Imperial Conflict is a 4X game, which means the experience can be summarized into the following phases:
We explore the galaxy we joined, we expand by aquiring planets, we exploit by extracting resources from these planets, and we exterminate our enemies. Let us take it from the top.
Exploring the galaxy is done from the galactic map. This is a 2-dimensional representation of your galaxy. Upon opening the galaxy map, you will be shown a view of your home system and is surround systems if any exist. Systems where you control planets are marked in yellow.
You can zoom in and out of the map, and use the system list selector to see different views. For example, you can toggle unexplored systems in order to see where there is availble space.
If you find an unowned planet, you can send an exploration ship to colonize it. It will take some time for your ships to reach their destination. Time in Imperial Conflict is measured in "weeks", which is game-speak for real world hours. You will be notified of how long the trip will take when you send your ships.
When you need more Exploration Ships, you need to build them from the Build Military Units section. These ships are quite expensive, so you should not build more than you need.
After a few hours, your new planets will be colonized.
Planets are where your resources are gathered. Your newly aquired planets start our empty of buildings and with only a small population. Over time, the population will increase natually, and with this your income through taxation.
Your increasing population will require food to survive. Food is produced by Hydroponic Farms. You should build a few of these on your new planets. To do this, click on "Planets" from the sidebar. Any planets that you control are listed on this page. Click the "build" link next to one of them to start constructing buildings.
Now that we have exploited our new planets, it is time to start thinking about our neighbours.
There are lots of other empires in your galaxy. Although you can attack most of them, some of them are probably better seen as friends. Specifically, the empires that share your home system are called your Family. You are on a team with these other empires, and along with pursuing your own goals you are also working with them to grow the family as well.
Your targets then, are anybody else.
In order to attack, you need a fleet. Fleet units are built in the same way as you built your Exploration Ships earlier. Note that you need Transport ships to ferry ground units - Soldiers and Droids - to other planets. Ground units are also needed to take over planets.
Once you have built a fleet, it is time to attack. This is done from the galactic map in much the same way as you explored your first planets - only this time, you pick planets that are already taken by others.