Sword of the Stars II: Enhanced Edition

Sword of the Stars II: Enhanced Edition

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Beginners Guide to Sword of the Stars 2
By Tipsymahn260 and 1 collaborators
If you have ever been scared of playing SoTS2, then fear no more. This beginners guide will help teach you the basics of the game without going too much into the complicated features of the game. This guide will also covers some useful tips for beginner level players to help one up their game.
Getting Started
If you are reading this then you are interested in Sword of the Stars 2, and we commend you! We will teach you the game through a mock scenario while you can follow along in a similar game if you wish. You will see the images for yourself while I explain each aspect of the game and what should be relevant for your success.

So, lets load up SoTS2 and begin.

First let's set up an ideal easy game for us. We are going to pick the Command School map and after that we deselect all the races except the Tarkasian empire and Liir-Zuul Alliance. Finally we change the victory condition to Last Capital Standing'. We can leave the rest of the settings as default, once your settings look like ours, we can start.

Now we are going to pick either the Tarka or the Liir. Now why did we only leave these two while kicking out the rest? The answer is that these two races are the easiest races to play in the game. This is due to their FTL drives making the learning curve smaller and easier to pick up tactics/basics. Now the differences between the two...

  • One of the best cruisers in game
  • Good chances for armor tech and deflector shields tech (under shield section)
  • Reliable FTL drive
  • Very strong combat marines (Boarding mission section)
  • Poor chances for normal energy shield techs
  • Low chances for advanced energy weapons
  • Ships tend have lower then normal supplies then other races


  • Fast research speeds
  • Great chances for advanced energy weapons and bio tech
  • Best Battle Riders in game
  • Can terraform worlds faster then anyone else
  • Excellent supply, crew and energy reserves on ships
  • Ships can instantly accelerate, decelerate, and instantly turn while in battle
  • Population grows slowest in game
  • Weakest ships, both in firepower and armor
  • Slowest ships in game
  • FTL engines will slow down when near systems

Once you know what race you wish to play, you can customize your avatar, insignia, and races colors. Next click on the other nation slot at the right side of the screen, and set it to a race of your choice (in my case Liir) then hit easy under the difficulty tab. Once that is done just close it and start!

After you press start, a screen of a world and a bunch of information should pop up. For now we don't need to know any of this information and have no need to change the name of the planet so just hit ok and begin the real game!

The Interface Part 1
Well you did it, you're now ingame, but doesn't it look confusing? First they flash a bunch of information and now you get this thing. With all this information and weird control scheme thrown at us ill quickly break down what is actually important and how to move around the map with ease.

So a quick run down of the important functions on the main screen along with the super useful quick button hotkey:

  • [1] Research tab (R)
  • [2] Ship Design tab (D)
  • [3] Diplomacy tab (L)
  • [4] Station Manager tab (Alt + S)
  • [5] Empire Manager circle (E)
  • [6] Current Research / Alternative Research tab (R)
  • [7] Current Events Screen

First let us touch on the research tab. The research page shows you the entire technology tree you have researched and what the next potential tech can be.

#1 The research page is pretty simple, to move around it use the arrow keys or click on the tech field you want to look at. Hold the right mouse button to look up and down the tech tree. When you want to research an item, left click it to get a description then hit research. A progress bar will show up after you click on the research button. As shown in the picture, you will see different colored lines.

Green = Already researched

Yellow = Guaranteed tech ; What this means is you cannot fail in getting this tech, it is always available to you.

Blue = Possible tech ; This tech is not guaranteed! You have to conduct a feasibility study which may take a turn or two to decide what your percent chance of getting the tech will be. After the study you can decide if you want to take the risk and attempt to research it or go for another tech.

#2 Next up is the ship design page, here you will spend your time designing new ship types or editing existing ones.

  • [1] Class tab ; this shows the current type of ship class being viewed, when you hover over it the arrows on the side will appear and you can click those to change the class you wish to view.

  • [2] Existing ship design list ; you can click on the ships here to open up their blue print

  • [3] Ship section information and changer ; You click on the tabs at the top to change a ship's module. The rest of the panel tells you how armored and structurally strong the section is, also with extra options you can add to the section.

  • [4] General Ship stats ; Here it tells you the basic stats of the ship, supply requirements vs supply capacity, power requirements vs power generation, and required amount of crew vs how many crew could be accomodated. Also you will see the range of the ship via the endurance. The more endurance, the farther the ship can travel out can go before having to refuel/resupply.

  • [5] Ship Blue Print; Here you can change the ship's weapon systems and additional modules. You can zoom in and out with the scroll wheel and rotate the ship by holding the right click button. If you left click a weapon or module you can choose the weapon you want. However if you right click a weapon you can change all the weapon slots of the same size to the same exact weapon of your choice.

  • [6] Weapon test screen ; Here you can see your ship in action!

#3 Next is the diplomacy screen, there isn't very much to look at here and you won't visit this section often. No nation cards will show up until you discover them by making contact.

  • [1] Displays some quick info about the nation. The white graph shows how much they like you, higher values mean good relations while the lower values mean lower ones. The graph tends to be hidden by the black lines so often its not visible

  • [2] Clicking the arrows at the top of the card reveals more diplomacy options.

  • [3] How many GDP (General diplomacy points) you have; These are needed for diplomacy.

  • [4] Switch between independent nations (aka small powers) and actual player nations (empires)

#4 Next up is the station manager. This is use to maintain and expand your current space stations.

  • [1] Displays some info about your station. In the picture, it shows you the type of station as well as the level. Under the picture is the progress bar which shows you how long until it can be upgraded, to the right, basic info about the station is displayed and where to upgrade the station.

  • [2] Side bar is used to tell you what each station module does, to increase the number of modules, and how much it will cost. Once you select what you want to add, hit confirm build order. The automatic upgrade button will automatically select all the necessary modules you need to upgrade to the next level.

  • [3] A nifty filter to make it easier to find certain stations.
The Interface Part 2

# 5 Okay, so this one is tricky to find because you have to actually click on the graph pie or use the easy 'E' hotkey to open up the empire management page. Here it will tell you pretty much where all your money is coming from and how it's being spent as well as other useful information. Yes... we know we butchered the following picture but there is a lot of info on this page. However you will need to look at only a small amount as the rest is for more advanced users.

  • [1] This is the funding bar, you can move it around left to increase government tax income, or right to increase research funding.

  • [2] This is the economic pie that you saw earlier. It shows your main expenses or exactly where your money is going towards.

    Purple = Research spending
    Gray = Security spending
    Dark Blue = Fleet/Starbase maintenance costs
    Light Blue = Colony maintenance costs
    Red = Debt interest payment
    Green = Money being put into coffers

  • [3] The security section, there is nothing you need to know here except the white line you see. ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS have the bar at the white line. This is done to prevent corruption (aka money not being spent) if it's below it and wasted money on a feature we are not going to focus on, which is intelligence.

  • [4] The savings window shows you how much money you are making each turn and the projected amount you will be making next turn. In addition the income from bonus cash aka excess savings is shown here as well, the interest rate can prove to be a good source of income later ingame. You do not have to touch any of the sliders here as they should be already done as long as you set the security bar at the white line.

  • [5] This whole section is dedicated to telling you where all your money is going. This includes how much you will owe every single turn. The 'due next turn' means how much you will owe at the end of the turn. 'Financial commitments' means how much you owe in total for everything you have queued up but which will not be paid for until finished.

  • [6] A summary section, quickly condenses everything we just went over into a nice list. Most important thing here is that it tells you your trade income.

  • [7] Here it shows you how much taxes you are drawing from your colonies population. You can increase taxes to get more money but at the risk of revolts due to lowered morale.

  • [8] Shows you some fun overall information but the biggest thing you want to look at is average morale. This value gives you a good indicator how happy your total population is, let it get too low and face mass revolts.

# 6 This one is a trick question! This only shows what your current research is and how far along it is. Hovering over it tells you how much is left and as well as if it's over budget, clicking on the box will take you to the research page.

# 7 Last but not least, the event screen. This little section shows you all the events that happened that turn, it is a great feature to get an idea of what has happened. The button at the bottom will show you the events from previous turns as well.

Whew that was a mouthful! That covers most of the key tabs that you will be using in the tutorial. As we get deeper into our mock game, we will go over a few extra things from each page.

But for now lets finally figure out how the hell we move around this crazy map! As it turns out it's very simple actually. Hold down the right mouse button, then move the mouse to move the camera around, use the mouse scroll to zoom in and out and left click on a system or fleet to center in on it. That's all there is to it!
First Moves
Okay so we looked into everything there that is important, now let's play! First lets click on your home system, this is indicated by the blue star you see around one of the systems

After you clicked on your capital system, the system info will be displayed.

Here you want to click on your owned planet as shown in the picture above to get the same info layout. This info tells you everything you want to know about your home world. What is important to gather here is the industrial output as seen in the blue box in the picture. Industrial output means how productive this world is. The higher this value is, the faster we can build ships. Also an important statistic is the population. Imperial citizens power your industry while normal civilians are the ones you tax for income. The larger the world, the more people you can support thus the more productive it will be!

Once you are done looking at your home worlds info, right under the system map, notice there is two tabs 'Planets' and 'Fleets', click on "Fleets". This will show us all the ships in this system instead of showing us the planets. At the start of every game you will get the following fleets always at your home world.

2x Survey Fleets : These fleets are designed with long range thus are best used to explore new systems.

1x Colonization Fleet : This fleet is used to expand to new worlds.

1x Construction Fleet : This fleet is used to build new stations.

So let's put these fleets to do god's work, as you are god. First let's send the 2 survey fleets to explore the nearest system. We have to explore a system to see what kind of planets there are available for us to colonize. To do this, first push the 2 key on your keyboard, this will change the map view into 'Survey map mode'. This overview will show us which worlds we haven't explored yet. After opening this mode locate the closest system of your choice and left click to see information about it. Once you've seen what opportunities await, right click on the system to bring up the system options and then click survey. From there select the 1st survey fleet and hit confirm, this will send the fleet on its way. After the panel closes out, push number 1 on your keyboard to return the map to normal.

You just gave an order by targeting a specific system as now you can see the blue line going from your home world to the system you chose. This is a great way to give orders if there is a specific world you want. What if you want to give your fleet orders to any world in range? Let's try that next with the other survey fleet.

This time click on your home world then go to the fleets tab. If you notice, 1st survey fleet has waves emitting from its tag, this means it's on a mission. Right click on 2nd survey fleets tag then click survey. If you notice now the panel doesn't tell you what fleet to pick since we already did that. Instead we see all the available systems in range we can survey using this fleet. You can click directly on the system you want to survey or pick from the side window on the left, then hit confirm!

Now you just learned two different ways to give orders to your fleets! With those survey fleets en route to exploring new worlds, we should put our colonizer to good work. Like we did just a few moments ago, go to the fleet tab at your home world then right click on the colonizer fleet then click on 'Colonize'. Now if you notice in the planets tab/system map, each system does not equal 1 planet, but in fact can be multiple planets. So what this means is that our first 3 systems can have potentially colonizable worlds! Now remember, you can only colonize systems that you have surveyed aka explored.

Now as you look at the colonization screen, you will want to look at the bottom of the screen. This overview tells you the planet within a system you are looking at and gives you some information. The statistic that we need is you want is 'Climate Hazard'. Climate hazard means how survivable the planet is for your people. The factors that edit this value range from gravity to atmospheric composition as well as pressure and ground features. The higher this value is, the less the planet is suitable for your people. You CAN colonize high CH planets but it is troublesome this early in the game. In addition, as your income is small, the drain of large terraforming efforts will be high enough to severely hurt your economy. Find a planet whose climate hazard is under 300 as these tend to be terraformed relatively quickly. If you can't find any planet under 300 CH then pick the next best planet that is under 400 CH. If no planet is under 400 CH, you have bad luck so just wait until your survey fleets come back with information about better planets.

Now that our colonizers are doing their job colonizing, let's get put construction fleet to work. Construction fleets are vital to upgrading stations and building new ones. A good first move for a Construction ship is to build a naval base at our farthest colony. This kind of station allows us to base ships further out and help improve the coverage over our empire.

For this job, we are going to use the system specific method. So right click on your furthest world then click on 'build station'. From there select the construction fleet on the side bar and then select 'naval', hit confirm and exit. A quick note about stations is that you can have only of each kind at a system with the exception of the mining station but we won't cover that here.

What you have begun building is a naval station.

A naval station expands the number of ships you can have at a system at one time (This is discussed further in the Interbellum Turns chapter under Relocating Fleets). It also increases the repair rate and build rate for ships at that system.

The final thing we need to do is set up our research. First go to the research page via the research tab or hitting 'R'. Usually there is many different types of initial technology you can do, but for the purpose of this tutorial lets go with a technology that is guaranteed such as Material applications under industry. This technology will allow us to build ships cheaper as well as unlock new ship parts. Once that is done, adjust the money slider. To do this, you can use the mini one on the main screen however it's best to go to the empire page (via the 'E' key in case you forgot) and then adjust the money slider at the top of the screen. Setting it to about 70-80% research is a good start since we don't need to spend a lot of money yet and saving money this early won't help us. After you adjust it, you'll notice the security white line moves so fix the security bar to where it lines up with the white line in order to get full research spending.

Congratulations! Pat yourself on the back, you just finished your very first turn of SoTS2!
Interbellum Turns
After you hit end turn for your first turn and enter the next turn, a few things may have already happened. It will be different for every game so I will discuss and show things as they happen in my game. You may need to skip around the guide to some of the other sections if you get to them before I do.

New Colonies

So the turn ends and voila! A new colony for the empire! Every time you get a new colony you will want to adjust the terraform and infrastructure sliders so it's about 90% terraforming and 10% infrastructure. This setup is usually good for a majority of worlds you colonize, there is more advanced ways to handle this and other percentages for different planets but that's beyond this guide.

You may have noticed at the bottom right of the previous picture, the event section lit up with an event. As you remember, we now have a new colony. You can double click the event picture and it will focus on the location in the main map where it took place. Since that was the only event for this turn, I will just advance to the next turn.

In the next turn, the colony I just founded has become self-sufficient. This is why you want to colonize low CH worlds as they can become self-sufficient extremely fast. When colonies become self-sufficient, they free up your colonization fleet so they can go colonize other worlds. When you get the pop up just hit 'Finish colonizing' and your colonizer will return home for new orders. Once they do just tell them go to the next lowest CH world.

Now another thing about why we are going for low CH worlds is explained in this next picture.

Every time you colonize a new world, the light blue section of your economy pie starts to get larger. You can confirm it by going to the empire screen (E) and notice on the far right section of the expenses area. This shows you how much you are paying each turn to maintain your underdeveloped colonies. When a colony's CH rating is very low you pay practically nothing, however when it is semi high to high, you start paying well over 100k a turn for a single colony. The light blue colony expenses on the economic pie should never be more then 1/4th of the pie otherwise you are probably spending way too much on colonizing.

Now if you accidentally colonized a world that was too high in Climate hazard and need to get rid of it to normalize your economy, you can abandon the planet to stop paying maintenance for it every turn. However this will cost you the world until you decide to re-colonize it.
Survey Completed

So the survey fleets we sent out have finally returned some useful planetary information. You can overview the info and see if there is a new juicy world to colonize. Once they have finished surveying, they will return home awaiting new orders. You should resend them out to explore new systems as fast as you can. You can also cycle through and double click on the survey event to center in on the system you just explored.

Station Completed

The naval station we told our construction ship to build has finished. After going through the new information, go to the station manager (Alt + S). You should see your new station on the list, it' going to be the one with no progress on its upgrade bar. Click on it and here, we can upgrade it. Click on 'automatic upgrade' then hit confirm. That's all there is to it. Near the confirmation button ,it will tell us how long it will take and how much money we need to invest until enough modules have been added for it to be upgraded.

When your construction fleet returns home, you definitely want it to be building another station where there is a slot open or upgrading existing ones. When it returns the next best thing to build is a science station at your home world.

Science stations are a great way to boost tech speed overall and will provide extra tech bonus for a specific field of your choice.

Relocating Fleets

It looks like my survey fleet has returned home from its duty, but there doesn't seem to be a lot of worlds left on this side of the galaxy for him to explore. Also I don't need two of them in the same area. On the other side of the galaxy, however, there are a lot of unexplored worlds but they are quite far. If we base the fleet closer to those worlds, the survey fleet can work faster and get more range in the region. Remember when we built a naval station at our furthest colony? Now that naval base is going come into play! Right click the system where you built the naval station then click on 'Relocate' then find your survey fleet and then hit confirm. There you have it! Now the fleet is en route to its new base of operations and is going to work more efficiently on that side of the galaxy.

Now a quick note about relocating and how it works. When you zoom in on a system you'll see a small set of numbers near the name of the system. This is known as fleet space, the left number is how many ships are stationed here and the right number is how many can fit there. Each cruiser is equal to 1 ship but larger vessels such as dreadnoughts require more space than a cruiser and thus count as more than one ship. You can increase fleet space by upgrading or building naval stations.

First Contact

It appears we have made first contact with the other player according to an event which means we discovered one of his fleets. When you make first contact with any nation, it will start off neutral in relations to him. Since this is a 1 vs 1, we might as well kick his fishy ♥♥♥ by declaring war on him! Simply go to the diplomacy screen (L) click on the little arrow on the diplomacy card of his nation to go to the options for that nation then hit 'Declare War'. It will take a turn for the request to be processed. If the declare war button is grayed out, it is because you do not have 50 RDP. RDP stands for 'Race Diplomacy Points'. As RDP is for more advanced players, we'll use the GDP or 'General Diplomacy Points' which you see at the top of the diplomacy screen as shown earlier. You will earn free GDP at the end of every single turn and as our nation gets bigger and we build more stations, we will get more free GDP per turn. 2 GDP = 1 RDP so you will need 100 GDP to declare war. the alternative option if you do not wish to wait for GDP to form is to do a surprise attack. However this will lower your nations morale and that can lead to problems if the war doesn't go as smoothly as planned.

Useful Hotkeys

Now that you get the gist of basic empire management, here are a few useful hotkeys to help you speed things up.

I key = Center on idle fleet
CTRL + N = Center on next fleet
Shift + N = Center on previous fleet
CTRL + S = Center on next system
Shift + S = Center on previous system
Preparing for War
Preparing For War

In the previous section we came across our enemy, so now it is time we gear up for war! First we need to build a new fleet dedicated to combat. Although our survey fleets are capable of fighting, they are short staffed in the number of ships they can field and will be easily overwhelmed. Click on your home system then in the system map there is a bolt icon clicking on that brings us to the build menu. Alternatively you can click on the system and just hit the B button.

Welcome to the construction screen. Here we can lay down ships for construction that will help us crush these freakish fish! Building ships takes both time and money to make so we will have to take funding away from research and put it towards our coffers to afford these vessels. By having a large amount of industrial output you can build ships at lighting speeds. This home world only has about 10k industrial output it costs us about 8k production to produce a single ship so we can only produce about a ship a turn. We do not have to build all the ships in one location, to ease the burden of production we can split it between two systems then merge the ships together at one point into one fleet.

Now we settled we will build our ships at 2 systems what exactly do you need to form a fleet? To form a fleet of any sorts you require 1 command ship. The command ship is the single most important ship in a fleet if it is destroyed the fleet is fall apart and retreat. Next we need our combat ships then we will need supply ships as they extend the fleet's operational range. Early game fleets can only consist of 9 ships maximum, you can increase the limit through technologies.

So for our first fleet we will produce the following
1x Command ; To lead the fleet
2x Supply ; To increase strategic range of the fleet
6x Armor ; To blast those fishes!

In my case I have split production so 3 ships will be built in a lesser colony and the rest built at the home world. You can tell this by the number and the ripple effect as shown in the picture above on the bolt at the world you are building the ships at. After you you submit the order of ships we will have to adjust our economic slider go to the empire manager (E) and now see the increased financial commitments. However we are not paying for the ships all at once we are paying for them as they finish being built. By putting our income slider about 30% away from the left we can increase our income enough that we can deal with the daily decrease of money for building each ship. DO NOT FORGET ABOUT READJUSTING THE SECURITY SLIDER TO THE WHITE LINE!

Now that our war fleet is being built we can continue focusing on exploration and colonization as well as station building until our combat fleet is ready. If you notice your funds going into the negative slowly move the slider more left to put more funds back into the treasury. At most it shouldn't take more then 5 turns of pain, but for the purposes of this tutorial try and avoid entering debt at all costs as debt reduces your total income. If you find yourself losing too much money you may want to step back from colonizing and building or upgrading new stations until your fleet is finished. Do not get too anxious for combat and forget to keep exploring, colonizing and building stations!

After a few turns our combat fleet is finally ready except its not in fleet form, in fact its no where to be found! Do not fret, all new ships built are put into reserve and not into an active fleet. That's good, except what about the ships that aren't at the home world? How can we move them over without a command ship? There is a special relocation option for reserve ships. First right click a world you want to relocate the ships to then at the bottom of the relocation screen hit 'Reserve transfer'. Once you click on reserve transfer the side bar on the left will now show all reserve ships instead of active ships. Click on the reserves of the planet where you built the other half of your fleet then hit the drop down menu. From there drag the ships into the caravan fleet then hit confirm, the fleet will now move in a special caravan fleet to its destination.

Our fleet is now all in one location and its time to merge them into one fleet. To do this we are going to hit the small create fleet icon just under the fleet tab then hit 'auto select admiral'. Next put in a name for this fleet use a name that will help you identify the function of the fleet. Finally you drag the ships you want from the reserves into the fleet. If you notice it will automatically move over a command ship to the fleet if you have different types of command ships you may want to make sure you have the right one you want in the fleet.

Once that is done we have to setup combat formation we can do this by hitting the fleet manager (F). Once in the fleet manager select your new fleets tag then at the right side of the screen will appear the names of all the ships in the fleet. Simply drag those names onto the field to set up their combat formation at the start of battle once you are satisfied click ok to save the formation.

Our battle fleet is now ready for combat, but first we need to locate an enemy system before we can launch an attack. We can use our Survey fleets to scout out an enemy world, and in the mean time let our combat fleet sit on defense in the mean time.

So eventually an enemy world will be discovered. Its time we strike them where it hurts aka ist Unionzeit! To perform an attack on enemy world right click the system to show the types of attacks we can do.

- Interdict ; Fleet will blockade the system which will also prevent trade ships from entering the system. Any ships trying leave or enter the system will be attacked.

- Invade ; Fleet will keep attacking the system until all enemies have been destroyed or the fleet runs out of supplies.

- Strike ; Fleet will perform a single attack on the system then return to base. This is useful to test the waters to see what the enemy has to offer before fully committing a force to strike or to wither down an enemy before your main force is ready to attack.

There is also a special 4th order where you can use your fleet to intercept another fleet in transit known as 'Intercept'. You can intercept an enemy in open space by right clicking the enemies fleet, then selecting 'Intercept' then selecting your preferred ship for attacking it.

Well what are we waiting for? Let us strike the enemy at his heart! We must perform an invasion and crush all resistance! While your Fleets move out to attack don't forget the basics to your empire management!

It looks like while our exploration fleets were doing their job, they ran into some nasty enemies! Welcome to the battlefield of SoTS2! When a battle has been detected, you will be brought to the pre-battle screen to setup your forces for the fight!

When the attacker has more then 1 fleet at a battle location you will earn more attempts at attacking in a single turn for up to 3 attacks. You can chose which fleets to attack per attempt, however only one fleet can attack at a time!

#1 Manual combat ; You will personally fight it out
#2 Auto resolve ; Combat will resolve quickly by the AI
#3 manual combat if enemy manually combats ; This option is mostly for multiplayer games, never select it for single player games.

Once you have your fleet selected for combat, begin the fight!

This is the general combat information you will be needing. Most of it is pretty standard RTS style combat information with a few bits of information we want to point out.


At the bottom of the screen you see multiple small boxes, these are special orders you can give to your selected forces. Starting from the top row going right to left...

  • Directional facing ; Ship will face the direction it is moving in.
  • Broadside facing ; Ship will turn broad side to enemy when attacking.
  • Face target ; Ship will always have its nose face the target.

Now the bottom row from right to left...

  • Neutral mode ; Ship will obey your every order.
  • Close distance ; Ship will close the min range of its preferred weapon on the enemy.
  • Pursue target ; Ship will chase enemy through the Y axis (aka climb up and down)
  • Stand off ; Ship will stay at maximum range of its preferred weapon against the enemy.
  • Retreat ; Ship will attempt to escape from battle.

You can use these orders to help maximize your fleet's effectiveness. Now I mentioned 'Preferred weapon' a few times in the previous list. The 'Preferred weapon' is what you see in the bottom left where you see the weapon icons then a star next to them. A filled star means that weapon is the ships preferred.

Now the other thing to explain is armor and hull strength. The armor as pointed out in the picture is the bricks shown near your vessel. Each brick represents a point of armor, when the ship takes damage in that section bricks are destroyed and turn red. When there is a hit that breaks through the bottom green brick line, the ship's hull gets hiy damaging the hull of that section. When the section reaches 0% hull strength the section is destroyed! Once 2 sections are destroyed the ship is gone. Now there is a catch however, when the enemy breaches the hull of your ship there is a chance it can do critical damage by hitting a key component of your ship causing an internal explosion which can destroy vital systems, disable your weapons or kill your crew! The blue bars you see at the top of the green bricks represent permanent armor strips aka a green line of bricks that can never be destroyed. When you equip better armor or build bigger ships you gain additional blue strips, making it harder to destroy your ships armor and breach the hull.

Now final note about armor is this example of armor breaching. Here you can see most of the armor is intact, but in a few columns the green bricks are completely gone to thebottom and there is a clear line of red bricks that reach towards the bottom. What this means is that if a shot hits in that column, the shot will breach the armor even though the armor for the rest of the section is relatively intact. This is the cool dynamic capability of SoTS2 armor in action.

Now on to the last bits about combat. First lets talk about sensor mode, to activate/deactivate sensor mode hit spacebar. Sensor mode allows you to see further out and allows you to see the sectors controlled by which side in the system. Here in this picture the enemy has take a sector so I have an idea where he might be but no exact location since he is outside my sensor range. The enemy will retain a controlled sector as long as he has a fleet in the system once all enemy fleets leave the system the sectors reset back to the defender. Lastly just like in normal mode you can give orders to your fleet while in sensor mode. Next at the top of the screen shows estimated planetary stats for each planet. You can hover over each ball to see which planet it's referencing and clicking on it will focus the screen on that planet. On the edge of the balls shows you an estimate amount of population still alive on the planet. The planet info is visible both in sensor mode and normal mode.

Combat ends when the timer runs out, a side retreats, or a side is destroyed completely, both ships and planets. Once combat is over a battle report will be given to give you an idea how damaged your forces are and how many ships you have destroyed. When your fleet has been damaged in battle its tag will change its color to red to indicate that.

Utilizing Technology and Tech Feasibility
Feasibility Study

As our war with the smelly fish continues, we have made a breakthrough with the previous tech of material applications. With this piece of technology, we can gain an edge in ship design over our enemy. Before we utilize our new tech we should select a new one to research. This time let us try attempt to research a piece of tech that isn't guaranteed, such as reflective coating under industrial tech.

**A note if you are playing as Liir. The Liir will have reflective coating as a guaranteed tech. You should still research it even though it is not a feasibility style tech to follow along with the tutorial.

Reflective coating is an anti energy armor that reduces the effectiveness of energy weapons. Lets start by doing a feasibility study and see where it goes from there. The time it takes for a feasibility study depends on how much money you are pouring into research but it should be fairly quick.

About 3 turns later with mediocre funding, the study has been completed and the results are very good. As you can see, there is a very high chance of success for researching this tech so I am going to allow our scientists to research it. If your feasibility outcome was under 60% then move on to another tech, such as orbital dry-dock tech under engineering.

Now what happens if the chances of research are much lower? Usually the game will give you advice whether it may be worth it or not. Our strategy is if its over 80% chance always go for it, 50-70% is questionable. Ask yourself "Do I have plenty of excess income to attempt a risk research? Is my position in the galaxy strong enough to attempt wasting turns on a possible failure tech?" if you said yes to these then go for it. If the tech is under 50%, it is best to avoid it unless you have near total supremacy and can completely waste both money and time.

Sometimes you may see technologies go past 100%, it can be confusing as to why this happens on guaranteed tech and feasibility techs.

Most techs normally end when you make 100% progress, but it is possible that it can finish earlier then normal, however it takes a lot of luck for that to happen. Then on the other hand it can also go over 100%, up to 150% for normal techs. When this happens, do not panic just slightly reduce research funding and use the excess cash on other things while you wait for it to finish, you don't want to rush it further. The time when you need to be scared is when a feasibility tech goes over 100%. Feasibility techs can go all the way to 200% and when it hits 200%, it means the tech has failed and you cannot get it.

Ship Designing

While that is working let us design a new ship with our new ship part we have developed. First lets go to the design menu (D)

Now in the design menu, we can create a blueprint for our new ship. First let us select the parts we want at the top of the screen. A ship is divided between 3 parts, command section (ships 2ndary role), Mission section (ships primary role), and engine. So first lets go to the command section or the head section's drop down and select the new part 'Strafe' section. Strafing section allows a lot of forward fire power in exchange for speed and maneuverability. Next set the body to armor which provides moderate armor and attack systems in a balanced fashion. Then finally for the engine, well we only have one type of engine at the moment so no need to change anything there. Then under the tech option arrow, open it up and select polyscillicate armor to improve the quality of the armor.

Once that is done, unleash your imagination! Design each ship to your wants/needs, whether it be energy cannons or massive ballistic guns, its all up to you. The only limitation you need to be aware of is the 3 stats on the left side. If the red bar gets higher than the green bar, your ship will severely under perform in battle. As we said earlier if you right click a slot it will change all the weapons of the same size slot to the weapon of your choice or you left click a weapon slot to chose only one weapon at a time. Once you have the basis of your design done, enter weapon test mode to try it out before submitting the design!

A special note about one of the 3 stats, supplies, influences the ships operational range, but ballistic and missile weapons also requires supplies to function so keep that in mind when loading those types of weapons on your ship. You can compensate the loss of supplies by adding supply boosting modules such as the caravan module.

Once you submit your design it will now appear in the ship design list, but with a purple name. The purple name means you have not built a prototype of the new class yet. Before you can mass produce a new ship class, you need a working prototype built first. Prototypes cost nearly 4x more than the normal version of the ship but once completed you can build as many normal versions of the ship at normal cost. As you can see in the following picture standard cost is almost 80k but the prototype costs 330k to build!

When designing ships make sure to keep your older models around in case you do not have the funds to build prototypes of newer ships. Also be careful not to over develop by redesigning ships for every little thing other wise you'll end up wasting tons of money for a whole lot of nothing. Sometimes older ships perform just as good as a new ships. In addition, you can also cheaply upgrade older ships, but that requires using a far more advanced feature that is beyond the scope of this guide.
Final Moves and Tips Part 1
By now you should be about 20-30 turns in the game, have finished your first tech, built a new combat fleet, designed a new ship, and should have been in combat with something. At this point you have got hands on experience with the major functions of the game and know how to search out your enemy and crush him with your armada. It is now up to you to finish this war on your own, find his capital and lay waste to it for the victory! Many of you are probably are starting to feel overwhelmed to the task assigned to you without our aid. Do not fret as we will lay out the guidelines to help you finish what you started so you can become victorious over your enemy as well as apply these guidelines to other SoTS2 games you start up.


Probably one the most overwhelming thing to tackle is the tech tree. This difficulty arises because there is so much to research and you simply cannot do all of it. By this point in the guide, you should have material applications researched and should be either working on reflective coating or orbital dry-dock techs. The following picture will show you some techs you should proceed to get once your current one is done and why you should get them.

  • Orbital Dry-Dock : Speeds up ship construction and makes it cheaper.
  • Advanced Sensors : Allows you to build the sensor command section. Ships with the sensor command section gives a fleet about a 50% boost to their strategic sensor range and have about a 50% boost to sensor range in combat. This is very useful to detect enemy fleets further out to better intercept them.
  • Expert Systems : Provides a huge boost to industrial output and speeds up ship construction.
  • Environmental Tailoring : Speeds up terraforming and increases population growth.
  • Heavy Planet Missile : Gives your planets stronger missiles to better defend itself.
  • Plasma Focusing : A special upgrade just like how armor is, but for your engine. Will increase your maximum supplies.

Now the following 2 you should attempt to get only if your Liir.
  • Neutron Beam : A strong heavy weapon, much better then a Particle beam.
  • Shield Mk.I : First level of energy shields. Will absorb damage from incoming attacks leaving your ship in perfect condition.

Now the following 2 you should attempt to get only if your Tarka.
  • VRF System : Increases the rate of fire for all ballistic guns.
  • Liquid Polysteel : Allows you to attach a special module that allows you to repair your ships armor mid fight.

Dealing With planets

Throughout the game you will start encountering large planets that feel like they won't fall, even against your mightiest fleets. The reason that this is so is because not all weapons are ideal for destroying enemy planets. The following weapons are some of the best if you need to quickly eradicate enemy planets from the vicinity.

  • Bio-Weapons : The plague weapons under the bio-tech section are powerful weapons that can wipe out a colonies population over time even well after a battle has ended! Even if they do not destroy the population, it will greatly reduce it as well as causing chaos and slowing down functions of the planet as decontamination and quarantine take time.
  • Missiles : Missiles are the most common used weapon against planets and can hit them relatively hard. They are common because usually most ships have them on board for normal combat.
  • Assault Shuttles : Assault shuttles are special small crafts carried by the assault shuttle class cruiser. They are available right from the start of the game in the design section of the game. Assault shuttles are one of the best options if you need to destroy a world immediately. Do note that the assault shuttle section can easily be destroyed in combat.

Station Management

The number of stations that can be built per system has already been covered way back in the interface chapters of this guide, however we will reiterate again why sometimes you can't build more then 1 or 2 stations per system. This is because it is important to know which systems will be a major system for stations and what will be a minor system for stations. Open up the station manager (Alt + S).

Remember, the station manager as well as the main screen shows you the number of stations you have and can build at a system. To increase the limits on how many stations you can build at a system you have to increase the population size of the system. To do this simply colonize more worlds in the system if your population is already capped out. You may notice this is actually more difficult then it sounds because not all worlds at a system are ideal for early game colonization. What this means is that some worlds will have to wait until you have tons of money and time to spare to colonize high CH worlds. There are a few other more advanced ways of expanding station limits without colonizing more worlds, but those methods beyond the scope of this guide.

These limits are not the only thing we wanna touch on about stations. Every time you upgrade a station and build more of them you are not only paying a building fee. Stations have to be maintained and for each one you own you have pay a maintenance cost every single turn. In addition it gets worse as everytime you upgrade a station, the maintenance cost increases!

So what does this mean? This means you can't have a LV 5 naval station and a LV 5 science station at every single world you own. What you need to do is figure out what will be an important and useful junction point for your fleets or will be an ideal ship construction site, then make that a LV 3 or higher naval station. The rest of your empire can be LV 1 or even LV2 stations so you can post good size defense fleets if needed. When it comes to science stations only upgrade when the funds permit and when the maintenance doesn't drown you in debt. As much as you want that 300% tech boost in energy weapons tech, it is not always necessary. Also it is probably a very good idea to not put science stations on the front lines where they can be easily destroyed. You should put them deep behind your lines and keep them well defended.
Final Moves and Tips Part 2
Why a System Sometimes Doesn't Build Things

It happens to me and it will 100% happen to you so we'll quickly cover this one.

Fleet Compositions

By reading this tutorial, you should have learned how to make a basic combat fleet. However there are so many mixes you can do to create many types of fleets. The following are a good set of templates you can use for fleet compositions.

  • Long Range Survey : Smaller is always better. This fleet uses only supply ships to get insane range to survey those far away planets but if it encounters any enemy it's doomed to be wiped out. However since it's super small and cheap to make, that should be no problem. If you have the Deep scan section for your ships, apply them to supply ships to cut the time it takes to survey in half!
  • Anti-Ship Fleet : This fleet uses boarding ships to raid enemy vessels and turn their own ships against them! However this fleet is weak against long range weapons so its not as ideal for planetary assault. If you are playing the Liir you cannot build the Anti-ship fleet as they cannot build boarding vessels till very late in the game. This is made up for the fact that you do not need such primitive methods of combat when you have meson beams shredding your enemies in half!
  • Assault Fleet :When you really need a planet destroyed this is the template you are looking for. Pure anti-planet firepower from hell however absolutely useless in combat vs ships.
  • Auxiliary Fleet : This fleet is literally a walking repair station. Use it to help support your attacks by repairing your ships in enemy territory or use it to help bolster your repair rates of your front line undeveloped colonies. As an added bonus, it also allows an extra battle when attacking. However using it in battle is a death sentence as the fleet isn't designed for combat only for small defense skirmishes.


While playing this tutorial match to the end you may notice you will sometimes not be able to build a fleet. There is a good reason for this and we will show you why. First go to the fleet manager (F) then hit create fleet that is at the bottom of the screen. This is bring up the ever so elusive admiral manager.

Admirals are what drive your fleets, quite literally. If you do not have any admirals you cannot form new fleets regardless if you have a command ship or not. If your command ship is destroyed there is a good chance your admiral will die and you will have to wait a few turns before a new one respawns. The number of admirals you can get is dependent on how many worlds you own and how many lv 4 or higher naval stations you have.

Final Notes From the Author
You have reached the end of this guide. By now you should have a good grasp of how to play the game from start to finish this wonderful game. You should now look into the other nations with their unique FTL drives once you feel comfortable with the Tarka or the Liir to add to the experience of SoTS2 as well as use what you learned in this guide.

You probably still have questions on other features of the game are wondering how to use certain special features of the game. Those will be taken care of in the the sister guide 'Advanced Guide to Sword of the Stars 2'.

I would like to thank the following...

Special thanks to [POP]Operator Fearbunny for helping with my horrid grammar.

Thanks to Kerberos Productions for making a great game

Thanks to Reddit for inspiring me to make this guide.

Thanks to you, the reader for reading this guide.
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≈The•Siscus≈ Aug 31 @ 2:29am 
Thank you for your effort, read the guide but I think, after the end of the first game, I'll drop the SOTS2 anyway :)
Esgal Jan 14, 2018 @ 9:53am 
Thnx for guide)
The Rocking Cat Jan 26, 2017 @ 1:31pm 
The Rocking Cat Jan 26, 2017 @ 1:31pm 
The Rocking Cat Jan 26, 2017 @ 1:31pm 
The Rocking Cat Jan 26, 2017 @ 1:31pm 
GAGAR1N Jul 19, 2016 @ 7:18pm 
Fnd dont forget about autorepair from EscMenu - Autosettings(?) - play not on eng not be sure
Dark Matter Jan 23, 2015 @ 2:25pm 
good guide
PrinzMegahertz Nov 27, 2014 @ 11:26am 
Excellent guide.
sadoMasupilami Jul 30, 2014 @ 1:28pm 
Many thanks for that, will try tomorrow