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Paths to Victory Strategy Guide by mi64
Version: 1.1 | Updated: 01/22/2007
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============================================================================== Paths To Victory Strategy Guide (v1.1) for Galactic Civilizations II: The Dread Lords (v1.4X) by MI64 email: firstname.lastname@example.org ============================================================================== Table of Contents ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ I. Introduction II. Victory Conditions III. Game Setup IV. First Turns V. Early Game VI. Mid Game VII. End Game VIII. Version History, Credits, Legal & Contact Info. ============================================================================== I. Introduction ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ This guide is designed with the newcomer to Galactic Civilizations II, or GalCivII in mind. It is my intention to assist a new user in building his or her civilization in such a way as to allow for ANY of the 4 different paths to victory. The four paths of victory being either: military conquest, influence, diplomacy, or research. This guide is intended for the "open-mode" version of the game and does not apply to the "Dread Lords" campaign. In writing this guide, I make the following assumptions: 1. You have read the entire game manual. 2. You have watched all the tutorial videos. 3. You have updated the game to at least v1.4x. It is strongly recommended that you read the "Beginner's Strategy Guide" that can be found in the GalCivII directory on your hard-drive. This simple guide discusses much of the game interface that will be important to understanding some of the terminology used here. Disclaimer: Do keep in mind that this is one guy's opinion on how to achieve the type of victory you want. Once you've gotten into the game more, and developed some of your own methods, you may disagree with some of the advice I give here. ============================================================================== II. Victory Conditions ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Before getting into the actual game, it is important to understand the victory conditions and how they are affected by the initial setup of the game. A. Conquest Victory: Requires that you completely destroy all of the other MAJOR races in the game. The difficulty or ease of a conquest victory is most profoundly affected by the number of other major civilizations. Obviously two civilizations would be easier to conquer than eight! B. Influence Victory: Requires that you spread your sphere of influence (outlined as your races primary color) to at least 75% of the galaxy and maintain this percentage for at least 10 consecutive turns. This victory cannot be achieved if you are at war with any civilization. The difficulty or ease of an influence victory is affected by both the number of other civilizations and the galaxy size. Other races have spheres of influence that must be overcome through various means, so more civilizations equals more to overcome. In addition, a larger galaxy means more area to cover with influence. C. Diplomatic Victory: Requires that you form alliances with all the remaining MAJOR races. You can achieve a Diplomatic Victory by allying with only one race (or as many races as you want) and then destroying the remaining civilizations either through military force or cultural conquest. Much like the conquest victory, the diplomatic victory is most profoundly affected by the number of other major civilizations. Again, it is easier to ally with two civilizations than eight. D. Research Victory: Requires that you research the ultimate technology at the end of a long, expensive branch of the tech tree. The difficulty or ease of a research victory is most affected by the size of the galaxy. A larger galaxy provides more planets, more planets allow for more research. A small galaxy has fewer planets and therefore less potential for research. Keep these observations in mind as you progress through this guide and your game. ============================================================================== III. Game Setup ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ In this section, we will setup the game. Begin by starting a new game (topmost button on the main screen.) A. Setup Galaxy This is the first screen you will see when you begin a new game. Set the size of the galaxy to either large, huge or gigantic. Smaller galaxies can still be fun, especially if you want to play a quick game, but this guide is written with the larger galaxies in mind. Make sure the scenario is set to normal and that all the victory conditions are checked. You may want to disable minor races, but I feel they add some extra flavor to the game. Do not change any- thing else. Click next to go to the civilization selection screen. B. Pick Your Civilization For the purpose of this guide, we will use the Terran Alliance. The Terrans are a good choice because they are pretty well rounded. The only place they lack is militarily, but this is easily remedied. Click next to go to the civilization customization screen. C. Customize Your Civilization Keep the abilities and the political party the same. The default abilities that the Terrans have are good for a beginner. Whenever you gain more play experience you can edit these as you see fit, depending on your play style. If this is your first time playing with the Terrans, or any civilization for that matter, you will notice you have three extra ability points to distribute. Spend these as you see fit; however, as a word of advice, you may want to put those points in "Military", "Social" or "Economic" related abilities. The Federalist party provides a boost to your economy which is good for a beginning player. Feel free to change the name of your leader, planet data, ship type, etc. as you see fit. Click the next button to go to the choose opponents screen. D. Choose Opponents For the purpose of this guide, we will use all the races. Set the number of opponents to nine. Set the difficulty level to normal. Anything less than this, and the AI is just plain stupid. Click next to advance to the game. ============================================================================== IV. First Turns ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ In this section, we will setup your home world and your initial strategies for maximizing production, colonization, research, etc. --------------------- |A. Technology Tree | --------------------- This screen will pop up after the initial quarterly report. You'll notice that the Diplomacy branch of the tech tree is at the top. I don't think that this was done accidentally. The diplomacy branch is perhaps the most important of all the branches. It can mean the difference between having your butt handed to you and complete domination. You should ALWAYS do at least some research in this branch. For your initial turn, you should select "UNIVERSAL TRANSLATOR". This will be important because it will allow you to communicate (and trade) with all the civilizations basically from the start. It takes about 5 turns to research this particular tech. Once you have completed researching "UNIVERSAL TRANSLATOR", you should select "DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS" or "XENO RESEARCH" as your next tech. Since you will most likely colonize your first planet while researching this tech, we won't discuss more tech research for now. We will, however, discuss more techs in the "Early Game" section of the guide. ----------------------- |B. Colony Management | ----------------------- This screen shows a picture of Earth with eight green tiles and one yellow tile. Ignore the yellow tile for the moment; it will be available later when you do some more research. (You may have more than eight tiles available if you chose the "Planet Quality" skill.) Step 1. - Planetary Projects Some of your green tiles may or may not have small icons in the lower left hand corner. These small icons represent bonuses that these tiles provide. ALWAYS build on your bonus tiles first with the appropriate type of planetary project, and then build on your other tiles. The one exception to this rule would be tiles with "population" bonuses. In general, you will really only need to build one farming sector per planet, so, if you have more than one tile that provides a population bonus, only build a farming sector on one and use the other as you see fit. Obviously when given the choice between a tile that provides a higher bonus than the other, build the farming sector project on the higher bonus tile. Here is an example of how you could distribute your projects on Earth, your available tiles/bonus tiles may look different from this example. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | ------------------------------------------------------------------------- | | | | M | | R | | | | | | | | | | | G| | G| | | | | | | ------------------------------------------------------------------------- | | | M | | | R | | | E | | N | | | | |B G| | | G| | | G| Y| G| | ------------------------------------------------------------------------- | | | | M | | | | | | | F | | | | | | G| | | | | | | G| | ------------------------------------------------------------------------- | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | ------------------------------------------------------------------------- | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ KEY: G=Green Tile Y=Yellow Tile B=Manufacturing Bonus M=Factory R=Lab F=Farm E=Market Center N=Entertainment Network +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Make sure your factories are near the top of the build queue, as they will allow you to build other projects more quickly. The farm should be near the bottom, as Earth still has plenty of room for the population to grow. You may want to wait until later in the game to build a farm when your population is closer to the cap. The labs, market center and entertainment network should be in the middle of the build queue. We will discuss planetary project strategies more in-depth in the Early Game section. Step 2. - Focus Production In the first turns and initial colonization of ANY planet, it is best to focus production on "Social" projects. This allows you to build planetary projects more quickly. Click on the social production focus button to enable this. This button can be found at the top-center of the Colony Management screen at looks somewhat like a "V" with two concentric circles around it. Once you've finished this step, you can either proceed to Step 3 below, or go to the main window that shows your initial Colony Ship and Survey Ship by clicking "DONE" (Step 4.). Step 3. - Build a better Colony Ship. (Optional) Before leaving the colony management screen, you might want to build a faster, longer range Colony Ship. Go to the Ship Yard (click the button that looks like a ship on the lower button bar) and click "NEW". Select the topmost "CARGO HULL". Click the "MODULES" tab and add one "COLONY" module. While still under this tab, add two "BASIC SUPPORT" modules, which will increase your range. Now click the "ENGINES" tab and add two "HYPERDRIVES" to your ship, which will increase your speed. Click on the "EXTRAS" tab and add whatever eye-candy you want to. Once you're finished pimping out your new ship, click "SAVE" and name your new ship and type a little description if you so desire. Now, not only have you used the (really cool) ship builder option, but you've created a faster, longer range Colony Ship that is only slightly more costly than the stock Colony Ship! Now it's time to go out and colonize those distant worlds! Once you've finished this step go to the main window that shows the Earth and Solar System along with your initial Colony Ship and Survey Ship by clicking "DONE". Step 4. - Set Tax Rate & Industrial Production Once you've finished building your new colony ship, or, if you decided not to do that, finished focusing production, it's time for a few house housekeeping chores that you will need to do before you colonize your initial planets. During your first turns in establishing your home planet and initial colonies, it is important to have steady cash flow and MOST important to stay out of the red (deficit spending). If you start deficit spending at this point in the game, it will put you so far behind the other civilizations that you may never catch up. You will need to constantly adjust the tax rate and production sliders each and every turn for the first several turns until some of your projects are completed and you are generating a more stable cash flow. For the first turns, set your industrial capacity to 100% and your tax rate to a level that keeps your approval rating between 45 and 50%. You will need to click on the "DOMESTIC POLICY" button on the lower button bar to access these sliders. Since you are running under the "Imperial" form of government, the approval rating isn't as important as it will be later in the game. However, if the approval rating drops too low, designated by a red number on the main screen, the population will grow very slowly. At some point in the first turns, you may need to adjust the industrial capacity slider to less than 100% to continue to generate income rather than losing it. Try to keep capacity at LEAST 50% or higher at all times. If capacity is lower than this, some projects will take months to complete and some major projects may NEVER be completed! Set your "Military Production" slider to "0". Set your "Research" and "Social Production" sliders to "50" each. Since you will be buying Colony Ships out- right for the first several turns, this will allow you to build Social Pro- jects and complete Research more quickly. Once you have reached the point were you can no longer buy Colony Ships outright, set the "Military Production" and "Research Production" slider to around "40" and the "Social Production" slider to around "20". You should be able to leave these sliders in place for most of the game. During times of war you might need to boost "Military Production". Close the "Domestic Policy" screen. The main game screen will now be visible. ----------------------- | C. Main Game Screen | ----------------------- Once you've finished adjusting your Tax Rate and Industrial Capacity, it's time to start colonizing worlds and expanding your empire. Step 1. - Manage Survey Ship Double click on your Survey Ship. This will bring up the management screen where you can set some parameters. Click on "AUTO SURVEY". This will allow your ship to survey anomalies, which provide anything from money to technology boosts, automatically. You won't have to worry about your Survey Ship again until about "Mid Game" when you are informed that there are no more anomalies to be explored. Once you get this message, select "AUTO EXPLORE" on the management screen. This way, even though you can't explore anomalies, your Survey Ship can uncover more of the map, revealing vital information about the other civilizations. Step 2. - Buy Colony Ships At the beginning of the game, it's all about colonization. The more Colony Ships you have, the more planets you can colonize. Start out by clicking once on Earth and then clicking on the "Build Ship" button. Select your Colony Ship, if you've improved the ship, select the new version. Choose to "BUY" the ship. Buy the ship from the first option. It's more pricey than the others, but there is no interest accruing. You really don't want to buy from the other options, because you don't want to have that interest hanging over your head the rest of the game. You'll continue to buy Colony Ships over the next several rounds until you've nearly exhausted your funds. Remember though, NO DEFICIT SPENDING! Once you've reached the point where your nearly out of money, just let Earth build the ships until your funds are sufficient to buy another Colony Ship outright. You should almost always build or buy Colony Ships on Earth as they build faster and are somewhat cheaper than buying them on new colonies. You will stop buying Colony Ships when it becomes apparent that there are no more planets to colonize. Do NOT buy Scout Ships. You will uncover much of the galaxy with your Survey Ship, Colony Ships and (eventually) Freighters. Therefore, it is an utter waste of money to buy Scout Ships! Step 3. - Look at your Star System Take a quick look at your Star System on the main screen. Click on the various planets and look at the Class ratings. You can see that Earth is a Class 10, unless you have the "Planet Quality" skill, and Mars is a Class 4. The other planets are all class 0. If you click on the Sun (called Sol here), you will see the total number of planets in the system, total number of habitable plan- ets, and which civilizations own the planets, if they have been colonized. A few observations here about your Star System and ALL the star systems you'll encounter throughout the game that you will need to remember: 1. You can see how many HABITABLE planets are in a system by clicking on the central star. This means you only need to be able to see the star on the main screen to tell if there are habitable planets near by, and if they can still be colonized. No need sending a Colony Ship to a system where you can't see the planets, but you can see the star and it shows no habitable planets. 2. Habitable planets are ONLY found around two types of stars. The most common type is YELLOW. The second, much rarer type, is PURPLE. The difference between the two is that planets around PURPLE stars are almost always a VERY high Class. Usually in the very high teens or even into the twenties! If you see a star that is NOT one of these two colors, don't even bother sending a Colony Ship to that system. (Special events can change this rule, but at the beginning of the game, only Yellow and Purple systems are habit- able.) Step 4. - Look at the Star Chart (mini-map in the right-hand corner) This step is VERY important. You need to know where your home planet is in relation to the rest of the available star systems and the rest of the Major Civilizations. If you ended up in a remote corner of the Galaxy with little or no other star systems around to colonize, you may want to restart the game to get another randomly generated galaxy; otherwise, you're most likely in for a challenging game! The main reason you need to look at the Star Chart is to determine your strategy as to where to send your Colony Ships, and in which direction to try to expand your Empire's borders. Most times you will find yourself in a cluster of systems with one or two Major Civilizations within a 3-5 quadrant radius. Note the clusters of star systems around your neighbor's home worlds. This is difficult to explain, but many times one or more of your neighbors will have their path of expansion and colonization oriented away from you. Still, others may only be able to expand toward you. You need to determine which of your neighboring civilizations will most likely expand toward you and send your Colony Ships that direction first. Here is an example using a few quadrants and 2 neighboring civilizations. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ | | | | E | | | | | O | | (3)O | | | | | | O | | | O O | | | O | | | | | | O | O | | ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ | | | | O | (1)O| O| D 0 | | O A | | | O | | | | | | | | | | (2)O | | | | | | | | | | ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ KEY: O = Star Systems A = Arcean Home E = Terran Home D = Drengin Home ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ As you can see in the example above, the Arceans most likely will expand away from Earth, towards the three systems to their left. The Drengin, on the other hand, will most likely expand toward Earth. With this in mind, your first colony ships should be sent TOWARDS the Drengin. You would probably want to send your ships towards systems (1) or (2), at the furthest extent. If you try for the systems closer to the Drengin, you will probably end up empty handed, as they will most likely be colonized before your ships ever get there. System (3) will be a concern after you send 3-4 colony ships towards the Drengin. You don't want to wait too long before colonizing this system, as the Arceans will eventually start exploring in that direction. Remember, balance is important! You will need to expand in ALL directions, it is just important to take care of potentially contested systems first! Step 5. - Moving your Colony Ship Now that you have determined which way to expand first, it's time to send your Colony Ship towards a system in the proper direction. Select your Colony Ship. Zoom in to about 300-500X on the Star Chart and right-click on the star system you want to send your ship to. At this point you may be asking, "Why not colonize Mars first?" There are two reasons NOT to colonize Mars first: 1. Mars is ONLY a Class 4 planet. You always want to colonize higher class planets first! 2. Mars is easily reachable from Earth. In fact, Mars will probably be one of the last planets you colonize. Step 6. - Click the "TURN" button! (Finally...) Congratulations! You've just finished your first turn in GalCivII! I know you're probably thinking "big whoop...", but trust me, it gets better. Your next several turns will be very similar to the first turn outlined here. I consider the "First Turns" section of the game over whenever you colonize your first planet. So, with that in mind, continue following the guidelines until your first Colony Ship reaches your first potential colony, then, onto the next section! ============================================================================== V. Early Game ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ As stated previously, "Early Game" begins when you colonize your first planet. "Early Game" ends whenever it becomes apparent that there are no more planets to be colonized. In Early Game, your primary objectives, in order, should be: A. Colonization B. Planetary Projects C. Resource Starbase Construction D. Tech Research & Tech Trading E. Early Diplomatic Relations F. Early Ethics Development ------------------- | A. Colonization | ------------------- Colonization should be your number one goal during "Early Game". We've already discussed a little about Colonization in the "First Turns" section of the guide, now we will go a little more in-depth. As a review, remember to keep turning out Colony Ships during the first several turns, and sending the first Colony Ships toward the civilization that most likely will expand toward you. Once you have reached a star system with habitable planets, you will have a few options to consider before colonizing your first planet. These are general rules of thumb that work well in most colonizing situations: 1. Colonize higher Class planets first. When given the choice between a Class 5 and a Class 10, well, it should be a no-brainer. 2. Check neighboring star systems for higher Class planets if the other star systems are relatively near (ie. clustered close together). You never know, that star system that is less than a turn away could have a Class 26 just ripe for the taking! Disregard this rule if it is apparent that another civilization is making a bee-line for a habitable planet in the system you are currently exploring. You don't want them to colonize the planet you saw first! 3. Don't colonize nearby habitable planets right away. (See the note on Mars above.) Your first wave of Colony Ships will likely uncover some habitable planets on the way to their determined, more distant star systems. 4. Along the lines of point 3, don't be afraid to have your first wave of Colony Ships take little detours on the way to their destinations to un- cover star systems that may not be in their direct flight path. Remember, you only need to be able to see the central star to tell if there are any planets available. Send your later Colony Ships to these systems if planets are available. 5. Exception to Rule 3. If you see any planet Class 16 or higher, COLONIZE IT RIGHT AWAY! The last point that needs to be made here, it is okay if you end up with a few too many Colony Ships. Any extras can be upgraded to Constructors and, event- ually, Freighters. ------------------------- | B. Planetary Projects | ------------------------- Once you have started to colonize planets, you will want to start building Planetary Projects right away. In doing this, it is important to consider the Class of the planet that you are building on and the amount of each type of project that you will build. I divide planets into three different categories, based on class, which effects what projects I build on them: 1. Class 7 or less = Lower Class Planets. Most Lower Class planets will pro- gress no higher than Class 10 with "PLANETARY IMPROVEMENT" techs. 2. Class 8 to 13 = Middle Class Planets. Most civilization home worlds, and most habitable planets for that matter, are found in this Class range. Most Middle Class Planets will progress no higher than about Class 15 or 16 with "PLANETARY IMPROVEMENT" techs. 3. Class 14 or higher = High Class Planets. These are generally rare. If you see one of these, go after it! The sky is seriously the limit on these with "PLANETARY IMPROVEMENT" techs. (The highest Class I've ever seen was 36.) Before we discuss what types of projects to build on a certain category of planet, it is important to know the various types of projects. The projects can be divided into the following categories: 1. Basic = Includes projects that can be produced multiple times on multiple planets. Examples are Factories, Labs, Farms, Entertainment Networks, etc. 2. Special = Projects that can only be built once by every civilization, or projects that can only be built once by any civilization (ie. there can only be ONE of this particular project built in the game.) The following projects fall under this category: Galactic Achievements (eg. Temple of Light); Super Projects (eg. Manufacturing Capital); Trade Goods (eg. Aphro- disiac). Special Projects become available throughout the course of the game, and depend greatly on which technologies are researched. Now, finally, we will discuss how and what to build on your new colonies. Keep in mind that you do not have to follow these guidelines exactly. Also keep in mind that you may need to adjust the percentages somewhat throughout the game. Example 1: You might need to upgrade a Factory to an Entertainment Network to keep a planet happy. Example 2: You might not have colonized enough planets to build all of your Special Projects. The following table provides insight on how to build a balanced empire: ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ | Class of Planet | Basic Projects | Special Projects | Starport | ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ | Lower Class | R=100% | NO | Only if | | (<=7) | | | necessary.*| ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ | Middle Class | M=40% R=20% P=10% | YES** | YES*** | | (8-13) | I=5% L=5% D=5% E=10% | Remaining 5%. | | ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ | Higher Class | M=40% R=20% P=10% | YES | YES | | (>=14) | I=5% L=5% D=5% E=10% | Remaining 5%. | | ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ | KEY: R=Research M=Manufacturing P=Population I=Influence L=Loyalty/Morale | | D=Defense E=Economics | ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ NOTES on Chart: *Only build a Starport on Lower Class planets if strategically necessary. Example: You only managed to colonize a few worlds and need more ship product- ion; or, your Lower Class planet is on the frontier of a hostile civilization. If you need to do this, disregard the 100% Research suggestion, and only build Factories. **Middle Class planets should be your second choice for building Special Proj- ects. The simple reasoning behind this is Higher Class planets have more manu- facturing capability and, thus, can finish Special Projects more quickly. ***You may not want to build a Starport on a Middle Class planet if the planet is located in a system with other Middle Class or Higher Class planets AND the Middle Class planet in question is on the low end of the Middle Class scale. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Finally, three special notes on Lower Class planets, Construction queue and Higher Class planets. 1. Lower Class planets, due to the lack of available area for building Factor- ies, are best used as Research colonies. In order for Factories to be use- full, you need to have Military and Social projects to construct on that particular planet. You won't get much out of a Class 4 planet with two Factories and a Starport, as far as military production or social product- ion is concerned. You will get more use out of 3 Labs, however. 2. In the Construction queue for your new colonies, the order of projects should be Starport (if you are building one at all), Factories, and then, in any order; Influence, Loyalty/Morale, and Economic projects. Only build projects that increase Population once you begin to near the population cap. 3. Don't build on every available tile on Higher Class planets at first. You will need to leave some space for new projects as they become available. ------------------------------------- | C. Resource Starbase Construction | ------------------------------------- Throughout your empire's expansion you will run across galactic Resources that can be mined by Resource Starbases. In the "Early Game" it is important to claim these as soon as possible. If you wait too long, the other Major, and even the Minor, Civilizations will claim them. However, colonization is still the main goal. Don't sacrifice control of a star system just to get that re- source nearby. Here are some general guidelines to use for Resource Starbase Construction: 1. In "Early Game" you only need to build once on each resource. You will up- grade these Starbases in "Mid Game". 2. In general, wait to build Constructors when it looks as if you won't have many more planets to colonize. 3. Along those same lines, DON'T buy Constructors outright. If you follow #2 above, you should be able to build Constructors normally in just a few turns, rather than buying them. 4. Disregard guideline #2 in the case of a resource that is near another civ- ilizations borders. Build a Constructor, it may be necessary to build one on a new colony, and get a Starbase around that resource ASAP. This can be treated much like how to determine which direction / destination to send Colony Ships discussed in the "First Turns" section of the guide. 5. Don't worry about building on nearby resources right away. Just like with Mars, they will be easy to reach and so should be built on a little later. We will discuss Starbase Construction more in the next sections. ----------------------------------- | D. Tech Research & Tech Trading | ----------------------------------- For "Early Game" you will want to research technologies in a balanced manner. Hyperdrive, Xeno Communications, & Xeno Engineering are techs that are already researched by the Terrans when you start a new game. There are a few general rules of thumb that work well for "Early Game" tech research. General Guidelines for Tech Research: 1. Research techs that take no longer than 10-12 turns. You want to research as many techs as possible so you can trade with other civilizations. If you spend 50 weeks researching one tech, you will be at a serious dis- advantage when trying to trade for other techs. 2. In "Early Game" certain areas of the tech tree are somewhat more important than others. With this in mind, you will want to spend slightly more time in the branches that are deemed most important. However, remember it is all about BALANCE! 3. In reference to #3 above, the Diplomacy, Propulsion, Planetary Improvement, and Research branches are somewhat more important than the Logistics and Military branches in "Early Game". In "Early Game" you want to trade for as many techs as you can get your hands on. What this will mean is that you will need to offer the other civs that you come into contact with either techs that they don't have, money, influence, or a combination of the three. This philosophy will change in "Mid Game" and "End Game". A few guidelines for trading: 1. Get the most out of EVERY trade. Try different combinations of offers and try to get the best combination. Remember, money, trade goods, influence, etc. can be traded for. Try to get the most bang for your buck! 2. Try NOT to trade for techs that you can easily research on your own or that you are currently researching. It would be a waste of time and money to do this. In general, trade for techs that would take you awhile to get too on the tech tree, or that you don't plan on researching for awhile. (eg. You are researching New Propulsion Techniques and will probably ignore Xeno Research, trade for techs from the Xeno Research branch, but avoid techs from the Propulsion Branch. However, if the Propulsion tech you trade for is significantly more advanced than what you have, it is okay to trade for it.) 3. Avoid trading your military technologies or technologies that will allow other civilizations to resist your cultural influence. Trading either of these away can and will cause you some serious headaches later in the game. --------------------------------- | E. Early Diplomatic Relations | --------------------------------- This section will be brief for "Early Game". In general, make nice with every- one at the beginning of the game. You need to be able to trade for techs, so don't start asking for tribute (free money or free techs) at this point in the game. Don't attack other civilizations ships or colonies either, even if the colony is located in a system you own. The other civilizations, for the most part, will be nice to you as well. Most civilizations won't start threatening you or demanding tribute until "Mid Game". Luckily, you will be well prepared for that when the time comes! Sometime during "Early Game" you will have your first "United Planets" vote. The "UP" is an organization that helps to promote relations between races. It will often vote on anything from the type of government that the galaxy civi- lizations will run under to whether or not to equip Constructors with weapons. Quite simply, vote for the choice that is best for your empire. Depending on what is presented for voting, this may be an easy or very tough decision. Your vote is directly proportional to your population and the planets you control. In general, by the time you progress to your 3rd or 4th "UP" council meeting, you should possess the most influence of all the civilizations. Thus, you will be able to control just about every vote presented before the "UP". Finally, a note on espionage. In most cases you will want to wait until your economy improves, sometime in "Mid Game", to start spending much on espionage. If you feel you need to learn more about a particular civilization due to a threat or close proximity to your empire, spend the least amount of money on that particular civilization and then increase it when your economy improves. ------------------------------- | F. Early Ethics Development | ------------------------------- This section is included here because, by now, you should have run into your first "Moral Dilemma". "Moral Dilemmas" are decisions that must be made that effect your ethical alignment as well as various aspects of gameplay; anything from population to tech research to morale, etc. What these decisions will ultimately do, aside from the obvious gameplay changes, will effect how you are viewed by the other races as well as effect how much it will cost you to align your civilization under the "XENO ETHICS" branch of the tech tree. Choosing a specific alignment, (good, neutral, or evil), allows for some big gameplay bonuses and some previously unavailable technologies as well. The good news here is, no matter how far you lean one way or the other, you can always choose what alignment you want to be, it just might cost a lot to choose the one you are furthest from. A few points about ethics for "Early Game": 1. Always weigh the pros and cons of each choice. The "best" choice is often varied from dilemma-to-dilemma. Sometimes good, sometimes neutral, some- times evil. (I generally only pick the "Evil" choice if it improves planet quality or gives a soldiering/starship bonus.) 2. If 2 choices seem equally as good, always choose the one that is the best for your people. Keeping your population happy, healthy and growing is the most important aspect to keep in mind. (Basically, this means you will be able to collect more taxes.) 3. Be careful not to sway too far one way or the other in "Early Game". If you end up leaning heavily "Evil" or "Good", it will seriously degrade your relations with civilizations whose alignments are ethically opposed to you. 4. Along the same lines as #3 above, in general the "Neutral" choice is most often the best choice as far as how it will effect your people and your relations with the other civilizations. As stated previously, "Early Game" ends when you colonize your last planet. At this point you should be well on your way to establishing your empire. Hope- fully, the suggestions you have learned here have assisted you in doing so. ============================================================================== VI. Mid Game ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Once "Mid Game" begins, it will be time to change your focus from the "Early Game" objectives and start establishing your powerbase. It is more difficult to define, but for our purposes, "Mid Game" ends when the first Major civ- ilization has been defeated. For "Mid Game" your objectives should now be: A. Develop Military B. Develop Colonies C. Research Strategies D. Establish Trade E. Starbase Construction & Development F. Diplomatic Relations & Espionage G. Ethical Alignment ----------------------- | A. Develop Military | ----------------------- By "Mid Game" you have hopefully researched or traded for technology that will allow you to start developing your military. It is VERY important for you to have a strong military presence in the game for a number of reasons, even if you are seeking a research oriented or diplomatic victory. The first reason is obvious, if you need or want to attack a planet, colony, or fleet, you will need ships to do this. The second reason is less obvious; having a strong military keeps other civilizations from attacking you, (or at least they will think twice about it before doing so), demanding tribute or making threats. On top of that, weaker civilizations will start giving you little "gifts" to make nice and hopefully keep the "big boy" (aka YOU) from attacking them. A few pointers when developing your military: 1. Start building military ships as soon as they become available. Usually the "Defender" is the first ship available. 2. Don't overspend on your military. You pay upkeep costs for every ship in your fleet. Unless you are going to war, or an invasion is about to occur, there is no need to produce more ships than it takes to garrison each plan- et in your empire. (See point 3 below.) 3. Garrison your planets. There is nothing worse than a Troop Transport coming out of nowhere and dropping an army on your undefended planet! In general, garrison your planets to the point where the spaceport is at least 50%-75% full. (Leaving a little space to build other ships when necessary.) 4. Quantity can be as good as Quality. Most of your military production should be focused on smaller ships. Big ships are nice but, logistically, smaller ships can end up packing much more of a "wallop", especially if you keep upgrading them. In most cases, about 85% of your military should be smaller ships. 5. OPTIONAL. Build a better fighter. Just like with the Colony Ship, whenever your first military vessel becomes available there is a good chance that you will be able to produce a significantly better version with the techs you possess. Try different combinations in the ship yard for the best out- come. Continue to upgrade your fighter as new components become available. There will be some pointers in the "End Game" section about building ships. ----------------------- | B. Develop Colonies | ----------------------- The primary goals in developing colonies center on planetary projects, influ- ence growth, and population growth. Planetary Projects: Many of your projects will upgrade automatically as you complete research; however, projects are not built automatically so you will need to survey your planets every now and then and build when new projects are available. In order to not get bogged down checking every planet every turn, do a quarterly survey of all of your planets and build new projects as they become available. Keep in mind the suggestions from the "Early Game" section when deciding what new projects to build on certain classes of planets. It is important to check on new projects periodically because you do not want other civilizations building "Galactic Wonders" and "Trade Goods" before you do. Once either of these are finished, no more can be produced. One additional point, build EVERY project that is available. Don't neglect certain projects because you don't think they will be useful. Influence: Your influence is affected by many things: population, type of government, techs researched, planetary projects, influencer starbases, other outside civilization influences. In consolidating your empire, it is important to have your influence be as strong as possible. This will allow you to control your colonies more effectively. Your influence should grow throughout the game, un- less other civilizations begin to gain the upper hand. There are many ways to increase your influence: 1. Build planetary projects that increase influence, such as Embassies. Read the descriptions of the projects to see which give increases to influence. If you have followed the outline for building on your planets this should not be a problem. 2. Change your government to a more open society. You get HUGE bonuses for up- grading your government. Do keep in mind that in order to maintain control of the government your party must hold the majority of the seats in the Senate. The best advice here is keep your people happy and you won't have a problem. Your government should be at least a "Star Democracy" by the end of "Mid Game". 3. Build influencer starbases and research the influence branch of the tech tree. These two go hand-in-hand. You can use influence spread by starbases to peacefully bring colonies NOT under your control into your empire. Excellent for use when an ally has a colony inside your empire's borders. Influencer starbases are also good for bridging gaps between systems if one of your systems is too far away to fall under the influence of the central part of your empire. 4. Increase your population. The more people you have the more influence you have and can exert. Increasing your population is VERY important. Discussed more in the next section. Population: As stated above, increasing your population is VERY important. This allows you to increase your influence as well as collect more taxes. Researching techs and trade goods that increase population is important. Keep in mind that you will need to check your planet's population limits periodically and build farms as necessary to keep the population growing. Increase your approval to 100%, if even for a short time. Once your economy starts to run more efficiently, try decreasing taxes, research entertainment, build projects that increase birthrate, or that improve morale, and watch your population soar! You will not be able to keep your approval at 100% for the entire game because you will start deficit spending. However, getting your approval to 100% for even a few months will help to increase your population immensely! In this situation it is okay to be losing money to grow your pop- ulation; however, don't allow your treasury to go into the red (negative num- bers) as this will prevent you from doing Research, Social Projects and Mili- tary Projects. ------------------------ | C. Increase Research | ------------------------ At this point, you can pretty much research what you want. However, remember balance is key. You don't want to spend too much time in any one branch of the tech tree. A few pointers on Research: 1. There is ONE exception to the "balance" rule, if you are planning on pursuing a "Technological Victory", it may be a good idea, even in early "Mid Game", to start down the "Technological Victory" path and simply trade for other techs. 2. With tech trading in mind, by "Mid Game" you will want to almost always buy techs from the other civilizations outright. That is, don't trade any of your techs away if you don't have too. Remember though, no deficit spend- ing. This will allow you to obtain techs and strengthen your position while essentially weakening, or at least maintaining, the other civilization's position. The AI doesn't handle money as well as you do, so it's better to give them money for techs than to trade tech-for-tech to them directly. 3. Certain techs allow for planetary project upgrades to occur automatically. While these projects are upgrading, they will cause a significant strain on your economy. With this in mind, while the new projects are upgrading, con- centrate your research on techs that will NOT cost money once they are finished being researched. See the example below: (Example: You have just finished researching "GALACTIC STOCK EXCHANGE". Now all of your colonies with banks on them will begin upgrading. Some will finish sooner than others. While you are waiting for the upgrades to com- plete, you could do some research in the "Military Branch" of the Tech Tree, which will not cost you money when finished researching. Once all the Stock Markets are built you can focus research on another tech that will allow planetary project upgrades.) Basically, alternate back and forth between techs that will cost you money when they are finished being researched and techs that will not cost you money when they are finished being researched.
4. Remember how I said "don't spend too much time in any one branch of the Tech Tree"? Well, that still holds true; however, you will notice through- out the course of the game that your opponents will concentrate much of their Military research on a particular type of weapon and defense. With this in mind, concentrate your Military research on whatever techs will counteract their weaponry and defenses. On higher difficult levels, the AI will change it's research tactics around to counteract your military re- search, so make sure you stay on your toes as far as keeping up with changes as needed. 5. Focus production on your research colonies to "Research". Once your colon- nies that are primarily research oriented are done upgrading/building planetary projects, change production on that planet to "Research". This allows you to research techs more quickly. ---------------------- | D. Establish Trade | ---------------------- Hopefully you have researched the trade technology by the early part of "Mid Game". If not, do so right away. Establishing trade routes with the other civ- ilizations, both Major and Minor, can end up being a HUGE source of income. Many times you will be able to generate enough income from trade to decrease your tax level into the teens, thus making your population happy and more loyal. A few suggestions when establishing trade routes: 1. Build all your Freighters on one planet. This will allow you to tax trade routes more easily. (Discussed more in the starbase section below.) Usually Earth is a good choice, or another well defended planet deep inside your empire. 2. Send Freighters to distant planets. The further a planet you are trading with is from your origin, the more money the route generates. 3. Establish routes with planets that have high revenue. Planets with higher revenue make trade routes more profitable. 4. Don't neglect Minor civilizations. Minor civs often times provide very high profit from trade routes. 5. Don't be afraid to kill a route. Kill routes when it appears that you can establish a more profitable route elsewhere, once you've reached your trade route limit. 6. Spread your trade around. This does three things: 1)Improves relations with more civilizations; 2)Uncovers more of the galaxy (free espionage...); 3) If something happens to one of the civs you are trading with and trade routes are lost, it won't hurt your income as bad. You might want to call this "diversifying your portfolio". ------------------------------------------ | E. Starbase Construction & Development | ------------------------------------------ The amount of Starbase construction varies from player-to-player. Some players build many, some build few. Despite what your playing style is or will become, you will have to build at least a few of these. Here are some suggestions for each type of Starbase: Resource Starbase: Upgrade these to the fullest extent of their mining capacity. These will do nothing but help your empire, plain and simple. When military modules become available, it is a good idea to upgrade these fully as well. You will want to protect these starbases as much as possible. Influence Starbase: Influence Starbases are both the most useful and expendable of the Starbases. 1. Upgrade to the fullest cultural influence extent when attempting a cultural conquest of a planet. 2. Destroy the Starbase if you have conquered all the planets in the system. Once an Influence Starbase has served it's purpose, there is no reason for it to take up some of your Starbase logistics score. 3. Build an entry level Influence Starbase in other civilizations empires to extend your ships, (both military and trade), ranges. Low level In- fluence Starbases are generally not viewed as threatening by other civ- ilizations. 4. Build Influence Starbases close to your planets that are located in other empire's systems. This will help to keep your population loyal and offset the other civilization's influence on that planet. 5. Do not build defenses on these starbases as you will end up destroying most of them anyway. Economy Starbase: Economy Starbases are extremely useful and should be maintained throughout the game. 1. Economy Starbases are most useful if their area of effect covers more than one colony. Therefore, build these where you find colonies that fit this description. Do not build these around lone colonies, unless there are trade routes that pass through their area of influence. 2. Build Trade modules on EVERY Economy Starbase that has a trade route pass through it's area of influence. Easy money. 3. Build Economy Starbases with Trade modules where there are large amounts of trade traffic, even in other civiililzation's territories. Economy Star- bases are not viewed as threatening unless you are at war with the civ whose territory you are in. (Even more easy money...) 4. Economy Starbases need to be defended, but you generally don't want to add defense/weapon modules until you have maxed out your economy modules. Military Starbase: Military Starbases can be very useful both defensively and offensively. You most likely will have less of these than any of the other starbases. 1. Defense: Build Military Starbases where their area of effect will cover multiple systems. This will maximize their effectiveness, especially when coupled with multiple fleets around the planets in the Starbase's area of influence. 2. Defense: You may wish to only build a few of these and maximize the ones that you have. If you decide to do this, build Military Starbases only around your systems that would be the first to be attacked in the case of an invasion. (ie Fortify the battle front!) 3. Offense: Military starbases are a little less practical for offensive pur- poses, since they don't move; however, a fleet of well defended Construct- ors can put up a powerful Military starbase in just one turn that will help greatly in the conquering of a system. 4. In the case of Defense, maximize the Military modules. In the case of Off- ense, build only modules that you need, since you will likely destroy the base after it has served it's purpose. --------------------------------------- | F. Diplomatic Relations & Espionage | --------------------------------------- Sometime during "Mid Game" one or more civilizations will declare war on an- other civilization, demand tribute, etc. Hopefully, you won't be the one that is getting attacked or threatened. YOU want to be the one doing that! A few observations about how to keep your diplomatic relations at a high level and avoid confrontation until you are ready for it. 1. Try to be peaceful. If you have a history of peace with a civilization, they will be less likely to attack you. (Obviously this will change if you decide to start pursuing a Military or Diplomatic victory.) 2. Have a strong military. This can be a double edged sword as some civs will respect your military might and others will view you as militaristic. However, it's better to be viewed as militaristic than it is to be viewed as weak. 3. Maintain a high level of diplomacy. This can be achieved through research and planetary projects that increase diplomacy. The other civs will respect you more if you are "smarter" than they are. 4. Establish trade. This was mentioned above. The more trade routes you have with a particular civ, the better relations you will have. 5. Ethical alignment. This will be affected by your moral/ethical dilemmas. If you are surrounded by civilizations that are of a particular alignment, you may want to skew your alignment in that direction in order to maintain good relations. (Unless you are strong enough militarily to do as you please!) 6. Give gifts. This should only be used as a last resort. Techs, money and trade goods can be sent to other civs to help improve relations. However, your good-will can only go so far, so don't over give just to have your gift used against you in the next turn. 7. Form alliances. In version 1.4x this is much harder to do than in previous versions of the game. When possible form as many alliances as you can. Obviously stronger allies are better, but weak allies are better than NO allies. If you follow points 1-6 above, it will be easier to ally with other civs. On lower difficulty settings, alliances generally will only be broken by the AI if one of their stronger allies goes to war with you or vice-versa. 8. Be careful who you make alliances with. Unless the civilization is very powerful, you may want to avoid allying with a civilization that is con- stantly going to war, as this will degrade your relations with the other civilizations if you choose to honor your alliance. One quick point about espionage. As soon as you can afford to, spend a small amount of money on espionage for EVERY civilization. Once you have reached the "ADVANCED" level of espionage, stop spending money on that particular civ. If you don't have enough money to spend on every civ, spend it on the ones that appear to be the most threatening. Remember, "Know Thine Enemy". ------------------------ | G. Ethical Alignment | ------------------------ Finally, a word on ethical alignment. Sometime during "Mid Game" you should research the "GOOD AND EVIL" tech. This will allow you to align with a specific moral outlook. As mentioned above, keep in mind that this will affect your relations with other civs who are ethically opposed to you. In general, it is a good idea to wait until most of the other civs have chosen their alignments before researching this. This allows you to adjust your outlook on which direction to lean. Additionally, this will also allow you to gain more bonuses from dilemmas. Once you have chosen an alignment, you will no longer be presented with dilemmas. Again, you will want to research "GOOD AND EVIL" and it's following techs as this will grant you many great bonuses to loyalty, trade, income, defense, re- search, etc. One final point about Ethical Alignment. If you are going for a Diplomatic Victory, it would be a good idea to make allies before declaring your align- ment. In this way, you may be able to have an alliance in place with a civ that you may not be able to ally with after choosing your alignment. Of course you will have an easier time making allies AFTER declaring your alignment if the civilization shares the same view. Therefore, use this suggestion accord- ingly. As stated previously, once the first major civilization has been defeated, "Mid Game" ends and "End Game" begins. In the case of a civilization being de- stroyed very early in "Mid Game", disregard this view until the next major civ is destroyed. ============================================================================== VII. End Game ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Now that you have advanced into "End Game" it should become apparent that a few, say 2-4, civilizations have come to the forefront as the major players in the galactic race. Hopefully your empire could be considered one of those maj- or players. Much of what you have learned and done in "Mid Game" will carry over into "End Game". With that in mind, in this section we will discuss strategies for each type of victory at length. Since "ship building" is useful for each type of victory condition, it has been given it's own section below as well. Review what is necessary for the victory conditions, if necessary, in section "II" above. A. Conquest Victory B. Diplomatic Victory C. Influence Victory D. Research Victory E. Ship Building ----------------------- | A. Conquest Victory | ----------------------- The Conquest Victory is perhaps the most long and drawn-out of the 4 victory conditions; however it can also be the most rewarding. Below are some suggest- ions for strategies to achieve this type of victory. Some of these suggestions have been mentioned earlier, but are brought up here again as a reminder. 1. Make and break alliances. A military victory is significantly easier if you make even a few alliances initially. Remember though, in order to achieve this victory condition, you must destroy EVERY major civilization. This means that once your non-allied foes are defeated, you will need to break an alliance with one or more of your allies to continue towards this type of victory. 2. Spy on your enemies and adjust technology accordingly. Simple enough, really. Click on your enemy's planets and their ships to see what kind of weapons and defenses they are using. Research weapons and defense that counter-act their weapons and defense. Again, while balance is key, you will want to concentrate a little bit more on the areas of the Military branch that allow you to exploit your enemy's weaknesses. 3. Maximize your soldiering. A Conquest Victory is basically impossible without a good soldiering score. Research BOTH branches of the Tech Tree that deal with soldiering fully. They are "PLANETARY INVASION" and "PLANETARY DEFENSE". Make sure you build the "Tir Quan" training center as soon as it becomes available! 4. Maximize your "Logistics" score. Fleets are exponentially more powerful when you have more ships in them. The higher the "Logistics" score, the better. Keep in mind that some Planetary Projects can increase your "Logistics" score, so build appropriately. 5. Maximize "Miniaturization". More miniaturization allows you to put more weapons, engines, defenses, support modules, etc. onto your ships. This allows your ships to pack much more of a wallop than without miniaturization. Again, keep in mind that some Planetary Projects allow for increased miniaturization. 6. Focus planetary production. The way the game works, if you are not currently building a "Social" project the unused resources are diverted towards "Military" production. Basically leave your production focused on "Social" on any colony capable of producing ships. In the case of an overwhelming invasion, focus production on "Mili- tary". On your "Research Colonies", colonies without Starports, you will not need to change your production focus. 7. Adjust "Military Production" slider, if necessary. In some cases, it may be necessary to bump this up to turn out ships a bit faster. In general though, if you followed the suggestion above in the "First Turns" section (IV. B. 4.) you should not need to do this often. 8. Utilize Military Starbases. Pretty much the same thing discussed in the "Mid Game" section (VI. E. Military Starbase). 9. Build/ Upgrade your ships wisely. Sometimes you can't wait for that next good weapon and have to build with what you already have. However, if a smaller, better version of a weapon or defense is just around the corner, wait if you can. 10. Be careful who you declare war on. This is where the "Save" feature is nice. If you declare war on one civ, you may find that a bunch of the other civs that are allied with the civ you attacked, even if they are already allied with you, may attack you. It's not very fun to have 3-5 civilizations invading your territory all at once. With this in mind, hopefully you can see why maintaining good relations with your allies is important. In general, if you can maintain a strong military the other civs will not break their alliances with you when you attack one of their allies. 11. Attack civs that are easy to reach, ie. don't spread your forces thin. This should be a no-brainer. You don't want to fly half-way across the galaxy to attack your enemy. This makes it very difficult to maintain your fleets if they suffer losses. Additionally, traveling long distances opens your fleets up to attacks along the way to their destinations. Start out close to home and gradually advance as you take more and more systems. 12. Utilizize Influencer Starbases. This tactic is particularly useful in reference to #11 above. If your potent- ial enemy is just beyond the borders of one of your allies systems, use Cultural Conquest to bring the allied system under your control so that you can advance into your enemy's territory later on. 13. Continue turning out ships. You will need to keep a watch on this so you don't end up going bankrupt pay- ing upkeep costs. However, if you are actively at war, you will need to keep your production up to replace lost vessels. 15. Use rally points. These make it MUCH easier to manage your fleets. See the in-game tutorial about these. 16. Bribe other civs to go to war. If your economy is strong/rich enough, you can often pay stronger civs to attack weaker civs. This is usually VERY expensive and is greatly effected by a number of factors, including: military strength of the civ you are bribing, diplomatic relations with you, military strength of the civ the bribed civ will be attacking, and diplomatic relations between the two civs that will be involved. If you manage to do this, however, it will make your conquest vic- tory that much easier because both civs will, at the very least, be weakened after the conflict or one may even be destroyed! 17. Be the "victim". You can often provoke other civs to attack you by degrading relations with them through various means, such as Trade Embargos, demanding free money or techs, building high-level Influence Starbases in their territories, refusing to aid them either with money or techs, etc. If another civ attacks you rather than you attacking them, many times "neutral" civs will come to your aid. This tactic is not always successful, however... 18. Be tactical! Take out your enemies' starbases, especially if these help to increase their range into your empire. Destroy enemy trade routes, build starbases on enemy resources after you have destroyed their mining colonies. Try to conquer plan- ets that have large manufacturing capabilities, trade goods, super projects, galactic wonders, etc. Anything that will hurt your enemies' economy, military or soldiering will help you immensely in achieving a Conquest Victory. ------------------------- | B. Diplomatic Victory | ------------------------- I like to call this type of victory the "Lazy Man's Conquest Victory". So, as you can guess, this is my preferred form of victory. Many of the same suggest- ions from the "Military Victory" section above apply here. With that in mind, I will only touch on new strategies in this section. Most of these strategies involve improving your relations with the other civilizations. You can click on the "Foreign Policy" button and then on the "Reports" tab to see how other civs view you and what factors effect that view. 1. Make Alliances (duh) and DON'T break them, unless absolutely necessary. In version 1.4X this is significantly more difficult than in earlier versions of the game. In pre-1.4X versions you could easily make allies with just about any civ by giving them money or mid-level techs, now, it takes MUCH more than that. In many games you will find that you really only have decent success in allying with other civs of like-alignment. This makes this type of victory much more challenging. With this in mind, be very careful about breaking alliances. In many cases, you will be unable to ally with that civilization again. (And for good reason too, you dis-honorable weasel!) 2. Increase diplomacy. As stated earlier, if you have increased your diplomacy through research and planetary projects, the other civs will view you in a more favorable light. 3. Establish trade. This is perhaps the easiest way to improve relations because it's easy for you to control. As stated earlier, establishing trade routes with another civ im- proves relations with that civ. Once, however, you are allied with that civ, kill some of the trade routes to it and establish new trade routes with an- other civ you are trying to "woo". 4. Hold off on the conquering, for awhile... This applies to conquering both Major and Minor civs. If you have a reputation for conquering other civs, this will degrade your relations with the civs that remain. Keep in mind you can get this reputation through using influence to take over colonies as well. Hold off on conquering until you have made a few alliances. 5. Hold off on declaring your alignment. As stated earlier, you will have an easier time allying with civs if you have a similar alignment. The best use of this strategy is to watch what the most powerful civs are doing and then follow accordingly to help improve relations with them. (eg. If the Arceans are clearly the most powerful civ in the game by "Mid Game", your best bet is to lean towards or declare Neutrality as your ethical alignment.) 6. Maintain your military. This can be a double-edged sword when it comes to making alliances. Civs that are militaristic (Drengin) will have an unfavorable view of you if your mili- tary is weak. Civs that are peaceful (Thalan) will have an unfavorable view of you if your military is too strong. With this in mind, the best rule of thumb is "stronger is better". You basically have better control of your victory strategy if you do not have the militaristic civs breathing down your neck all game. With that said, once the militaristic civs are defeated or weakened sig- nificantly, you can cut back a little on you military to help improve your re- lations with the tree-hugger, peace-nik civs... 7. Be peaceful as long as you can stand it. If you have a long standing, peaceful relationship with another civ, this will aid your in relations, and eventual alliance making with that civ. Obviously, if you have been at war off-and-on with another civ for years, this will hurt your ability to form an alliance. 8. Provide aid when it is requested. Many civs will come begging for help during times of war or will request money for "peace-keeping" efforts, which differs from "give us money so we will let you live." In these cases, provide aid, even if it's like 100 credits. This will only serve to improve your relations with that civ. (I recently played a game where the Drengin had become "Wary" of me, which means they would most likely attack me soon. A few turns later they asked for money for "peace-keep- ing". I gave them money and my status changed from "Wary" to "Friendly" in one turn! Just a few months later and they accepted an alliance with me!) ------------------------ | C. Influence Victory | ------------------------ The "Influence Victory" should be called "killing aliens with kindness." This particular type of victory condition often leads to big time money by the time you achieve it, as you gain tourism income based on your influence's area of effect. Many of the suggestions in the sections above for "Military" and "Dip- lomatic" victories apply in this section. As before, we will only bring up new strategies here. 1. Research the "Government" & "Influence" branches of the tech-tree fully. You will get huge bonuses to your influence by doing this as well as open up new Starbase modules and Planetary Projects that increase influence. 2. Build influence planetary projects. This is especially important for colonies that lie on the outer regions of your empire, or that share a system with an opponent's colony. Examples of projects that increase influence: Cultural Exchange Centers, Political Cap- ital. 3. Maximize Influence Starbases. As stated above, build the maximum number of influence modules on a Starbase. This rule mostly applies to Influence Starbases built to conquer colonies or spread influence in another civs sphere of influence. 4. Build low-level Influence Starbases in empty space. The parts of the galaxy that are NOT under any influence, that are not out- lined by a race's primary color, can be brought under your influence by simply building low-level Influence Starbases. Even though these areas don't have any colonies, this will still count towards your overall influence. 5. Take colonies from other civs that have high influence. Inevitably you will go to war sometime during your game; with that in mind, when given the opportunity to possibly conquer an opponent's worlds, go after the colonies that have high influence, or that contain projects that boost in- fluence. It really makes sense because you will greatly increase your in- flunece by doing this, while greatly decreasing your opponent's influence. It also makes sense on a tactical scale, if you take a very influential planet, many times the other planets nearby will fall under your sway without needing to be invaded. (I'm usually not that patient, however...) ----------------------- | D. Research Victory | ----------------------- I call this victory condition the "I'm-tired-of-this-galaxy-and-want-to-start- over-victory." (Please excuse the long hyphenated word.) Of the 4 types of victories, this is probably the easiest. Again, many of the suggestions from the preceding sections apply here. New strategies are below. 1. Protect yourself. This type of victory is easiest if you have managed to establish a strong military presence beforehand. This involves having your weapons and defenses at a level that, while probably less advanced than other civs, will still make them think twice about attacking you. 2. Focus production. Focus production on colonies to "Research". Once you are nearing your goal of a "Research Victory", you may even want to focus production on colonies that are actively building military or social projects over from "Social" or "Mili- tary" to "Research". 3. Align with "Neutral". If you declare "Neutral" as your ethical alignment, you will be able to in- crease your research capabilities greatly with the "TEMPLE OF NEUTRALIY" pro- ject. 4. Build Planetary Projects that increase research. Aside from "Xeno Lab" and it's subsequent upgrades, you can build "Super pro- jects" and "Trade Goods" that increase research. 5. Decommission some Planetary Projects to add Research projects. If you have massive amounts of "Social Production", or any other type of pro- ject in large amounts, don't be afraid to destroy these to build more research oriented projects. Usually it's best to do this in "End Game". 6. Increase Research spending. You can accomplish this by bumping up the Research slider on the "Domestic Policy" menu. If you have followed the suggestion of 40% Military, 20% Social, 40% Research, the best way to increase Research would be to decrease spending on Military, unless you are actively at war. I would not decrease any slider to less than 20%. The one exception to this suggestion would be if you are currently researching "Technological Victory", in this case you could bump up the spending on Research to 100% if you wanted to, since the game will be end- ing soon. -------------------- | E. Ship Building | -------------------- I highly recommend building your own ships. Not only is it fun, but it also allows you to build ships that are usually MUCH better than the stock ships the game provides for you. Everyone has a different way of doing things when it comes to fleets, ship building and upgrading. Below is what I find works for me on a regular basis. Read the "Five Keys To Ship/Fleet Building" and then onto the table with recommendations for the 5 different sizes of vessels. Keep in mind that these are ONLY recommendations. Five Keys To Ship/Fleet Building (this is basically review). 1. Miniaturization A better miniaturization score allows you to pack more weapons, defenses, en- gines, modules, etc. onto your ships. Miniaturization is what makes your ships truly powerful. It won't matter much if you have the ultimate missile, but can only fit one of them on a ship... 2. Speed (aka BETTER & MORE Engines) Speed does two things for you: 1)You can mobilize, defend, attack and re- inforce better; 2) Your ships are less likely to get hit by slower enemy vessels in battle. 3. Logistics Not quite as important as the first two keys, but something to keep in mind. A better logistics score allows you to build better, more powerful fleets. 4. Weaponry Obviously better weapons allow for more powerful ships, but your weapons are much more effective in larger quantities (miniaturization), on faster ships (speed), and on more ships (logistics). Therefore, while weaponry is certain- ly important, it is not as important as the first three key points. 5. Armor Just like #4 above. But, a little less important since you really only should use armor on "Medium" class ships or above. TABLE: Ship Classes and Component Recommendations ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ | Class of Ship | Engine # | Weapon % | Armor % | Module % | Best Usage | ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ | Tiny | 1-2 | 95 | 0 | 5 | Support | | Fleet % = 25 | | | | | Quick Strike | ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ | Small | 1-2 | 95 | 0* | 5 | Defense, Quick | | Fleet % = 35 | | | | | Strike, Support | ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ | Meduim | 2 | 75-80 | 10-15 | 10 | Assault, Defense| | Fleet % = 25 | | | | | Support | ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ | Large | 2-3 | 70 | 15 | 15 | Assault | | Fleet % = 10 | | | | | | ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ | Huge | 2-4 | 70 | 15 | 15 | ASSAULT!!! | | Fleet % = 5 | | | | | | ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ *PLEASE NOTE THAT "ARMOR" = ALL THE DEFENSIVE TECHS. NOTES on each Class: ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Tiny: Basically flying weapons that should be used as support, & protection for the "big-boy" ships. Limited use in attacking enemy freighters, starbases can be dangerous, particularly with attack capabilities. Armor is a complete waste on this ship class. Modules should only be for life support. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Small: (Most versatile ship class.) Best used to defend colonies and quick strikes against enemy starbases. Also can be used in support of larger ships, but not as good logistically as Tiny craft. Good ships for escorting Troop Transports. Armor should ONLY be con- sidered on rare occasions, and only in the case of colony or transport ship defense. Modules should only be for life support. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Medium: (Second most versatile ship class.) Primary assault ships. Useful in defense of colonies and especially starbases. Can provide support for larger craft if logistically possible. (In this case, this will be most likely your flag-ship's, and I don't mean the survey vessel, fleet!) Again, smaller craft are better in support role than medium. Weapons are somewhat more important than armor at this point. However, armor is useful on these and should be equipped no matter what the role. Modules can include both life support and sensors. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Large: Assault ships. Usually 2-3 of these per fleet with higher level logistics. These ships should be considered the "battle ships" of your fleet, so deck them out with both weapons and defense accordingly. Too big to be a good sup- port ship. Monetarily wasteful if used only as defense for colonies and star bases. Expensive, so protect them with smaller craft and lots of defensive techs. Modules SHOULD include both life support and sensors. Additionally, these make very good "Combat Transports", so add "Troop Modules" when needed. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Huge: The "big-daddy". VERY expensive. Maybe 1-5 of these in your ENTIRE armada. (An armada is what you would call all of your fleets combined...) Basically these are flying fortresses. Deck them out with both defense and weaponry. These are so stinking expensive you MUST have defensive capabilities on them, and lots of it. These are, of course, assault ships. They should be protected by small- er craft and used in assaults on particularly strong enemy fleets, heavily defended colonies or if you are attempting to make a large push deep into enemy territory. Modules SHOULD include both life support and sensors. Not as good as Large craft for troop transport, due to cost and length of building. The true "Flag-Ship" of your fleet. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ "End Game" is over when, well, the game is over! Hopefully the knowledge that you have gleaned from this guide has helped you to not only be the victor, but has allowed you to choose the way you wanted to do it. ============================================================================== VIII. Version History, Credits & Legal ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Version History: - v1.1: Finished on 1/22/2007 @ 10:40 PM CST Submitted to GameFAQs on 1/22/2007 @ 10:50 PM CST Permission granted to the following sites to post guide: Super Cheats [http://www.supercheats.com] Neoseeker [http://neoseeker.com] Changelog: Fixed some grammatical and spelling errors. Granted sites above permission to post guide. - v1.0: Finished on 1/11/2007 @ 4:45 PM CST Submitted to GameFAQs on 1/13/2007 @ 9:25 PM CST Credits: -Stardock Games- www.stardock.com Creators of GalCivII. A truly guilty pleasure of mine. Some of the most im- mersive gameplay I've seen in a turn-based strategy game, or ANY strategy game in a long time. Some of the best AI I've every played against too! -GalCivII Forums- www.galciv2.com Random tidbits of knowledge and strategy that I hadn't thought of. -GameFAQs- www.gamefaqs.com For posting this, my very first, guide. Legal: This document is copyrighted by Matthew Miller (MI64) and may not be reproduc- ed or altered, in whole or in part, by any other person or entity. This docu- ment may only be posted on GameFAQs.com [http://www.gamefaqs.com], sites noted in the Version History or the author's personal web-site. If you have found this document on a site other than those listed in the Version History section or would like to receive permission to post this guide on your site, please contact the author at: email@example.com. *This guide is dedicated to Jennifer and Brady, who have lovingly allowed me to waste my time playing video games when I need to relax...* ==============================================================================