Getting Started

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  • rnlf

    I realized that this game may be a bit intimidating for beginners, so here are a few hints for getting started:

    The first thing to help you get into the game is already in the “Start Game” screen. Here you can make a choice how much you will have to learn to get going.

    The most important option is probably “Tactical Combat”. When you enable this option, you will have to design your own ships and keep them up to date. Disable this option and you don’t have to do that anymore – at the cost of not being able to play space battle yourself anymore but only get a statistical outcome. It’s one of the most interesting aspects of the game to devise new tactics using specialized ship types, but learning how to manage your empire is hard enough if you don’t also have to learn fleet management at the same time.

    Other options are “Antarens Attack”, if you keep that enabled, Antarens will enter your galaxy and attack players based on their strength, the strongest one beign the most likely target. This option also enables the third victory condition, namely entering the Antaren galaxy and conquering their homeworld. But when you’re just starting out, Antarens can be the end of your game really fast, so I suggest disabling them.

    Another important factor is the Starting Tech Level. If you set this to advanced, you’ll get several colonies and ships to start with and you’ll be able to build new ships immediately.

    You should pick a “Creative” race in that case though, for reasons I’ll explain in a second.

    I also suggest starting in a large or huge galaxy with 3-4 players, that way you get some time to build your empire before being threatened by other races. Pick more than 2 players though, otherwise you’ll be the only thing standing between your opponent and victory. You want some struggle between hostile empires to take some stress off yourself.

    I suggest you keep galaxy age at Average. That means you get equally good chances to get good industrial colonies and farming colonies. Once you understand race design, you can tilt this balance either way to make the game a bit more easy for your own race.

    When designing your race, for at least the few couple of games I suggest you pick “Creative” as a perk. This way you will get all technologies and don’t have to make research decisions for which you are lacking the knowledge. Creative is also important if you didn’t pick “Pre-warp” as the tech level when creating the game, otherwise you’ll get random tech assigned at the beginning of the game.

    Keeping your people fed can be a daunting task in the beginning. You may pick the race design option “Lithovore” to make your people “eat” industry production instead of food. This makes the game a hell of a lot easier in the beginning, but picking Creative and Lithovore together costs 18 design points, so you’ll have to accept major penalties in other areas (but that’s not a huge problem in the beginning).



    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.


    On the Importance of Research: Research is key. You need research to improve construction speed, you need it to get better weapons, more money, more people, faster population growth, you even need it to generate faster research.

    You should put as many resources into research as possible. For me it’s always a difficult decision when to scale back research and start producing bigger fleets. It’s tempting to keep researching just that one more tech that will give you an edge on your opponents. But if you wait too long, you may have all the cool tech but no ships to use it on. Nothing worse than a big fleet of ships 10 tech levels behind yours taking away colony after colony from you because you neglected actually building ships with your cool technology.

    Don’t be afraid to build ships early on with early tech. As you progress you can refit your ships to use newer technology at a fraction of the cost and time a new ship would mean. Refit your ships regularly. Every research level of fuel cells and drives will be automatically made available to all your ships, but computers, armor and shields need to be manually updated (unless you disabled tactical combat as I suggested in the first post).

    When you research new space ship technologies, they are very bulky. When you research more levels of the same research category, previous technologies get miniaturized. So it can often be a better idea to keep older weapons in your ship but then have a lot more of them, than to have the newest weapons but relatively few.

    There is one technology for ships that you almost universally want to use: Battle Pods. Those don’t use up space but provide extra space, which is very useful for packing more systems or weapons into your ship.

    When building your fleet, ships typically don’t cost any upkeep. That is, as long as you don’t have too many. How many you can have depends on the number of Control Points your empire produces. Each star base (or their upgrade levels) provide a certain number of control points, each ship costs control points. As long has you don’t use more control points than you produce, you don’t pay any maintenance for your ships. There is one race option that gives you virtually unlimited fleet sizes: Warlord. Races with that option generate control points from every colony they own. Very useful.

    There are technologies to increase the number of control points generated from your star bases. Bigger ships use proportionally fewer command points per size. Like, four times the weapons for less than twice the command points.

    Always keep in mind that in this game, almost every stat can be improved in one way or another, typically cumulative with other effects. You can for example add stuff to your ships that increases the percentage of damage that bypasses shields. You can then add stuff that increases the overall damage. You can add something to increase the probability of hitting. It all stacks!

    On the defense, you can add missile evasion stuff like ECM jammers, combined with hardened shields point defence weapons to make your ships almost invulnerable to missiles.

    You can increase the morale on your planet while at the same time providing production bonuses and reducing waste to easily triple the production output of a planet.

    The whole game is build on those principles. Make the best of it 🙂


    Thanks! This game is indeed intimidating, having never played it before.


    Yeah, this game is really daunting to get into. There are so many aspects you need to consider!

    Once you get the hang of it, it’s really great though imho. Things are very interconnected, so every decision you make influences almost all other aspects of the game.

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