On technology, there are 3 tech trees, and many techs which can be upgraded up to 5 times. There are 4 combat ships, all combat ships are useful; the 1st, smallest ship is the cheapest and the 4th largest ship is the more expensive. To start, building ships, is not so important; corvettes, the first generation ship, cannot bombard planets, but the second generation ship can. Any good war is not going to happen until you research the 2nd ship type destroyers. For every destroyer, 2 corvettes, is a good measure for naval variety.
Commonly war begins after cruisers are researched, the 3rd generation ship, and the 4th genertion ship battleships are good because they can use heavy weapons if researched – they are useless without heavy weapons.
Ships can be built from spaceports, which are built on planets by selecting the spaceport tab. Armies are built from a different tab (armies are for defending or attacking planets only, not to be confused with navy, which are the typical combat ship).
Bombarding planets only weakens the planet, you must send an army ship, like an invasive colony ship, that attacks any defensive armies and installs your government. Any planet taken in war does not become your own until the war cede demands (when you start war, you say what you want from your enemy to stop it), or a future alternative (peace attempts), are met, or total annihilation.
The icons at the top are resource icons, the three on the left bar are energy ((the yellow credit (power buildings, ships, new planets), minerals ((the red diamond (build buildings, ships, stations) and food((the green apple (affects growth and happiness). You need to survey systems with your science ship in order to find these minerals or other planets, by left clicking on it and then right clicking on any object in a system. and then in the list clicking 'survey system' or 'survey planet'.
The icons on the right of the top bar are research resources, engineering, society and physics – the more you have of each the faster research is going to be. You want to specialize in engineering or physics. Build research stations, early, to get a technological edge over opponents.
Other icons; unity/ strategic resource capacity, naval capacity (can be hovered over for explanation). You can go above your naval capacity so if you make enough energy credits, don't be afraid to go over; it costs energy credits to move your ships out of dry dock, and it costs energy credits to maintiain your ships.
When building research or mining stations consider if a better amount exists on another object.
Planets have more potential than inhabitable planets; stars, rocks and holes, one colonized planet is about twenty times the amount of output, as an inhabitable object; the point of having planets is to create a big boost in your production, and of course expansion range. Expansion range is that colouring that marks your borders, you can gain more of this by colonizing planets; and with frontier outputs. Whether you use many frontier outposts depends on the amount of planets you find.
In the beginning you want to discover as many planets as possible so send a science ship (or on Xbox One; millitary ships) to explore for planets in nearby and mid-range sectors. You also want to save your money for your first colony ship unless your science ship finds a good amount of any resource. Select your science ship and queue the survey for sectors in your borders and nearby sectors. If you find any green or yellow planets with 20 + tiles, build a colony ship and send it there with a science ship to survey the planet and then colonize. Colonization costs influence, influence is gained through diplomacy, tech, anomalies and civics; if you want influence, declare rivalry with other empires (generating +1 per turn) or wait for your small influence per turn to grow into required amount. (Click contacts, any AI you have met – talk – declare rivalry). Be careful not to cause too much trouble for yourself.
Here are some scenarios: you don't find many good planets; that's okay, later build frontier outposts in space for mining/research stations and colonize small planets, you might be able to terraform red and yellow planets later. If you find good planets but one is at long-range, over the course of 2 unity level ups, make sure to unlock the Expansion tree, and the perk that halves the economic distance of frontier outposts and planets. Unity is gained every turn, when enough is collected and you'll be able to specify a perk-tree or perks within those trees; these perks and the perk-tree for specifying will give you bonuses so you should read the perks. The perk-tree you pick first depends on your start, I had given an example. If you get a good start, which depends on your nearby resources, map position, enemy location, habitable planets, etc, then you would be better off specifying the discovery perk-tree first, and the anomaly find increase chance secondally.
As soon as possible, after your first colony is established, you either want to start building a 200+ power fleet, or 2 science ships to explore the galaxy. Anomalies are found randomly as your science ships explore systems, they give you bonuses and a lot of resources can be made from them, so science ships are a worthy investment.
To conclude, the game is about harvesting those resources on objects and from colonized planets, building a nice fleet – and controlling the map and fear through expansion, diplomacy or war.
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