Reply To: Getting Started
So you have started a game – now what?
Your ultimate goal is to have a stronger military than all other players, but there are different routes towards that goal.
You can try to outnumber your opponents or you can try to have more advanced technology. The difference between a tech oriented fleet and a number oriented fleet built at the same time can be pretty extreme.
A single high tech ship can wipe out dozens of low tech ships, and certain technologies can make your ships completely invulnerable to lower tech weapons.
the difficulty is that your two goals, fast research vs. fast production are in direct competition with each other. At the beginning of the game you want to move most of your people into research and research things that help you build and/or research faster. If you need to produce food (i.e. you didn’t pick a lithovore race), it will also be important for you to reduce the number of people you need to produce enough food – those people are better used in research or production.
When picking things to research and to build, check their effects with right-click. And unless you know what’s going on: If something takes more than 20 turns to finish, it’s probably too early for you or you’re missing something important or you’re aiming too high for the current evolution of your empire.
Don’t wait 150 turns to build a battleship, put people into research and find technologies that improve construction speed. There are many factors that influence construction speed, the number of people you put into production is the biggest factor but their effectiveness is a result of many other things in the game.
Planets can be good for construction or they can be bad for construction. The morale of your people (which is local to the colony but influenced by various empire-wide things) is a direct multiplier of production efficiency. There are various buildings that either generate production points on their own or increase the production points each worker generates. When you generate production points, you also generate waste, which is directly deducted from your actual production.
If your tax rate is >0%, that amount is directly deducted from your production (empire wide!).
You race options make a huge difference in terms of production efficiency. There are race options that increase or decrease production efficiency of workers.
There are options that _half_ the production cost (and thus time) of space ships.
Optimizing any of these aspects will result in faster production.
The key to success is having as many people as possible in as good a morale as possible. It also means you need to pick the best planets for colonization as a bad planet can be a waste of time and resources. A colony ship is a serious project for early games, don’t waste it on a worthless planet.
But how do you pick a good planet?
A planet has various stats, all of which are important. First and easiest to understand is the size. The bigger, the better, obviously. Second is the climate. Climate + Size + certain race options determine how many people can fit onto a planet. Before colonizing a planet, you can see the maximum population *your* race can have on that planet. Other races might be different.
The climate also influences if, and if so, how much food your farmers can produce there. That’s very important in the early game where you don’t have the resources to shovel food from one planet to another.
There are three more things about planets, the more important one is its mineral abundancy. The more minerals a planet has, the more production point each worker can generate.
The second important is its gravity class. There are normal, low and high gravity planets. On normal planets, most races can use 100% of the planet’s production. On low gravity planets, that’s reduced by 25% and on high gravity planets by 50%. There are race traits that make this worse or better.
There are things you can do to improve the quality of a planet, but they are expensive. You can change the gravity later in the game by building planetary gravity generators, you can improve the climate using terraforming. You cannot change the mineral level of the planet or its size.
There’s one more thing about a planet: It can have special attributes: Natives, gold or gem deposity or ancient artifacts. Natives are perfect farmers and produce more food than any of your people ever could. Gem and gold deposits directly translate into money *each turn* for your empire. Artifacts improve the number of research points generated on that planet, per scientist.
But the vast majority of planets is nowhere near ideal. You’ll have to pick something that is best for you current situation. And the best planets are typically guarded by space monsters.
As a beginner I would suggest to not colonize planets that have less than 3 production per worker, less than 1 food production per farmer and a maximum population of less than 5.
There is a good number of those, but sometimes it can be a point of conflict with other races to get them first.
Really good planets are typically a serious reason for war. A medium size terran world with abundant minerals and normal gravity (like most homeworlds – if you didn’t pick options that give you a better or worse homeworld) can make the difference between winning and losing. A huge Gaia planet with normal gravity and ultra rich in minerals (like the legendary Orion system) will almost certainly cause conflict between empires that claim it – better keep a strong fleet there just to defend it. A fully populated world like that can *without any buildings to further improve the situation* produce up to 125 production points per turn. That means they can build a colony ship in 4 turns. A typical homeworld (Normal size, mineral abundant, terran) on the other hand will be more in the 36-40 production per turn range, taking 13 turns to build a colony ship.