better than vanilla UQM.

  • In order to reasonably allow more of the same ship, players can take turns picking ships rather than connecting to each other with predetermined fleets.
  • 30pt ships can be limited or banned, to keep them from skewing the game heavily.

Crap Fleets

In order for some of the less commonly used ships to see use, some players like to play with each player designing the other player's fleet. The fleet point limit should be considered a minimum rather than a maximum. This can be played with various point totals or allowances for duplicate ships, although duplicates can lead to undesirable results such as a fleet full of Drones.

Random Teams

A random team can be more interesting, as you will often end up without such omnipresent mainstays as the Utwig Jugger.


Players get a pool of points and ships are auctioned off to the highest bidder. The details of auction procedure are up to the players. Ideally, a separate person outside of the game should act as auctioneer. This format is best used with 4 or 6 players playing a tournament with their auction-bought ships and multiple copies of every ship type up for auction.

Fixed Number of Ships

Disregard point values and limit fleets by quantity. A "No Duplicates" rule is strongly recommended in conjunction with this. This places an emphasis on large, expensive craft or the opposite when combined with "Crap Fleets".

Alliance vs. Hierarchy

A match with the predetermined teams "Old Alliance Ships" against "Old Hierarchy Ships". It's an interesting match, since the creators of the game went to a great deal of effort to balance it in Star Control I. Unfortunately, it seems to favor the Alliance.

Other Rules

Random Ship Selection

Use the random select button whenever the game prompts you to choose which ship to send into the arena. Ideally, both players should immediately mash this button any time the ship selection screen comes up to remove any doubt of cheating. This format is not great for fair competition, but the unusual ship match-ups add a lot of variety to the game. Random Ship Selection is best combined with a ban on 30pt ships, which tend to heavily skew a match depending on what is drawn against them.

Battle victor chooses ship for loser

Requires communication between players when ships are selected. When playing by the usual rules, the player who has just lost a ship picks a ship to easily defeat the other player's current ship. However, under these rules, the player with the victorious ship makes this choice for the player who has just lost a ship.


  • Deploy ships in the order they are on your fleet list, starting from the upper-left ship slot and proceeding right.


  • Disable one of the turning keys.
  • Play with a controller that makes the game more difficult, such as a joystick or dance pad.
  • Play with only one hand.
  • Play drunk.
  • Play high.