This game option was proposed by the first Emperor, Dungeonmaster, as a way to help move games toward completion. The potential benefits anticipated from imposing a minimum Empire size are many:
The Fight or Fail feature can be disabled, set to a fixed value or set to an incremental value. When disabled, a player will not be terminated from a game due to planet count, even if that player has no planets. When set to a fixed value, a player will be terminated from a game when the number of planets they control drops below the number of planets set. When set to an incremental value, a player will be terminated from a game when the number of planets they control drops below a number of planets that varies, depending on the setting and the turn number. If the incremental value is non-zero, the fixed value will be ignored.
When a player is within five planets of the required number of planets, and the Fight or Fail option is enabled, they will receive a warning message. This message will be received each turn that the player is within five planets of the required planet count.
From: Fleet Command
Commander (player name), our ship captains and starbase commanders are very nervous of the state of our empire. We are close to losing their loyalty and confidence. We must capture more planets or we risk a rebellion.
In games with a fixed Fight or Fail value, the warning message will be displayed starting at turn 30, if the number of planets is within the warning range.
In games with an incremental Fight or Fail value, the warning message will be displayed starting at turn 10, if the number of planets is within the warning range.
When a player has fewer than the required number of planets, and the Fight or Fail option is enabled, they will have one last turn to issue orders and then they will be terminated during the first part of the Host process, using a variation of the KillRace mechanism. Fixed Fight or Fail is not activated until after turn 30, whereas incremental Fight or Fail is activated immediately (even though warning messages aren't sent out until after turn 10). The fact that Incremental Fight or Fail is activated immediately could be a problem in Wandering Tribes games with an agressive Incremental Fight or Fail setting.
When a player is terminated, their ships and starbases will be immediately removed through the KillRace mechanism.
Other players will receive a report similar to the following.
From: Fleet Command
We are getting reports from inside (player name). It appears that their leader has lost control. Ship captains and starbase commanders are rebelling and hyping out of the system. Their entire defense network is collapsing! They are finished!
Incremental Fight or Fail is an extension of Fight or Fail. In games where this is active, the number of planets required to avoid Fight or Fail is set to zero at the start of the game and incremented every few turns, as specified by the setting. If both incremental and fixed Fight or Fail have values set, the incremental Fight or Fail value will take precedence.
If the game has a running start, and Fight or Fail Increment is enabled, Fight or Fail will not be enforced until after the running start has ended, but it will accumulate.
In games where this option is enabled, players who are terminated by being reduced below the set planet count will not incur a Tenacity penalty. The Fight or Fail minimum planet count default is 15 but may vary in some games.
The formula for the number of planets required with Fight or Fail Increment enabled is:
(Planets Needed) = TRUNC((Turn) / (Fight or Fail Increment))
The following flowchart shows what happens to a player slot when Fight or Fail is triggered.