Each Galaxy is an independantly running game of Star Traders, divided into a number of space sectors. Which Galaxy you're playing in will also determine things like how many turns per day you're given, who else you're playing with/against, the layout of sectors, planets, etc.
A Sector is an individual area of space, referenced by it's Sector Number. Some sectors may have planets or Space Stations within them, while most are vacant. Everyone who's playing Star Traders will be in a Sector at all times, even if they're docked to a station or landed on a planet (as those are also in a sector). Sectors may also be mined by other players, or have fighters deployed within it to keep other players out of that sector.
A warp is a path or gateway from one sector to another. Normally, a warp will be bidirectional - So if you can warp from Sector A to B, you can also warp from Sector B to A. However, there are a few warps which only exist in one direction - So that if you warp from A to B, there isn't a warp back from B to A. Warps are most common between sectors one above or below each other numerically, somewhat common between sectors which are separated by a single sector (ie, warps between 1 & 3, 2 & 4, etc), and are also frequently found between unrelated sectors. However, it's not uncommon for very close sectors to not have warps between them, and to even have to seemingly go out of your way to get to the next sector number (for example, to get from 10 to 11, you may have to start at 10, then go to 20, then 22, then back to 11). Route Computers are invaluable for finding the shortest path between sectors -- While it requires two turns in order to calculate a route, it's capable of finding the shortest path between any two points in the galaxy.
All planets are different in size, and economic situation. Some are small, while some are enormous. All planets buy or/and sell something, e.g. Uranium, water, etc. All planets have a fighting force (dependant on size of Planets), which defend the planet. To claim a planet, you have to defeat it's force. Once a planet has been claimed, you can set up different things on a planet, such as setting up a tariff (tax) on all trading on it, closing trading to anyone else, or even colonizing the planet (By Colonizing a planet, you take over management responsibility for it - you must ensure that every day, their food, water, and credit needs are met, and are free to use any excess resources produced as you wish).
Space Stations are places where you dock to buy or/and sell trader-related items. You may sell your ship, buy a new one, or upgrade your current ship. Each Space Station has different items available. You can also repair your ship or charge your energy cells at the space station if needed.
Asteroids are large masses which continually drift through space. Asteroids have names, and have some sort of material on it which can be excavated (food, water, iron ore, plutonium, or uranium). You need excavators to excavate it, no credits needed. Having multiple Excavators is beneficial, as each round of excavation requires 1 turn (so if you only have one excavator, you can only harvest 1 unit/turn, but if you have 10 excavators, you'll harvest 10/turn) Also, keep in mind that since Asteroids are continually moving, that when you leave an Asteroid, you may not be in the same Sector you were when you landed on it! Asteroids also will disintegrate after a while; if you're on one when it disintegrates, you'll simply end up in the Sector it disintegrated within.
Trading is one of the biggest parts of this game. Your aim is to buy things from planets, and later sell them, to other planets, making your profit on the way. With the profit you make, you can buy fighters, torpedoes, etc. to protect your ship, and destroy others. You can also make money, by destroying other ships, and selling the debris you get from them. You have a limited amount of cargos to hold the stuff you buy, you may buy more cargo holds from any Space Station. Eventually, a time will come, when you’ll need a bigger ship to enhance your trading.
Another big part of the game is fighting. Once you have built up your ship, and have adequate firepower to destroy other ships, you may attack other traders and destroy their ships. When you destroy a ship, the ship killed leaves behind debris. You can recover it, and either use it or sell it to any Space Station buying that item. While attacking, you might get your fighters killed too. A bigger ship will be able to take more damage before being destroyed, and also has more room available for adding accessories, on-ship weapons systems, etc.
Whenever you feel confused, you may use the help button on the right-bottom of the your page. That will give you all commands you can make. Any questions about Star Traders can be posted in the Star Lounge Message Forum. Suggestions on improving the game, can also be posted there!