So there are a lot of newbies or even advanced players out there asking how to win or stay ahead. This is a simple tutorial of my style of play.
1. [Colonization] At the beginning of your game, the first thing you want to do is get colony ships and explore fast. First thing I do is send EVERY ship in each direction (aim for the nearest stars, as planets surround stars).
- Build a cheap colony ship that you designed. Basically just a freighter with an engine and a colony module. Instead of taking 10 turns to build, this might only take 4 or 5. its also cheaper to buy. These have limited range however, so make sure you do not colonize your nearest planet with your starter ship or ships you get from benevolent tree or from mercenaries. You can easily get 2 for 1 pricing/manufacturing from these ships to colonize nearby planets.
- Don't be afraid to stretch yourself thin at the beginning! Capture as many planets as you can, only build scouts when you need them, you can get ships from anomalies too! Scout with EVERY single ship!! Send your Mace-01 that you just got from the anomaly to another star system, it has 4 moves, but so what? Use it instead of letting it sit there!
- Buy scout ships/colony ships from mercenary bazaar, this is a huge resource boost.
- New colony ships should be only built with .5 or 1 population really unless you can spare more. Your planets will grow in time. If you get "gifted" or find or purchase a fully loaded colony ship, drop it at the homeworld and "re-launch" it, and you will gain +2 population on your homeworld for use in other ships.
2. [Planet Buildup] Your homeworld should be focused on manufacturing immediately. Buy the asteroid mining belts, setup manufacturing starbase nearby, build factories. Get your homeworld in the first few turns to churn out colony ships. This also helps with the militarization step that is coming up.
- You can always destroy buildings later! Focus on building up your colonies. It doesn't have to be perfect. First thing I do is build 2 factories/solar plant on a colony, get 2 or 3 squares dedicated to manufacturing. The faster you can build, the more your colony will grow! You can destroy these later if you want/need.
3. [Colonization Bonuses] Choose your Pragmatic/Benevolent/Malevolent trees carefully. Plan which will give you the biggest boost long term. Only choose short term in case of emergency (i.e. free colony ship if there is a class 20 perfect world right next to a dangerous neighbor and you need a colony ship NOW)
- Choose what is best for the tree you are going into and weigh it against the bonus given. +50 world research is much more heavy sometimes than +10 pragmatic for instance. Or in the new expansion, sometimes +5% missile attack is better than +20 malevolent depending on your builds. You need to decide.
4. [Resource Bonuses] Always try to build your buildings in clumps. Get adjacency bonuses!!! I always try to build on top of a tile bonus if I can. if I cannot then I build in 2's and 3's and 4's and such. Always try to get adjacency bonuses by building like-type of the same next to eachother.
- Starbases!!! Build economic starbases. I will build sometimes 6 starbases around a planet or group of planets. This can be a HUGE boost! It can turn a rank 4 planet into a manufacturing center or a research or money planet.
5. [Planet Focus] Going ALL research or ALL money is a losing battle. Don't do it. Do a split. I build my planets exclusively at the start with 50% manufacture and either 50% money or research. Until all buildings are built, then I either keep it there, or if I am building a "super planet" that has research and money tiles then I do a 50/50 split to research/wealth.
- Do not be afraid to focus your planets, just do not do 1 specialty, do a 50/50 split (manufacture/wealth, manufacture/research, wealth/research) The only exception to this is pure manufacture planets to pump out high density expensive warships in 1 turn. Later game this isn't needed as much if you have a bunch of 50/50 worlds that are based on manufacturing.
6. [Militarization] I usually don't even BUILD starships or even research military tech the first 100 turns. I rely on what anomolies give me. With mercenaries and anomoly finds, I usually have 2-3 survey ships and a bunch of small defenders and scouts.
- When it does come time to build your first ships, build slow beefy ships! Call them planet defenders. You are not on the attack, you do not need your ships to go halfway around the galaxy! Drop those engines, drop those support pods. Focus on defense and offense only. Load as much as you can on them. Then send 5 to each planet. This will usually give you enough of a buildup that the major races do not see you as weak.
- Later on you can focus on fast ships and balanced ships but early game, focus on beefy ships that don't need to go far.
7. [Diplomacy] Oh My God!! Diplomacy!!!! You need this. No one is at war early game. Below is a list of what you should be doing as often as humanly possible.
- Trade with them! Build a freighter and send it to your meanest biggest or baddest neihbor. You get a bonus for this!
- Give them a gift! Give them tech or a worthless ship or even a antimatter resource or even money.
- If they demand 1000 credits, give to them! (Just a tip, they always ask for 10% of your reserve, so spend your money!!!)
- Trade with them, do not be afraid to give them a "generous offer" instead of a fair trade.
- Declare your friendship with them early before they are at war or hate other races.
- Open borders treaty. This is big too! You get bonuses for them being allowed in your territory and yours in theirs.
- Diplomacy is key, it can stave off war for dozens of turns if not stop it completely until you are caught up.
8. [Research] The first things I research are usually diplomacy techs and colonization techs. You can avoid the "upgrade" building techs until later as the upgraded buildings early game don't really do as much for you. Go for things that give you nice bonuses.
- Build up research/manufacturing and diplomacy techs. As well as tech thave give you "broad" bonuses +morale and +raw manufacture etc.
- Build up engineering instead of war first. Get larger ships and bonuses to building ships and manufacturing.
- Once you have a good base and higher research, THEN research war related techs.
- If you have done diplomacy right, and you have not built up war technologies, by now independant races and other AI races PITY you and respect you so they -GIVE- you military tech for free!! I have had races just "give" me Harpoons and Lasers etc for free before. Bonus!
9. [War] It is inevitable, war happens. Do not be the first to declare war if you can help it. Let them declare it on you. Just be ready. When war happens, you want a good strike force with powerful fleets and plenty of troop transports.
- Strike hard/strike fast. Send in your fleet hard and attack and kill everything. Starbases, ships, shipyards. Use every single move you can.
- Take over planets fast and hard. Attack with your fleet, move in your transports (I usually have a fleet of like 5 transports with a few big ships). Hit their planet hard and take over, leave a few ships and move on.
- Information warfare!!! This tech is key. Get this ASAP. You can do 100% takeover on planets with minimal population loss. Yes its expensive, but thats what you have money planets for. You can take over 30 population planets with only 10% population loss. Use it and abuse it.
- Fast Ships!!! I can't tell you this enough. Moves are key! You have big powerful ships? Give them more moves. More moves = more attack. Not to mention a ship with 40 moves can go across your quadrant and strike or rescue against them and win, as well as striking multiple times! I cannot tell you how much my mid to late game fleets can obliterate an opponent because they have 40 moves and can just attack everything in sight.
10. [Ship Building] Build custom ships. Period. End of discussion.
- Early game, find out what your most likely dangerous neighbor uses for their main weapon. Build your ships defensively against that and your main weapon against what they do not have for defense. (So if they have lasers and kinetic armor, build Missile ships with shield).
- Missiles and Lasers are king. Missiles can get huge bonuses and are very long rage. Lasers are second followed by Kinetics. Almost all my ship builds are missile based.
- Later game, build well rounded defensively. Built evenly across the board in defenses. Then for offense throw everything into your strongest attack.Use modules and support ships if you have them. A fleet with +attack modules can become INSANELY powerful.
- Upgrade your ships often, build the newest technologies. I like to design and build in spurts. i.e. create a Attack-01 ship, then wait a little while then design Attack-02 ship when I have upgrades. This keeps a clear line of old technology ships vs your newer ones.
- Sell your old ships to a friend!! Go into the diplomacy screen, sell your ships to them, trade for tech, or trade for starbases with resources. Throw in a deal where they declare war on your enemy too! You can get a lot of nice stuff for trading in your old ships. Also, this works great if you saved a lot of your anomaly ships that you found, throw those in too!
- A nice trick to this is, line up all your "old" ships near the enemy you want your ally to attack, then have them declare war as part of the trade. All the ships go to your ally, and the ships are right there near your enemy to easily attack them! Its a 2 for 1 deal.
11. [Upper Hand] If you have been following my instructions, even on Godly mode, you should now be equal, if not better than half the galaxy. Build up your warships while you research and gain gold. Pick apart the weaker races near you if you are on good terms with the strong ones. If the strong races hate you, build up for a suprise attack. I will often create 20 transport fleets (1 Transport with 4 or 5 main attack ships) and then send them to park by each one of their planets. Once they are all set in place, then I attack with all at the same time. I can wipe out a large race in 1 turn by doing this.
- Set your allies or nuetrals on the war path. If a race is TOO big to take on by yourself, set other races to war with them. Exhaust their resources.
- Make sure your fleets are strong. its better to have 1 strong fleet than 3 weak ones. Gather them up and attack. This is where high movement ships come in. Make sure your fleets have lots of attacks and can move in and out quickly.
12. [Culture] If you capture enemy planets and its a longer drawn out war, or they are nearer to other opponents, rebuild their world into a culture world. Demo those buildings and make that sucker expand! Watch neighboring planets succumb to your cultural influence.
- Build culture planets on the rim of your influence!!! Especially vs large empires! I have taken over half of a large enemy empire just based on culture planets and starbases before. Without firing a shot! Not every single planet needs to give money/wealth/maufacturing. As an added plus, your culture planet generates a TON of tourism bonus cash, so setting it to pure wealth can give a lot.
These are just some of my basic tips.