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by khatcher

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FAQ by khatcher

Version: v1 | Updated: 04/29/16


For purposes of full disclosure, at the time of this writing I am an employee of Stardock and am writing these FAQs because I want to give people helpful hints and tricks for navigating some of our games. All copyrighted information within is being used with express permission from Stardock and is not plagiarized.

The Premise

The Earth's resources are rapidly depleting and some of humanity has taken to the stars to find new wealth and glory. At first, setting up mining operations on the asteroid belt was effective, but as time went on the distance between Earth and the belt was proving to be difficult. Humanity decided to take their expansion to the next great frontier: Mars.

Mars is the perfect place to set up a new corporation and mine precious resources to send to colonies on the asteroid belts. But, you're not alone -- you will have to compete against other businesses to stake the prime claim, set up your headquarters, and dominate the Martian market. Do you have what it takes to go Offworld?

Game Modes


Learn to play Offworld Trading Company against the AI in pre-set scenarios that teach you the gameplay mechanics.


Compete against the AI on a random map. Don't say we didn't warn you if things aren't as easy for you as a traditional RTS comp stomp, though.


Choose your path through a dynamic campaign whose outcome depends on your decisions and on the outcomes of a series of matches.


Test your skill in an Internet game against your friends.

Difficulty Levels


This is the easiest difficulty level. You start with $10,000 cash, 5 claims, and 4 shares in your company. Your debt multiplier is only x1 and your starting stockpile is +100%.


This is the second level of difficulty. You start with $8,000 cash, 5 claims, and 3 shares in your company. Your debt multiplier is x2 and your starting stockpile is +75%.


This is the third level of difficulty. You start with $6,000 cash, 4 claims, and 2 shares in your company. Your debt multiplier is x3 and your starting stockpile is +50%.


This is the fourth level of difficulty. You start with $4,000 cash, 4 claims, and 1 share in your company. Your debt multiplier is x4 and your starting stockpile is +25%.


This is your “baseline” difficulty level. You start with $2,000 cash, 3 claims, and no shares in your company. Your debt multiplier is x5 and you don't have any bonus to your starting stockpile.


Things start to get a little tougher with this difficulty level. You only start with $1,000 cash, 3 claims, and no shares in your company. Your production modifier is set to -10% and your debt multiplier is up to x6.

Vice President

Just shy of the toughest level of difficulty, this level is still quite challenging. Your starting cash is down to only $500 and you get only 3 claims with no shares in your company to start. Your starting stockpile is penalized at -25%, your production modifier is -20%, and your debt multiplier is x7.


This is the highest level of difficulty and it doesn't pull any punches. You start with absolutely zero cash, only 3 claims, and no shares in your company. Your stockpile is penalized at -50%, your production modifier is -30%, and your debt multiplier is all the way up at x8.

The Business Models

Seneca Development (Expansive Colony)

  • One extra claim with each colony upgrade
  • Needs half as much steel for buildings and colony upgrades
  • Units travel 50% faster

Yoshimi Robotics (Robotic Colony)

  • Colony does not consume life support
  • Units use energy instead of fuel
  • Double production from tiles under the colony
  • Does not require glass to upgrade colony

Reclamation Inc. (Scavenger Colony)

  • Uses carbon instead of steel to construct buildings
  • Learn about market news events earlier
  • Able to use the Black Market more frequently

New Meridians (Scientific Colony)

  • Conversion buildings can use resource deposit on their own tiles (for example, a Hydrolysis Farm could use trace water to create food)
  • Recovers faster from EMPs, power surges, and mutinies
  • Acquires patents 50% faster

Player Controls

While brain-power and carefully thought out strategies are certainly the focus in Offworld, it is still an RTS. Knowing your shortcuts and hotkeys can give you an edge over your opponents and allow you to gain the advantage early on with just a little bit of extra speed.

Ctrl+Shift+Down: Sell all owned resources at once

Alt+Sell Resource: Sell all of a selected resource all at once

Tab: Scroll through headquarters and colony

Spacebar: Pause the game

+: Increase game speed

-: Decrease game speed

WASD: Scroll the map in the key's respective direction

Ctrl or shift buy/sell: Buy or sell 1 or 100 units per click respectively, instead of 10

Ctrl + Click on building: Turn building on/off

Ctrl + Shift Click on building: Turn all buildings of selected type off

Backspace: Scrap selected building

Shift+Backspace: Scrap all buildings of the selected type

C: Claim tile

B: Bid on auction (when available).

~: Toggle between the available resources and resource stockpiles

Z: Press and hold to hide all buildings

E: Found a Expansive Colony

R: Found a Robotic Colony

T: Found a Scavenger Colony

Y: Found a Scientific Colony

Alt + (Shift +) click: Send a shipment early (or all shipments of that type)


There are 13 different resources available in the game. All buildings are powered by a certain combination of resources, so it's important to know what you plan to build ahead of time so you're not stuck with a gajillion units of silicon while you really just need iron. See the list of resources below:

Power: Produced by Solar Panels, Wind Turbines, and Geothermal Plants
Water: Produced by Water Pumps (tile must have water deposit) or Ice Condensers
Food: Produced by Hydroponic Farm
Oxygen: Produced by Electrolysis Reactor or Dry Ice Condenser
Fuel: Produced by Electrolysis Reactor
Aluminum: Produced by Metal Mine (tile must have aluminum deposit)
Iron: Produced by Metal Mine (tile must have iron deposit)
Steel: Produced by Steel Mill
Carbon: Produced by Elemental Quarry (tile must have carbon deposit)
Silicon: Produced by Elemental Quarry (tile must have silicon deposit)
Chemicals: Produced by Chemicals Lab
Glass: Produced by Glass Furnace
Electronics: Produced by Electronics Factory

Production Buildings

To collect and utilize the abundance of resources on Mars, you will need to erect buildings that can process them. Each building has its own unique function of production; you will need to be aware of what the building needs in order to function so that you don't run out of it!

Solar Panel

Produces: Power

Build Cost: 20 Aluminum 100 Silicon

Consumes: N/A

Wind Turbine

Produces: Power

Build Cost: 20 Aluminum80 Carbon

Consumes: N/A

Geothermal Plant

Produces: Power

Build Cost: 40 aluminum30 Steel

Consumes: N/A

Water Pump

Produces: Water

Build Cost: N/A

Consumes: Power

Hydroponic Farm

Produces: Food

Build Cost: 5 Steel10 Glass

Consumes: Power, Water

Electrolysis Reactor

Produces: Oxygen, Fuel

Build Cost: 10 Aluminum10 Steel

Consumes: Power, Water

Dry Ice Condenser

Produces: Oxygen, Carbon

Build Cost: 10 Glass

Consumes: Power

Metal Mine

Produces: Aluminum or Iron (based on which deposit you build on)

Build Cost: N/A

Consumes: Power

Steel Mill

Produces: Steel

Build Cost: 20 Iron

Consumes: Power, Iron

Elemental Quarry

Produces: Silicon or Carbon (based on which deposit you build on)

Build Cost: N/A

Consumes: Power

Chemicals Lab

Produces: Chemicals

Build Cost: 20 Steel, 20 Carbon

Consumes: Power, Fuel, Carbon

Glass Furnace

Produces: Glass

Build Cost: 20 Steel, 20 Silicon

Consumes: Power, Oxygen, Silicon

Electronics Factory

Produces: Electronics

Build Cost: 20 aluminum, 20 steel

Consumes: Power, aluminum, carbon, silicon

Other Buildings

Patent Lab

The Patent Lab gives you access to high tech patents that will give you a serious edge over your competition. The patents all cost between 20 and 80 chemicals and there is only one of each per game. This means you'll have to beat your competition to the punch and acquire the patents before they do, because once they're gone, they're gone. If the main colony has laboratories, placing the patent lab adjacent to one or more of them will grant you bonuses to how quickly they are researched.

Here's a list of what's available at the Patent Lab:

Superconductor: +100% power production when connected to your HQ. Cost: 40 chemicals.

Energy Vault: Generates +1 Power that can stockpile for up to 100 units. Cost: 40 chemicals.

Financial Instruments: Gives 25% of all your opponents' debt interest to you every day. You do not get to profit from your own debt, sorry! Cost: 40 chemicals.

Water Engine: Water is cheap! To cut costs, this patent will allow you to use water instead of fuel (assuming water is cheaper at the time) to power your freighters and Offworld Markets. Cost: 40 chemicals.

Perpetual Motion: This highly cost-effective patent makes it so that your buildings consume 50% less Power, leaving you more to profit from. Cost: 60 chemicals.

Virtual Reality: It's the future! This patent increases income you receive from Pleasure Domes by 50%. Cost: 60 chemicals.

Nanotechnology: Reduce, reuse, recycle! This patent refunds all resources from scrapped buildings to you. Cost: 60 chemicals.

Cold Fusion: As long as water is cheaper than power, water will be consumed to operate your buildings. Cost: 60 chemicals.

Carbon Scrubbing: Buildings that require carbon now draw the carbon from the atmosphere instead. Cost: 80 chemicals.

Slant Drilling: This patent allows you to mine in adjacent tiles. You will be able to draw a lot more resources out of your mines this way! Cost: 80 chemicals.

Thinking Machines: If your opponents are going to fight dirty with the Black Market, you can make them come clean with this patent! Any effects used against buildings adjacent to your Headquarters are cut by 50%. Cost: 80 chemicals.

Teleportation: Get your Star Trek on with this patent! Teleportation eliminates the need for freighters and sends resources directly to the necessary buildings, regardless of distance. Cost: 80 chemicals.

Optimization Center

The Optimization Center allows you to upgrade the production of your buildings in order to output more resources. There are 4 tiers of upgrades in steps of 25% per upgrade. The upgrades cost chemicals and the cost increases with each percentage. When placing this building, pay close attention to the main colony! If the colony has machine shops, building the Optimization Center adjacent to them will grant you hefty bonuses.

Hacker Array

In the war of business, fighting dirty is the only way to end up on top. Buying a Hacker Array will allow you to generate artificial shortages and surpluses to increase or decrease the value of a particular resource. These activities cost $2,000 the first time and increase exponentially as you continue to utilize them.

Pleasure Dome

People on Mars have to have fun somehow, right? Building a Pleasure Dome will generate you additional income based on the population of the colony. If you build the dome adjacent to the colony's habitats, you will gain a bonus to the amount of money you accumulate. This can add up pretty quickly and prove to be an excellent pay off for you.

Offworld Market

This is where you start rubbing your hands together and cackling. The Offworld Market allows you to send your resources off of Mars and to Earth and the Asteroid belt for insane profits. Each launch takes 100 units of a selected resource, plus 20 aluminum and 20 fuel to send the rocket. If the colony has warehouses, building a rocket adjacent to them will cause them to launch 10% faster for each nearby warehouse.

Black Market

No one ever said that corporate warfare was going to be easy -- or fair. Treacherous CEOs like you are the reason that the Black Market thrives in Mars' seedy underbelly.
The Black Market contains plenty of underhanded tricks and tactics designed to thwart your competition and stop production dead in its' tracks. The starting prices of the various sabotages varies depending on how many players are in the game. As these are paid for, their prices will go up exponentially, resulting in them being rather high-cost by endgame.
It's important to know that certain items will have diminishing returns if you continue to use them on the same tile repeatedly. Additionally, it's not possible to actively stockpile more than 1 use of a black market item at a time. The only exception to this is when someone else targets you with an item and your Goon Squad intercepts it, but you already have the item. You will be able to hold 2 in this case.

There are several Black Market items available, but only a random selection of them appears each game. They are:

Bribe Claim: This allows you to purchase an extra claim. These are especially handy for getting a leg-up on your competition by enabling you to erect more buildings and produce more resources!
Goon Squad: This protects a tile from black market effects. When a black market action targets the protected tile, it triggers the Goon Squad and will swipe the item, granting its use to you instead. It also tells you who the sneaky little bugger was who had the gall to attack you in the first place so that your retaliation can be swift and merciless.
Cook the Books: Mmm, alphabet soup. This action improves your bond rating. While it will help you stay out of “D” levels of debt, it's not a cure-all! You want to try to avoid getting to the point where you'll need the help of this particular action.
Pirates: Everybody loves pirates! That is, if they're Johnny Depp, and you're not the target of their sabotage. These filthy bandits will steal up to 100 units in resources by attacking freighters traveling across a specific small region of the map.
Magnetic Storm: Enjoy the crackly, lightning-y goodness of this Black Market action. We're not really sure how one buys a Magnetic Storm, but here it is anyway. This action destroys all freighters and any other moving units in any given area.
Adrenaline Boost: These workers had their coffee this morning! This action doubles the speed at which the targeted buildings work. The primary targeted tile will receive the longest lasting boost.
EMP: Freeze! The EMP is a nasty little piece of subterfuge that halts production of a targeted tile for 100 seconds. It also targets adjacent buildings for lesser amounts of time, but the result can be pretty devastating.
Power Surge: Time to get frazzled! This action affects several tiles by continuing to “jump” between them and freezes buildings, much like an EMP.
Circuit Overload: Danger, Will Robinson! This action spreads like a Power Surge and lasts longer, but doubles Power consumption instead of freezing the affected buildings.
Slowdown Strike: Slooooooow it down, now. This action cuts the speed of targeted buildings in half. Slowdown strike is the only offensive black market action that can ignore a Goon Squad.
Core Sample: Dig on down, see what you get! This action generates extra resources on tiles that have none.
Hologram: You didn't see anything...This action causes the target tile to appear to be something that it is not. Only spies can show your opponents what the targeted tile really is.
Spy: Sneaky, sneaky! Sending a spy will get you complete information on the targeted tile and its surroundings for the remainder of the match. Because spies are slippery sons of guns, spies do not trigger Goon Squads.
Network Virus: Give the computer a cold! This action spreads like a Power Surge, but lasts shorter on successive tiles and instead forces the target buildings to be online and use resources.
Dynamite: ‘Cause I'm T-N-T! Demolishes the target building, forcing it to need to be repaired at the cost of half its construction resources and taking its full construction time. Dynamite is particularly fiendish to use against Offworld Markets as well as buildings that are far away from the headquarters, because the repair droid that does the repairs travels very slowly and will consequently take a lot of time when it needs to travel across half the map.
Mutiny: Traitors! You never knew how good you had it! This action takes control of an opponent's target building for 120 seconds.
Underground Nuke: Nothing like some subterranean subterfuge! This action reduces any low or medium resource pip to trace, cutting its base production value by a fairly large amount.
Auction Tile: Going once...going twice...sold! This action will only appear in matches with 4 or more players. The targeted unclaimed tile to go up for auction for everyone to fight over. If a self-owned tile is being auctioned, the proceeds go to the company initiating the auction.
MULE: Hee-haw! Hee-haw! This action produces 200 units of a primary resource over time.

Tips and Tricks

  • Pay attention to the main colony! It is helpful to look at what their buildings consume so you know what resources will be in demand.
  • Purchase your own stock to make you more expensive for other players to buy out!
  • Scientific HQs are vulnerable to pirates if they ship their goods very far.
  • Areas with high iron and water are ideal for an expansive colony.
  • If a company owns all of its stock, the block of 5 shares must be purchased by a competitor all at once in order to buy them out.
  • Stockpiling resources can be really useful! They may sell cheaply because they are in abundance, but once your Offworld market becomes available, you'll have plenty of surplus to make some mad cash with.
  • Robotic colonies will thrive in a place with high iron and a geothermal source.
  • As the colony grows and your HQ upgrades, Pleasure Domes will make more money.
  • Robotic colonies use energy instead of fuel to power their freighters.
  • Network Viruses can see through and penetrate holograms.
  • When you see a percentage next to an opponent's name, that indicates how close they are to being able to buy you out. So, be careful!
  • Hitting CTL + SHIFT + DOWN will sell everything you have, all at once. This time save can be crucial when you're racing against someone's impending buy-out in the endgame.
  • If any combination of players owns more than half your stock, your company becomes a subsidiary and you are out of the game. It's a good idea to at least buy a little bit into your stock early on to prevent a buy out!