Galactic Civilizations III

Galactic Civilizations III

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GC 3 Crusade - Sandbox-Beginner Guide - Patch 2.8
By Infarkt
Guide for new players of the sandbox-mode in Galactic Civilizations III Crusade
Settings - New Game
This is a guide for the sandbox-mode for Galactic Civilizations 3 Crusade.

The base game, without Crusade, is nice, but the "real" game u get with "Crusade", thats my opinion and thats why i made a guide which fits only for Crusade.

The campaigns of the game are ok and meh at the same time, but like most 4x4 strategic games this game shines on the sandbox-mode. Thats what the guide is about.

I will also tell some of the exploits of the game during the guide - but i force u also to not to use them, cause u break the game down to uber-easy. Even on the hardest difficulty. But if u play the game in a fair way, its fine as it is.

Sorry in advance for the english, its not my native language.

We play the game as terrans for the start.

In the main-menu click: New Game
Select Race: Terran Alliance, the first pic
click: Next
Settings - Galaxy Type
Here we tell how big the galaxy should be. But there is much to consider: A small map means lots of interaction with other civ, from the start on, cause all are near each other. The bigger the map gets, the more players need to be filled in, cause otherwise its empty, boring and too easy. So u have to decide: Do i want to get fast action, select a smaller map. Do u want to get big empires, go larger.

For your first try set to medium. Thats my proposal for the first game, i write the proposal to every option. The game suggest 6 players for a medium map.
On the other button we can select, how the stars in the galaxy are sorted. Just start with Scattered and try the others later if u like.

Spiral: the stars are set in a clockwise spiral, in the middle of the galaxy are most and on the side less stars.

Loose clusters: the stars are bundled in some spots on the galaxy, between those bundles is empty space. Lots of it.

Tight clusters: the stars are bundled in bigger, often connected spots on the galaxy, there are some big empty spots around.

Scattered: The stars are everywhere in the galaxy, without a system. But also there are no stars too near each other - a fair system.
Settings - Galaxy Options

Star Frequency:
How many stars the galaxy should get? Stars are surround by planets, resources and asteroids. The more u set, the more things are in your galaxy. On our medium galaxy we set this to common to have lots of stars, but also a bit space between them.

Planet Frequency:
How many planets should surround the stars? Habitable or not. I set this on common.

Extreme Planet Frequency:
These are the planets u cant civilize from the start on, u need lots of tech and game time to settle there. These planets are mostly very good, but as a starting player u shouldnt move that options too high. Lets set this to rare.

Habitable Planet Frequency:
The most important thing: How many planets are surrounding the stars in the galaxy - and we can colonize them. The other civs do that also ofc. Lets set this to abundant - in this medium galaxy there have to be some nice planets.

Pirate bases:
How many "attack everything"-pirates do u like in your game? If u set this higher, the chance to get attacked by pirates is higher. They dont have much, but its annoying if u want to colonize a new planet and a pirate kills your colonizing ship. New players should shut pirates down, try them in your next games. Lets set this to none this time.

Rescource frequency:
How many of the planets in our galaxy are resources? Thats all a bit confusing, but thats how it is. The more u set here, the less habitable planets u get, but u are surrounded by resources then. Since u need them in Crusade they are important, but not like hundreds. Lets set this to rare.

Asteroid frequency:
Asteroids are strong: We can set a starbase near them to mine the asteroids or the planet we have is near enough. That gives the planet, which is supported, a flat bonus. If u set this option high, the game is getting easier, cause your planets are stronger. But u also get less planets in total. Lets set this to uncommon.

In nebulaes is one additional resource possible and they slow the ships down when moving through. They look great also. Lets set this to uncommon, to have some but not too much fog out there.

Precusor Relic Frequency:
Those relics can be "mined" by a starbase. They give a galaxy wide bonus. I suggest to set them to rare.

Ascension Crystal Frequency:
This u only need if u are experienced and want to win the game with research. Try this later if u like. I suggest to set them to none.

Black Hole Frequency:
In black holes there is also one additional resource possible, like in nebulaes. Since we also need this resource in the game, but wont be surrounded by black holes (which can slow the game down), we set them to uncommon.

Anomaly frequency:
Anomalies are gatherable things in the galaxy. There can be just credits, or small ships, or construction and research bonusses. They are very cool and its a feeling of looting if u farm them. They can only be obtained with a "survey-ship". The more u set here, the faster the game gets cause every player can gather those things. We set them to uncommon actually, cause we have only a medium-sized galaxy and its enough then.
Settings - Victory Conditions

They are explained and speak for themselves. For the first game u should active "conquest" and "alliance".
Settings - Game Settings

United Planets Frequency:
Means all civilizations from your galaxy meet up from time to time, like a senate, where they vote for galactic changes. Like the u.n. in real life. If u dont want to much chat set it to rare.

Galaxy Difficulty:
How strong are the other, AI controlled civs? We set it to easy for the start. Since u have a guide u dont need to choose beginner.

Game pacing:
How fast is the game? We set it to normal.

Minor civilizations:
At their current state, minor civs are dumb. They sit on one world and do nearly nothing. When u reached the research technology that u can invade enemy planets, then u just can invade those minor civ planets and they are gone. This way u get a free planet. The AI does not do that, so more minor civs make the game easier. Imo they are a broken game feature atm. We set them to none.

Mega events:
Things that happen in the galaxy during our game. Some are cool, some are not. Lets set it to occasional.

Research rate:
How fast is the research rate? Lets set it to normal.

Galactic events:
Like Mega events: Things that happen in the galaxy during our game. Some are cool, some are not. Lets set it to occasional.

Advanced settings:
Disable tech trading: U cant trade technology with the AI. Makes the game easier, cause the AI loves to trade tech with each other and with u. Since the tech trading is a game feature and its cool, we keep this unselected.

Disable tech brokering: Everyone can trade every technology that u actualy have. Normally u can only trade techs that u have researched by yourself. But with this option u can trade also techs that u got from other civs per trade. Since the AI does this like hell, its imo gamebreaking, cause if one strong civ gots a great tech, one round later all have it - except u. Thats why we select this option to disable it.

Disable AI surrendering: If an AI thinks there is no way out, it hands over all units to the most befriended race they have nearby. This functionality is a bit buggy, cause it can happen that some things are not getting right after it. So for safety we select this option to disable it.
Settings - Opponents
The larger or smaller your galaxy is set, the more or less players are selected from the game. U can change this now, too. Also its able to set some of the AI to stronger or poorer AI. U shouldnt change that for the first games, and choose some races that u like to see in your game, or put them to random.

In our first try on the medium map we change the AI players from 5 to 3. Five is a bit crowdy imo.

Click "Start" to start the game, finally.
Game start - the first TURN
The starting screen:

Click on Done to move on.

Now u see "Earth", the sun "Sol", and some planets. Thats the galaxy-view.

Also your first ship, the T.A.S. Discovery-1. Later for that one.

On the upper left side of the screen u can see how many credits u have, the population your worlds have, how many food there is and how many administrators u have. There will add many more things during the game.

On the lower left side u see your current selected planet, Earth.

On the lower right side there is a button which shows actually "Research".

Click on it and u move to the research-screen.

There u can select whats your next research project is. Since speed is important in the galaxy, we let it on "artificial gravity" and click Done. This tech will be researched in the next rounds.

Now the button on the lower right side shows "New Leader". Click it.

We have one new leader who is automatically moved to "Social construction". Thats cool for us actually and we keep him there. Click Done. The other things are not important for the first rounds.

Now the button at the lower right side shows "Idle colony". That means the game checked that one of our worlds has no job. Click it to move to "Earth", our only planet actually.

U see hexa-fields, which are called "tiles". There u can build planet improvements. Earth has some connected tiles on the right side, which are called "hub". Its most important to place buildings the way on hubs where they "help" each other with adjacency bonusses.
Where the capital appears is random. If u click on the capital, u see that it gives a adjacency bonus to surrounding tiles, when u place the correct building there.

Also we have random bonusses on random tiles. In my case i got "Caverns", that gives 3 to All-Construction to the tile and 1 to wealth to the surrounding tiles, when i place buildings there. Use those as free bonusses.
But: If it says, for example, +3 research and +1 wealth, use the 3 resereach for a research building, but dont build wealth-buildings around it. Cause u wont support the research building this way. Its better to concentrate on the middle, so use the research bonus and surround it with research-buildings. Waste the +1 wealth, but get more bonus to the research - the center of the tile-hub. Thats much better.

Note: In the game there is "social construction" and "ship construction". On planet buildings those two go hand in hand, cause your social construction also improves your ship construction, if the planet is sponsoring a shipyard soon. Both together are called "All construction", thats what some adjacency bonusses are refering to.
The whole power of the space elevator goes also into ship construction - so its not only good to make the space elevator strong for social construction.

Near the capital is a random resource: Prometheus Stone in my case. I can mine this resource directly on this planet to get the resource "Promethion".

Also it gives a adjacency bonus to the surrounding tiles: + 2 wealth. Which is in this case on earth only a waste, cause we will, as written, concentrate on construction and not on wealth.

At first i build the space-elevator, which gives construction the first kick.

For sure i place it on the "Caverns"-tile, to get the +3 bonus from the tile and the +1 bonus from the nearby capital. We see the "4" in the middle of the space elevator, which means the bonus the building got. When we click on the space elevator, we see the level 4 bonus appearing: 2 more construction points - 0,5 x 4. A great start. When this is built, everything after it will be built faster. Try to build your computer core later on a tile, which is surrounded by other tiles, that u can level the computer core up with other buildings.

In the list on the right down side u can see, whats in the building progress. There we have our space elevator, which needs 3 rounds to be completed. A click on rush will cost u 400 credits which is too high, we do this later.
So we will first build the space elevator. When its ready we want to build a shipyard: Only with that iam able to build ships. Since i already know that this is the next job for the planet, i doubleclick shipyard to put it in the queue after the space elevator.
U can also build the shipyard at first, but it takes longer - and u will build more things on the planet, so why dont start with the space elevator which helps u at the start and later, too.

Note: When the space elevator is built, the building time for the shipyard will be reduced, cause we then have more construction power.

Click Done to return to the galaxy-overview-window.
Now the button on the lower right side shows "idle ship". Sure, we didnt use our ship, so we do it now. Click on it.

On the lower left side u can see infos, also "moves." We have 4/4 moves left. Thats also the case if u mouseover the ship. The window on the lower left and the mouseover window together give u the information about your ships. U need both. In the lower left window u can see numbers left from it: This ship can attack with all 3 attack types in the game, which is cool: Beam, Missiles and kinetic. Under the attacks u can see the defences of the ship, which is only 1 point against kinetic attacks.
Lets move the ship: For that we zoom out with the mousewheel.

Now everything is in icon-art. I normally press "4" now to have a better angle.
We see, that in the dark fog of war are lots of stars. Every star can have planets, resources and so on, as we selected at the game options before.
Try to set a route in your mind for your ship, where it reaches as many stars as possible with minimum turns. In my game i will start with the star on the right side, then move in a spiral down, clockwise around earth. This way i can check 5 stars around earth, till i plan the next circle.
Lets zoom in again and move the ship where we like to.

Btw: If u have a anomaly nearby, like "space junk", "capsule" or "ship graveyard", try to move your ship to it and continue after it to the stars. The ship we have is such a nice ship that it can fight, explore and gather anomalies. The anomalies should always be gathered. Only be careful with "precusor anomaly - heavily defended". Keep those for later. That would kill your ship instant, those anomalies can only be gathered with a small fleet, depending on your weapons and ships, normally around 3 medium hull ships.

Now the button on the lower right side says: TURN.
Means, our turn is over when we press there. Since we have done what could be done, we click it.

Menues - so many buttons?
But we dont need all of them. Some now, some later, some never.

At the top of the galaxy screen u see a line of buttons.
Victory: Check what u set for victory options earlier.
Designer: Go to the ship designer and design your ships - later to this one.
Govern: many more buttons! more to those during the game. Its one of the important menues.
Diplomacy: See the other players and talk and trade with them.
Bazaar: (only with Mercenaries DLC): Hire mercenary-ships.
Citizens: Manage your citizens, more to this during the game. Its important, too.
Espionage: Set, what u want your spies to do. Also important, but also later in the game.

With pressing "escape" u come to the menue which allows saving, loading and so on.

On the lower right side u have the minimap, some buttons on top.
The first is the map.
The second is the timeline, how strong the players are in comparisation, in graph style.
The third is the overview, how strong the players are in comparisation, in numbers. A note to those comparings: Its not important. Sure, if u have 1000 points and the AI 10000, it matters. But the summary of the points is a mix out of ships, starbases and whatever, its not such important. Dont be scared if u are at the end at the list, just show them then who really rules.
The fourth button: U can set "rally points". If u have a shipyard later, u can tell the shipyard where it should automatically send the finished ships: A planet, a starbase, a shipyard or a rally point somewhere.

On the right side u see the planet overview with also 5 buttons over it.
First is a small overview with our picture.
Second is the most important menue, where u can see all planets. Thats good for knowing which planet-project is finished soon and could be maybe rushed.
Third is to see all ships listed.
Fourth to see all shipyards listed.
Fifth is to see all starbases listed.
Next turns - Resources and a shipyard
Now its our next turn. But we need the overview, how far our planet "Earth" is with its building procedure. For the overview move the mouse to the upper right corner on the planet-symbol and click it.

Now we can see: Earth is building the space elevator, as intended, and need 2 turns for it.
Under this u can see "Mars". We can colonize mars later, too! Sadly, its a weak planet, but we take Mars as extra construction bonus for the main planet Earth.

Now we move our ship on our route.

Btw, i like to press "4" on the keyboard to change the angle-view to 90°. If u want the old one back, press "3".

Huh, whats that? Click on it: Promethion. The same thing i got on Earth also, but here its in space, ready to get mined.
The Star "Petroni" came in sight. Its surrounded by the promethion, asteroids and a small, unhabitable planet. Lets move on with the ship, but with one hint: Habitable planets can only surround the stars up to 2 tiles. So i dont need to move directly to "Petroni", i move the ship only that far that i can see whats around 2 tiles from "Petroni". As a sidenote, resources can be farer away from the stars, but since i need mostly planets, i care for that later.
Since we cant do anything else atm, click on TURN again.

Thats the move i made now, not more to the right - i moved to the lower right corner, cause my sensors will reach around the star to check whats on the other side. I can see now that there is: nothing else.
So the next move will go downwards, to continue on our route. But before that, we check "Earth". The space elevator is 1 round before completion. Since we really need his power fast, we click on Earth again.

Lets Rush the Space Elevator. Thats only 120 Credits now, which is fine for us. Notice the shipyard time, before u click rush: Actually its 5 turns.
But after i clicked rush, it still shows 5! Why??
Well, thats a bug, cause the list is not updated. Click "Done" to get to the galaxy and check, whats in the planet window on the upper right corner is written: Earth now builds a shipyard and it needs 3 turns.

Thats fine, we need a shipyard fast.

Note: If u rush too many things, u run soon low on credits. Normally id say rush every building below 100 credits, but if u are already under 1000 in total, u should stop that till u have more again. Ships i nearly never rush, too expensive. If u rush something, u pay much more than u would have paid in construction points - but sometimes its cheaper to get a thing 1 turn earlier and pay for it.

Lets move on, we have a ship that wants to explore. Press TURN, and move the ship to explore the space and stars.
And do that again. Meanwhile the shipyard is close to be finished - caution: If its at 1 turn left, check the costs for rushing. If something is under 100 credits to get finished, do it and start the next building instantly.

In my case:
The shipyard needs 1 round and rush will cost me 186 credits. I say no to that. So i move my ship again and click TURN. If u rushed the shipyard, it instantly appears and wants a job.

The shipyard appeared. In the same moment i dont have another building-job on Earth. So i click on Earth.

The shipyard didnt need a tile from the planet, so we have still much space left to improve Earth. There is a new building available, "Starport". This one can only be built if a planet is sponsoring a shipyard. We just built the shipyard and Earth was automatically connected to it.
Starport is very good in getting ships faster, we want it!
In my case: I can put it near the space elevator to get +1 bonus from it, but then i cant improve Starport anymore. Also Starport doesnt improve the space elevator. Better to put the Starport on the other side of the capital, it also gives the +1 bonus and i still have the space to build more things nearby. Also i can use the tile near the space elevator to improve this one later with a factory. As told earlier, the space elevator power goes also into our ship construction. And the factory will do the same!
Click Done.

Now we check the shipyard.

We can build some types of ships actually, the most important for us are the "colony ship" and the "constructor". We already have a new planet to colonize: Mars. But maybe we find a better one for our first world, lets hope that our Discovery-ship finds one soon. But meanwhile we will build the colony ship, which takes long time. U can also Rush the ship, but its expensive and we still have the chance to find a better world for it to colonize. Better keep the money for later, we will need it. A side note: Rushed ships will not instantly be pumped out, like a rushed planet project which is instant available. For a rushed ship u still have to wait 1 turn that they move out. Thats also why i use it rarely.
Since we dont have any other techs researched, its not necessary to design our own ships. We do that later.
Click done and move your ship for more exploration, and click TURN.
If u have the mercenaries DLC, u find a bazaar in between 15 hex around your starting planet.

In the bazaar u can pay credits and get ships.
Those ships are very different from each other and some are really strong.
Since u dont have endless money, u should only hire 1 mercenary - u will need the money later.

For the start, u have to look for a good sensor rate (over 6) and a good speed (over 8).
If thats combined with a "survey", that u can gather anomalies, its perfect.

But at the first place we need a fast scout to search for planets and resources.

If u click on "hire mercenary", it will appear next to earth and is ready to start.

Note: Without mercenaries DLC u dont have this option and it makes the game harder, cause u dont get fast sensor ships in the first turns.

Later ingame u can hire stronger mercenaries with higher tier. Those are more expensive ofc, but provide better bonusses. Check them out!
Research projects + improving starbases
Now our first research project is finished, we have a new choice.
The next should be "Colonial settlements", which allow us to improve "Earth" with factories.
The next tech after this is again speed: "Interstellar travel"
And the next again: "Hyperdrive specialization" gives us +1 more moves! Great to be faster.
After that we do the "Universal translator", to get in contact with other races and are able to trade with the AI. U cant trade till u have researched this.
Then u should go to orbital construction. If this tech is finished, click through the starbases u have and build "Mining Barracks" on them to get more resources in future. If its greyed out and u cant click on it, u need more "Durantium". Just wait till one of your starbases has generated more that u can improve all starbases.

After this, i vote for the research of "Planetology", which provides more important options later.

Also some players like to research "Xeno Combat Techniques" after "Interstellar travel". After that u can specialize again and then research "War college", which makes u able to train your citizens as commander. U can improve ships or fleet with a commander to earn bonuses - at the start thats mostly the speed bonus. But u can also make strong fleets from the start on if u have to defend against an aggressive enemy early or if u like to rush against an undefended AI player.
But this normally is only needed if u put your AI on "genius" or higher, or if u have multiple enemy-AIs which u put in an alliance from the start on. In our medium galaxy with easy AI i suggest that u research some other techs first before those ones.

Colony, Starbases and Mars
Maybe u already have a new planet available? Or just as me stars with asteroids and maybe resources? Thats pure luck or not.
If u haven't found one habitable planet after round 20, i suggest that u restart the game. If u are that unlucky, it takes the fun out of it imo. But sure u can also take this as an challenge to make the game harder, but satisfieing if u success.

If u have the Mercenaries DLC, its nice to hire one with a good sensor-rate. If there is one with also a survey-functionality, even better. But exploration is most important at the start, that u are able to seach for planets at all surrounding stars.

Sooner or later our first research-project is finished.

Now u can select a new tech to research. I vote for "Interstellar travel", cause we still need faster ships first. Another option on smaller maps is the "Universal translator" to be able to talk to other civs.
Now your ship, which still explore the stars, its 1 field faster. Nice!

Soon your colonyship is ready. The game wont let do u anything else than select how many people should go on that ship. 1-1,5 is a good choice here, the more are on the ship and colonize a new planet later, the faster is the start on this new planet. But u weaken your shipyard-world, in this case Earth, for the people u put on the ship. Also, if u put less people on the ship, u can spawn out the next ship faster. If your colony has less than 2 population, u cant eject the colonyship out of your shipyard and u have to wait till its possible.
Move the colonyship to the best planet u discovered so far - if none, u can use Mars. On a smaller map i suggest to move in the direction where u think that the AI is - sometimes its better to be already at the frontline with the colonyship - when your explorer arrives at the area and cleans up the fog of war. When then a planet appears, u weaken the AI with the colonization and the AI will not rush their ships more and more in your direction, cause it spreads in other parts - for the moment.

If u colonize a planet (except Mars), there will be a colonizing event, where u can choose between 3 ideological traits. For the first planet u should always, if possible, choose the 2nd option, the pragmatic option in the dialog. This provides u enough ideological points in the pragmatic-ideologic, that u can choose "Constructive": That gives u 3 free constructors - which u need for starbases to mine resources and asteroids.

After the colonization of a planet, u have one important job to do: Add this new planet to your nearest shipyard, in our case, Earth. Enter the shipyard, click on the lower left side on "Edit sponsors" and double click the new planet on the left side, so that they move to the right side. U can set 5 planets to one shipyard, every planet makes the shipyard stronger. More to this later.

Starbases: Its important that u mine resources, not everything 10 times, but 1 to 5 of each is nice. Thulium u need especially for the first small battleships that u build, for their kinetic weapons. Antimatter is good for missiles and Elerium, which is rare in Crusade, for beam weapons. Durantium u need to build more starbase-modules. All resources have a specific use, more to this in the part "Resources".
U can mine all resources with one starbase in the circle of 5 tiles.
A starbase is created in using a constructor, which u built before in one of your shipyards.

Also important are the asteroids. If u put a starbase near them and the influence circle that the starbase generates over time "consumes" the asteroids, u can click on them and build a mining base. This u can assign to the next planet. Also to other planets, only one, but the farer the planet is away the bonus will go down from 1 to 0.1. But this bonus is flat for the planet - it gives construction, ship construction, income and research! This all together is called "raw-production" btw.

Mars: If u colonize mars sooner or later, be aware that that planet is too small to specialize in anything else than construction. Mars has some tiles on the left side and one or two singles on the right side.
Build always the way that the starport is the best supported building on mars, in my case it shows like this:

The Space Elevator first, then the starport in the middle and under it the new possible building: The deep core mine, which also provides more construction. Later on we can build a factory at the top, and much more time later, when we can get an extra tile from planetary improvement, we can put it on the lower left side to support the space elevator AND the deep core mine with another factory. If u place the buildings this way, every building upgrades the buildings next to it with flat adjacency bonusses, which is very strong.
Also make sure that Mars is in your Earth-Shipyard-sponsor list. To check that, go on the shipyard and click on the lower left side on "Edit sponsors". Earth and Mars should be in the right list, then its fine. U can also move your shipyard around - unanchor it, move it, anchor it. That takes many turns, so only do it if u can handle this time without new ships - while a shipyard is moving there will be no production in it. Do that a bit later in the game, when u have more colonies and shipyards where u can build ships meanwhile.
Important note: The shipyard which puts out colonyships should not be farer away from the planets as 5 tiles. 5 tiles free between planet and shipyard. Only in this distance the people can jump on the colonyship! In the case with Earth and Mars, move the shipyard later to the perfect spot: nearest to the front, where your battleships are needed fast, but still in range of Earth and Mars in between 5 tiles.

Govern Screen: If u click once on a planet, u see on the lower left side a button "govern". If u click there, u can set, how much the system does automatically for u. I never used those options, i check every planet for myself. But if u like, read through it, the explanations speak for themselves.
Ship Range - Don't cross that line
While u explore, u come to a line that u cant cross. That is the ship range. It can be widen if u colonize a planet nearby or build a starbase. Also u can put more ship-range-items on your ships, but this is a waste of space in most cases.
In the game its called "life support". U can research such things later also which increases the ship range on all your ships.
First Citizen

After some rounds this message appears. After it, the button on the lower right side shows "New Citizen". If u click on it, u will be led to the citizens-page.
Actually, u can choose between 3 citizen-types:
Administrator: Let u build 5 more constructors or colonyships.
Worker: Provides 3% global construction-bonus or 30% on a planet.
Scientist: Provides 3% global research-bonus or 30% on a planet.
Your choice depends how far u got till now: If u still have 3 or more administators, u dont need them now, choose this next time then, u get another citizen soon. Since a Scientist only provides % on your research, he is nonsense actually, cause we dont have a high enough base research to see that effect. That leaves the worker remaining, which gives us 30% more construction, when transfered to Earth, which is nice to have, but also not a must. In this game state the % are not so affected like later on. I mostly dont select a citizen and keep them waiting, till i make my choice and see a real improvement then. For this, dont click on "train", just click on done and the Citizen remains, what u can see in the upper line: There is now a "1" at "Citizens". U can always click there and u will be able to make your choice.
First contact
The AI normally sends unarmed scout ships through the galaxy - when u see them, mostly they see u too and a "Hello!" message-window appears.
If u havn't researched the "Universal translator" till now, they talk just rubbish what u cant understand. Thats no problem, u can answer whatever u like. If u have the translater already, say what u like, it doesnt matter.
There are some different ones, which u all can loot with a "survey ship" or a ship with a survey module.

Space junk: Some credits
Capsule: Some % of research done or credits.
Ship graveyard: A fight against pirates who defend something, mostly a small-hull ship what u get after the fight. With your starting survey u can survive 1-2 battles, till u have to wait some rounds until its repaired again (ships repair over time).
Artifact: Lots of credits or building on the next planet is finished or the current research is finished. This one is strong and players try to exploit here: Save the game before u click on the artifact, and check what it is. If its a research tech, u can select one with many rounds and then loot the artifact: Boom, research done. Or if its for a planet-project: Just move - on the planet which is nearest - a building which needs long time to finish on the top of the building-list. Also u can clean the building list and the artifact will select the next planet, where u maybe need the power?
This is an exploit and the AI doesnt use it, so thats why we shouldnt do also.
Precusor Anomaly: U need around 3 medium hull-ships for those, or lots of small. Then u receive a good bonus for the whole game - loot those anomalies as soon as u are strong enough.
Ships - Our first self-designed ship
When u have finished the research-project "Interstellar Travel", its time for us to create our first 2 ship designs.
Why? Cause Interstellar Travel gave use a faster Hyperdrive which we want to use.

Lets go in our shipyard on earth and click on the lower left side on "Designer".
Also u can click in the galaxy-screen on "Designer" in the upper screen list.

We dont change the look of the ships, just what i carrys. For the look do what u like, its your world.

If u click now on your Colony Ship, u can see in the lower middle 4 icons, which means: Those are loaded on your ship.

Over the icons is a red line which shows 89/90. 89 is the current load, and 90 the max load on the ship.
We just click on the lower left screen on "Use Design", means, we use the same look, but change whats loaded on it.

Now we are able to change the load:

One the upper left side u have 5 menues:
Drives - thats speed related things
Weapons - obviously
Defenses - obviously
Modules - Shiprange tools, sensors, special modules
Support - ship repair systems, more hitpoints systems

First of all we remove the last 3 of our current loaded systems from the ship and keep only the colony module. If u removes this one also, just reload it in the module-section.
Now we have it like this:

Our space on the ship is now 49/90.
We click on the drives and select "Hyperdrive Plus" - if u compare those with a mouseover u can see, that the Hyperdrive has a mass of 26, and the Hyperdrive Plus a mass of 17. Means, it needs 9 less space on our ship, which we want to use ofc.
Double Click on the Hyperdrive Plus to add it to our load. And do this twice, we have space for 2 drives.

Now we are at a load of 83/90.

I explain some more things:
In Drives u have the 2 Hyperdrive types. After it, there is a sublight drive, called Thrusters. Those sublight drives are the speed of the ships in a battle, but we only need fast battle speed much more later, the space on the ships is always needed for more important things.
Below the Thrusters there is a Prototype Hyper Drive. This one is really strong, but we need 2 Antimatter to build one drive on our ship. So u can put them now on the ship, but u cant build the ship later, which sucks... We can use those Prototype Hyper Drives later if we want to.

In Weapons is only the Space Rocket, a missile. We need to get more weapon tech researched, but actually we focus on colonizing and exploring in our galaxy, cause the AI does that also. No one will attack u now.

Defenses is empty, we research them later, too.

In Modules we have at first "Life support", which is important to move out in the space. The more life support u have added, the farer away from our planets and starbases the ship can fly. Below this u can add sensors, which gives the ship a bigger "bubble" around it and removes the fog of war in a wider area. After this one, there is our colony module, the constructor module to build a starbase and the survey module, which allows the ship to gather anomalies, like our first ship does, the T.A.S. Discovery.

Under Support u find a Stasis Field module, which increases the Range of all ships in the fleet - its only needed, maybe, in lategame.
The Thulium Hull Reinforcement takes too much space for too little HP-Bonus, so we ignore this one.

In our colony-ship we dont need weapons or anything, but we need 1 life-support to fly farer away and colonize a new planet. Go back to modules and doubleclick on "Environmental support" to add it on our ship - it fits perfectly in the space we have left.

Now we have a load of 90/90 - perfect. U can also save with 80/90, but its a waste ofc. Click on SAVE on the lower right side. Select a name for your ship - i vote for Colony Ship Hyper Plus.

Now the new ship appears in our Designer on the left side in the tab "Favored Ships". Those appear automatically if u open your shipyard. Later, if u have a better one, u can click on the ship and on "unfavor", then this ship is in the "specialized ship"-list. Then u get it back automatically in your next game when u have researched the same techs. U just can create your personal ships, which are always there, in every game - ofc if u play the same fraction who has the same techs. But other fractions have an own lookalike, u should do new ships then.

Do the same as we did above with the constructor - we also want a faster constructor :)

Our 2 ships are now 1 move faster than the original-model, but have 1 life-support module less on them. Normally its more than enough and u can colonize and construct the things u like in the galaxy. If u need a thing farer away, rebuild the ship in the designer and put more life-support on it.

Now we have 2 new favored ships and are ready to go back in space.

By the way - u dont need to build other ships atm. If your shipyard is free and u dont need a ship asap, choose treasure hunt - which starts the production of a mission which provides up to 500 credit when its done.
Thats better than building small ships with not really much power. Also u get free small ships from the "ship graveyard"-anomaly. Those are enough to defend against pirates. Later in the guide i have a section "Bigger ships needed", there is explained what to do a bit later in the game.
Another good ideological option
After we got the 3 constructors from the pragmatic ideologic, its nice to get 1 free colonyship from the benevolent ideology.
If u have the next colony event and the choice for the benevolent ideology is a good one, take it. Do this till u get 1 point in this ideology and spend it like me did:

With this new colony ship we colonize another world, or Mars, as u like.
Citizens - Admins, Diplomats and more
Since we concentrate on colonizing and starbases on the beginning, we soon need more administrators.
Just click on Citizens and Train one in this section - u get 5 more admins at once.

Later we can improve those admins again to get more administrators from every single one.

If u got a diplomat, u can leave it in the global pool for 3% influence, or send it to a planet for 30% influence there. Nice is also that u can send it to the AI in the diplomacy screen, on the right side the 4 buttons. This is helpful if u want to get a good treaty between u and the AI.

Scientists should be sent always to your main research world, they give a great bonus there. The 3% in global are too low.

Entrepreneurs are best on your strongest economy world. The 3% in global are too low.

Generals can be sent to one world and install 5 garrisons there - for better defense. They can be upgraded for another 5 legions. In the global pool they give 3% resistance to all.

Celebrity-Citizens raise the morale on a single planet, or 3% in global.

Workers give 3% social construction, or 30% on a planet. Good for planets where u have to upgrade lots of buildings, like the research planet.

Engineers give 3% ship construction, or 30% on a planet. Strong for frontline planets where u need ships fast.

Every Citizen levels up on a planet, so 30% is only the start.

Building of mining bases
Thats important.
They provide +1 to raw production (lower, if farer away) to the connected planet. Raw production boosts all construction, research and income.

If the influence-bubble of our planets or starbases overlap asteroids, we click on them to build in the lower left menu a mining base on them.

It costs 100 credits and takes some time to build, 3 turns. It can be destroyed by enemies, too, then u have to rebuild it.
U can also assign mining bases to a other planet, if u like, with the button "Assign".

In a war later its a good way to weaken the enemy if fast ships rush in, kill some mining bases and flee away. If done so the enemy is slower at construction.

Its also useful to place the starbases the way that u get asteroids faster. Like here:
I place the starbase near the asteroids, but the resource i liked is still in 5 hex.

Sometimes its good to build starbases only for asteroids. They provide too good bonus to the connected planet to let them unmined:
Research - Ship construction, Logistics or Capacity?
If u have researched Orbital construction, u can research Orbital specialization.
U have 3 options here - everything u see here is good.

The hint is: Talk to your neighbours first. For this u click on the diplomacy screen on the upper menu-line.
In my case i have the following AI with me in the galaxy:

To find out what they researched, we open a trade. We dont really want to trade now, but this way we can see what techs they have researched. Cause u can trade the techs - we try to research that one which the AIs didnt research - and trade the missing other 2 from the AI. This way we have all 3 improvements. And ours we wont give to them - means, we are 1 tech stronger than the AI - the whole continuing game.
Important note: Dont trade now with them - that way u cant choose your choice anymore. U first check what they have and after this u research the tech they dont have. And only if that is finished, u go back to the diplomacy screen and trade the other 2 techs with them. (An other explanation for the confused people: Don't trade away specialization techs before u research them, because, if u do, u wont be able to research it, because u are allowed to research only one specialization tech. U can trade for the others after u researched the one they dont have.)

If the AI doesnt has researched the 1 choice of Orbital specialization, wait and go for an other tech, like Militarization, which we need later anyways.

If the AI has researched Orbital specialization, choose the remaining one in your own research tech and research it.

After this research project is done, trade the other techs with the AI.

Improving shipyards - set more sponsors
If u open your shipyard, u can see the planets which sponsor it, like written earlier.

In my case, Earth is near enough to fill colonyships, which u can see cause its written in green letters. The other one only support the shipyard, but i cant put people on ships.

Its important to make a shipyard as strong as u can, so put as many sponsors on it as possible. Maximum is 5. There is one hint: if u have 5 planets in the list and u colonize a new one in between 5 tiles away from the shipyard, it will join the list - then u have 6. Thats an exploit. We can do this for example with Mars - colonize 4 planets around Earth, let them all sponsor your shipyard and then colonize Mars. If u remove one of the planet later, the max is 5 again and u cant go back to 6.

A planet can sponsor a shipyard if its not too far away. If its too far away, the sponsoring goes down to 1 and provides nearly nothing anymore. If your new planet is that far away, u should build a new shipyard for this planet and let the surrounding planets of this new planet sponsor the new shipyard. This way u have another strong shipyard like Earth.

Sure, u can also build a shipyard on every planet and sponsor each shipyard with only 1 planet.
PRO: U can start building lots of ships simultanely.
CONTRA: It takes much more time.
Iam a friend of fast building, thats why i prefer my strategy.

BUT u should set every planet to a shipyard as sponsor, whereever that shipyard is. Otherwise u waste lots of construction.
Buildings - common, unique each planet or each galaxy
We already know the "Space Elevator", the "Starport" and the shipyard - every planet can only have one of those.
From the start on u have also:
Central Bank

and Computer Core

which we both keep for later. They provide a flat bonus to wealth or to research - both important - but they should be used wisely, cause they are 1 per player. U can only build them once in your game. So its best to check where they give the best bonus on big hubs. A Computer Core is a research improvement - u need research buildings to level it up and those come only if u research "Xeno Experimentation" later in the game. So if u find a good spot for the Computer Core, build it there. U can also build it just now and destroy it later, to rebuild it somewhere else.

On new colonized worlds we have also the
Deep Core Mine.

This is a planet-unique-building like the space elevator. We cant use it on Earth, but on all other planets, one time. Its very good to be built directly after the Space Elevator and, like in my case, best beside it - they give a bonus to each other. On a new planet those 2 buildings start your social manufacturing perfectly - and if u build a shipyard after it or sponsor the planet to a existing shipyard, u get a good shipyard-production at once.
Hint for lategame: If your planet is fully builded, destroy the deep core mine and build a factory instead: That will raise your ship-production, cause u dont need social construction anymore.

On the planet interface u can see, while u are researching more technology, various new buildings, some i list here:
Factory - a construction improvement - important to surround the Space Elevator, Deep core mine and Starport. It gives +1 bonus to those buildings and a % bonus also. U can build as many as u like.

Port of Call - a tourism improvement which u dont need from the start on. Its one per planet.

Xeno Farm - a population improvement - u can build as many as u like, but better concentrate on one world when u are sure which one planet u want to use for food. Specalizing is important.

C i t y - a population building which gives to many other buildings an adjacency-bonus of +2. A city is important cause it raises your population cap on that planet, but it consumes 4 food. For your population u get raw-production - 1:1. This is strong. U cant build cities early, cause u dont have food early. If u have enough, build it on a planet which is high classed and important for u - construction or research. If u have more food later, build more cities. U can build multiple cities on each planet. It requires "Durantium" and "Promethion". U cant destroy cities.

Eye of the Universe - only 1 per galaxy, first player who finished the building gets it - a research improvement which gives +3 bonus to a research-building. If u have read the lines above, u will think now: Perfect beside the Computer Core, and thats totally right. A better bonus u cant get ingame. It needs promethion for building - but this is a common resource in your galaxy.
Also this improvement locates all players on the galaxy - if u zoom out some rounds after completing the building, u know where the homeworlds of the AI are - good for planning. U cant destroy this building.

Galactic Council - only 1 per galaxy, first player who finished the building gets it - a influence building which gives us 1 Citizen: Diplomat. Also it provides a bonus to influence buildings. Influence is important to widen the influence radius around planets and starbases. If u put that building on a planet the influence of this planet will be buffed significantly - good if u want some asteroids nearby. The provided Citizen, the Diplomat, gives us 3% Influence for all planets or 30% to one single planet. Nice. U cant destroy this building.

Strategic Command - only 1 per galaxy, first player who finished the building gets it - just gives us 1 General as Citizen. Thats nice to have, cause 1 General provides 5 Legions, which u need later ingame to invade enemy planets. But u can also train Citizens as General later, so its not such important to get this building - but if u can, do it ofc. U cant destroy this building.

Brindle's Observatory - only 1 per galaxy, first player who finished the building gets it - a research improvement which gives +3 bonus to a research-building. Just like the Eyes of the Universe. But it also gives 1 free planet nearby! Powerful! Sadly u need the resource Elerium for it, which u can find in nebulaes or on planets - so if u see Elerium, mine it faster than the AI! U cant destroy this building.

Galactic Intelligence Agency - only 1 per galaxy, first player who finished the building gets it - needs Epimetheus Pollen to be built, a resource that u can only find on planets. U get a Spy as Citizen as bonus - very nice. The bonus to other buildings is not so great that u need to care about it really much. U cant destroy this building.

Kimberly's Refuge - only 1 per galaxy, first player who finished the building gets it - requires the resource Monsantium for building, which u find also on planets. it provides +3 to population buildings and is for itself also an population building - good for much food. Later ingame we try to get one strong food-planet, where we can put it on a good bonus tile and surround it with Xeno Farms. U cant destroy this building.

The Hyperspace Project - only 1 per galaxy, first player who finished the building gets it - a research improvement which gives +3 bonus to a research-building. Again! So thats the third of the +3-research improvements. This one is cool also: It gives u +1 speed for all ships, forever. It requires Antimatter to be built - a resource from the blackholes. U cant destroy this building.

The AI will try to get Eyes of the Universe, Hyperspace Project and Brindle's Observatory first. If u are not fast enough, one of the AI gets the bonus from those buildings. For the other galaxy-unique-buildings u will have a bit more time, but also those will the AI try to get if it can.
Research - Weapon targetting, miniaturizing or lower construction?
When u researched "Weapons", its followed by a choice out of 3 improvements again:

Targetting -
Miniaturization -
Production - Specialization.

Most AI takes Targetting.
I take always Miniaturization - the weapons need less space on the ships then. Its not much actually, but later ingame it rules. Thats why AI will offer u multiple trades to get this tech from u. But u will never give it to them.
This said, u try to get targetting from them, if there is a good price possible. This one is an expensive tech.
Production means the costs of each weapon will be reduced. That doesnt means that u save credits, it means, that the time is reduced. So later on a ship with for example 10 weapons will need around 6 turns to be finished, if u have the reduction, its 5 turns. This can be important too, but its not so important like the miniaturization imo.
If u can get the reduction from the AI per trade also, go for it if the price is nice.

U can also do the same strategy as we did with the Orbital-Specialization: Check what the AI has, research the other one and trade later for the other 2. But a note here: Its a weapon tech - and the AI doesnt like to trade weapon tech cheap. They will call up immense prices for this tech - cause they know that u maybe attack them later with it. Thats why i just do miniturization and check later, if i can get the others cheaper. If not, i still have the most important tech already.
Trade - Dealing with the AI
If u want to trade, click on Diplomacy to get to the overview. Then click the AI that u like to trade with, in my case, this guy:

now click on the first line: We wanna trade!
Then u get a window like this:

On the left sides there are your things, on the right side the AI things.
Under the face of this guy u see a colored line: If the line is in the middle, its a fair trade and everyone is happy with it. If u want too much, the trade is not possible. if u give too much, the AI is happy and gives u maybe a diplomatical bonus, which means, that they dont wage war against u - maybe. U cant be sure about that, sadly. Making a good gift to the AI and hope that they dont attack, is nonsense.

As u can see, i tried to give him "planetology" for his "espionage". But he dont likes it. When i now click on my "offer credits", i can add as many credits until he is satisfied and would agree.

But this is not such a good deal cause i dont really need Espionage that much this early in the game. Its just too expensive. Thats why iam not so befriended with this AI. U can see that at the top of the screen. There is a rainbow-line from red to green. The AI, Vizier Dunkari, marks the black spot on this line. An arrow marks, where we are going to in the near future - even worser. So its not wise to trade with him actually, cause the price is high. If he likes us and the black spot is at the end of the green line, trades are lots of cheaper.

In my case, i offer him "Open Borders".
Normally u can now click on his "Offer credits" and see what he pays for it. But since he doesnt like me, he offers less than 10 credits.
So i just give this free to him. Open Borders mean, he can fly through my influence zones and i wont get mad about it. For 50 rounds.

Open Borders also give a diplomatic bonus with that race. Its always good to have Open Borders with everyone, cause they dont attack u so fast. And befriended races will reach the end of the green line in trade very fast - and u can get nice techs from them cheaper then.
And really: I dont care if they fly in my zone or not - the AI does this anyway if it likes to. Sure, when they move a big fleet to me, i know: There is something i have to look for, but then its soon war anyways.

U can also try to get more befriended to the AI. Talk about "something else" and acknowledge your friendship. Sometimes it helps, sometimes not really.

Side-Note: Often u get a trade-offer from the AI. Some are good, some are not. Mostly they try to get a good tech from u and they hide this with many other side-trades. If the AI likes u, the offer is often better. If they dont like u, they often rip u off. This said, the Krynn offered me, even if they didnt like me, good deals mostly. But thats random id say.
For example, they want weapon-miniaturization and some credits and resources for 5 of their tech and some resources. It looks cool, but it isnt - i suggest not to give the AI good techs, only +money +food +planetary improvements and so on. Things which are good, but not as good that u strengthen their fleets.

Exploit: If u have done a trade, u cant trade with this AI for some turns. There is an exploit where u can do that as often as u want: If u just finished the trade, dont leave the screen, just press "left arrow" and "right arrow" to swap between the AI and back. Now u can trade again. If u exit, u have to wait some rounds.

Trade routes:
Thats a good way to get credits. The AI swarms the galaxy with freighters and send them to nearly all worlds. Normally u have 2 trade licences at the start, that means u can make your own 2 routes, which start from u. There can also be much more other routes which start from the AI.

If u build a freighter at a shipyard, u can choose the homeworld of the freighter out of the shipyard-sponsors. Freighters need a homeworld, cause if u send them to an AI planet, they disapear and a trade route between those 2 planets is established. The distance between the 2 planets determines the value of the route, if farer away, its more lucrative.

If u have built a freighter or got one from quest, u first have to select a homeworld for the freighter.
To do this, move it on a planet of yours that is to your liking for the trade route. If u move the freighter off this planet, he has it as his homeworld. Now u can start the route to the AI planet and if the freighter is finally there, the trade route is established.

Some Planets have a bonus on trade-routes, use those if u can for your freighters.

I dont use freighters, cause i nearly never need credits and it also uses my shipyard for some rounds. But in some scenarios they might be valuable.
Ideological buildings
Every ideology has one early building that provides ideological points every turn. There come some more later, but u have to concentrate on one ideology to get them.

The benevolent one is the missionary center.

It gives Influence bonus.

The pragmatic one is the preparedness center.

It gives planet resistance bonus against invading legions.

The malevolent one is the intimidation center.

It provides an approval bonus to the planet, means better morale.

All 3 buildings provide a adjacency-bonus - thats important, too. In case of the preparedness center its +2 to ship construction. Means, built beside the starport it gives the starport 2 levels. I always try to use that. The missionary center gives +1 to tourism, which is a nice combo with the Port of Call, and +2 to approva, which works with: The Intimidation center. It gives only a +2 bonus to approval.
So best is, u have built your starport, then advance it with the +2 of the preparedness center, behind this building u put the intimidation center, behind this one the missionary center, and a port of call nearby. Since u mostly dont have the space to do that, just put those on single tiles, better than nothing.

In bigger maps its cool if u have all 3 and build them, for example, on single tiles on every planet. This way u get ideological bonuses all the time and u can choose from more things. On the other side: U cant concentrate on one ideology and max it out fast - which can be great, too.

After building u cant destroy those buildings anymore.
Resources and Relics - Explaination
In space:
Antimatter: For missile weapons and for prototype hyperdrives. Also for the unique building "The hyperdrive project".
Promethion: For recalling citizen from planets to get the smaller global bonus again or sending them to other planets. For building cities on planets. Also for the unique building "Eye of the universe". Needed for the mission "Pilgrims","Aurorus Search" and "Xylology Expedition" to get "Aurorus Arboretum".
Durantium: For improving starbases and for building Cities on planets. Needed to train legions on planets. Needed for the "Recruiter"- and "Salvage"-missions.
Elerium: For beam weapons. Also for the unique building "Brindle's Observatory".
Thulium: For kinetic weapons.

Economic Relic: Provides 5% to wealth, all planets.
Research Relic: Provides 5% to research, all planets.
Influence Relic: Provides 5% to influence, all planets, miningbases and starbases.
Manufacturing Relic: Provides 5% to manufacturing, all planets.

Note: Those relics u can strengthen if u research xeno-archeology and the follow ups.

On planets:
Techapod Hive: later to this one
Monsantium: To get Monsantium Deposit. For upgrading farms. Also for the unique building "Kimberly's Refuge". Needed for the mission "Xylology Expedition" to get "Aurorus Arboretum".
Crystallized Elerium: Provides Elerium every round.
Prometheus Stone Extractor: Provides Promethion every round.
Thulium Extractor: Provides Thulium every round.
Harmony Crystal Extractor: To get Harmony Crystals. Needed for the "Recruiter-Mission".
Arnor Spice Harvester: To get Arnor Spice. Needed to use epiphany for research-citizens on planets. Needed for the "Recruiter-Mission".
Epimetheus Refinery: To get Epimetheus Pollen. Needed to upgrade administrator-citizens.
Precusor Nanites: To get Precusor Nanites. Needed for "Research missions".
Silicate Extractor: To get Hyper Silicates. Needed for the mission "Helios Ore Search" and the mission "Anor Sprice Scavengers".
Artocarpus Orchard: To get Artocarpus Viriles. Needed for the mission "Pilgrims". Needed to train Spies.
Xanthium Extractor: To get Xanthium. Needed for "Salvage mission".
Snuggler Shelter: To get Snugglers. Needed for the "Recruiter-Mission". For the building "Diplomatic Corps.".
Aurorus Orchard: To get Aurorus Arboretum. Needed for the mission "Hyper Silicate Trader".
Helios Ore Mine: To get Helios Ore. Needed for promoting Generals to get 5 more legions. Needed for training of legions on planets.

Note: U can also destroy resources on planets to get the tile free. Useful if u found the 10th techapod hive for example.
Bigger ships needed - research
Depending of your gameplay its sooner or later time for larger hulls. The "tiny hull" and the "small hull", which u have already, are too small to make good ships out of it. This said, there are players who use those ships in endgame and stack the strongest weapons on it - but thats for the endgame if u like.
The next hull size is "medium hull".
To research it, u need to research "Zero Gravity Construction".

But there is another things to consider. One ship alone does get killed fast, so we need fleets of ships. This is where the "logistics" come on the plan. In the research u can find also "Interstellar Logistics", which is followed up from more later. With more logistics, u can put more ships in one fleet - very important till the endgame.

A small ship, for example, needs 2 logistic. A medium ship needs 5. So, if u research "zero gravity construction", u have to follow it with "interstellar logistics". Not logistics first, cause in the time u research this one, u can build the medium ships already, which also takes time.

After "zero gravity construction" u can choose again between 3 great choices:
Hull reinforcement: 15% HP
Shipyard efficiency: -10% cost
High capacity hulls: +20% Capacity
All 3 are good. But most important is 15% HP. U should try to get the remaining other 2 from the AI.
Why HP? Its a bonus which costs nothing. The -10% cost means that the bulding is 10% faster, which is nice, but not so nice as HP. And the +20% Capacity does infact mean, that the ships can carry more, but u have to consider that they need much longer to be built then. So the HP is the best bonus imo, and the rest we try to get also from the AI later.
Bigger ships needed - weapons
If u have researched "zero gravity construction", u should start building the medium-hull-ships to show the AI that u have military power also. Maybe they told u already that u are weak. Or someone is already near to wage war on u.
Go to a shipyard or click on the "designer"-button on the top-menu.
U have 3 ships types to choose:
First beam, then missile, followed by kinetic.
Every type of weapon has the medium, the small and the tiny size in the list. it always shows the best combination of weapons and defenses possible (at least what the game thinks). With the arrow near the number, which tells u how long the building time for the ship is, u can select other variants of the shiptype.

So, since we dont want small ships, we can build the "Corvette" with beam weapons, the "Ranger" with missile-weapons and the "Frigate" with kinetic weapons.
Each weapon type is good.

Missiles are ranged attacks, so in the battle your ship fire nearly from the start on.
Beam are medium, but faster.
Kinetic are more faster and short range.

All of the 3 weapon types have a defense type btw, shield against beam, chaff against missiles and armor against kinetic.
Thats a mistake many new players make that they dont check what the enemy fleet has for weapons and defenses. Thats important! If the enemy fleet has 100 Chaff and u attack with missiles, u wont scratch them, even if u are much stronger. But if u attack with kinetic in this case, u have a good chance.

Since the ships fly to the enemy ships during a battle, u could use all 3 types of weapon. U should check, which ressources u have already.

Elerium is for beam, Antimatter for missiles and Thulium for kinetic.
If u have some of those resources, build the best ship whats possible.

Also check, if u can place special components from the colonization events: A HP boost, a kinetic shield or weapon, or whatever. If u can build a thing like this, do it on your fastest shipyard - the power u need asap to show the AI who is the boss.

U can mix around btw - take the frigate, remove all kinetic weapons and put beam on it - it works also, only the mouseover-text of the ship doesnt fit anymore. Choose the look u like and remove all components. I choose the frigate:
All components are removed now.

Now i check, whats important:
Speed: Yes
Weapons: Yes
Life support: No, i wont go far away anyways.
Tactical Speed: Actually No, takes too much space.
Sensors: No, not needed on this ship now.

When u have some antimatter, u can use now the prototype-hyperdrive. But every ship will use 2 antimatter for each drive - that way the antimatter is gone really fast.

I put:
1 Hyperdrive Plus
3 Basic Railgun (1 Thulium each)
1 Sparrow Missile (1 Antimatter each)

I decided to use my antimatter for the weapons and not for the speed. This way i have a ship with (u can see it in the top right corner) with 2 missile and 3 kinetic attack. Moves are 6.
Iam at 59/60 capacity, thats fine.

When i click on save, the next window appears.
The name should be something that u find easily. I suggest for Hullsize/Attacktypes/Defensetypes
Since i dont used defense atm, i name it as: Medium 2+3.
Sure, the name is not very impressive, but its easier for me. U can name the ship as u wish, Terminator XYZ or Bubblegum 2000....

The next is the battle role. More to this one in the next chapter.
When u have chosen one, click on "save". The "save design as" keep at "ship design".
Bigger ships needed - ship role / battle role
When u save a new ship design, u have to choose a battle role.

U have the following 6 options:
Support: Ships which support the fleet or have a special role ingame
Capital: Ships which should be defended to live longer, the heart of the fleet
Escort: Protect Capital and Support ships
Assault: Attack high value and high thread targets
Interceptor: Attack enemy support and high-value targets
Guardian: Defend support ships and high-value targets

With every component u put on a ship, u lower or raise the "Value" / "Thread" / "Fortitude" of the target. U can get really messed up with that. But if u just choose the right options out of 6 above, u are fine. Dont think more about it.

When i create a ship full of guns with no defense, i make it Capital. That way it will stay behind in battle, attack all the time, and other ships defend it. Its the core of my fleet. A capital ship will also get support modules for the whole fleet, later ingame. A Capital ship starts the fight at the end of the screen, means, as far away as possible from the enemy.

A ship with good defense should be an escort ship: The enemy has to fight through my escort-defense, until it can attack my capital. It starts a little bit forward of my capital ship, so it will attack earlier.

Assault should have some more weapons and less defense. U loose them faster than escorts in the fight. Assault attack a little bit faster than an escort and they will try to attack enemy high value targets.

Interceptors start a little bit in front of the assaults and need to have much firepower and tactical speed. They will be lost also sooner as the escorts, but they have to rush in the enemy fleet to take out enemy supports.

Support ships are farest behind in the fight. They dont move, until the other ships are dead. They just support. They will be defended from guardians.

Guardians are a little bit in front of the supports and behind the capital ships. They defend support ships. They dont do nothing, till the supports start moving or is beeing attacked from interceptors.

Note that the in-game battle viewer shows all ships as moving forward towards the center of battle, so it may appear as though support ships as well as ships that are defending those support ships are moving forward, but if you select the ship and view it, you will see that its speed is zero, and the ship is not really moving. This causes a discrepancy between where the ships appear in the battle viewer versus where they really are on the battle map.

In short: I never use Guardians, cause my support is the capital ship, too. And the other support ships like transports, constructors, freighters and colonyships are not in the fleet anyways.
Later u will need a fat capital with 100% weapons and fleet support, a mix out of escorts, assaults and interceptors. Thats it.
If u want it easy, use only Capital and Escort. That works also, not such great, but it works.
Bigger ships needed - save another type
I just saved the frigate "medium 2+3", which meant 2 missile 3 kinetic attack.

Since every ship needs my resources to be built, i soon cant build another one cause my antimatter or thulium is out of stock and i have to wait some rounds.

Thats why i save 2 more types:
One with 4 missiles and 1 kinetic, when i have more antimatter and less thulium:

And another one with 2 missiles (without antimatter usage, the "space rocket") and 1 kinetic:
This one i will only build if the others are not possible.

I save all ships as escort - actually we dont really have another choice.
With those different types i can build ships from different shipyards - just checking the resources i have actually and then click on the ship. Hint: Check the building time also, some shipyards are slower and some faster. Maybe u want to give the worser design the slower shipyard.

When u have all types done, u have more ships listed in your "favored ships", like me:
The colonyship and the constructor, followed by 4 types of medium hulls. I had one colonization event which gives me a HP boost on one ship, so thats why i made one type which i named "Frigate HP 4" for better overview. This one i can only build once. When it gets destroyed, i can build it again.
Ion Drive - the next speed bonus
When u have researched the next speed-type, the "ion drive", its time to rework the ships u have.
All types for sure.
For example, the colony ship.
There is no space for 2 Ion drives, but 1 ion and 1 hyperdrive plus.

Everytime when u researched a tech which is for your ships, u should check, if u can upgrade them.
Upgrade Ships to newer versions
That is possible if u click on a ship and then on "upgrade".
The cost is only credits - but lots of them. U can lower the costs if u upgrade the ships in a shipyard or on a planet.
I use this very rarely, cause its just too expensive. I can build new ships easier, normally.

There is also a way to "upgrade" a constructor in a colonyship, a freigther in a constructor or a transport in whatever. U can combine those as u like and u have the different variants as possible selections. Sometimes its good, if u found a colony with a constructor, to upgrade the ship to a colonyship which mostly needs 2 rounds.
The first notable fleet
From the small ships out of the anomalies "ship graveyard" i made some smaller fleets to destroy some pirates, but since i have medium hulls and some ships, i made a first fleet and added a commander on it:
3 frigates, 1 frigate with the HP bonus from a colonization-event, 1 survey ship for anomalies AND better sensor range, and the command ship from the commander.
Thats enough to stand against pirate shipyards, space monster shipyards and the precusor-anomalies. Now, since we can get them, we should do this if one is near. They give great bonusses.
Transfering citizens - Boost from citizens
If u click on "Citizens" in the top menu, u can click on "transfer":
There are all citizen listed that u have in "the pool". They mostly provide a small bonus which u can see when u hover one. U can send them to planets to get a stronger bonus, where they level up over the time.

If u have, for example, a research citizen like my "Masako Kel", u can send him to your main-research planet to receive 30% research bonus on this planet.
When u click on it, he will be sent in a small ship to this colony, which starts from your homeworld, in our case, Earth.
So be aware that your planet is not 200 hex away, cause it will take ages till the citizen is there. The ship is slow, like it has one drive of your current speed technology. If u research better speed techs, those ships get faster, too.

I have sent my research citizen to my research planet. When he has arrived, i can leave him there to level up and provide the bonus.

Also i can promote him on this planet, when i select him in the planet-overview.

Now u have some options:
Recall means, he gets back to my global pool, that will cost 10 promethion. Thats useful when i get a better colony with higher base research - there will the 30% of the citizen be more.

Epiphany is a totally strong thing: Finish a research project at once. It will cost 20 promethion and 2 anor spice, which is super cheap. Imagine - the next hull size "large hulls" will need over 20 turns to be finished. But this way its just a click. The citizen is gone after that (like he blew up his mind for the tech). This feature is so overpowered that i dont use it ingame. I dont know if the AI does use it, but i think it should be nerfed significantly. If u use this, the AI has no chance - cause every 10 rounds u get a new citizen. U dont even need to send the research-citizen to your research planet, if u dont want to use the 30% bonus. Send him to earth, he will be there immediately, click on it, do epiphany and boom...

Coerced Invention: With this one u boost your research for one turn. It costs 10 promethion and 1 helios ore. Also u need to be in the malevolent ideology. It would be a cool feature if there would be no epiphany - with it its just not needed.

U will get more options later and other options with every kind of citizens. Note, that u cant recall every citizen to your pool, some kinds of, like diplomats for example, stay on the planet forever. If u have an entrepreneur, u can send him to a planet and promote him to a minister, which provides u 5000 credits. Also an overpowered functionality in the earlier game. Later it doesnt matter, but at the start 5000 credits are much.
Invading enemy planets - invasion, legions
In war u can invade enemy planets, which are undefended. So u need a fleet which kills all ships on the planet (and the shipyard is also a nice target), after it u can invade the planet with transports.

Transport u can build if u have research "Planetary invasion". Then, in the designer, u can change the standard transport.
I have put 2 transport-modules on it: Every can carry 5 legions, so i have 10 on this transport.
Much speed is important and 1 - 3 life support modules, cause the enemy planet is often out of the normal travelling range.

For the transports u need legions.
The legions come from generals or from generating on planets.

Generating on planets is possible, if u have built a military academy.
Training Legion takes long time (depending on your social construction btw), but if the planet is fully builded, its cool.

The other way is from generals, if u train a citizen as general, u get 5 legions with him.

If u promote the general in the summary-tab, u can, if u have the resources, upgrade her/him to a supreme general. This way he provides 5 more legions.

When u are building a transport, u can choose, like on a colonyship, how many legions u would like. Normally u max this out.
Later in the game the planets are defended with many legions, which are boostet by resistance bonuses and so on. Then u need more attack bonusses for your legions, like Soldering. Also u can weaken the planetary defense with "Planetary Bombardment", if its not immune to it. There are many factors later.

Here i have an enemy planet:
When i mouseover it, i can see if it has legions for the defense - and how many.
In my case, 4.
When i mouseover my transport, it has 10.
Lets move the transport in (the enemy ships my fleet just destroyed).

Get prepared for the battle - my legions with all my battle improvements has a score of 60, enemy has with all its defending bonusses a score of 23.
This is clear and i will win.
I only have "conventional warfare" as option, cause i didnt research other techs. If u choose another options, be aware that they will cost credits. And the "Core detonation" also makes some tiles of the planet unusable - a bad option in my eyes.

I click on Start.
NEVER click on quick battle. Its quick, but mostly u loose, even in my case i would loose.

Thats the planet overview. U see some market tiles where u can place your legions. Its IMPORTANT to set all legions to one tile, otherwise u spread your power and u will loose (thats what "quick battle" does).

So i put all legions to a tile:
And click on "Invade".

In a short battle, they will move to the city and destroy the enemy-legions.

Now its my planet. Boom.

(btw i played this time with mods from "Airmaster", his trek collection - he did a good job there)
Planets - Focus on one thing
Always try to make 1 main research, 1 main food and 1 main economy planet, where all your citizen of the same kind are sent to.

Try also to connect the asteroid mining bases around to this planet, which raises the raw production of the planet. So every % affects more.

How to make good planets:
Raise the raw production! Every point in raw production is 1 point in research, social construction, ship construction and wealth!

- Build Cities (every city needs 4 food), so u need some planets (in the back, where no enemy comes near) with just farms. With every city u raise the population capacity on the planet, and every point in population is 1 raw production point.
- Mine Asteroids nearby and assign them to the planet.
- Use the adjacency-bonusses of the buildings like space-elevator
- Gather precusor anomalies, some give +1 raw production
- Research some projects like "Galactic governance" and "Interstellar governance" with give % raw production
- Get high approval on the colony to raise the effect
- Build starbases (if u have enough administrators) around the planet to raise the % u like on specialized planets
Bigger ships needed - Large Hull
If u have researched "large hull construction", u are able to build really nice ships now.

For example, a capital ship:
I took a missile hull, cause i researched missiles. As written earlier u can take any hulltype, but the flavor text is wrong then.

I mounted:
3 x missile = 6 missile attack (not much)
1 x structural enhancement field = repairs all ships in battle during fight
1 x sensor array = sensor range 8
2 x hyper warp drive = 15 moves

Saved as "Capital", that it stays behind in the battle. This ship just should support the others with sensor and repair, and fires some missiles from time to time.

I dont care for the look btw, just what the ship carries.

The Capital needs escorts, so:

I mounted:
3 x missile = 6 missile attack (not much)
2 x armor against kinetic = 14 armor
1 x defense against missiles = 6 chaff
1 x Jammer = 25% harder to target for enemies
2 x hyper warp drive = 15 moves

Saved as "Escort" to fight in the battle, got some defenses that its not dead immediately and harder to target for the enemy. And meanwhile my capital will repair all ships.
Its good to mount defenses on escorts, cause if the ship survives the battle, the defenses are at 100% again at the next battle. The HP will be repaired by the capital ship, but not so fast, thats why defenses are nice.

Those are 2 weak large-hull ships, but with more research u can mount better things, dont worry. Just for example. Mess around and try. Build some designs for interceptor and assault-ships, too.

Jamming modules u can stack in the fleet, making your ships nearly untargetable. Thats an exploit in my opinion, cause the AI doesnt do that. So we shouldnt either - take one on a ship in the fleet and ok. There is also a way to make around 50 small ships in one fleet, all have a jammer mounted - u end up with over 1000% jamming - ridiculous. The AI never can do that. And then u can say u can beat the game on the hardest difficulty...well, if u need it that way...
Bigger ships needed - Large Explorer
U maybe found out already that u can put sensor modules on your ships. If u do that on a large hull, u have enough space for many sensors.
Doing this, u can build a sensor-ship which explores a wide area:
This ship has a sensor range of 14.
Later u can build like sensor range 50 or whatever, if u research better sensors. Thats really helpful - cause u can defend your colonies easier and remove the fog of war faster.
I gave the ship at least one weapon, that its able to attack enemy supports if they are alone. Just in case. And i varied the look a bit - its uber ugly, but its just that i can see the difference faster in the galaxy.
Bigger ships needed - Carrier
Thats a cool thing: Carriers.

Like in Wing Commander or other series.

A carrier, which carries small fighters. We do the same here.
The first 2 components are a "carrier module" and a "drone carrier module". The first one carries 2 small assault fighters and the second one 2 small interceptor fighters. The cool thing is: Even if they got destroyes during a fight - u get them back the next fight, clean and shiny.
So this is another defense module where u can combine assault with interceptor ship role. As other ship parts i put some drives, one missile launcher and a bit defense, cause i saved it as escort ship. An escort, cause, we remember, those start a bit more forward in the fight. This way they can support the fighters faster. The other option, to make the ship a capital, is also fine, but then u dont need defenses on the ship. Do it as u like, i prefer some escorts with fighters and a big supporting capital in the back.
Starbases - more options
U can build starbases

- to mine resources or relicts
- to get influence over asteroids to support a planet
- as military base that strengthen your ships inside of 6 hex and weaken the enemies there
- as deep space base, if u need a larger travel range to an enemy far away
- as economy buff for a planet. If the starbase radius has a planet inside, u can buff the planet. Try it out, its powerful. If u place the starbases in an intelligent way, u can place some more for 1 planet.

For starbases u need administrators. If the starbase is dead, the admin is gone also, u wont get him back.
Spies - Espionage - Counter enemy spies
Click on Espionage in the top menu to get there:
U can set here where u want to send your spies.

Spies u can get from training spies on colonies after u have researched the tech for it, or u can train your citizen as spies. And from some techs u can get extra spies.

Its cool to set the spies to the AI that is at war with u - if u have placed some and the level goes up over the time, the chance to steal a tech from the AI is higher.

The enemy will put spies on your planets, as u can see on the pic above: There is a 1 at "Terrans". So we have a enemy spy on our worlds.
On the right side i can see on which world the spy is: Earth.
Click on it and click on "go to colony".

On Earth u see a purple eye of the building, in my case, the antimatter powerplant. If u mouseover, u see that the building is at -6, it wont give any bonus anymore.
Thats bad.
We need a free spy now.

U can remove one from the enemies at "Espionage",
or u can train a citizen as spy.

Now go to "Citizens" and there on "transfer".
Select your spy and the colony with the enemy spy, Earth in my case:

Now click on the "Transfer"-button in the middle and u will see a small change at your spy: Its killed.
Everytime u kill an enemy spy on your planet, your spy will get killed also. Whyever.

But if u go to your colony again, the enemy spy, the purple eye, is gone. And everything is fine.

The game allows lots of things to change, u can also edit the xml-files by yourself.

Actually i use:

- Gauntlets race mod - to get more races and mercenaries
but i dont use his ideology-change GRM-I and also not the anomalies he changed.
There a good thoughts in it imo, but too many game changes resolve in problems with the balance.
U can get it the mod from Nexus.

- Airmasters Trek Collection - to get more races from Star Trek
U can get the mod here in the steam workshop.

Both of them did a very good job - the ship designs of each fraction are very detailed and they have great ideas. If u use the mods, dont upload them to your own workshop and claim them for yourself after. Also rate them please, the hard work deserves it.

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hottt3 Jan 3 @ 11:00am 
This is a kind of guide that must have been in the game in the form of encyclopedia. In this game there are so many things that are not evident. Many thanks.
Ed Mar 20, 2018 @ 4:23am 
Many thanks!
StarJack Feb 28, 2018 @ 10:31am 
Thank you for this!
case.torres Feb 9, 2018 @ 10:16am 
awesome tutorial. Thanks
th0ma5 Feb 6, 2018 @ 7:20am 
Great guide.
FriendlyEngineer Jan 30, 2018 @ 2:18pm 
you taught me a way to trade without spies needed
tommymac Jan 30, 2018 @ 12:06pm 
Thanks - for me, a classic GalCiv 3 player who is not familiar with the new features in 2.7 this is a great help.
Draginol  [developer] Jan 26, 2018 @ 9:21am 
nice work!