1

We had a disagreement about this the last time I played. The rules seem to allude that you can attack an empty planet in an encounter with another player but it doesn't seem to be made explicit.

Example: Green has 4 colonies in his home system, one planet is empty. If blue draws a green destiny card can he attack the empty planet?

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5

Yes, as long as the planet is still there.

The defender defends as normal (playing an encounter card) but with no ships. From the rules on Launch (page 8):

Note that, in a home system, the defense may not have any ships on the targeted planet, in which case he or she defends the planet with zero ships.

If green were to draw a green destiny card, they could attack their own empty planet to reestablish a colony (or they could draw another destiny card). Page 7:

When drawing his or her own color, if a player has a home planet with no ships on it at all (enemy or otherwise), then he or she may aim the hyperspace gate at that planet to automatically re-establish a colony there with up to four ships from other colonies. Doing so counts as a successful encounter.

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6

You absolutely can attack a planet with no defenders.

On page 8 of the rulebook it states:

Defending with Nothing?

Even though a player may no longer have a colony on one of his or her home planets, that player must still defend it.

Which certainly confirms that you can attack an unoccupied world.

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