Shuffle the three Domain decks and the Systems deck, then lay out a grid of Systems (3x3, 4x4, and 5x5 grids are recommended), with a corner system with a Homeworld starting system for each player. Place a Scout ship adjacent to each Homeworld. Cards should face their owners when possible.
Place the shuffled Domain decks to the side, within reach of each player. Place all ship cards in piles of each type, face up, near the playing field. Each player chooses a set of development counters, and receives 3 credits. Place 1 development counter on the homeworld you control.