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Strategy Guide by arbysee

Version: 1.11 | Updated: 05/15/2017
FAQ of the Month Winner: May 2016 | Highest Rated Guide

Table of Contents

  1. Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars (MOO 4) Guide
  2. Copyright
  3. Overview
  4. How to Win
    1. Antarian
    2. Conquest
    3. Economic
    4. Excellence
    5. Technological
    6. Vote
    7. Achievements
  5. Walk Through
  6. Pre-Built Civilizations
    1. Alkari (11)
    2. Bulrathi (10+)
    3. Darlok (12)
    4. Elarian (16)
    5. Gnolam (18)
    6. Human (12-)
    7. Klackon (8)
    8. Meklar (12)
    9. Mrrshan (10+)
    10. Psilons (7-)
    11. Sakkra (6)
    12. Silicoid (18)
    13. Terran (13+)
    14. Trilarian (6)
  7. Custom Civilizations
    1. Recommended Economic / Vote Custom Civilization
    2. Population Growth
    3. Food from Population
    4. Production from Population
    5. Research from Population
    6. Credits from Population
    7. Pollution Tolerance
    8. Home World Size
    9. Home World Minerals
    10. Beam Defense
    11. Beam Attack
    12. Ship Improvements
    13. Ship Cost
    14. Command Points
    15. Home World Specials
    16. Special Abilities
  8. Build Strategies
    1. Home World Building and Start Up
    2. New Planet Building
    3. Overall Build Strategy
  9. Colony Research and Technologies
    1. Colony Basics
    2. Food
    3. Population
    4. Morale Structures
    5. Production
    6. Pollution
    7. Research
    8. Basic Credits
    9. Planet Defense
    10. Colony Development Research Strategy
  10. Ship Technologies
    1. Command Points and Number of Ships
    2. Ship Size
    3. Engines
    4. Armor
    5. Shields
    6. Ship Computers and Scanners
    7. Energy Weapons
    8. Missiles
    9. Torpedoes
    10. Carrier Ships
    11. Bombs
  11. Leaders
  12. Minor Civilizations
  13. Diplomacy and Espionage
    1. Diplomacy Structures
    2. Diplomacy Options
    3. Espionage
  14. Combat
    1. Space Combat
    2. Ground Combat
  15. Technology Choices
    1. Advanced Magnetism
    2. Electronics
    3. Xenobiotics
    4. Genetic Engineering
    5. Fusion Weapons
    6. Xenology
    7. Artificial Gravity
    8. Tachyon Physics
    9. Robotics
    10. Genetic Mutations
    11. Advanced Construction
    12. Super Alloys
    13. Optronics
    14. Cybertechnics
    15. Molecular Compression
    16. Electromagnetic Refraction
    17. Cybertronics
    18. Astro Biology
    19. Anti-Matter Fission
    20. Advanced Robotics
    21. Advanced Tactics
    22. Multi-phased Physics
    23. Subspace Fields
    24. Warp Fields
    25. Positronics
    26. Artificial Life
    27. High Energy Distribution
    28. Galactic Economics
    29. Plasma Physics
    30. Distortion Fields
    31. Artificial Intelligence
    32. Molecular Control
    33. Techtonic Engineering
    34. Hyper Dimensional Fission
    35. Quantum Fields
    36. Moleculartronics
    37. Interphased Fission
    38. Galactic Networking
    39. Temporal Physics
    40. Artificial Consciousness
    41. Temporal Fields
  16. Contact Information

Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars (MOO 4) Guide

Version 1.12 - May 15, 2017. Updated for version 55.1.1 (April 28)

  • Updated victory conditions
  • Updated the recommended race based on new experience
  • Updated walkthrough tips including how to optimize production per planet.
  • Provided example of why Lithavore is too slow - lithivore vs cybernetic recommendation
  • Changed the walkthrough from Alkari to Meklar to better demonstrate planet management.
  • Updated research cost under technology choices
  • Updated ratings
  • Updated for 3 patches since Version 1.11 of the FAQ

Version 1.11 - December 23, 2016. Updated for version 54.8 (December 13) and Revenge of Antares DLC

  • New victory condition
  • New civilizations and custom civilization abilities
  • Updated walkthrough
  • Updated costs and building effects
  • Leaders
  • Minor civilizations
  • Rewritten espionage


Version 1.0 - March 6, 2016: Initial guide with how to win, civilizations and high level build guide included


Copyright 2017 Cameron Technology Solutions, Inc.

This may be not be reproduced under any circumstances except for personal, private use. This document may not be placed on any web site or otherwise distributed publicly without advance written permission. Use of this guide on any other web site or as a part of any public display is strictly prohibited, and a violation of copyright.


Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars was released on August 25, 2016. Conquer the Stars is the fourth installment in the Master of Orion (MOO) series. The first two installments were among the best games of their times. In fourth installment, WG Labs provides a much needed update in terms of graphics and hardware compatibility. The current release adds new victory conditions, real time combat, updating spying, etc. The collectors edition includes the previous editions running on modern hardware. The purpose of this guide is to help enjoy the game immediately, develop species and develop strategies to excel at the game. MOO 4 has a multiplayer component as well. As new editions are released, the guide will need updates. Hopefully this guide will provide a platform for others to contribute, as there are bound to be many more approaches that I can come up with on my own.

This game guide will expand as more updates are released.

How to Win

Let us start by making sure we know how we can win the game. MOO4 has implemented 6 ways to win, which is the first significant change from the previous editions.


Destroy Antarians at their pocket dimension. To get to the pocket dimension, must first find 4 asteroid fields with Antarian technology and build asteroid labs. Once completed, dimensional portal becomes available on the research tree. Build a dimensional portal, and take out the Antarians. The Antarian raiding parties are much stronger than the Antares defenders. Out of habit, try attacking Antares when the raiding party is busy in the current dimension.


The last civilization standing wins the conquest victory. Conquest victory is generally prevented by a Vote victory when we have two thirds of the votes and vote for ourselves.


The economic victory is a complex victory path and is new to the Master of Orion series that has been greatly simplified since first releasing. To win by economic victory we need, a Galactic Stockmarket must be built (not just researched). Then a race needs a percentage of the economy and a percentage of the stock shares. The exact percentages can be seen by entering the path to victory screen, and then hovering of the economic victory column. For 8 races, the percentages are 30% of each.


The excellence victory is to have the highest score at the end of a given number of turns. The number of turns is an advanced game setting with a default value of 500 turns. Although details about score are unknown, score can be seen using a menu item in the upper right part of the screen called "Path to victory" showing which civilization is leading for which victory type. Clicking on each path to victory box will flip the box around to show inputs to the score at a high detail level. The icon looks like a bar graph. There is also a button on the bottom right of the path to victory screen that charts the score of the player's civilization with buttons to add other civilizations into the chart.


The first civilization to discover and implement 3 technologies is the technological winner. To win using the Technological path, we do not need to research anything along the Government based tree. In the Physics based tree, no technology needs researched after Cybertronics. The victory technologies are:

5980Multi-Dimensional PhysicsHyperplanar Transfer Tracking Premises400
5980Superscalar ConstructionTransplanar Control Plant550
11950Planar TranscendanceUltraplanar Dimorphic Prospector700

With the latest updates, the technological victory allows the computer controlled races to pull a surprise victory when the technology leader is left alone too long. The other victories can be seen coming from other races.


After all civilizations have meet each other and again every 31 turns, the civilizations will get together to vote on which civilization rules the galaxy. In previous editions, votes are based on population. To win by vote, a civilization needs two thirds of the votes. If we want to win using the other methods, do not vote for ourself if we have two thirds of the votes.


There are many achievements with Master of Orion, including winning with each victory condition with each race. With each victory type, a different cut scene with the race just played shown in the front and a custom victory speech. Once all races with all victory conditions are achieved, the Master of Orion achievement is given. Rather than playing through so many times, a suggestion is to play through with each race and save before each victory condition is met. After each victory, the saved game can be reloaded, and the victory condition can be changed to move onto the next victory. For example, a save before a technological victory can be loaded, and then don't build the victory building. For an economic victory reset, sell all of the stock and the game can continue. For a vote victory, we can just not vote for ourselves when we reload after a vote victory. After conquest, we can leave one planet to survive until we with the excellence victory. Some achievements require interacting with another race, such as Psilons spying on humans, so on the Psilon playthrough, make sure the humans are in the game.

Walk Through

Rather than describe what the options are on each screen, let us walk through the first 17 turns of a play through using a customized civilization to get the game play flow. The walk through will assume this is one of our first times playing the game. The walk through will also use a specific game "seed" so that we know what planets are where for the walk through. Letting the seed randomly change will make replaying the game enjoyable, as we will have to discover where everything is instead of following a walk through. Steps will appear as bullet points with explanations when needed in paragraphs below.

  • Start the game (main menu)
  • Select Single Player
  • Select New Game
  • Select "Custom Race". We are creating a custom Meklar civilization so that we don't have to face the Meklar's when first learning the game.
  • Select the recommended custom civilization attributes. Available points must stay above 0, so select negative points first. The recommended Conquer / Vote custom civilization below provides unique abilities found in the pre-built races and assumes the telepathic ability is available. If the telepathic ability is not available, increase food from population to +50% (will grow even faster).
    • Race Genetics: Meklar
    • Population Growth +50%: 7
    • Production from Population: +25%: 3
    • Research from Population -25%: -3
    • Credits from Population -25%: -4
    • Home World Size: Small: -2
    • Home World Minerals: Poor: -2
    • Beam Defense: -1
    • Cybernetic: 8
    • Repulsive: -2
    • Telepathic: 6
    • Select the next button when finished
  • Verify the game settings are "circle", "medium", "average", "post-warp", "normal", "5" and "classic". Set the Big Bang Seed to 0. Normally, do not adjust the Big Bang Seed. We are setting the seed this time so that we can follow along the walk through. Different seeds arrange the planets and opponents differently. On future passes that are not the walk through, change "post-warp" to "pre-warp" to experience building the first ships ourselves. Leave advanced settings alone and click "Start Game". Click a key to continue. Watch the introduction.
  • Turn 0
    • Whenever the adviser talks, read the advice and click "ok, thanks".
    • First, go to the empire screen, which is the first icon in the top left. In the Empire screen on the left of this screen is the "Tax Rate" drop down. Set the tax rate to 5 BC per population unit for now. Our adviser points out that we have protesters, and the third column shows a 1 under the protester icon. Set the tax rate back to 4 BC per turn. We will move it back to 3 once we start getting protesters. Click done in the lower right to exit the screen for now.
    • Left click on the ships, and a box with the fleet appears in the lower left. In the pop-up box, click on one of the scout ships, then right click on the warp point (circle) above. The scout ship moves to the warp point. The Immaus system is discovered with one planet that has a moon. An icon appears on the right. In general, the right screen icons indicate that something has changed that we should look at. Click on the icon, and the focus moves to the Immaus system. Checking each change will be more important when playing on extreme difficulty.
    • In the top right of the screen is a ship with a pencil icon for ship design. Click the ship design button. We are using 59.58 of the 65 hull capacity in the Frigate design.
    • The ship design screen comes up with the "Frigate" design highlighted. In the middle we can see the core systems, specials and weapons for the current design. Click the "Edit" button on the right.
    • Our Frigate design is rated a 7 attack and 10 defense when we start. The rating does not account for the ability to bomb planets if needed. In the weapons row are the 3 weapons on the ship. The first is a laser cannon with a small icon indicating that the cannons are point defense - short range for shooting down missiles. The second weapons are normal laser cannons. The final weapons are nuclear missiles. Click the laser cannons. Instead of laser cannons, replace them with a nuclear bomb. Click the bomb, then done. We are using 51.58 of 65 hull space. Hit add. Select the nuclear missiles and increase the quantity to 4 missiles. We are up to 61.58 hull space. Hit add. We have some room, so we will use the point defense laser cannons to fill the remaining space. Click the point defense laser cannons, and add a cannon. We are using 63.62 of 65 hull space. Hit save to save the design, then done to leave the ship design editor. Our new ship is rated at 8 attack, 13 defense for an overall score of 21, plus the frigate is capable of bombing.
    • A "Ship Upgrades" window pops up indicating that for 25 BC, we can upgrade all of our Frigates that are at planets and military outposts. Click "Upgrade All" in the bottom right. If we click "upgrade" instead, we will need to exit the window clicking the "X" in the upper right corner. Upgrades are only accomplished through purchases in MOO 4.
    • In the lower right is a prompt "A fleet needs orders". Click this. The ships are highlighted again. Right click the warp point to move the rest of the fleet.
    • The prompt changes to "Choose Research". Click the prompt. Alternatively, the beaker on the top left bar also allows choosing research
    • On the Research Management Screen, click "Biology". The 10 on each of the research options indicates how many turns are expected to complete the research. Click "Done"
    • The prompt now says "Choose Production". Click this. alternatively, clicking on the Meklon Prime planet has the same effect.
    • On the "Meklon Prime" screen is a expanding and shrinking"+" sign. Click this. A window pops up with alternatives. Select "Space Factory", and then "Start Building".
    • Below the space factory is a "Show queue". The queue shows the the right of the "Buy" button. Click the "+" sign and select "Colony Ship" and "Start Building". Click the "X" in the upper right to exit the window. The build queue shows to the right of the buy button. Buy will purchase the current build item. When we don't have enough credits to purchase the build, the buy button is disabled. The queue order is changed by dragging and dropping queue items.
    • Next we are going to re-assign colonists. If we hover over a researcher we see the cell output is 3, but each researcher is only producing 2.25 because of the research penalty we took. Similarly, if we hover over the first worker, we are outputing 3.75 instead of 3 because of the production bonus. The second working is outputing 2.5. To optimize our output, we want the workers where we get the most output once we have enough food for everyone and we have some production. Left click the rightmost colonist next to "Research" and drag them to the open position next to "Food". The text under research changes from "10" (turns) to "17". The text under food changes from "7" (turns) to "5", and the colony focus changes to "Manual". Assign the last research colonist to "Food". Biology research will now take 55 turns, but the next colonist will be working in 4 turns. We will out research everyone soon enough, just not during the first turns. Click "Done" to go back to the main screen. The pattern we are going for is to build population quickly, then move the farmers to production and research when the planet is within one of capacity. If we completely fill the planet, our population growth bonus becomes useless for the planet. We can see how long until the next research at the top of the screen. We also see that we need 376 credits to buy the space factory. We can see 4 turns until the next colonist to the left of the colony name, and we can see 8 until the next item (the space factory) is built to the right of the colony name.
    • Follow the Advisers suggestion and click "Next Turn"
  • Turn 1
    • Click "A fleet needs orders". Send a scout, the colony ship and the frigate towards Immanus by selecting the 3 ships, then right click on the warp point on Immaus.
    • Click "A feet needs orders" again. The other scout is selected. Move the mouse along the path until the warp point on the other system is visible. Right click on the warp point to send the other scout in that direction.
    • If our mouse has a wheel, scroll the mouse down to zoom out and see where our ships are headed. Click the "Next Turn" button three times. Ships are just moving on turns 2 and 3.
  • Turn 4
    • A Meklon Prime has grown icon appears. Click on the icon and the Meklon Prime screen appears. The new colonist has a white circle beneath them to show where the colonist was added. In this case, the colonist was assigned to food, which is less output that either research or production. Move the new colonist to the "3" research cell, which after our racial traits is 2.25 production compared to 1.25 in production or 2 in food. Research is now tracking to finish in 16 turns instead of 51. Click done to exit the screen.
    • A Xolas discovered icon is also up. Click the icon to see the new system.
    • The "A fleet needs orders" prompt is back. Click the prompt. The screen will zoom in on the Immaus fleet. Left click on the Colony Ship in the fleet box, then right click on the planet. The planet is Large, Arid, Abundant with normal gravity with a max population of 13. A good planet to colonize. Click the flag leftmost icon in the bottom center set of icons to colonize the planet. The colony screen comes up. Before the colony base technology is discovered under "Deep Space Exploration", the colonists will need to start farming to feed themselves. After the discovery, the first colonist brings a food supply to start working. Select "Choose Production" and select Frigate II. No progress on the frigate will happen until we have a colonist working on production. Click done to leave the Immaus Prime screen.
    • An anomaly detected icon is on the right. Click the icon, and focus moves to a flashing green dot.
    • Click "A fleet needs orders", the scout and frigate selected. Select the scout, and send the scout to the Immaus warp point on the right. The Hasenus system is discovered. Small circles appear on the bottom right of the screen to see messages about the current and previous turns.
    • Click "A fleet needs orders". The frigate is selected. We will send the frigate to the blinking green dot that indicates a detected anomaly. Click next turn.
  • Turn 5
    • Click "A fleet needs orders". The Immanus scout is selected. right click on the warp point on the Hasenus system.
    • Click "A fleet needs orders". The scout at the Xolas system is selected. For now we have to visit each planet to see each planet characteristics. As a general rule, planets with moons are not gas giants, and later we will be able to build special structures on planets with moons. No Xolas planets have moons Send the scout to the outermost planet. Hovering over the planet we can see the planet characteristics and that we have a high gravity gas giant on Xolas IV. If we colonize a high gravity planet with a normal gravity race, then research, food and production all take a 50% penalty. The planet naming convention is to call the planet closest to the sun <system> Prime. The other planets are named with roman numerals counting which orbit the planet is in. We just discovered Xolas IV. Next turn.
  • Turn 6
    • A Matar is discovered icon appears. Click the icon to see the new system.
    • Click "A fleet needs orders". The Xolas scout is selected. Send the scout to the next outermost planet (Xolas III) exploring in case there are more green dots to explore. No anomalies this time, but we are creating useful habits. Next turn.
  • Turn 7
    • Click "A fleet needs orders". The Hasenus scout is selected and we can see 2 warp points that we did not see before. Big planets without moons are sometimes gas giant's which cannot be colonized until we have more research. Send the scout to Hasenus II and see that the planet is not a gas giant but is a medium, barren, abundant normal gravity planet. The asteroid field in this system glows. Glowing asteroid systems are the systems that we need to discover for an Antares victory. We will need build an asteroid lab on the glowing asteroid for 4 asteroids to launch an attack on Antares. We can send the space factory later to build the asteroid laboratory.
    • Click "A fleet needs orders". The Xoltas scout is selected. Continue exploring Xoltas planets. Next turn.
  • Turn 8
    • Our frigate reaches the anomaly, and we discover the Government technology. The screen shows that the discover enabled research laboratories and government support facilities. Click done and see that biology research continues. Click done again to leave the research screen. The frigate is automatically rerouted to Immaus where we launched from.
    • Click the "Space factory completed" icon. "A fleet needs orders" will also eventually bring focus on the unassigned space factory. The space factory on Meklar Prime is selected. Send the space factory to the asteroid belt in the planet system. Click the hammer in the bottom center icons to see build options. The first option is to build an Asteroid Laboratory, which will increase research by 2 per turn, and decrease the amount of time needed for our first research projects. Select the asteroid laboratory, then click "Start Building".A progress bar appears below the asteroid showing 8 turns until completed.
    • Click "A fleet needs orders". The Hasenus scout is selected. Sent the scout to the rightmost warp point. The Degiri system is discovered and contains 4 planets.
    • Click "A fleet needs orders". Send the Xolas scout to Xolas Prime. Click next turn.
  • Turn 9
    • Scroll out. The map so far indicates that if we set up systems on Xolas and Hasenus, we could defend both Altair and Immaus by sealing Xolas and Hasenus. We are looking for choke points so that we can defend as many planet systems from as few places as possible.
    • Meklar Prime has grown. Click on the icon to open the Mekllar prime screen. Move the colonist from food to research. Biology will be available in 7 turns.
    • Click "A fleet needs orders". The Hasenus scout is selected. Send the scout to the Degiri warp point. We run into another civilization. Make sure "Show Info" is selected in the upper right corner to see what information we know about the new civilization. Click "Goodbye". Click on the alien head on the galaxy screen to bring up the diplomacy dialog. On the top left are small pictures of each civilization discovered. The center is a larger picture of the civilization selected. The top right shows information about the selected civilization. We are selected by default. Click on the other civilization to see the screen update. In the bottom right is an "Audience" button that matches the color used to represent the other civilization. Click the audience button. The screen updates. In the top right is a small button that says "show info". Click the button to see known information about the new civilization. In the bottom right are menu choices of "Declare War", "Negotiations", "Declarations", "Repeal Treaties" grayed out, and "Goodbye". Click on Negotiations. The trade table comes up in the bottom center. On each side of the table is a list of trade items. Click Share Charts from the other civilization. The trade table options become "What do you want for this", "Back" and "Demand". Click on Share Charts from our side, and the menu buttons change to "What would make this work?", "Back" and "Propose". Click propose.The response is a form of no. Try the "What would make this work" button. The response is asking for an annual tribute of 3 and share our charts. For now, we will decline clicking "back". Disposition is shown in the upper right of the screen. Backing out when we propose something does not have a consequence. Declining a proposal that the other civilization initiates has a negative consequence. For now, click "Goodbye" to exit the diplomacy screen
    • Click "A fleet needs orders". The Xolas scout is selected. Send the scout to the left warp point. The Arkab system is discovered. Next turn.
  • Turn 10
    • Click "A fleet needs orders". Our Xolas scout is selected. Send the Xolas scout towards Arkab's nearest warp point. Next turn.
  • Turn 11
    • Click "A fleet needs orders". The Degiri scout is selected. Explore planets from the outside in hoping to find more anomolies. Click next turn.
  • Turn 12
    • Click "A fleet needs orders". Click the icon with a dot and an arrow going over the dot. This will skip the frigate for now
    • Click "A fleet needs orders". The Degiri scout is selected. Continue scouting Degiri planets.
    • Click "A fleet needs orders". The Arrkab scout is selected. Visit Arkab planets from the outside in, in this case Arkab IV. A pirate fleet is detected. Clicking on the yellow warning triangle scrolls the screen and shows the pirate ships are moving towards Arkab.
    • Click the frigate is that we skipped earlier. We should have time to intercept the pirates at the Xolas system. Send the firgate to the nearest Xolas warp point.
  • Turn 13
    • Click "A fleet needs orders". The Digiri scout is selected. Explore Digiri planets.
    • Click "A fleet needs orders". The Arkab scout is selected. We need to get the Arkab scout out if the planet system so that the pirate does not take out the scout ship. Send the ship to the nearest Xolas warp point.
  • Turn 14
    • GNN comes up with the news. GNN also comes up when the first civilization reaches 3, 5, 8 and 13 planets.
    • Click "A fleet needs orders". The Degiri scout is selected. Explore planets. Next turn.
  • Turn 15
    • Click "A fleet needs orders". The Degiri scout is selected. Send the scout to the left warp point that connects to the Matar planets. Next turn.
  • Turn 16:
    • Click the "Space Factory has finished Asteroid Laboratory" icon. The space factory has completed the asteroid laboratory. Biology research is now 7 turns away. Send the space factory to the nearest Hasenus warp point.
    • Click "A fleet needs orders" the Xolas scout is selected. Send the scout back to Arkab. The scout cannot be attached while in the travel lanes.
    • Click "A fleet needs orders". The Xolas frigate is selected. Move the frigate to the other Xolas warp point where the pirate fleet is coming. We can tell the frigate to guard the warp point by clicking the shield in the bottom center then left icons. A red circle is drawn around the ship indicating that we are guarding the warp point.
    • Click "A fleet needs orders". The Degiri scout is selected. Send the scout to the nearest Matar warp point. Next turn.
  • Turn 17
    • We fight the space pirates. Auto-resolve will show health bars go down and ships from one side or the other grey out. Instead, click Take Command. Select Assisted command to redirect where the ships concentrate. Click done, watch the intro. The battlefield starts paused. Meklar are blue and on the right. Click on the blue dot (ship) on the top. The frigates is selected and some controls appear in the bottom left. The first slider is the drive throttle (ship speed), which should be set to maximum. The second is the range where we will try to keep the enemy ships. Right clicking on the map will redirect the ships where to move. Right click on the ship straight ahead so that the ship will head towards one pirate ship. The scroll wheel changes the battlefield zoom to see the ships instead of dots. Press the play button to start the battle. Ships will advance. As they get closer together, zoom in to see more battle details. The battle can pause at any time to change strategies. To direct a group of ships to attack a particular enemy, right click on the enemy and the group will move towards the selected ship and fire when in range. The pirates are overpowered. If we were attacking at a colony, then an attack colony button would appear and we would have options to drop bombs. If we had transport troops researched from Military Tactics we would have the option to invade the planet. Press any key to continue, then done.
    • The Biology research is done. Select "Choose Research". The next technology to research is Physics so that we can build automated factories. Select Physics, then done.

We are now 17 turns in and have built 2 planets in 2 systems with a third on the way. We have used space factories to build asteroid laboratories and are on the way to build on ruins towards an Antaran victory. We have updated a ship design. We have attempted to share star charts with other civilizations. We have chosen research immediate needs. We have not gone very deep on diplomacy or spying yet, as that is still many turns into the future. If we open up the "Path to Victory" screen from the upper right icon that looks like a bar chart, we see how we compare to other know and unknown civilizations. Clicking on any score columns will flip the rectangle around to provide a ranking basis.

Pre-Built Civilizations

The first choice made is which civilization to play. The available pre-built civilizations are rated on an increasing scale of worst, poor, average, good and excellent. Pre-built civilizations have different (usually more) points allocated than can be allocated with a custom civilization. The points for each attribute are shown with the civilizations below. Attributes that do not have a specific amount of points with a custom civilization are shown as + or - depending on if the attribute is positive or negative and the score is changed by 1 point. The total custom civilization points for the pre-built civilizations are shown next to the civilization name. Evaluating purely on points, the Silicoid have the most civilization points at 18. In practice, the Silicoid are average, but play significantly different than the other civilizations. The ratings reflect experiences so far about most difficult to easiest to win.

Alkari (11)

  • Natural Pilots (8)
    • Beam Defense: +50%
    • Beam Attack: +25%
    • Ship Improvements: Travel Speed Bonus +25%
    • Ship Improvements: Combat Speed Bonus +25%
  • Homeworld Specials: Artifacts (1)
  • Homeworld Size: Large (2)
  • Recommended Victory Goal: Conquer / Vote
  • Rating: Average

The Alkari are the bird civilization and are a very military oriented. The artifacts home world provides an early burst to research abilities. The home world research advantage fades as the game progresses. The long term benefits the Alkari have are the beam attack and defense, travel speed bonus and combat speed bonus. Beams are used throughout the game by all civilizations. The combat speed bonus helps to flank the enemy in tactical combat. Since these are combat bonuses, the full effect of combat bonuses do not come into play until the middle of the game and not as often. The recommended first technology to research as the Alkari is Biology to generate food and research without using workers to farm the planet. The Alkari start at an average pace with a long term beam defense benefit and no real obstacles to growth. The Alkari do not have penalties to overcome, but also do not have anything making them stand out from the other civilizations. The natural pilots ability biases them towards a conquer / vote victory, but economic victory is a possibility.

Bulrathi (10+)

  • Ecologist (1)
    • Starting Technology: Biology (hydroponic farms, biospheres)
  • Home World Minerals: Rich (2)
  • Home World Size: Large (2)
  • High Gravity Homeworld (4) (25% penalty on normal planets, 50% penalty on low gravity planets)
  • Ground Combat Rating: +50% (+)
  • Recommended Victory Goal: Conquer / Vote
  • Rating: Worst

The Bulrathi are the bear civilization and offer a fast start to home world production and size to gain momentum early. The large rich home world combined will allow creating colony ships faster than the other civilizations. The rich home world combined with pollution tolerance accelerates colonization to the fastest starting civilization. Quicker colonization means more planets to build useful structures before the other civilizations. The ground combat rating bonus allows invading colonies with fewer marines and without having to bombard the planet as much to reduce marines. Ground combat occurs less than space combat, limiting the benefit. The starting technology is biology, which is the best starting technology to colonize quickly. High gravity helps if colonizing high gravity planets with very limited use. The high gravity allows the Bulrathi to populate larger and frequently better planets if high gravity planets are around. Normal planets are the most prevalent, making high gravity a penalty instead of a benefit pushing the Bulrathi rating from average to poor. The conquer / vote the recommended victory path. The Bulrathi are a little better than the Mrrshan due to the large rich home world. The high gravity penalty and lack of help from high gravity make the Bulrathi the second most challenging to play.

Darlok (12)

  • Diplomat (3)
    • Starting Technology: Government (research lab, government support facility)
    • Morale: +5%
  • Stealthy (6)
    • Ship Improvements: Stealth
    • (Spy) Exerience: 50%
  • Shapeshifters (3)
    • Security: +10%
    • Assimilation Power: +25%
  • Recommended Victory Goal: Economic
  • Rating: Average

The Darloks are the spy civilization that have been a challenge in all versions of Master of Orion. The Darloks have both offensive and defensive spying advantages. Spying is helpful but too limited to provide a big advantage. The stealth ship improvement is a good advantage against human players as not knowing if the Darloks are using a large fleet or several spread out smaller fleets affects the surrounding players. The morale benefit allows not having to build morale structures as soon. Normally, a Government facility is needed when a non-capitol planet reaches 4 billion colonists with the default tax rate of 3 BC per colonist. The Darloks do not start fast and fall behind early with a chance of catching up through the spy network. The government starting technology means they must research biology and physics for basic food and production needs. The Darloks should research Xeno Relations on the second level technologies to build a spy center as soon as possible to take advantage of their security and missions duration bonuses. The Darlock abilities can allow concentrating on a planetary stock exchange research path and attempt to steal the remaining technology to keep up with everyone else. The new spy system has improved the Darlocks from poor to average rating

Elarian (16)

  • Telepathic (6)
    • Mind Control (invade with mind control)
    • Diplomacy: Improved Negotiations
    • Security +10%
    • Assimilation Power Immediate
  • Omniscient (6) - See all stars, planets, opponents colonies and ships
  • Beam Attack +25% (2)
  • Beam Defense +25% (2)
  • Recommended Victory Goal: Conquer / Vote
  • Rating: Excellent

The Elarians are a civilization of telepathic women. The telepathic ability allows conquering and assimilating planets without fighting marines or other defenses if the attacking fleet has a ship battleship size or larger. The omniscient ability especially helpful when learning the game because we can see the ships and progress of other civilizations. After getting better at the game, omniscient takes away a little of the mystery of which other civilizations are in the game, where they are, etc.. Beam attack and defense are helpful as beams are the most powerful weapons in the game. Once the Elarians get battleships, they are difficult to stop. No bonus to food, production or pollution is why they are excellent and the second best civilization to play.

Gnolam (18)

  • Fantastic Traders (9)
    • Trading Trade Treaties Bonus +25%
    • Trading Trade Goods Bonus +100%
  • Special Abilities: Luck (4) - Negative events never happen, attacked less frequently
  • Credits From Population +50% (8)
  • Low Gravity Homeworld (-3)
  • Recommended Victory Goal: Economic
  • Rating: Poor

The Gnolam are like the humans, but with a credits from population bonus and even better trading bonus. The extra credits will help buy buildings instead of using a productivity bonus. The low gravity home world means that we have to be a little bit lucky with the planets around us to find low gravity planets quickly. The credits from population would make them good, except the gravity penalty moves changes their rating to poor.

Human (12-)

  • Diplomat (3)
    • Starting Technology: Government (research lab, government support facility)
    • Morale: +5%
  • Charismatic (5)
    • Diplomacy: Improved Negotiations
    • Diplomacy: Improved Disposition
  • Traders (5)
    • Trading: Trade Treaties Bonus +25%
    • Trading: Trade Goods Bonus +25%
  • Security: -20% (-)
  • Recommended Victory Goal: Economic
  • Rating: Average

The Humans start with the decreased security characteristic, allowing other civilizations to steal and sabotage. Improved disposition, negotiations, and trade treaties are mid game advantages. The benefits do not kick in until meeting other civilizations. The benefits last until we have colonized too many planets, which is late mid-game. For multiplayer, people will react the way they react, negating the improved negotiation characteristic if the multiplayer game does not use computer controlled civilizations. By mid game, we are too big and other civilizations won't trade or other civilizations do not have enough credits left to initiate another trade deal. The government starting technology is usually the third technology after eating and building. The recommended first technology for the humans to research is biology. The humans start a little slower than the other civilizations. The humans can exchange technology to catch up, can trade to keep relations good, and can avoid jumping into battle, but do not have any beneficial long term characteristics. The Humans are geared to research straight to stock exchange and trade with everyone else for other technologies.

Klackon (8)

  • Industrialist (4)
    • Starting Technology: Physics (automated factory, neutron blaster)
    • Production from Population: +25%
  • Subterranean (2)
    • Uber Planet: Cavernous
    • Home world Biome: Arid
  • Uncreative (-5)
    • Technology: Uncreative
    • Research from Population: -25%
  • Food from Population: +50% (7)
  • Recommended Victory Goal: Conquer / Vote
  • Rating: Good

The Kackon are the ants. The Klackons have benefits useful throughout the entire game. Colonists can be used elsewhere. Production from population means that when a colonist is used for farming, the farmer feeds more colonists. Combining these benefits means the Klackon need fewer the farmers than other civilizations. The starting technology is physics, which is the second best of the four starting technologies after biology when starting up planets. The production bonus is also important for starting the game fast. In the early to mid game, pollution is an issue, so keep an eye on production and farming levels and assign the extra colonists to research. The reason the Klackon are good and not excellent is the uncreative characteristic. With uncreative, when the technology tree offers multiple benefits, we get a technology chosen at random from the possibilities. In MOO4, there is a better balance in the sense that a useful benefit is provided, and when there are alternatives, the alternatives are usually nice to have technologies. Uncreative makes economic victory a 50 / 50 chance of enabling ourselves. Food and production bonuses make conquer / vote the most reliable victory path for Klackons.

Meklar (12)

  • Industrialist (4)
    • Starting Technology: Physics (automated factory, neutron blaster)
    • Production from Population: +25%
  • Cybernetic (8)
    • Food Consumption: -50%
    • Ship Improvements: Auto Repair
  • Recommended Victory Goal: Economic
  • Rating: Excellent

The Meklar are the robots. The Meklar full game benefits are optimized for food (-50% consumption) and production (+25% from population). Like the Klackon, both food and production needs are limited by pollution and planet size, pushing extra colonists into research. The ship auto repair bonus is used less frequently than a combat bonus, but is still used occasionally. The latest release makes auto repair more appealing, as ships repair slowly. The production bonus propels the Meklar to a good rating like the Klackons, and they become rated excellent because they are not uncreative and only needing half the food of other races. A hydroponics lab can feed 4 Meklars on a planet that does not produce food. The low food need also enables the Meklar to grow quickly. The Meklar starting technology is physics. The Meklar are a fast growth civilization not needing food, so an alternative is to start with government and go strait to civil transports. The cybernetic bonus leans the Meklar towards the economic victory, but conquer / vote victory is not out of the question.

Mrrshan (10+)

  • Militarist (3)
    • Staring Technology: Engineering (destroyer, anti-missile launcher)
    • Ground Units: Marine Training Rate +50%
  • Plains Dweller (2)
    • Uber planet: Grassland
    • Homeworld Biome: Arid
  • Warlord (4)
    • Ground Combat Rating: +50%
    • Ground Units: Extended barracks (more marines on the planet)
  • Diplomacy: Improved Negotiations (+)
  • Recommended Victory Goal: Conquer / Vote
  • Rating: Worst

The Mrrshan are the cat civilization and are the most challenging to play. The uber planet is a mid game benefit that affects desert planets after acquiring the technology to create the uber planet, and acquiring enough build technology to finish the transformation. In general, planets using an uber transformation need to be far away from the front lines in an empire strong enough to not need ships or buildings for a while. The ground units extended barracks and ground combat bonus is helpful mid to late game once invading other planets to build troop transports in batches. Finally, the starting technology is the worst of the starting technologies. Destroyers are helpful to bombard pirate locations, but after eating, building and starting research. A specialized frigate (bomber) carrying bombs is cheaper to build and just as effective. All of the Mrrshan characteristics target mid to late game with an emphasis as the best civilization for ground combat. Ground combat occurs less than production, exploration and space combat giving the Mrrshan an advantage that occurs less than the advantages of all other civilizations. The Mrrshan will start out slower than the other civilizations, which unfortunately slow starts are difficult to overcome. The first recommended technology to research is biology. The benefits are military oriented, making conquer / vote the recommended victory path.

Psilons (7-)

  • Technologist (2)
    • Starting Technology: Physics
    • Home World Specials: Artifacts
  • Creative (10)
    • Technology: Creative
    • Research from population: +50%
  • Home World Size: Small (-2)
  • Gravity Tolerance: Low Gravity (-3) (25% penalty on normal planets, 50% penalty on high gravity planets)
  • Security: -20% (-)
  • Recommended Victory Goal: Research
  • Rating: Average

The Psilons look like stereotypical aliens from science fiction movies. In MOO and MOO2, the Psilons were a dominate civilization because when other civilizations researched a technology, the Psilons could use every benefit associated with the technology, but other civilizations would have to choose which benefit they would gain and have to trade or steal the rest. in MOO4, not as many technologies have a choice of benefits, making the creative technology useful, but more balanced than previous Master of Orion games. Reviewing the characteristics, the small home world size is a mid game minor issue that requires sending transport ships to new planets sooner than other civilizations will need to use transport ships . The research bonus and artifact home world is helpful early and mid game allowing either really fast research or moving scientists to work in the factories while keeping up the science pace creating faster production. The security issue is not as difficult with the Psilons because they have technologies to deal with security that the Humans may not select to research. Late game, there is a science victory that the Psilons can pursue. The government starting technology is the third technology when starting the game, and ironically is not needed for a technological victory. The recommended technology path is to first research biology and then physics. The Psilons start out at about the same speed as the Alkari and will surge ahead in technology. A key to technology victory is to not let the game end early from a vote or conquest victory. The Psilons will not start as fast as the Sakkra or the Bulrathi, but will be able to keep up with the other civilizations in general. We have the research bonus and creativity, making the recommended victory research. Low gravity lowers the rating of most races to poor. The Psilons are average with low gravity because of the creative bonus.

Sakkra (6)

  • Expansionist (3)
    • Starting Technology: Engineering (destroyers, anti-missile rockets)
    • Starting Technology: Biology (hydroponic farms, biospheres)
  • Jungle Creature (3)
    • Uber Planet: Tropical
    • Home World Biome: Swamp
  • Uncreative (-5)
    • Technology: Uncreative
    • Research from Population: -25%
  • Population Growth: +50% (7)
  • Repulsive (-2)
    • Diplomacy: Worsen Negotiations
    • Diplomacy: Worsen Disposition
  • Recommended Victory Goal: Conquer / vote
  • Rating: Good

The Sakkra are the dinosaur civilization. The uber planet benefit is a mid game benefit that only affects some planets. The outstanding characteristics is the 50% population growth. More colonists allow pursuing any particular strategy well, and accelerate a vote victory. The Sakkra do need to build civil transports to keep using the population growth advantage, and accelerate building new planets. The 25% research penalty slows down research until we build research laboratories sooner than the competition. Repulsive does not cut off negotiations, but rather requires some credits to enable deals to go through. Uncreative makes the Sakkra a challenge when key technologies are not acquired as expected. The Sakkra start off medium fast, and continue building fast as long as the civil transports can keep room on the planets for growing. Once surrounded by other civilizations and pollution sets in, the extra population is sent to research at 75% efficiency. The research penalty and repulsive penalty make research not a great victory strategy option. Uncreative makes economic victory a 50 / 50 proposition for an otherwise excellent economic civilization. Conquer / vote is the more reliable victory path for the Sakkra.

Silicoid (18)

  • Lithovore (8)
    • Food Consumption: None
  • Lava Breather (2)
    • Uber Planet: Inferno
    • Homeworld Biome: Volcanic
  • Repulsive (-2)
    • Diplomacy: Worsen Negotiations
    • Diplomacy: Worsen Disposition
  • Tolerant (6)
    • Gravity Tolerance: All
  • Home World Size: Huge (4)
  • Recommended Victory Goal: Research
  • Rating: Average

The Silicoid are the walking rocks. The Silicoid do not need any food and start with a big planet to start from. The silicoid grow at a slow but steady pace without food. The repulsive ability does allow some trade and negotiations with other civilizations. The Inferno and Volcanic home world allow colonizing planets that other civilizations are not interested in colonizing and transforming a volcanic planet into an inferno planet. The Silicoid do not have a starting technology, but in this case, biology is not the best choice. Physics makes for a better start for the Silicoid or government if starting in pre-warp. The food avoidance makes for a good start and eliminates the need for food structures. The Silicoid start fast because they do not need food. The slow population growth bogs them down and needs compensated for with population structures. Slow population growth is the biggest issue when playing the Silicoid, The no food consumption means that they can concentrate on production or research. Pollution control has to come from pollution structures, meaning the Silicoid colonists do not farm and are limited in production by pollution. Most Silicoid colonists are researchers, making the Silicoid a research victory civilization.

Terran (13+)

  • Militarist (3)
    • Starting Technology: Engineering (destroyers, anti-missile rockets)
    • Ground Units: Improved Marine Training Rate
  • Strategists (7)
    • Command Points: +20%
    • Ship Cost: -20%
  • Beam Attack: +25% (2)
  • Morale: +15% (+)
  • Recommended Victory Goal: Conquer / Vote
  • Rating: Average

The Terran are a new human civilization in Master of Orion. The biggest advantage the Terran have is the extra 20% command points. Command points are useful early in the game to build colony ships when the new colonies have not build star bases yet. The command points help later in the game to keep a large fleet in the air. The ship cost -20% is helpful, but not as helpful as anticipated. The discount colony ship helps jump out to a fast start, and helps throughout the game up to the command points limit. The beam attack advantage is limited to combat, which is infrequent and does not kick in until mid to late game. The marine training rate helps build transport ships which are helpful from the mid game to the end. The morale bonus is significantly larger than the Human and Darlok morale bonuses. Engineering is the worst starting technology, prompting the need to research biology. The Terran do not have any penalty traits. Just weaker positive traits. The Terran are all military abilities, making conquer / vote the most natural victory path.

Trilarian (6)

  • Aquatic (2)
    • Homeworld Biome: Ocean
    • Uber Planet: Ocean Uber-Planet
  • Transdimensional (4)
    • Ship Improvements Travel Speed +25%
    • Ship Improvements Combet Speed +25%
  • Recommended Victory Goal: Conquer / Vote
  • Rating: Poor

The Trilarians are the squids. The Trilarians are similar to the Alkari, without the benefits of beam attack, beam defense, artifacts home world, nor large home world. If the Alkari are too easy and we are looking for a challenge, try the Trilarians.

Custom Civilizations

Once all of the civilizations are better understood, building a custom civilization makes more sense. For single player games, the best choice of which civilization to customize is the civilization that provides the most challenge to play against so that we do not have to play against that civilization. If the game is too easy, then choose a civilization that the AI is poor at playing. When deciding what benefits to take, look at how long the benefit or penalty will last. There are many possibilities. The economic recommendations are presented first, then custom attribute recommendations are presented. In MOO2, the powerful combination was the "Unitol" civilization which combined unification (productivity bonuses) with ignoring pollution (tolerant) and ignoring morale. In MOO4, the bias of my review will be to create heavy bonuses in production, pollution tolerance and population growth. The result will be an extremely fast developing civilization which uses buildings to also research quickly. The recommended selections for the production / pollution / growth build are shown with an asterisk. If we are new to MOO4, please try the recommended customization once, then change the custom civilization. A recommended conquer / vote civilization was shown in the walk through.

The options are presented with the cost for selecting the option. With a custom civilization, a base amount of 10 points are available. More points can be spent by taking penalties.

Recommended Economic / Vote Custom Civilization

The short version of a recommended custom civilization is below. The recommendation is a economic / vote build that uses the themes of population growth and production. Details about each custom option are in the sections that follow. The recommendation is essentially the Meklar with telepathic, production bonus, population growth and penalties.

Population Growth

  • Growth -50%: -7
  • Growth -25%: -4
  • *Growth +25%: 4
  • Growth +50%: 7

Population growth is a recommended theme. Population growth and food from population are very similar, with a slight edge given to population growth. Population growth applies the multiplier to food from people and food from buildings. The population growth penalty is too severe in terms of not having enough colonists and the delay launching colony ships from a recently colonized planet. A downside of population growth is that taking advantage of population growth will involve creating civil transports to prevent a planet from getting stuck at the planet maximum population. Sending colonists from the established planets to developing planets is a helpful practice that needs to happen. Keep an eye on the empire screen to make sure planets are not at maximum population.

Food from Population

  • Food -25%: -3
  • Food +25%: 4
  • Food +50%: 7

While food consumption is required on every planet, food production from farmers is sometimes not an option. Most planets allow producing food so this is still a decent option. Using buildings, there are still times that assigning colonists to farming is needed. Excess food helps accelerate how quickly a planet's population grows making food from population a viable option for fast growth. The food penalty will slow down growth and should be avoided.

Production from Population

  • Production -25%: -3
  • *Production +25%: 3
  • Production +50%: 6

Production is another theme for the recommended build. The new pollution system makes production a solid early game benefit, that becomes more difficult later in the game. Production is actually a research strategy minimizing the number of factory workers needed while keeping pollution under control. The production increase in combination with pollution abilities enables maximizing colony creation, building creation and ship building. The production / pollution combination is a must to keep up with experienced MOO4 players. For one more point, the industrialist special ability adds a starting understanding of physics with the 25% bonus.

Research from Population

  • *Research -25%: -3
  • Research +25%: 3
  • Research +50%: 6

Research is not limited by pollution nor planet size. Most of the research can be obtained from producing buildings and new colonies. The more planets colonized, the more research labs can be created. In the phase 2 release, the research has been stretched to require more research points. However, research continues to advance every 1-6 turns from mid game to the end. The penalty becomes a factor later in the game as planets reach maximum population and the farming colonists are moved to research. However, having more planets means more buildings that generate research not affected by the penalty. A research bonus is recommended for a technological victory build. The research penalty is recommended because most of the game planets have more researched structures to build than production to build things. Thus the penalty paces research to match production.

Credits from Population

  • *BC -25%: -4
  • BC +25%: 5
  • BC +50%: 8

Credits have the advantage that extra credits from one planet can be instantly spent on production at another planet. There is no need for armored ships to transfer money, which means the BC benefit is easier to maintain than accelerated population growth. The credits penalty is debilitating and not recommended. Credits are the only method to upgrade ships in MOO4 making credits more important in MOO4 than in previous Master of Orion games. BC bonuses are a potential build theme. So far the theme has been slower than the growth / production / pollution theme. Maybe the BC theme just needs a different play style. The penalty is recommended to get the growth bonus which provides income from people 25% faster along with research, food and production.

Pollution Tolerance

  • Pollution Immune: 8

The pollution customization combined with the extra production from population allow creating buildings and ships faster than civilizations that do not have the combination. Faster building allows first colony ships as well as first choice at where to land colony ships. Yes, eventually pollution control structures are available, but they are available after the pollution control civilization has already populated more colonies and is too far ahead to catch up to. Pollution immune means that we do not have to build pollution structures when colonies get large. Pollution Tolerance is just too expensive for the late game benefit.

Home World Size

  • *Small: -2
  • Large: 2
  • Huge: 4

Home world size is a nice benefit if we have a few points to spare. The benefits help develop surrounding planet systems quickly when combined with fast population growth. The initial planet expansion comes slower than a home world minerals bonus but has longer lasting effects from more colonists. The penalty is recommended in order to not need the beam attack penalty at a cost of needing to build civil transports to keep planet population down and growth at full speed. Home world sizes affect the value of other home world benefits such as artifacts or home world minerals.

Home World Minerals

  • Poor: -2
  • Rich: 2
  • Ultra Rich: 6

The home world minerals are worth trying when we want to mix up the game play. The Rich and Ultra Rich bonuses combined with pollution control can create a fast start that opponents will not keep up with. The rich home world provides the most bonus for the points spent. There are other benefits recommended higher. Do not take the poor home world penalty. A slow start compared to others is nearly impossible to recover from.