I'll think of something witty to put here...
Summary of the races:
Terran: Humans in the future. Terrans are the easiest to understand for people who haven’t played the computer game and they are strategically flexible. Terrans tend to make a lot of mid priced and mid strength units early on, some of which deal splash damage. Victory conditions: medium difficulty.
Zerg: Animal-like alien bugs. Zerg are able to produce cheap units in large quantities early on and have the option to produce more expensive stuff later. Their victory conditions look easier, but their units are not quite as powerful and generally don’t deal splash damage. Their cheapness makes it easier to recover from mistakes.
Protoss: Ancient, high tech aliens. Protoss units are powerful but expensive. You don’t get many units, thus increasing the importance of each purchase decision, so there is less room for error. Every loss is significant for a Protoss player. To compensate for this, many of their units deal splash damage which helps them balance the numbers and to achieve their (more difficult) special victory conditions.
Beginners Guide Follow this advice and you shouldn't do too badly:
All races: Don't worry about researching stuff for assist units - they are hard to use well and if you are just learning the game they might be confusing.
Terran: Build Factory 1 and Starport 1. Get Vultures and Wraiths. Use Marines to support them. Research Spider mines, Bunkers and maybe cloaking. Build towards either Tanks or Battlecrusiers. Alternatively, ignore buying excessive mid-strength units/research, and just build to Battlecruisers quickly.
Zerg: Buy Infantry track up to level 3. This gives you access to Hydralisks and Ultralisks, which can deal with most threats. Use Zerglings in support. Scourge destroy air units efficiently. Research Burrow and Chitinous Ultralisks. Alternatively build Mutalisks and Guardians. Queens are a low risk investment (they're cheap), but will need something researched.
Protoss: Consider a Reaver factory- they are powerful and can be used early. A Zealot/Reaver/Scout combo covers most bases. Alternatively build towards either Archons (needs lots of gas) or Carriers. You’ll need to mix in some cheaper units to hold territory. Research Increased Reaver Capacity, Increased Carrier Capacity, Summon Archon as appropriate. Dragoons are handy.
Turn by Turn guide to playing Starcraft
Turn one. Goal: Secure a resource supply and begin development.
Research. This gets you some cards and an event card. Research something cheap (cost 1) or save the money.
Build. Get some workers (3+ is strong). Make a building. Sometimes I don't build any units on turn 1, but you have the option here.
Mobilise to an empty planet. Your initial transport should have been placed towards this planet.
Build (second planet). Build a base (on the VP zone).
Note: If you put both build orders on the 2nd planet, you can move, build a building and a base, then build units out of the new building on the new planet.
Turn two. Goal: Secure a point supply and build infrastructure for stronger units. Buy some tech cards:
1 research, 2 builds (allowing you to get some decent units out) and either:
Another research or 1 mobilise if there’s a soft target.
Turn three. Goal: Attack! Protect your point zones. Deploy Strong units.
You always need at least one build order per turn to spend your resources (don’t forget to build transports). Another research is wise if only for the event card and battle cards, but defending your territory must take priority. Turn 3 is the deadline for mega units (if you are planning on making them- Terrans can get by with lots of medium units which is what makes them so flexible).
Turn four onwards: Goal: Win
Who is going to win? Bash the leader and try to get in front. Keep an eye on others special victory conditions and how close you are to Stage III. The game will end after Turn 4 to 6, most likely Turn 5 (Aldaris may lengthen the game).
General play tips
Number 1 tip: Don’t forget to build transports!
Buy workers sooner rather than later.
If you don’t start with many resource zones, you MUST get some more.
The same goes for point zones. If you get 3 points per turn, you can win in five turns (assuming Aldaris is not in play).
It is usually better to research earlier in the turn, so you get your cards in hand before someone attacks you.
It is good to get 1 event card per turn. Any more is a bonus but don’t go out of your way unless you really want Stage III. The best cards give you free units e.g. Tank/Ultralisk/Reaver that can be placed anywhere empty.
Don’t forget to build transports!
Buy a gold order module before you reach the mid-game. It will open up a lot of possibilities.
If you have a spare mineral, consider a supply module. It is annoying to not be able to make something because of your build limit (which starts at 2). An extra worker mid game won’t hurt either.
The air defence module is excellent- you don’t have to defend as many spaces and it slows down attackers, but it costs 3 minerals. The perfect time to buy it is when someone is just about to attack your planet.
If your expensive units get killed by cheap units, that is bad.
If your cheap unit kills an expensive unit, that is good (even if your guy dies too) *cough*scourge.
Don’t forget to build transports!
Confusing bits explained:
When you purchase a technology you get all copies of it, but only pay once. You draw your 3 cards before you shuffle in the new tech. Requires a base.
Remember that you need a base already on a planet to make units. (You can still make a building and a module.) Requires a unit.
When you mobilise, you can only move into one enemy area. You may exceed the stacking limit by two.
The attacker chooses how to line up the skirmishes, but must make as many as possible. Any left over units are assigned by the owner. Each skirmish must have exactly one card with numbers at the top (remember that you have the option to play a random card from your deck). You also have the option to play one reinforcement card (card without numbers).
Splash damage kills an extra unit at the end of combat and is not limited to the skirmish where it got triggered. The owner chooses casualties. Cloaked units can still get killed before they get a chance to withdraw. (To see this, remember that in the computer game if you nuked (or psi-stormed etc.) an area, burrowed and invisible stuff would still get hit).
How to use it well: Destroy strong units risk-free with splash damage! You should attack, line up the skirmishes so you only fight your opponents weakest units, leaving his stronger units in support. I would rather fight a low value card that has +2 attack, than a high value one with +1 (and higher health).
Support vs Assist
Assist units are the spellcaster ones. They always go in support behind regular, front line units (unless there are no regular units-). A “Support” unit just means any unit that is not currently on the front line.
Retreat vs Withdraw
The attacker retreats when they don’t kill all* the defenders, which means they must move to a single area on the same planet or an adjacent planet. Anything in excess of the stacking limit is lost. If the attacker wins the battle but has too many units, the extra ones must retreat. Withdraw is what cloaked units do when they get hit. It is like Retreat but is limited to the active planet.
*Unless the defender only has Assist units left (then they retreat).
Ground/Air attack capability
If you are unable to target the front line unit (e.g. your melee unit vs. a flying unit), but there is a supporting unit you can target you can destroy it, but you fight it using the front line unit’s values as normal.
If a supporting unit cannot target the front line unit, it has a support value of zero.
Note that since Assist units don’t have ground or air attack capability they can never kill anything with regular cards.
Air defence module effects
1. Can’t attack bases directly- must walk in from the same planet
2. Gain +1 attack against air units
3. Detector (cancels cloaking)
You are using confusing terms... use the boardgames names for all the compents.
You're not afraid of the dark, are you?
What about transports? Should we not forget to build them?