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              Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri (SMAC)
              System: Windows (PC)
              Authors: Jim Chamberlin and
	               Chris Hartpence (aka Velociryx)
              Contact: Jim Chamberlin - [email protected]
                       Chris (Vel) - [email protected]

              Version: Final (06/11/01)


  {{ Disclaimer }}

  This document may ONLY be found on the sites indicated at the end of this

  This document was made for personal use only.  No part of this document may
  be copied or used in any form of media withthout the express written consent
  of Jim Chamberlin.  Unauthorized use of any information herein is a direct
  violation of Copyright Law, and legal action will be taken.

  This document is Copyright © 2001 Jim Chamberlin and Chris Hartpence.  
  All Rights Reserved.


Version -  0.1 - 3.3 - Made and updated the guide on a regular basis.
                 3.4 - Made the ASCII art and included a few little notes.
                 3.5 - Added more ASCII art and changed my name and email
                 3.6 - Minor Changes.
                 3.7 - Minor Changes.
                 3.8 - Added the URL of the HTML version of this FAQ.
                 3.9 - A minor change.
                 4.0 - All kinds of changes.
                       I've decided to take the Dialogue section out of this FAQ
                       and put it in a completely different FAQ.  In my opinion,
                       this will make it much easier to navigate this FAQ.

                       I've also rewritten a few sections to update what's going
                       on.  There were a few sections that haven't been updated
                       since last fall, so they certainly needed to be changed
                       in one way or another.

                       I even noticed a wrong email link.  I never had the email
                       address I had listed in here, heh.  That's why I haven't
                       received too many emails on SMAC.

                 4.1 - I like the fact that I took the Dialog out of this FAQ.
                       I also decided to take the Fictional Story out of here
                       and put it in a separate guide.  Afterall, I think this
                       will make is easier to navigate.

                       Would anyone care to comment on the "newer" look?

                 4.2 - A few minor changes.

                 4.3 - A few changes.

                 4.4 - A few changes.

                 4.5 - A few changes.

                 5.0 - Huge changes.  I basically made a whole new FAQ.

                 5.1 - Added a somewhat large list of tips/strategies

                 5.2 - A minor change.


   If you have questions, suggestions, comments or anything you'd like to submit,
   email me at [Address Removed By Author].  If you submit something, and I use
   it, you will be properly credited.  Also, if you send me something, include
   your name in the body of the email.  I've received a few emails from folks,
   who have submitted things to me that have had a sudden increase in SPAM since
   their email address was put in my FAQs, so I will no longer be doing that if
   I can help it.  Any email you send me for this game should have "SMAC" of
   "Alpha Centauri" as the Subject.  This allows me to sort my email better.

   The large part of this FAQ was written by Chris Hartpence (aka Velociryx).
   I thank him very much for his contributions!

                                Table of Contents


  Changes in the Alien Crossfire Add-on Pack

  The Factions

  The Landmarks

  Special Projects



  Getting Started



    Military & War

  The Middle Game

    The Supply Crawler

  Late Game

  Final Thoughts

  Hot Keys

  Unit Design Info

  General Tips



It is vitally important that you understand just what kind of game you're
playing. I mean this on two different levels, and will take them one at a time.
First and most basically, keep in mind the fact that Alpha Centauri is not a war
game, but an empire-building game. War is, of course, a part of the process of
creating an empire, but it is only a means to an end. This is not to say that
you cannot enjoy the game if you treat it as a war game and nothing more. Many
players do that, and they love the game. It is a perfectly valid approach to
playing. In fact, there are factions which are specifically designed for this
type of play-style. Bear in mind, however, that if you choose to play the game
exclusively as a war game, you are denying yourself a significant and
fascinating portion of the overall experience.

The second thing I mean is that the game actually begins before your map screen
comes up. Everything in Alpha Centauri is important, and if you want to excel at
the game, then from the moment you begin setting up the parameters of your game
world, you should be considering how they may impact your game.

To that end, and in order to get your mind turning on the subject, we'll examine
each of the options you can select from:

Planet Size: This will impact how much time you will have to develop in
isolation before other factions begin to find you. If you want to mix it up
from the start, shrink your world size. If you're looking to explore the
various "Builder" elements in the game, expand the world size.

Oceans: Another factor that will impact how long it takes other factions to
contact you. Oceans represent a pretty formidable obstacle. You've got to
research two techs before you can even start building a boat, and then you must
begin exploring the planet at the less-than-lightning-fast rate of three or four
squares per turn. On the other hand, setting oceans to a minimum may well create
a game where all the factions wind up starting on the same continent!

Cloud Cover: A more subtle option. Impacts the amount of rainfall the planet
receives. This, in turn, impacts the amount of green, nutrient rich squares the
world contains. World with heavy rainfall are nutrient rich, allowing for easy
growth and expansion. Worlds with minimal cloud cover are arid and dry, making
each base a very big and important deal, especially in the early game. In a
word: Rainy = Rapid Development. Aird = Slow Development.

Native Life Forms: This will dramatically alter the flavor of your game, and it
will do so in a number of ways. First, the higher the setting, the more fungus
you will have to contend with, which will slow your development (as your scouts
and colony pods will either have to spend several turns going through or around
all the fungus, and your formers will need to spend several turns per square
just clearing the fungus to make use of the underlying terrain. Second: More
fungus = more chances to run into worms. This might be a good thing, if you're
geared for combat, or if you are the Gaians, with their inherent ability to
capture worms. On the other hand, if you are Morgan, intent on running a Free
Market Economy, this could have some pretty serious implications for your game.
(Note: If you're playing for score, then use Abundant Native Life forms, as you
will receive a 25% bonus to your score).

Optional Rules: Many of these are pretty self explanatory, and most do not need
comment. However, there are a few….

Blind or Directed Research: This is probably the most important choice you will
make in the whole pre-game setup, as it will dramatically influence how you
proceed from turn one. Blind research more or less leaves you in the hands of
Fate. It makes for a very "realistic" game, but can also be immensely
frustrating, if you suddenly find yourself neck deep in a war and have few if
any combat-oriented techs. Directed research is the favored choice by the bulk
of gamers, mostly for the control it gives over the game environment, but
whichever you tend to favor, I strongly recommend trying the "other" choice out
from time to time, just to give yourself a taste of some other perspective.

Random Events on/off: These are mostly mild boons or minor irritants, but they
can occasionally be really painful (Asteroid strike wipes out your biggest and
best base, solar flares destroy all your Orbital Power Transmitters, etc)., so
consider if you want to deal with that on top of the rival factions or not.
Also, if you're planning to try for an economic win, you will probably want to
turn this off!

Unity Pod Scattering: I like to refer to this as the "Easter Egg Hunt." If you
want to add a random element into the game, and generally make life a little
easier for all players involved, then turn this option on. Otherwise, turn it
off. You still may have a few pods, but they'll be isolated to your starting

TechStag: Turning this option on will have an enormous impact on your game! It
will slow you down immensely. This, in combination with a huge, high water level
planet can mean a hundred years or more of isolation before some other faction
finds you. Think carefully before you activate this! If you are a fairly passive
player, this may be for you, otherwise, you might find yourself very bored!

Spoils of War: A huge benefit to war-mongers, as it means you can get away with
almost totally ignoring infrastructure development, and focus exclusively on
building up your army!

Ironman: Disallows use of the autosave feature. No going back to undo mistakes.
Also, increases your score by 100%.

Do or Die: If you're planning to win by conquest, this option could be your best

Aggressive Opponents: The AI factions are already pretty aggressive, and this
makes them doubly so. If you're going for a diplomatic win, you might want to
leave this one off.

                    Changes in the Alien Crossfire Add-on Pack

New kinds of worms:
Yep....three of them, to be specific. First, Sealurks. Watch out for these
guys....they're rather similar to IoD's, except they don't act as transports and
tend to be "lone wolf" units. I've not had much luck in catching them (none,
actually), so I can't say either way whether they're any good as an addition to
your naval forces.

Next, Fungal Towers: I've never captured these guys either, and frankly, I doubt
it's possible. They get morale upgrades depending on how much fungus they're
surrounded by, and tend to spawn worms fairly regularly.

Finally, spore launchers: Artillery for worms, and they are annoying!
Oftentimes, when and IoD comes to pay you a visit, the Spore Launcher will not
land on the shore, but remain on the Isle, and snipe at your terrain
enhancements, forcing you to build an empath foil to deal with the IoD in order
to get rid of the sniper. UGH! (Alternate plan: Build an artillery unit of your
own and duel with the sniper).

Seven new factions:
Five human, two alien. You'll find details on the new bunch a bit later in this

New techs, weapons, facilities, and secret projects:
About half a dozen new techs, spawning a variety of new weapons and abilities.
I'll not go into specifics here, as all of this is covered elsewhere in the
guide, but suffice it to say for the time being that there are a LOT of new
capabilities you can give your troopers, opening up whole new vistas as far as
exotic and special purpose troopers go! The new facilities are great as well,
giving you base-specific probe modifiers, missile defense systems, additional
defensive bonuses and ways of getting better still production out of sea

Project-wise, it's a mixed bag, with far and away the most useful (overpowered!)
project being the Cloudbase academy. One thing further, the Hunter-Seeker
Algorithm has been weakened so that it's not quite the final word protection
against probes that it once was. Nonetheless, it's still a crucial project to
snag, but again, more on that later.

Bug Fixes....LOTS of Bug Fixes: Most significantly, artillery now actually does
something in the game, and on Transcend level, the maintenance cost bug has been
fixed, meaning that Transcend level bases are only one third as profitable as
they used to be, but that is as it should be.

                             The Factions

Once you get your game world set up, you will want to take a moment to really
think about what faction you want to play. I say this because, while all the
factions are quite good, if you select a faction that does not mesh well with
your personal gaming style, you will probably not have a very good time. Are you
an avid war-monger from the get-go? If so, don't play Morgan. And, speaking of
play-styles, you will find three terms used throughout this guide, beginning
here in the faction descriptions. Don't worry too much about the specifics, as
we'll get to that later, but here's a general set of definitions to give you the
gist of it for the time being:

Builder-Style: Focuses on infrastructural development over military concerns.

Hybrid-Style: Attempts to strike a balance between infrastructural development
and military concerns.

Momentum-Style: Largely ignores infrastructural development, in favor of
military concerns.

Below is a listing and brief overview of the original seven (7) SMAC factions.
The information contained in this section will serve as one of the primary
building blocks for sections to follow (including the section on combat).

The Original Seven:

You know them, and whether you love them or hate them, you need to be aware of
each faction's inherent strengths and weaknesses so you'll understand how to
exploit the one you're playing. It's also a good idea to know what to expect
from the faction who just dropped a scout rover off in your territory.

The Lord's Believers (Sister Miriam Godwinson):

An odd faction (because it is exceedingly unbalanced....see below), but
extremely powerful when played correctly. Sitting still with The Believers will
get you killed very quickly. This group needs to be aggressive to survive, and
they're quite well-suited to that. As you might expect, they are at their most
powerful when played Momentum-Style, where their +25% bonus when attacking and
their +2 Support (big army) really shines through. The Believers' main drawback
is their lagging research capability, which is partially offset by having access
to outstanding Probe Teams. Note that this is not a perfect solution, however.
Research is a passive thing. You build a base and research just happens. To get
anything out of your Probe Teams, you must take an active stance with them,
sending them out regularly to infiltrate datalinks and steal that much-needed
technology to keep your army up to date. Not that this will be any big deal for
fans of the Lady Miriam....they're used to moving lots of units around the map
every turn.

Also, one hidden advantage of The Believers is a good amount of cash. This is
actually an outgrowth of the poor research problem (why put money into your labs
if they're not going to net you much of a benefit? You're better off adding to
your cash pool so you'll have more funds to subvert enemy units and the like).

I hope the fans of The Believers will forgive me for calling their faction an
odd one, but when I clarify that statement, perhaps they will agree. If you
imagine the three play-styles I mentioned earlier as being a continuum, with
"Builder" on the extreme left and "Momentum" on the far right, then Miriam would
be slammed all the way to the right. Play her pretty much any way but Momentum-
Style, and you're asking to get hammered.

A Builder she is not. Building Network Nodes and other Lab-enhancing facilities
is impractical because of your inherent research penalty (made even worse
if/when you switch to Fundamentalism). Why build a facility with a "per-turn"
upkeep fee when you can just zap your current opponent with a probe team?
Besides that, huddling in your bases as Builders are wont to do negates your
+25% attack bonus. Drop into "Hermit-Mode" with this faction, and you're in for
a tough game (Though it might make for an intriguing challenge sometime). She
could be played as a Hybrid, but again, the primary function of Hybrid-Play is
to give you sufficient infrastructure to do peace-time research, something
Miriam just isn't very good at.

Game notes: Play Miriam fast and hard, but pick your battles carefully. In the
field, you're troops are very hard to beat, and when you switch to Fundy, you've
effectively got your own little private "Hunter-Seeker Algorithm" running. A
word of caution though: All these combat advantages can make you arrogant.
Resist that! It's the one thing that can really get you in trouble quickly.
Against a single faction of comparable size, you should have little or no
trouble smashing through their defenses, but you must take care to only fight
one war at a time. Take on too many opponents at once and you'll find yourself
overextended and unable to crank out troops fast enough to support all your
various campaigns. Also, you've got to remember that unless you find a rival
faction in the very early part of the game, chances are good that your opponent
will start with better technology than you. That being the case, your first
skirmishes may or may not go your way, attack bonus or not.

Recycling Tanks, Rec. Commons, and Energy Banks (when you get the techs for all 
this stuff) are really about all you need before Hab-Complexes. Depending on 
your strategy, you can either build Hologram Theaters in size 6-7 bases or 
allocate 30-40% to Psych and forget the Theaters (you're probably not
going put much effort into research anyway), so you can afford to dump some
money into Psych), or, you can forego any of these once you get the ability to
make police units, and simply solve your drone problems that way.

Unlike most other factions, you can delay building Command Centers and still
fight an even battle with the folks who have them (though a selective one here
and there might be a good thing, enabling you to crank out an "elite core" to
enhance your already amazing military apparatus. You also don't really need a
perim defense, as your best defensive strategies tend to be counter-attacks or
pre-emptive strikes.

Once you find someone to smash, send feelers into their territory and find an
easily accessible base, then start hitting them with probe teams to get up to
their level of technology. Once you are at technological parity, you will almost
certainly win the war with them (you can crank out the same types of units, plus
you get the +25% bonus on your attacks). Just keep up the pressure and don't
lose your focus, and you will almost certainly be around for the end-game.

The Hive (Chairman Sheng-Ji Yang):

A particularly nasty faction for a number of reasons, and another excellent
Momentum-Style group. Unlike Miriam, you can afford to sit still during periods
of the game, and you've got tons of safe places to do it, as your group begins
with your own personal "Citizen's Defense Force" up and running, meaning that no
matter where your troops go to rest and repair, they'll have the benefits of
your Perimeter Defense.

Chairman Yang's main strengths are impressive. Rapid population growth and
excellent industrial production means that you can build colony pods quickly and
expand rapidly (and relatively safely, thanks to your Perimeter Defenses), and
if you had any money at all, this faction would be all but unbeatable, but this
is the big equalizer. Where Miriam is lagging in research capability, you have a
corresponding lag in Economy. Simply put, you're strapped for cash, so you're
going to have to build everything you want (no rush building or buying much of
anything). Also, without much energy, you've got limited research capability,
which means you will need to make use of your Probe Teams nearly as much as

Game notes: Make early use of your industrial capacity. Thanks to rapid
population growth and the +1 Industry bonus, you can expand very quickly, and if
you get the "Command Nexus" project, coupled with your inherent Perimeter
Defenses, you become dangerous indeed (and while we're talking about it, if you
happen to get the Planetary Transit System, the rest of the world is in a good
bit of trouble). Even without the secret projects though, you will quickly find
yourself with a sprawling empire very quickly (not much infrastructure
development, but that's no big deal for you), which can support an immense army.
You may not have Miriam's attack bonus or Santiago's morale, but you can almost
always count on having more troops, and with your greater numbers, you can
simply overwhelm your opponents, whomever they might be.

Like Miriam, it is important to test your enemy's defenses before committing to
full-scale war. Your lack of energy relative to the other factions really
hampers your research efforts and makes it likely that in the early goings, you
will have inferior technology. You can't subvert enemy troops as a rule, because
again, that takes money, but you can have your Probe Teams zap enemy bases and
pull techs down that way. And, like Miriam, once you've reached technological
parity with your enemy, you can smash him hard.

You might need to focus less on mineral production and more on energy
production to even be able to afford many base facilities. Take care not to
focus too heavily on energy (or at least not at the expense of minerals) lest
you erode the advantage your +1 Industry bonus nets you. Any facility that has
no upkeep cost is good for you! Unfortunately (fortunately?), you don't need
Perim. Defenses, 'cause you have them already, and the only other "freebie" is
the Recycling Tanks (which helps you even more than the others, thanks to your
+1 Industry), and as such, it should be at the top of your list! After that,
plan your builds carefully, checking your base's energy production against a
given facility's upkeep. Morgan never has to worry about that kind of thing, but
you do. Command centers everywhere would be great, but you'd probably be better
off going for the command nexus project (which gives them to you free) than
trying to support one at every base.

With your enhanced Industrial output, it is not at all difficult for you to end
the fight very quickly. Just amass so many troops and hit from so many different
directions that your opponent can't stop them all. And once you get a toehold in
his territory, that is the kiss of death, as now he has to contend with your
enhanced production capability right there on his turf.

It is possible to play The Hive as a Builder or a Hybrid, but you will suffer
from chronic energy problems, which means you won't be as effective as some of
the others. Still, if you find yourself with a bunch of allies and you're
feeling honorable, you can do the Hybrid thing well enough to get by until
someone picks a fight.

The Spartan Federation (Colonel Corazon Santiago):

Perhaps the most balanced of the "Momentum" factions, the Spartans achieve a
good balance between solid, well-trained troops and the ability to do something
other than fight. If any of the Momentum Factions can easily make the switch to
Hybrid (and possibly Builder) play, The Spartans are it.

Their advantages make them magnificent fighters, either offensively or
defensively, (effectively a Command Center at every base, further enhanced by
actually building a Command Center), they can research at normal rates, and have
a decent amount of energy (unlike Miriam and Yang, respectively). That doesn't
come free though, and they pay the price with a penalty to Industry. Where Yang
can build things quickly, The Spartans are hampered by higher costs, which will
slow their expansion in the early game.

Game Notes: Slow and Steady. This may seem a contradiction to the Momentum style
of play. What I mean by that is: Use the strengths of that style (as covered
later), but take great care not to overextend yourself. Of all the Momentum
factions, this is most dangerous for you. You have to be careful if you're the
Spartans. Control is the Key to the Kingdom for you. Yes, you've got a wonderful
army (In fact, you're the only faction in the game that can stare down the
barrel of a Believer's gun and smile calmly). But it can all come apart for you
if you get reckless.

Recycling Tanks are a must, to help offset that -1 Industry, and after that 
your builds will depend on your current situation. Spartans don't mind police, 
which can delay the necessity of anti-drone facilities. If you're not close to 
anybody who wants to fight, focus on energy and lab-enhancing stuff.  The 
earlier you get them built the better, especially since they're more expensive 
for you. If you ARE close to potential enemies, go for Command centers before 
Perimeter defenses. For the Spartans (and in fact, for all of the Momentum 
players), the best defense is a good offense.

As mentioned above, your expansion will be slower than average, thanks to your
higher build costs (and it will be significantly slower than Yang's), which
means that each of your bases is a big deal. Yang can afford to lose a base or
two. You cannot, so defend them carefully. The most successful Spartan players I
have ever seen will expand slowly and carefully until they encounter another
faction, and then attempt to make peace. If there is any resistance at all to
the notion of peace, then (in the Spartan mindset), the faction is a potential
threat and should be eliminated.

When it comes to combat, the Believers will simply rush forward, relying on
their factional attack bonus. The Hive will tend to simply use numbers to
overrun, but in general, The Spartans do their damage with relatively few troops
in the field (a good thing, since they take more time than usual to replace).
Most people are frankly amazed when their bases begin falling to groups of two
or three Spartans, where other factions might send in three to six.

In times of peace, The Spartans can make the transition to Hybrid Play fairly
well, though they will be hampered somewhat by their higher build costs. Still,
once the infrastructure is in place, they do as well as the Peacekeepers or
Gaians, with their better troops making up for the PK/Gaian special abilities.

The Peace Keepers (Brother Pravin Lal):

In a word, durability. The Peace Keepers are an exceedingly good faction for a
number of reasons. You might not think so at first glance (after all, the only
adjustment they've got to the Social Engineering table is a -1 on Efficiency,
and what the Hell good is that?). Trust me, the Peace Keepers have more than
enough of what it takes to overcome their one weakness.

First and easiest to relate to is the double vote capacity. If you follow an
average to brisk expansion policy, you can all but guarantee that you will be
elected planetary governor, and once you are, you get Infiltrator access to all
factions (as good as the Empath Guild, for free), and a big trade windfall. Not
bad for doing what you would have been doing anyway.

Second is the extra talent your bases attract per four citizens. This is like
the Genome project on steroids, as it's impact on your bases is relative to the
size of the base (as opposed to being constant, in the case of the Genome).
Control will rarely be a problem for you, and can generally be nixed with the
simplest of base facilities (Rec. Commons, or nothing at all if you get the
Virtual World & build a Network Node).

Third, bigger bases. Do not discount the ability to exceed Hab-complex limits!
Especially if you're playing blind research, the extra time this gives you is
extremely important!

Finally, there are advantages to being, well....average. True, you don't get the
vaunted Spartan Morale Bonus, and you don't get the Economic windfall of the
Morgans, nor the Population and Industrial boost of Yang, but you don't get any
of their penalties, either, and the Efficiency problem can be overcome with base
facilities. All in all, this puts you in a very strong position.

Game notes: The Peacekeeprs can do everything fairly well, but they don't really
excel at anything. This is both a blessing and a curse. While they have no real
weaknesses to exploit (ask anybody who's tried just how hard it is to increase
drone activity in a PK base), and essentially, your lack of a truly pronounced
strength is a strength in its own right, in the form of flexibility. Pay special
attention to anything regarding Hybrid play as you make your way through this
guide, as it will likely hold doubly true for you. Flexibility can be a
dangerous thing if you make bad choices as the PeaceKeepers. If a Spartan or
Gaian Hybrid makes a bad choice and gets into trouble, they can fall back on
their army (of excellent soldiers or mindworms), but the Peace Keepers only have
"average" soldiery, and may find themselves hard pressed if they get involved in
a conflict they're not ready for.

Still, there's an enormous amount to be said for the sheer durability of Lal's
Peace Keepers, and no matter what the current game environment (war or peace),
you will find that they will serve you well.

After the requisite Recycling Tanks, go for the Children's Creche. Your bases
can get to size 9 before you need a Hab-Complex anyway, and the efficiency kick 
will offset your faction's only disadvantage, plus give you a boost in garrison 
morale (making your average troops able to fight defensively and be on par with 
any Momentum player who might find you). Perim. Defenses are free and should be 
incorporated into your strategy if you're close to hostiles, otherwise drift 
toward energy and lab enhancing goodies.

Gaia's Stepdaughters (Lady Deidre Skye):

An absolutely fabulous faction, especially in the early game! Their minor
faction negatives are more than offset by the ability to capture mindworms at
game start, and their ability to draw resources from fungal squares. These two
advantages simply cannot be overstated! The fungal-resources ability will save
your formers time in the early game, allowing you to draw resources from squares
in their natural state, and the mindworm capture ability gives you the perfect
"pod-popping" unit!

Game notes: Your very first objective should be to catch a Mindworm. Fortunately
this is not difficult to do. Just start trolling around in fungus, and before
long, one will appear. In every game I have ever played the Gaians, I've
captured my first worm on the first try, so I suspect that's a given, and as
soon as you have your first worm, send him out hunting! Even if the pod in
question unleashes more worms, they'll ignore your little critter, and he can
either go about his business or kill/capture the newly spawned worms. Either
way, it's a boon for you! Do the same thing as soon as you get a foil of some
kind and you're set for the rest of the game. The goodies you can uncover by
being the first player out the gate to do some serious pod-popping can quickly
put you in a position of power, and while you're doing that, your empire is
growing and expanding.

Militarily, you're a little weak, but the right base facilities can help offset
this (and, if you'd rather fight defensively, add a Children's Creche, and
you'll be on par with most of your adversaries). Energy and Lab production are
good, and when coupled with the results of your massive pod-popping campaign,
can easily put you on par with the "Builder" factions.

If you are feeling aggressive, you can easily shift the Gaians into a Momentum
stance, using the worm rush strategy to augment your otherwise pretty average
soldiery. On the other hand, if you find yourself getting hordes of alien
artifacts and such, you can kick into builder mode and reap the benefits.

The Mindworm advantage tends to wear down over the course of the game (when the
productive capacity of your bases is such that you can simply build what you
need in a single turn, so why bother trying to catch them), so if you're going
to make use of it, then do it earlier, rather than later, and by late game,
there aren't many un-popped pods (both of these reasons, I suspect, are why the
Gaians tend to fade in the late game if controlled by the computer), but the
ability to draw resources from fungus squares increases over time, until fungus
squares are ultimately the most productive in the entire game.

Guess what's first? If you said anything other than Recycling Tanks, smack 
yourself! After that, your options are wide open, and dependent on your 
proximity to hostiles. If you're near weak opponents, build a Command Center to
give your average troops a boost and charge! (Average troops augmented by
mindworms!). If you're near strong enemies, drop to the defensive, with
Children's Creche and Perim. Defense, using Mind worms in harassment and
delaying roles, and if you're not near anybody, go for energy and lab enhancing
facilities per the PeaceKeepers.

The University of Planet (Prokor Sartory Zakarov):

Your labs are your life. They are your only advantage in the game, and if you
don't use them well and wisely, you will find yourself in trouble very quickly.
As such, you must focus the bulk of your efforts on increasing your energy
output, as it is energy that drives your labs.

Game notes: As the University, you've got four manageable problems, and one HUGE
advantage. First, your troops are utterly average. Nothing at all to write home
about. But, with technology as your ace in the hole, that need not frighten you.
Play that card correctly and your average troops will outgun anything your
opponents can bring to bear on you. Your second problem is a chronic difficulty
with drones. The solution to this is a steady program of expansion (which can
almost turn your problem into an advantage). Expansion is good for you for two
reasons. First, it partially solves the drone problem you've got as your
population is kept in check by the creation of new colony pods. And second,
every time you make a new base, you're getting a network node for free in the
bargain (and maybe a hologram theater!)....this is extremely efficient from a
cost-per-facility-basis (for the price of one colony pod, you're getting a new
base, a network node, and possibly a hologram theater....I think you will be
hard pressed to find a better value for your money anywhere in the game), not to
mention the effect it will have on the number of research points you can
generate. Your third problem is Probe Teams. They generally have a really easy
time infiltrating your datalinks, which, as you might expect, is bad for you.
This can be overcome by posting your own Probe Teams around, but that is far
from a perfect solution. Finally, you've got a less tangible problem I like to
refer to as "CRS" (Chronic Researcher's Syndrome). What this means is that, yes,
you're getting a bunch of technological advances, but until you turn those
advances into tangible things for your empire, they don't do you any good, and
they certainly won't stop Chairman Yang's forty-three Impact Rovers that just
sauntered into your territory. As a University Player, you need to focus on
turning your tech advances into things: base facilities, new weapons, and the
like. Only then are you really getting the most out of your abilities.

Since so many base facilities center around controlling drone problems or
increasing Lab output (both of which should make a University Player salivate in
Pavlovian style), this is an ideal faction for Builder-play, but some
interesting variants crop up if you try the other styles.

If you focus on increasing the overall energy output of your empire at all
though, it is very easy for you to simply run away with the game, from a
technological standpoint. You can do things that will make the other factions
green with envy. Once you've infiltrated everybody's datalinks and have rendered
yourself immune to their Probe Team actions (you DID get the Hunter-Seeker,
yes?), you can monitor the production queues of all enemy bases, and if they
start making something you don't care for, missile the base garrison to death
and orbitally insert your own troops. Presto!

Recycling tanks are first, but not by much. Recreation commons
almost has to be second, and then you'll need an Energy bank to help pay
maintenance. After that, go for any lab-enhancing facility (Research Hosp. Is
the next one you'll have available) you can get your hands on, and defensive
improvements as you can (keeping an eye on your drone situation and ready to
drop a Hologram Theater (or use police units if not running Market) if needs

Morgan Industries (CEO Nwabudike Morgan):

Another odd (read: Unbalanced) faction, and quite possibly the most underrated
of the bunch, the Morganites are structurally diametric to the Lord's Believers
(where the Believers are really well designed to play Momentum style, the
Morganites are likewise well designed for Builder Style, and both factions have
a harder than average time getting out of their primary style). As a group, the
Morganites are plagued by one minor disability and one really nasty one, but are
blessed in more ways than imaginable with the lifeblood of the game.....energy.
As an economist, this faction was my early favorite, and probably still is,
overall, though I must say there are certain features I admire about all of the

Game Notes: Your minor disability is the fact that your bases are stuck at size
four (4) until you get the technology to build Hab-Complexes. That's easy to get
around. A program of thin, rapid expansion will completely negate your "small
city syndrome." Much more pervasive though, is the problem you have with
support. This alone is what keeps you from playing too much like a Hybrid or
Momentum player, at least until Clean reactors (mid-game).

Face it, until you have Clean Reactors, you're not going to have a big army, and
all of the social choices you are tempted to make only worsen your support
problems. You'll almost certainly be tempted toward Democracy (once you get Hab-
Complexes), which only magnifies your support problem, and your other tempting
social choice in the early game actually worsens your military problems in the
form of low morale (Wealth). Taken together, these are not ingredients which
make you a military powerhouse by any stretch of the imagination.

Having said that, you might be wondering what good they are, and my answer would
be simple. Money. Specifically, one energy per square. That is the holy grail,
and you can get to it much more easily than any other faction in the game
(everybody else has to run Market, but you can do it with Wealth alone). Of
course, a lot of new players take one look at Market's penalties and wonder what
good it is, but think it through: +1 energy per square, times the number of
bases you have, times their size-class, and that's BEFORE you take into account
energy banks and other economy-enhancing facilities. That's not a one-time
bonus, either. That's the amount of extra cash you're getting every turn. I'll
give you a moment to pick your jaw up off the floor and get over the shock, and
then we'll continue.

In short, you can very easily make obscene amounts of cash (not to mention the
fact that Wealth gives you a +1 Industry rating). What this means for you is
that you can very quickly afford to do absolutely anything. Why worry about
making much of an army when you can keep a couple Probe Teams scattered around
your empire and simply subvert the would-be invasion force? Sure, keep a core
group around, some sturdy garrison types, but the rest of the army is entirely
optional for you, and when you DO subvert enemy troops, compare them to the ones
you're using for garrison duty. If yours are better, disband his to speed up
whatever secret project you're working on. If his are better, keep them and
disband your obsolete troops.

The majority of the base facilities you can build do one of three things:
Control your drones, boost your labs, or boost your cash. All three of these
things are important to you, so Morgan almost always draws Builder types. Every
once in a while, someone comes along to play Morgan as a Hybrid, but he's a
merchant at heart, and merchants do not profit by killing their customers, so of
all the factions, Morgan tends to be the most steadfastly peaceful.

Not to say they can't fight, mind you. There is nothing more humiliating than
unleashing a big attack force only to have it subverted out from under you and
then turned back in your face! And the Morganites have enough money to fight a
very long attrition war. They don't need great troops, because they can crank an
endless supply of average ones. Kill one, and two more appear. Sooner or later,
you'll either give up the fight or be crushed by the weight of them.

One hidden disadvantage of the Morganites, though, is that all that money tends
to breed complacency when it comes to building military units, and also, there
is a risk that you will become haughty and assume you are untouchable. Avoid
this! About the time you think that, the guy with the Hunter-Seeker algorithm
(or, just as bad, Sister Miriam) will come looking to pick a fight with you!

If I said Recycling Tanks, would you be surprised? Followed closely by the
Energy Bank (to enhance your cash and make it easier to rush-build everything 
else), Recreation Commons, and Network Node. If you're not close to anybody, 
then don't even bother with offensive/defensive builds, focusing entirely on 
infrastructure. This will put you on par or better than the University, and 
should see you taking the tech lead in short order.

One final note: Morgan is a LOUSY choice if you want to play Momentum style. The
support costs limit the size of your army, and your troops are only average to
start with.....if you want to play Momentum style, find a different faction
unless you're just looking for a way to challenge yourself.

And those, in a nutshell, are the factions that make up the game. Think about
which one(s) mesh the best with your personal style and play them relentlessly
until you feel you've perfected your style with that group, and then move on to
another. Within each faction, you will find a staggering number of nuiances,
which will translate into an almost limitless number of game variations to play

                                The Landmarks

There are several landmarks on Planet.  Most of the landmarks give you
extra resources.

FRESHWATER SEA: The richest aquatic region of Planet which provides +1
Nutrients per square.

GARLAND CRATER: Made by a comet or another flying object, this crater
produces an extra +1 Mineral bonus.

GEOTHERMAL SHALLOWS: Many underwater geysers provide +1 Energy per square.

GREAT DUNES: A desert which provides no bonus resources.  It is a rather
inhospitable place to live.

MONSOON JUNGLE: A vast rainforest- like area which produces +1 Nutrients
per square.

MOUNT PLANET: An enormous active volcano, which produces a +1 bonus of
both Minerals and Energy per square on its slopes.

NEW SARGASSO: A large growth of underwater fungus.  If provides no bonus
resources; however, you can harvest the fungus.

PHOLUS RIDGE: The geothermal energy produced here, produces +1 Energy per

SUNNY MESA: It provides no resource bonuses, but due to its elevation, it
is a good spot for solar collectors and Echelon Mirrors.

THE RUINS: A ring of monoliths, which provide no bonuses, other than the
monoliths themselves.

URANIUM FLATS: A location with many elements, which provide +1 Energy per

                         Secret Projects


ASCETIC VIRTUES: Population limit relaxed; +1 Police

BULK MATTER TRANSMITTER: +2 Minerals at each base

CITIZENS' DEFENSE FORCE: Perimeter Defense at each base

CLINICAL IMMORTALITY: Extra talent at each base

CLONING VATS: Population boom at all the bases

COMMAND NEXUS: Command Center at each base

CYBORG FACTORY: Bioenhancement Center at each base

DREAM TWISTER: Psi Attack +50%

EMPATH GUILD: Commlink for every faction

HUMAN GENOME PROJECT: +1 Talent at each base

HUNTER- SEEKER ALGORITHM: Immunity to Probe Teams


LONGEVITY VACCINE: Fewer drones/ more profits

MARITIME CONTROL CENTER: Naval Movement +2; naval bases

MERCHANT EXCHANGE: +1 Energy each square at the base

NANO FACTORY: Repair units; low upgrade costs

NETWORK BACKBONE: +1 Lab per commerce/ net node

NEURAL AMPLIFIER: Psi Defense +50%

PHOLUS MUTAGEN: Ecology Bonus; Lifecycle bonus

PLANETARY DATALINKS: Any tech known to three others

PLANETARY TRANSIT SYSTEM: New bases begin at size three

SELF- AWARE COLONY: Maintenance halve; Extra police

SINGULARITY INDUCTOR: Quantum Converter at each base

SPACE ELEVATOR: Energy +100%/ Orbital cost halved

SUPERCOLLIDER: Labs +100% at the base

TELEPATHIC MATRIX: No more drone riots; +2 Probe

THEORY OF EVERYTHING: Labs +100% at the base


Virtual World: Network Nodes help drones

VOICE OF PLANET: Begins Ascent to Transcendence

WEATHER PARADIGM: Terraform +50%

XENOEMPATHY DOME: Fungus movement bonus


(#)= Maintenance

- AEROSPACE COMPLEX- +2 Morale: Air; Air defense +100%;(2)

- BIOENHANCEMENT CENTER- +2 Morale: Air; (2)

- BIOLOGY LAB- Research and Psi; (1)

- CENTAURI PRESERVE- Ecology Bonus; (2)

- CHILDREN'S CRECHE- Growth/ Effic/ Morale;(1)

- COMMAND CENTER- +2 Morale: Land; (Varies)

- ENERGY BANK- Economy Bonus; (1)

- FUSION LAB- Economy and Labs Bonus; (3)

- GENEJACK FACTORY- Minerals; More Drones; (2)

- HAB COMPLEX- Increase Population Limit; (2)

- HABITATION DOME- Increase Population Limit; (4)

- HEADQUARTERS- Efficiency; (0)

- HOLOGRAM THEATRE- Psych; Fewer Drones;(3)

- HYBRID FOREST- Economy/ Psych/ Forest;(4)

- NANOHOSPITAL- Labs and Psych Bonus; (4)

- NANOREPLICATOR- Minerals Bonus;(6)

- NAVAL YARD- +2 Morale: Sea; Sea Defense +100%; (2)

- NESSUS MINING STATION- +1 Minerals ALL Bases; (0)

- NETWORK NODE- Labs Bonus; (1)

- ORBITAL DEFENSE POD- Missile Defense; (0)


- PARADISE GARDEN- +2 Talents; (4)

- PERIMETER DEFENSE- Defense +100%; (0)

- PRESSURE DOME- Submersion/ Resources; (0)

- PSI GATE- Teleport; (2)

- PUNISHMENT SPHERE- No Drones; -50% Tech; (2)

- QUANTUM CONVERTER- Minerals Bonus; (5)

- QUANTUM LAB- Economy and Labs bonus; (4)

- RECREATION COMMONS- Fewer Drones; (1)

- RECYCLING TANKS- Bonus Resources; (0)

- RESEARCH HOSPITAL- Labs and Psych bonus; (3)

- ROBOTIC ASSEMBLY PLANT- Minerals Bonus; (4)

- SKUNKWORKS- Prototypes are Free; (1)

- SKY HYDROPONICS LAB- +1 Nutrient ALL Bases; (0)

- STOCKPILE ENERGY- Minerals to Energy; (0)

- TACHYON FIELD- ALL Defense +100%; (2)

- TEMPLE OF PLANET- Ecology Bonus; (3)

- TREE FARM- Economy/ Psych/ Forest; (3)


The alien environment on Planet brought a host of unforseen
health problems for the colonists. Early inquiries into
{Biogenetics} center on the prevention and treatment
of these problems. Researchers in this discipline seek
an understanding of the entire human genetic code.

Industrial Base
The first colonies lack any kind of factories or heavy
industry, so the creation of an {Industrial Base} becomes
a high priority for economic growth. This Industrial Base
emphasizes small-scale manufacturing with primitive assembly
lines and simple currency instruments.

Information Networks
Survival equipment from the [Unity] contained a variety
of computers purpose-built for the needs of a frontier
society. However, they must first be connected into
{Information Networks} before scientists can utilize
their power.

Applied Physics
The colonists must create new tools from the wreckage of
the [Unity] to survive and expand. Early inquiries into
{Applied Physics} emphasize this adaptation of existing
technology for the new environment.

Social Psych
The overcrowding aboard the [Unity] following the premature
wakeup caused terrible conditions for the crew, but also
generated valuable data concerning humans under extreme
environmental stresses. Analysis of this data provides
the first comprehensive, mathematical insight into the
{Social Psychology} of humans.

Doctrine: Mobility
The early colonists quickly learned the importance of
reconnaissance and self-defense in this most alien
of environments. {Doctrine: Mobility} formalizes
these cornerstones of military might, representing
the first attempts at an organized defense policy
on Planet.

Centauri Ecology
Finding adequate sources of nutrients, energy, and
minerals is the most immediate problem facing the
colonists after Planetfall. An
understanding of the basics of {Centauri Ecology}
provides humans with the tools they need to begin
shaping the world around them-how plants grow, what
geological structures exist, and how natural energy
sources may be exploited on Planet.

The power requirements of [Optical Computers (D3)]
and the nascent [Industrial Base (B1)] stimulate
research into high-temperature {Superconductors},
an advance long considered a ‘holy Grail’ by physical
chemists. A {Superconductor} is a material
that does not resist a flow of electrons. Using a
{Superconductor}, power can be transmitted at incredible
speeds over vast distances with no degradation. Bulky
and expensive cooling equipment for high-powered
machinery or weaponry becomes unnecessary, because these
materials remain cool and efficient as electricity passes
through them.

Nonlinear Mathematics
By using the power of [Information Networks (D1)] to speed
calculations and encourage collaborations, researchers
make giant strides in the field of {Nonlinear Mathematics},
with significant military applications.

Applied Relativity
Albert Einstein developed his theories of relativity between
1905 and 1916; complete explanations of his work may be found
in a number of sources. Later research into [Advanced Subatomic
Theory (B3)] and [Superconductors (C4)] demonstrated that his
postulates, though innovative for his time, were incomplete. {Applied
Relativity} takes Einstein's basic theories and updates them to
encompass an understanding of newly-discovered phenomena.

Fusion Power
An extremely clean, powerful, and efficient source of energy,
{Fusion Power} was known on Earth for decades as the reaction
that powered the stars. However, scientists could not control
the huge magnitude of released energy, so the only practical
application for {Fusion Power} was in bombs of enormous destructive
power. With the advent of [Superconductors (C4)], and by using
[Pre-sentient Algorithms (D5)] to monitor and control the released
energy, humanity finally has access to cheap, abundant, and
reusable power.

Silksteel Alloys
The growing field of [Industrial Automation (B3)] causes
increased demand for new kinds of material that can withstand
the incredible stresses of the robotic factories. Discoveries
in [Advanced Subatomic Theory (B3)] provide engineers with
these materials, dubbed {Silksteel Alloys} for their
extraordinary tensile strength and flexibility.

Advanced Subatomic Theory
Discoveries in [High Energy Chemistry (C2)] point the way
to a new {Advanced Subatomic Theory} that tries to detect
and quantify the smallest possible underlying particles of
matter. Using self-modifying [Polymorphic Software (D2)],
the physicists developing this theory give mankind a window
on the infinitesimal building blocks of the universe.

High Energy Chemistry
Breakthroughs in [Applied Physics (C1)] and [Industrial Base
(B1)] lead to an understanding of {High Energy Chemistry}.
This discipline seeks to understand the properties and
behavior of matter at very high temperatures, and results
in new types of materials that remain in a stable plasma
state even when superheated by intense laser stimulation.

Frictionless Surfaces
Discovery of the [Unified Field Theory (D10)] allowed
scientists to alter the fundamental properties of matter
itself. The discovery of {Frictionless Surfaces} proves
the most useful application of these techniques. As the
name implies, {Frictionless Surfaces} consist of materials
that remain unaffected by friction, a force that slows
down motion by changing kinetic energy into heat energy.
Moving objects made of these materials do not slow down
as they come into contact with other matter.

Driven by the requirements of [Doctrine: Initiative (E5)]
and the mathematical models behind [Probability Mechanics
(B7)],  {Nanometallurgy} techniques allow engineers to
manipulate metals at the molecular level.

Superstring Theory
One of the more contentious debates that ran through the
physics community of 20th century Earth centered on the
viability of {Superstring Theory}. This theory attempts
to unify the theory of gravity and other fundamental forces,
and posits that all characteristics exhibited by subatomic
particles, such as protons and neutrons, may be described as
vibrations of fundamental, one-dimensional ‘strings’. This
concept had been abandoned as untestable, until the development
of [Nonlinear Mathematics (C2)], which offers mathematical
models supporting {Superstring Theory}.

Advanced Military Algorithms
Military requirements have historically pushed technology
forward, and no better example can be found than sophisticated
software development. From the first computers, designed to
calculate artillery shell trajectories, to {Advanced Military
Algorithms} developed from [Polymorphic Software (D2)] and
[Doctrine: Flexibility (E2)], mankind has worked to extend
warfare into the digital world.

Monopole Magnets
Magnetism, like electricity and gravity, is one of the
fundamental forces of the universe. Prior to research
in [Superstring Theory (C5)] and [Silksteel Alloys (E4)],
all known magnets were dipolar, with a north and a south
pole. Development of a {Monopole Magnet} permits radical
new applications for science and industry.

Matter Compression
Breakthroughs in [Nanominiaturization (B8)] and
[Nanometallurgy (E8)] lead to complex {Matter
Compression} techniques. Using these techniques,
scientists can create materials as dense as the
inside of a star, with significant military and
industrial applications.

Unified Field Theory
Scientists have long worked towards a single theory
that explains all fundamental forces in
nature (gravity, magnetism, etc.)-a {Unified Field
Theory}. Advances in [Monopole Magnets (B6)] and
[Applied Relativity (D5)] help reveal these fundamental
mechanics of the universe.

Graviton Theory
[Quantum Machinery (D12)] and [Mind\Machine Interface
(B6)] pave the way for an understanding of gravity-the
weakest fundamental force in the universe, but one that
acts at infinite distances. With {Graviton Theory},
physicists can detect and measure the long-predicted
gravitons-particle strings that ‘carry’ gravitational force.

Polymorphic Software
On Earth, only theoretical mathematicians and entertainment
software programmers used {Polymorphic Software}--self-modifying
code--to any success. On Planet, the requirements of the budding
[Industrial Base (B1)] and [Information Networks (D1)]
spur widespread development of neural net applications that rewrite
themselves in response to data inputs.

Applied Gravitonics
Once physicists discover [Graviton Theory (E13)], they
turn their attention to {Applied Gravitonics}--the control
of gravity itself. By controlling and manipulating the
graviton strings that carry gravitational force, mankind
can levitate objects regardless of mass or proximity to
other objects.

Quantum Power
Earth scientist Max Planck first coined the term "quantum"
to describe an individual particle of light. Planck though
each quantum was indivisible, so that a fraction of a
quantum could not exist. One of the more startling
discoveries arising from [Unified Field Theory] was
that individual quantum actually could be split into
component sub-particles, much like atoms may be split
through fission. The energy released by {Quantum Power}
is several orders of magnitude greater than ordinary [Fusion Power].

Singularity Mechanics
Knowledge of [The Secrets of Creation (D11)] paved the
way for understanding {Singularity Mechanics}. This
technology seeks the physical causes and composition
of black holes-phenomena produced by points of infinitely
dense matter that warp the fabric of space and time
itself. Probes guided by onboard [Self-aware Machines
(B11)] transmit the data necessary to replicate this
natural occurrence in controlled laboratory conditions.

Controlled Singularity
As engineers quickly discovered, it’s one thing to
understand [Singularity Mechanics (D12)] and another
thing entirely to attempt {Controlled Singularity}--harnessing
and directing the powers of a black hole. Breakthroughs in
[Applied Gravitronics (E14)] finally make this technology
possible, with a host of amazing and potent applications,
from radical new types of weaponry to global power sources.

Temporal Mechanics
Breakthroughs in [Eudaimonia (E12)] and [Matter
Transmission (B17)] lead to the last great discovery
of the physical universe: {Temporal Mechanics}, the
manipulation of time itself.

Probability Mechanics
With operating systems powered by [Pre-sentient Algorithms
(D5)], computers finally gain sufficient processing power
to unravel the mysteries of {Probability Mechanics}. With
this breakthrough, humans can accurately predict many
seemingly random events.

Pre-Sentient Algorithms
The philosophy of [Cyberethics (B4)] and the technology of
[Advanced Military Algorithms (E3)] pave the way for
development of {Pre-sentient Algorithms}. These open-ended
neural net programs can sort and process exebytes of data,
‘learning’ as they do so and adapting to the world they observe.

Super Tensile Solids
The requirements of [Advanced Spaceflight (E8)] and
the possibilities inherent in [Matter Compression
(C9)] lead to research in {Super Tensile Solids}. These
materials possess such strength as to be functionally
unbreakable in a natural environment.

Planetary Networks
Once the colonists discovered how to survive, they focus on recreating
some of the organizational tools left behind on Earth.
Following the implementation of simple [Information
Networks (D1)], the creation of a standard for {Planetary
Networks} emerges as a high priority for the scientific community.

Digital Sentience
When utilized as part of [Industrial Nanorobotics
(B9)], the [Mind\Machine Interface (B6)] provides
the key spark needed by computers to at last achieve
{Digital Sentience}. These new artificial intelligences
have all the hallmarks of an individual organism:
they respond to their environment, adapt to stimuli,
and even exhibit advanced ‘personalities’ based on
their respective abilities and  preferences.

Self-Aware Machines
Following the advent of [Digital Sentience (D10)],
computers have only one great leap left: the evolution
to {Self-Aware Machines}. These machines are capable
of complex, higher-order thinking, and value the experience
of existence as much as any human. As with other living
organisms, self-preservation is paramount for these specimens.

Doctrine: Initiative
The slow moving foils and transports developed under
[Doctrine: Flexibility (E2)] provided an adequate early
naval force. However, materials and manufacturing
advances resulting from [Industrial Automation (B3)]
make possible new classes of powerful ships developed
as part of {Doctrine: Initiative}, which stresses the
importance of global naval superiority.

Doctrine: Flexibility
Many radical young military officers felt that [Doctrine:
Mobility (E1)] did not go far enough in the development
of fast attacks and quick reconnaissance, because Mobility
only takes land forces into account. These leaders work
to create the first navies on Planet,  based on {Doctrine:
Flexibility}--co-ordination and co-operation between forces
made possible by control of the sea.

Intellectual Integrity
The search for {Intellectual Integrity} arises from
questions posed by [Ethical Calculus (E2)] and [Doctrine:
Loyalty (C2)]. According to this philosophy, valid
wisdom comes merely from asking questions unburdened
by prejudices. Only by shedding those pre-conceived
notions can we achieve the clarity of undistorted knowledge.

Synthetic Fossil Fuels
The extreme efficiency with which the neural net
fungus managed Planet's vast ecosystem kept extensive
deposits of organic material from forming over the epochs.
Because of this lack, the fossil fuels known on Earth
never developed, forcing early colonists to rely on less
efficient alternative sources of energy. However, advances
in [Advanced Subatomic Theory (B3)] and [Gene Splicing (B3)]
finally allow humans to short-circuit the eons-long process,
providing them with the {Synthetic Fossil Fuels} needed
to build advanced vehicles and machinery.

Doctrine: Air Power
Mankind had brought the knowledge of atmospheric flight
to Planet, but not the materials to build and maintain
large quantities of aircraft in Planet's harsh conditions.
With the discovery of [Synthetic Fossil Fuels (E4)]  for
materials and a renewed emphasis on [Doctrine: Flexibility (E2)],
humans can again make the leap into the clouds.

Photon/Wave Mechanics
Physicists had puzzled over the mystery of light for
centuries: Why does light exhibit properties characteristic
of both a wave and a particle? In 1924, Prince Louis-Victor
de Broglie, a French scientist, proved that all particles
actually possess a wave aspect, which explained how light
can act as a wave even though it does consist of
particles, called photons. Following breakthroughs
in [Silksteel Alloys (E4)] and [Applied Relativity
(D5)], subsequent scientific inquiry focuses on the
manipulation of {Photon\Wave Mechanics} so that light,
even powerful laser beams or intense solar emissions,
can be diffused and warped as needed.

Mind/Machine Interface
Research into [Neural Grafting (C4)] demonstrated that
direct communications between the human brain and a
digital counterpart are theoretically possible. This
{Mind\Machine Interface}, requested by leaders
implementing [Doctrine: Air Power (E5)] for a new
generation of aircraft, bridges the gap between the
mechanical and the biological.

[Monopole Magnets (B6)] and [Organic Superlubricants
(C7)] lead to a revolution in engineering: {Nanominiaturization}.
With this technology, which emphasizes new assembly methods
and high-tensile strength materials, microscopic machine
components can be constructed and all manner of bulky,
heavy equipment can be shrunk to a fraction of its original size.

Doctrine: Loyalty
[Doctrine: Mobility (E1)] proved a sound dogma for the
early years on Planet. However, as the struggle for
survival against native Mind Worms and rival factions
intensifies, many younger officers repudiate the old
guard’s emphasis on Mobility as the dominant military
policy. Based also on the revelations of [Social Psych
(B1)], the new {Doctrine: Loyalty} stresses extensive
training, defensive facilities, and zealous dedication
to faction leaders as the foundation for survival and
success in combat. {Doctrine: Loyalty} emphasizes a
two-way fealty--soldiers are expected to lay down their
lives without question, but in return they receive
respect, power, and positions of authority in the new
social hierarchy.

Ethical Calculus
Throughout the history of mankind, philosophers have
grappled with the question: ‘How shall we then live?’
{Ethical Calculus} lays down mathematical principles
uncovered by [Social Psych (B1)] to address this question,
essentially providing calculations and functions that
determine appropriate human behavior.

Industrial Economics
Early industry on Planet centered on the creation
of a frontier [Industrial Base (B1)] featuring primitive
assembly lines and simple currency instruments. Soon,
leaders in the financial sectors push for a more
comprehensive {Industrial Economics} policy to accommodate
free trade and other strategies for multiplying capital.

Industrial Automation
The creation of [Planetary Networks (D2)] and
widespread adoption of [Industrial Economics
(B2)] lead to rapid industrialization of the
virgin Planet. Lacking the traditional masses
of Earth’s working class, leaders must now develop
complete {Industrial Automation} for production
and assembly , building modest factories where
all repetitive nonskilled jobs, from janitor to
VP of Sales, are handled by sophisticated robotics.

Centauri Meditation
[Centauri Empathy (E3)] and [Ecological Engineering
(E4)] reveal the vastness and complexity of the
ecosystem on Planet. Research into {Centauri
Meditation} illuminates the next, almost terrifying
step-the attempt to communicate directly with
Planet itself.

Secrets of the Human Brain
All past research on memory, learning, the senses,
and other aspects of the human brain did not answer
one basic question: what is the biological mechanism
of self-awareness? Research into [Biogenetics (D1)]
and [Social Psych (B1)] finally resolves the last of
the {Secrets of the Human Brain}, providing mankind
with understanding of the fundamentals of consciousness.

Gene Splicing
Widespread adoption of the philosophy of [Ethical
Calculus (E2)] removes opposition to genetic
experimentation in plant and animal DNA, while
advances in [Biogenetics (D1)] provide techniques
for the incipient field of {Gene Splicing}. This
technology allows researchers to insert new DNA
coding into existing genetic material so that
entire traits, from disease resistance to a stable
personality, can be copied from one organism and
transferred to any number of others.

[Gene Splicing (B3)] and [Neural Grafting (C4)]
exemplify crude and invasive techniques for modifying
an organism. The more refined {Bio-engineering}
method arranges a desired genetic code directly
from the component compounds, enabling widespread
and economical cellular transplants for an entire

Early experiments in [Retroviral Engineering (C5)]
and the [Mind\Machine Interface (B6)] paved the way
for true {Biomachinery}--the full integration of
man and machine at the cellular level.

Neural Grafting
The insatiable drive for efficiency spawned by
[Industrial Automation (B3)] drives the development
of {Neural Grafting}. This new technology, based
on [Secrets of the Human Brain (D2)], allows
attachment of  digital circuitry directly to
the neural cortex. With these implants, humans
willing to undergo {Neural Grafting} can enhance
many aspects of their physical being, from heightened
senses to faster reaction times.

Widespread adoption of [Planetary Networks (D2)]
and the philosophy of [Intellectual Integrity (E3)]
allows for a coherent system of {Cyberethics},
outlining the proper relationship of computers
to society.

{Eudaimonia} is a philosophical system that takes
its name from an ancient Greek word for fulfillment
and happiness. Based on economic equity made
possible by [Sentient Econometrics (E11)] and
rooted in opposition to the excesses of [The
Will to Power (E8)], {Eudaimonia} encourages
each citizen to achieve happiness through striving
to fulfill completely his or her potential;
freedom, creativity, and individuality flourish
in governments that adopt this philosophy.

The Will to Power
Following the development of [Homo Superior (E7)], many
advocated a return to Friedrich Nietzsche’s philosophy
of {The Will To Power}. This philosophy stresses
the importance of strength, asceticism, and
resolute action, often at the cost of compassion,
charity, and other traditionally religious

Threshold of Transcendence
The [Secrets of Creation (D11)] and [Temporal
Mechanics (B18)] brought humanity to the brink
of a new era--the {Threshold of Transcendence}.
In this transitional state, people begin preparations
for the final stage of human evolution, selling
possessions, cleansing their bodies according to
a new code of asceticism, and meditating alone
and unprotected in the remote regions of Planet.

Matter Transmission
[Matter Editation (B16)] and the [Secrets of
Alpha Centauri (D12)] point the way to one of
the most celebrated concepts in science
fiction--{Matter Transmission}. Transmitters
based on this technology disassemble objects
into the smallest component sub-particles, then
transmits those particles and their underlying
structural blueprint to a receiver. The
receiver reassembles these objects according to
the blueprint, recreating the original in
every nuance and detail.

Centauri Empathy
Based on [Secrets of the Human Brain (D2)] and
[Centauri Ecology (E1)], {Centauri Empathy}
espouses a philosophy of environmental harmony,
emphasizing the search for mankind’s proper niche
in the global ecosystem.

Environmental Economics
Industrial expansion often comes at the cost of
ecological stability. The business practice of
{Environmental Economics} addresses this problem
by finding and exploiting areas where
environmental and industrial concerns overlap,
such as sustainable resource use, eco-tourism,
and organic product development. By combining
the principles of [Industrial Economics (B2)]
and [Ecological Engineering (E4)] in this new
business model, ecological stability becomes
a profitable endeavor.

Ecological Engineering
Humans have always shown remarkable skill at
innovation and ingenuity in the face of environmental
hurdles. Expansion on a new Planet highlights
these traits once again in the form of {Ecological
Engineering}. Based on the discoveries of [Centauri
Ecology (E1)] and [Gene Splicing (B3)], this research
leads to new ways of thriving within the existing
ecosystem, rather than competing with it.

Planetary Economics
Early industrial policy on Planet centered on
individual markets and sectors, such as
[Environmental Economics (B5)], but these
separate sectors create inefficiencies. Proponents
of [Intellectual Integrity (E3)] insist that these
inefficiencies are unnecessary, and work to create
a system of {Planetary Economics} where goods and
services can flow freely.

Adv. Ecological Engineering
The discovery of [Fusion Power (D6)] opened up
staggering possibilities in a number of endeavors,
including the field of [Environmental Economics
(B5)]. Based on the cumulative experience from
thousands of construction projects undertaken
since Planetfall, {Advanced Ecological Engineering}
marks a new milestone in man’s ability to manipulate
his environment.

Centauri Psi
[Centauri Genetics (E6)] and [Advanced Ecological
Engineering (B10)] revealed the physical composition
of native life forms, but did not explain the
mysterious and terrifying psionic attacks these
creatures employ. Unlocking the mechanics of
this directed, psychic assault requires intense
investigation of {Centauri Psi}--the method used
by the Mind Worms to communicate and co-ordinate
their assaults.

Secrets of Alpha Centauri
Some digital sentiences churn through exebytes
of Planet-related data in their never-ending quest
to untangle [Sentient Econometrics (E11)]. The
best of these sentiences do not stop at sorting
economic data, but extend their inquiries into
[Centauri Psi (E11)] and other Planetary phenomena.
They work to reveal these {Secrets of Alpha Centauri}
as a kind of personal challenge, to prove themselves
as machines that can not only conquer the intricacies
of human society, but also the magnificent complexities
of a Planet-wide ecosystem.

Secrets of Creation
Those who embrace [The Will To Power (E8)] must
eventually confront the ultimate philosophical
question: What is the purpose and order of the
universe? Confirmation of the [Unified Field
Theory (C7)] finally gives mankind the tools to
answer this question in the search for the
{Secrets of Creation}.

Advanced Spaceflight
Resumption of {Advanced Spaceflight} begins
shortly after mankind begins [Orbital Spaceflight
(E7)]. With this technology, spacecraft can once
again reach the moons orbiting Planet and,
eventually, the stars themselves.

Homo Superior
Breakthroughs in [Biomachinery (B9)] and [Doctrine:
Initiative (E5)] paved the way for a new kind of organism
that is equal parts human and computer. The human
aspect thrives at physical manipulation and emotional
experience, while the digital aspect excels at
calculation and data processing. This {Homo Superior}
integrates the best of man and machine.

Organic Superlubricant
Machines with moving parts have long been subject
to wear and tear as the parts grind against one
another. On Earth, traditional lubricants such
as oil were used to minimize these effects.
Planet lacks large reserves of such materials,
until the invention of [Synthetic Fossil Fuels
(E4)]. With {Organic Superlubricant}, scientists
can create lubricating compounds that act like
simple life forms, seeking out areas where they
do the most good.

Quantum Machinery
The discovery of [Quantum Power (B11)] ushers in
a new industrial revolution. In factories across
Planet, tiny {Quantum Machinery} built using
[Nanometallurgy (E8)] techniques provide amazingly
powerful and efficient labor for every imaginable
type of production and service.

Matter Editation
Not long after the breakthroughs in [Super Tensile
Solids (B10)] and [Self-aware Machines (B11)],
engineers clamor to research the last major hurdle
in physical manipulation--{Matter Editation}. This
technique actually changes the physical structure of
individual atoms, altering characteristics like
energy states, spin, atomic weight, and the number
of protons as though they were entries in a database.
This technology is the modern embodiment of the ancient
quest to turn lead into gold-transmutation of elements
made possible by atomic manipulation.

Optical Computers
The widespread adoption of [Polymorphic Software
(D2)] increased demand for faster computers. The
revolutionary {Optical Computers}, which use photons
traveling at the speed of light for binary
calculations,  prove nearly 70% faster than old
electron-based devices. Based on successes in
[Applied Physics (C1)], {Optical Computers} also
exponentially improve storage capacities and access

Industrial Nanorobotics
The business leaders of Planet quickly perceived
the commercial potential of [Nanominiaturizion
(B8)], and constructed factories based around
{Industrial Nanorobotics}. These factories
utilize traditional [Industrial Automation
(B3)], but at a fraction of the size and cost.
Productivity skyrockets along with profitability,
as tiny robots churn out new products for consumption.

Centauri Genetics
The first contacts with Planetary sentience during
research on [Centauri Meditation (E5)] caused widespread
excitement among the scientific community. They propose
using new [Retroviral Engineering (C5)] techniques to
unravel {Centauri Genetics}--the structural blueprint
of native organisms.

Sentient Econometrics
For all the sophistication of its mathematical models,
[Planetary Economics (E6)] proved no better at
predicting the actions of markets and populations
than Wall Street prognosticators of 20th Century
Earth-there are too many unknown variables with
unforeseeable consequences. Proponents of {Sentient
Econometrics} take the best ‘intelligent computers’
developed under [Digital Sentience (D10)] and set
them to identifying these variables and predicting
their consequences. Under their diligent efforts,
economics finally becomes a true science.

Retroviral Engineering
{Retroviral Engineering}, a specialized branch of
[Bio-engineering (B4)], uses engineered viruses to
deliver genetic alterations. This application can
be used for peaceful, healing purposes, but can also
be twisted by the same militant researchers behind
[Advanced Military Algorithms (E3)] into a weapon
of terrible destruction.

Orbital Spaceflight
The early colonists certainly bring the technical
understanding of spaceflight with them, but they
lack the materials and infrastructure necessary
to construct spacecraft. Eventually, implementation
of [Doctrine: Air Power (E5)] furnishes the
infrastructure, while advanced [Pre-sentient
Algorithms (D5)] provide the tools for mankind’s
return to {Orbital Spaceflight}.

Transcendent Thought
Based on [Controlled Singularity (C16)] and
[Threshold of Transcendence (E19)], humanity
finally unlocks the keys to the final stage of
human evolution with {Transcendent Thought}--the
ability to contain a self-awareness, or ‘soul’,
outside the bounds of a corporeal form. Those
who so choose may now complete the Ascent to
Transcendence, joining their consciousness with
the Planetary mind in ageless immortality.

                                 Getting Started

You've got your planet the way you want it, picked out a faction that fits "you"
pretty well, and now you're looking at the map. Not that there's much to see
just yet, amounting to all of about ten squares, but….it's a beginning., and at
this point, the game is fairly intuitive. Obviously, you need to found some
bases and start building stuff in order to advance the game, but once you get
the ball rolling, and your research efforts start to generate a few
technological breakthroughs, you will very quickly find yourself with a
staggering array of different things to build, and this has a tendency to throw
off the novice player. What to build and when? A very good question indeed, and
hopefully this section will help to shed some light on things.

Expansion and Growth:

With all of two colony pods and a scout patrol, it's a little early yet to be
thinking in stylistic terms. Right now, survival is the priority, and ensuring
your survival means having a good number of bases to work with. Regardless of
what kind of game you're playing, you're not going to get very far without a
solid foundation. Having said that, getting your empire up to a "critical mass"
with regards to overall number of bases is vitally important. Opinions vary and
differ about what exact number this "critical mass" is, but you could almost
universally ballpark it in the 10-15 range.

So, what's the best way to get to that number of bases in a hurry? Well, there
is no one "best way," but there are a number of pretty interesting approaches,
each with their own set of advantages and disadvantages. (Again: Remember that
during this phase of the game, your Empire is embryonic....it is not really
large enough to have a set "playing style." That is to say that any of these
early game strategies can be pursued by equally well, regardless of the play
style you eventually wish to fall into (Builder, Momentum, or Hybrid).

Early Game Paradigm #1: Monster Terraforming Avantage

Unless you're running democracy, each new base you found gets 10 free minerals.
This means you can get your token scout patrol guard for that base for free the
turn after you build the base in question. It also means you can add 25 energy
credits to it (before considering industry bonuses or penalties), and get a
former the turn after the base build, and THEN start work on your scout patrol.
Depending on what you do with your former at that point (and to that end, if
you're going to uses this approach, pay very close attention to the Basic
Terraforming section on the pages that follow), you can net yourself a powerful
advantage indeed. The simple fact is this: you are competing in time with one or
more opposing factions. The faster you can get your formers out and improving
things relative to your opponents, the better off you will be, as it will give
you the opportunity to make use of those improved production squares while your
opponent is not, netting you a mineral, energy, and/or nutrient advantage over
your opponent for each and every turn you are able to maintain that advantage.

Keep doing that with every base you found, and over the course of the game this
will net you a HUGE advantage, as each base's former will gain somewhere between
6-10 turns of terraforming activity over and above what your opponent is
getting. That's six to ten turns per former you have out terraforming. To give
that advantage some kind of tangible reference point, make the blanket
assumption that an improved (terraformed) piece of real estate will net you 2
FOP's (factors of production - energy, nutrient, or mineral) over and above what
a non-improved land square will net you. Multiply that by 6-10 (from above - the
number of "free" terraforming turns you can expect to get over and above your
opponent, and we will assume ten, for simplicity's sake), and further multiply
that by the number of bases (formers, specifically) you've got. Whatever number
you get is a fairly good estimate of the total advantage you've netted yourself
(ie., If you have ten bases, each with a rushed former, your estimated advantage
using the formula above would be (2*10) * 10 = 200 FOP's. If you consider that a
Trance Scout Patrol costs you 10 FOP's (10 minerals, specifically), you begin to
put the advantage in perspective. Of course, not all 200 of your FOP's will be
in the form of minerals. Likely, they will be a mixed bag of all three, but
that's okay too, because what it really means is that, relative to your
opponent, your bases will produce more minerals more quickly, give you more
money, and grow faster (which will enable you to make even MORE bases!). Keep
this theory in mind for later, when we get to the economy section….we will build
on it significantly.

For the moment, simply understand that taking this approach will help you grow
your empire more quickly than the norm, and it will also give you a viable
intra-base infrastructure more quickly than your opposition can put together.
Intra-base infrastructures consists of things like roads, bunkers, airfields,
and sensor arrays.

The beauty of this approach is that if you want to get a veritable HORDE of
bases up and running quickly (sans infrastructure, but that will come later),
then this is bar none, the best way to go about it. Build your formers first,
and while your base is working on it's token scout patrol, you can be
terraforming as mentioned above, and finish your first square at about the same
time your scout is done....then get to work on those colony pods!

The only infrastructure you will want to focus on with this style is Rec.
Commons (and only then if it looks like your base will grow to size three before
you could complete another colony pod at that base). The rest of your
infrastructure will come after you've reached critical mass, or covered your
entire continent in bases, whichever you choose.

The number of your bases will grow exponentially, and you'll fill up the
continent VERY quickly! (And, even though they will all be small, this will give
you an ENORMOUS pool of resources to work with. You can visually divide up your
empire in regions, and pick a certain base in each region for rapid development
via rush building, to give each region a strong point). The exponential growth
can be seen thusly: You begin with two bases, build two pods to get
four....everybody builds pods (after the former/scout thing), and you've got
eight before you know it.....16....32.....repeat as needed.

Main weakness of this style: If you get unlucky, and the worms come calling in
the few turns it takes to build the scout patrol after your former is out and
working, you lose the base. It's an exceedingly fast style, but not without

Early Game paradigm #2: Security Over Speed:

The basic assumption here is that, the world is a dangerous place, and you'd
better be prepared for that. To that end, the build order is similar, but the
timing is fundamentally different.

Build your two bases. Keep your freebie scout patrol in one of them.
The base containing the freebie scout starts working on a former first (and then
builds a scout of its own). The empty base builds a scout first and then a
former ((Stylistic Note!!: If you compare these two styles in play, you will see
that the first style nets you about 8-10 turns of additional former operation,
but does so at the expense of leaving the bases vulnerable for approximately 4
Terraform as mentioned in the next few pages, and the next build your bases will
do will be another scout (which will eventually perform escort duty). In the
meantime, your freebie scout is now available for exploration, and the bases are

After the second scout is built, they can accompany the formers if they want to
do some exploring, or hang around in the bases until the colony pods are done.

When the pod is done, the "extra" scout moves to the new site with the pod, so
that from the get-go, the new base is protected (and you can change ownership of
the scout to the new base by using Ctrl-H, when the scout is in the base
square). The new base then builds a former/scout/pod and repeats the process.

Main weaknesses: Overall, this is a good deal slower than the first method, both
in terms of how quickly you get the pods cranked out, and in terms of how much
terraforming you get done, but the trade-off is safety. If you're on a landmass
with company, or are worried about worms, this is probably your best bet.

Expansion Paradigm #3: Specialized Base Expansion

This is great for people on small landmasses and for Marketeers. It's also great
for multiplayer games at it increases your overall flexibility (at the expense
of speed of colonization)

The initial scheme runs pretty similar to #2 (above), keeping your freebie scout
at home for a few turns until you build base guards, then, the focus turns
immediately to Rec. Tanks (for the additional +1/+1/+1 kick per turn. Then build
a pod, then a rec. common, and then back over to any one of the following: more
pods, guards, prototypes, or secret projects (depending on your needs at the

The big strength of this paradigm is the fact that your bases will be
exceedingly stable. You will only rarely experience riots, because your
infrastructural development will be kept pretty well in time with your base's
growth cycles. This style also facilitates an early switch to Market, and that's
a HUGE boon! However, it is not without its drawbacks.

The drawback here is a lack of speed. All that focus on base facilities means a
slower rate of expansion. Yes, you will have stable, profitable bases, but you
will also have fewer production centers. Depending on how your game developes,
(and on local geography)that could be anything from a minor irrtation to a
crippling disability.


Expansion Paradigm #4: A Focus on factors of Efficiency.

This focuses on the specific points in the game when extra drones are created by
the growth of your empire. Here are the threshold points you need to remember:

Huge Planet: 11 Bases
Large Planet: 9 Bases
Standard Planet: 6 Bases
Small Planet: 5 Bases
Tiny Planet: 3 Bases
Go above any of these numbers on the planet of size 'x' and you get drones.
Therefore, the idea here is to grow your empire in "spurts." Let's assume you're
on a standard planet. Your first goal then, is to get yourself to six bases as
quickly as you can. Use the methodologies in Paradigm #1 to do this.

Once you are up to six bases, build a Rec. Tanks & a Rec. Commons, and then
switch to Market and start cranking out pods again….you next goal being twelve
(12) bases.

Once you get to twelve, stop again, and build the Rec. Tanks and Rec. Commons at
your newest bases, while your original bases go to work on more advanced
facilities, then move to the next "tier," of eighteen (18). Repeat until you
have filled up the continent.

The advantage here is that you solve the extra drone problem due to size, you
blend speedy expansion with infrastructure builds, and you do it in relative
safety. The drawback though, once again, is raw speed. This is still not as fast
an approach as paradigm 1, but it is probably the most balanced of the lot.

A quick note about SE choices in the Early game: You will find both Planned and
Wealth hard to beat in the early game, and both of them together are powerful

Both Planned and Wealth confer a +1 Industry, with Wealth adding an Economy
kick, and Planned giving you a Growth bonus, and the good news is that a single
facility (the Children's Creche) can overcome the disadvantages of both of these
SE choices!

So, if you have Children's Creche's in all your bases, you're looking at nothing
but positives for running Planned/Wealth, and your bonuses (before you even
consider faction-specific bonuses) amount to:

+2 Industry (20% discount on all builds)
+1 Economy (+1 Energy per base)
+4 Growth (40% faster growth in all your bases, half coming from Planned, and
half coming from the Children's Creches themselves)
Terraforming 101:

Now that you've got a few different ideas to play with regarding how to pursue
expansion, it's time to take a closer look at the very best, most versatile unit
in the entire game: Meet "The Former."

Take a look at the good ol' Former. Get to know him very well indeed. Smart use
of this little unit will be instrumental in winning the bulk of your games, and
even in the mid and late game (after most of the really important terraforming
has already been done), you will find this unit to be surprisingly useful, and
always valuable.

The biggest thing to remember about terraforming in the early game is that you
are under some pretty tight restrictions until you reach certain key
technologies. Effectively, no square (unless it contains a resource bonus) can
produce more than two FOP's, regardless of type. Nutrient restrictions are the
first to be relaxed, then mineral, and last, energy.

Because of these relatively tight restrictions, and because of game mechanics
(ie., each citizen requires 2 units of food), growing big bases in the early
game just isn't very practical. In truth, getting big bases in the early game
really isn't al that important. There will be time for that later. The most
important thing to consider about early game bases is getting a base from size
one to size two, and then being able to build a colony pod or basic piece of
infrastructre fairly quickly (decent minerals).

To that end, the Monolith is the very best friend you've got in the early game.
The square gives you two of each, minerals, nutrients, and energy, plus it will
net your fledgling scouts a much needed morale boost to help battle the worms.
There's no such thing as too many monoliths in your territory!

Not far behind the monolith are rolling and rainy squares. These little guys
give you two nutrients and a mineral. Not bad, and it will help you grow quite
nicely, no terraforming at all needed. Later, a farm/solar collector can be
added to the square to heighten its natural advantages, and these squares are
even nicer if they happen to have a river running through them as well, as that
will give you an energy kick, on top of the food!

In third place would be any square containing a forest. A forest generates
(regardless of the underlying terrain) 1 nutrient, 2 minerals, and 1 energy.
Plant a forest in any resource bonus square and you've got a productive square
indeed! Just as monoliths and rolling/rainy squares are instrumental in getting
size one bases up to size two bases as quickly as possible, a couple of forest
squares in each base's production radius are instrumental in providing the base
enough mineral output to build more pods or early game infrastructure fairly

Of course, I am unfairly biased. I am very fond of forests, both for their
efficiency and for their impact on eco-damage (which you won't have to worry
about until much later in the game). But because I am so partial to forests,
here's what I would recommend to any new player when your former is built at a
given base:

Scope out an area of flat terrain just outside your base, move the former there
and build a road. Exception to this rule: If there is a mineral or energy
resources square in the production radius of the base, and that resource is NOT
on a rocky terrain square, proceed to that square, build your road, then drop a
The road finishes in one turn on flat terrain. Start work on a forest (3 turns
to complete, in a flat terrain square)
When the forest is completed, take a peek at the production radius of the base
in question. If there is a nutrient resource square in the base's production
radius, move there and road + forest it. These two squares will provide you all
the raw materials you need to keep that base productive for the opening gambit
(and besides that, the forests will likely expand a bit on their own).
If there is no nutrient resources square, find the highest rolling/rainy or
rolling/moist elevation square in the base-production radius and build a
road/farm/solar collector there (if the square is rainy, then the farm won't
give you any immediate benefit, but will be in place for when those nutrient
restrictions are lifted) This will be the base's main square to springboard it
from size one to size two for pod building.
Once the former has done his two-square duty, he's off to do other stuff. How
you use the extra time you have with him is up to you, but here are some pretty
solid suggestions:

(My personal favorite): Scope out some places you want to build new bases, and
operate your formers in teams. One former builds a road out toward the new site,
and the other moves ahead to plop a sensor array down on the build location.
Make a road network which connects all your existing bases to facilitate defense
Don't let the former leave its base of origin at all....leave it nearby to
finish terraforming all squares in the production radius of the base. That way,
if the base is attacked, the former can scamper back inside base, get an armor
upgrade, and help defend it.
Considering the heavy restrictions you are under in the very early game, that's
about all you need to get started, terraforming wise. If you follow a smart
schedule of terraforming, providing each of your bases with a good mix of
forests and farms in rainy squares (where available), they will server you well
as the game progresses, new technologies are discovered, and those restrictions
begin to come off. The productivity of those squares will grow in time with your
empire, and you will find yourself well positioned to step into the much more
advanced Mid-game.


At this point (specifically, at the point when you find yourself with Industrial
Automation, the ability to change to Wealth on the SE table, and the ability to
create Supply Crawlers), there are few things you could do which will have a
greater impact on your game than this. Simply put, you are ready to do this. If
you delay, you will find yourself floundering. If you act decisively, you will
find yourself leaping far ahead of the pack. Also keep in mind that the things
touched on here will come back to visit you again later in the section called
"Studying the Metagame." This is the foundation of the Metagame.

We'll talk a great deal more about Supply Crawlers later on, but for now, just
realize that the Supply Crawler is the unit which makes it possible to define
your focus. They have a ton of other uses besides, but you've got to grow into
those uses. When you first get the ability to make them, using them to define
your focus is the very best move you can make. To define your focus, you simply
have your bases begin making supply crawlers whenever the opportunity presents
itself. You move the crawlers out to a resource square that is not currently
being utilized, and you begin harvesting one of the FOP's from that square for
the base that it is assigned to. Whatever factor of production you spend the
greatest amount of overall effort harvesting, that is your focus.

SMAC is all about efficiency. The more efficient you are at managing the factors
of production, the better off you will be. There are three factors of production
to manage in the framework of the game, and they must be managed over time
(which makes up a "fourth," albiet intangible factor).

You have seen the three factors, and will be spending quite a lot of time with
them in future sections, but for now, allow me to formally introduce them, and
the three possible focuses you can select:

Nutrient Focus
Mineral Focus
Energy Focus
When you put these three possible focuses together with the three possible play
styles, you get a much better sense for the type of game you will be playing.
For the time being, we will take a look at the focuses themselves, independent
of your particular playing style.

Nutrient focus: Your crawlers are out there harvesting lots of food. This has
the advantage that your bases are growing much more rapidly than they normally
would, and every time they grow, the number of squares each base works increases
accordingly, however, this does not come without drawbacks. More citizens means
more drones, and if you select this as your primary focus, you will need to
devote some time to pumping up your psych allocation, or building police
garrisons, or drone controlling facilities (or some combination of all three).
Note that due to base-size limitations, this is probably the weakest of the
three approaches, but it may have value in certain situations, and, it has the
advantage that, once your bases are of maximum possible size, you can simply
shift to a different focus. If you are isolated or at peace, and you cannot
execute a "Population Boom" (covered later in this guide), then this is a pretty
good approach to take as it will give you more citizens to work with, a good
number of specialists, and force you to spend time learning to cope with the
unruly elements of your Empire.

Much more interesting, however, are the choices of Mineral or Energy as your
primary focus.

Mineral Focus: Your crawlers are out there harvesting lots of minerals for each
of your bases. This does a number of things for you: First, it increases the
number of troops you can field per base. Eventually, no matter what your support
rating, the troops you create will begin to cost you an upkeep cost, amounting
to one mineral per unit, after a certain point (determined by that
aforementioned Support rating). Second, more minerals allows you to build things
in your production queue more quickly (troops, facilities, or what have you).
This is vitally important if you wish to put an infrastructure together quickly,
and one of the reasons it is such a strong, viable focus. Thirdly, it can give
you a decent income in the sense that if you do not need anything from a given
base, you can set that base to stockpiling energy, and reap the monetary
benefits of that base's enhanced mineral output.

It is not, however, without its drawbacks. Namely, it suffers from something of
a lack of flexibility. That is to say, mineral production is tied to each
particular base independently. If you want to boost mineral production at a
given base, you must build an additional crawler, and send it out to a new
location to harvest minerals. If you set up a given base to harvest minerals to
be your primary troop training center because of its favorable strategic
location, and the strategic situation changes, your base may suddenly be not
nearly as useful to you for the purpose you designed it. Then, you will need to
begin prepping a new base for that same role, which of course, takes time.
Therefore, a mineral focus works best when you are able to control the gaming
environment, and if at any point you lose control of the game environment, you
will find yourself scrambling to re-allocate your production.

Energy Focus: Your crawlers are out harvesting lots of energy. Again, this has a
number of effects: First, both per turn income and research rates increase. Both
of these are energy driven, and you attack two problems at once with this
approach. Second, it provides a great deal of fluidity, in the sense that your
income is not tied to a particular base, but may be "spent" anywhere you like,
and you can shift it from base to base as the situation warrants. This gives you
the maximum amount of flexibility possible, enabling you to shift as the game
shifts. Finally, it allows you to select bases on an individual basis and "rush-
build" whatever that base is currently building in order to finish it quickly,
leading to very rapid infrastructure development in selected bases.

It too, however, has drawbacks. First and foremost, an energy focus is at the
expense of minerals, meaning that each of your bases will be able to support a
relatively smaller number of troops, and that facility builds (unless you rush
them) will be comparatively slower than at bases with a mineral focus. Secondly,
an energy focus surrenders initiative to those with a mineral focus. With an
energy focus, you are essentially saying that you are willing to simply react to
changing game conditions rather than attempting to control them, and will rely
on your income's greater flexibility to be able to successfully react. It is the
tradeoff you make for faster research times.

Let me stress again that by defining your focus into one of these three areas,
that certainly does not mean that you cannot or will not build crawlers that
will harvest things outside your focus, it is merely a statement of where the
majority of your resource harvesting efforts are being directed, so think
carefully before committing yourself to one of the three. It is a tedious
process to change once you begin (especially when you get a great number of
Supply Crawlers out and working for you), and your focus will have a great
amount of impact on how your game continues to develop.

Once you settle on a focus, however, it is time to take a closer look at the
next stepping stone along the path to victory, and that would be your Empire's

Economic Theory - SMAC Style: - Creating Comparative Turn Advantage

Having already said that you can play the game without paying much attention at
all to your economy, the question above is a fair one, and to answer it, I would
say this: At the very heart and soul of Empire is the Economy. It supersedes the
army, and even technological research and innovation. Do not misunderstand me on
this. The production of war materials and research are vitally important to your
survival and eventual dominance, but an Empire's ability to produce quantities
of either is driven by the force and stability of that Empire's Economy. You
must understand that players who use a strictly militaristic focus are playing
the game from the previously discussed "Momentum" standpoint. Their key hope is
that their program of relentless assault can end the game before some Builder or
Hybrid player can build up a strong enough economy to stand against them.

Never forget these three facts:

Your Economy is the most versatile tool you have. In times of crisis, you can
configure it to crank out massive amounts of cash to fund your war effort (or
whatever), and in times of peace you can ratchet your research up through the
Contrast that to military units, which are actually only useful in three very
specific situations: If you are attacked, if you launch an attack, or if you can
make your opponent believe you are about to launch an attack (i.e. feint) (see
below on creating turn advantage). Otherwise, they simply take up space on the
board. They represent a certain amount of "potential energy." That is to say,
the potential to cause harm to another Empire or to defend your holdings.
Technological advances are likewise "potential energy." By themselves they do
nothing for you. You have to actually build something to get anything useful out
of them (a new prototype, base facility, secret project....something).
Factors of Production on Chiron:

You've already been introduced to them, and here they are again, this time, with
a slightly different treatment:

Nutrients: Enables your population to expand.
Minerals: Allows you to build stuff.
Energy: Drives your research efforts and puts cash in your pocket.
In order to build a healthy economy, attention must be paid to all three.

Your economy is driven by the function of the passage of Time acting against the
three factors of production listed above. It's like plate tectonics, with time
on one side and your productive factors on the other. You can vary your
economy's effectiveness versus Time (bigger or smaller "quakes" = speeding up or
slowing down) by adjusting your three factors of production.

Basic Economic Theory: The basics of Economic Theory are intuitive, but are
outlined below:

Makin' Big Cities: Maximize Nutrient output over time. Note that without
controls on growth (i.e., sufficient mineral production to produce anti-drone
facilities), your base will suffer chronic rioting.

Makin' Productive Cities: Maximize Mineral output over time. Lets you build
stuff very quickly. Too much mineral production leads to eco-damage, which in
turn, leads to worm rape....something you don't want to see. ;-)

Makin' Bill Gates Cities (Lots of Tech and Cash): Maximize energy output over
time. Generates money and research points very quickly, but comes with the ill-
effect that it takes a long time to build all the base facilities you need to
get to this point (i.e., it will take even longer if you don't balance this with
mineral production).

Intermediate Economic theory:

As I said above, basic management of the factors of productive is intuitive (if
you want the base to grow, give them lots of food....how hard is that?), but
since it is clear that taking any of the factors of production to their extreme
is probably detrimental in some way (to say nothing of the inefficiency it
creates), it becomes obvious that some balance needs to be struck. He who has a
clearer understanding of when to focus on which of the factors of production
will almost always be able to create a stronger economy than he who is content
to let the computer make production decisions.

Early game Economics: Energy production is basically unimportant in the early
game. You are starting from scratch. You have nothing. No infrastructure at all.
What you need is a good balance of Nutrients (to grow your population pretty
rapidly), and minerals (to build your first, most basic facilities fairly
quickly). Only when that has been accomplished should you begin to worry much
over energy production or enhancement. For this reason, planting forests is
probably the most important early-game terrain enhancing you can do. Due to
mineral and energy restrictions, early forests will produce as much as early
mines (and mines take 6-8 turns to build). Two forests (which tend to expand on
their own), or one mine? You don't have to be a student of economics to see
which is more efficient, and efficiency is the name of the game (and this
provides something in the way of a specific explanation of the terraforming
choices mentioned earlier in this guide).

Once you get your most essential base facilities constructed you should probably
shift into a more balanced mineral/nutrient mix (still not paying terribly much
attention to energy) in order to facilitate population growth, while using your
selected "focus" to heighten each base's per turn output of one of the factors
of production in particular. Here though, certain base facilities can make this
more efficient (don't kick up your nutrient harvesting until you finish your
children's creche, otherwise you're just spinning your wheels). Also, monitor
your growth constantly as your bases creep up on their maximum size, and adjust
your nutrient output accordingly. You don't want any wasted effort if you can
help it. Wasted effort and resource is an opportunity for your opponent to close
the gap on you and possibly overtake you.


Mid Game Economics (a look ahead): Energy begins to become important and
nutrients become secondary. Even with a purely nutrient focus, your bases will
still take a long time to grow, and by the mid-game, you've got other things to
worry about (like jacking your tech advances down to four turns or less), so you
might as well just accept that it'll be a while before your bases grow, and
focus on more immediate and pressing concerns. Pick a strategy, stick with it,
and give it time to bear itself out, building what facilities are needed to
enhance your overall strategy. (Gaians will probably want Bio-Labs to build
better mind worms, Hive will definitely want Robotic Assembly plants, everybody
will probably be gunning for Tree Farms). The key to mid-game development is to
build on your successes in the early game and enhance them with builds in the
mid-game, and increase your energy output as you can. At this point too,
facilities which reduce eco-damage are very important, because the last thing
you want to run into is a massive worm-rape when you've got your forces pressing
hard into enemy territory someplace. One ill-timed attack like that can really
set you back.

Late Game Economics (a look further ahead): By the late game, it's generally too
late to make radical changes to your strategy (which is why the "Future Society"
entries on the SE table really cannot be considered when formulating your
factional strategy--they come too late in the game for that, and by the time you
get them, you already have a pretty good idea what your standing in the game
will be....they are more designed to enhance and build on what you've already
done). Like the mid-game, your purpose here is to build on your previous
successes, but in the late game you get a bigger suite of tools to do this
(Future society choices, more exotic facilities, etc.) This brings to light a
good point: More often than not, you will win or lose the game based on the
choices you make over the first hundred turns or so. You are almost always more
effective by focusing on your successes in the early game and building them,
using them to launch you toward whichever victory condition is closest at
hand....just run like hell for it! (keeping your eye on a second victory
condition, just in case somebody bloodies your nose).

Advanced Economic Theory:

Advanced Economic Theory is all about creating Turn and Resource Advantage. What
you will learn below will help you understand how to use your Empire's economy
as a weapon against your opponents, and as an incredibly flexible tool for you
and your allies, boosting your cash and research abilities to nearly
unbelievable heights.

Turn Advantage: Building stuff more quickly than your opponents (rush-building).
Because your bases can only work on one thing at a time, the quicker you can
finish each thing, relative to your opponents, the greater advantage you will
gain over them.

Resource Advantage: Having more nutrients, minerals, and energy than your
opponents. This is primarily done by making intelligent terraforming choices,
and optimizing the outputs of the various factors of production for each of your
bases, dependent on your current needs and goals.

Winning with your Economy:

If you want to use your economy as a weapon, then you must do more than
intuitively understand the three factors of production, you must master and
control them. You must make them sing, and if you do, your economy will hum like
you have never seen, and might have never thought possible.

The key to using your economy as a weapon is to create a turn (or Time)
advantage. The bigger the turn advantage you can create over your opponent, the
easier it will be to defeat him. As you begin to take the steps necessary in
creating Turn Advantage, you may find yourself wondering if what you are doing
is having any impact on the game at large, but trust me, your doubts will be
washed away when your Shard Garrisons are defending against his Missile Marines.
Then you will understand and fully appreciate what turn advantage has done for

As previously stated, Time is the engine that powers all the economies of
Chiron. It is the catalyst, and the ultimate "limited resource," and he who
makes the most efficient use of time will almost always win the game. There are
several very specific things you can do to create turn advantage for yourself,
and they are outlined below: The essential element of creating Turn Advantage is
energy, for it is energy which allows for rush-building, which is the chief way
you create turn advantage. The second way you create Turn Advantage is to build
new bases. If you have more bases than your opponent, you can accomplish more
things more quickly than he. Even if you only have one or two more bases, over
time, the difference can be devastating. Expansion and Rush-building. Those are
your tools.

The first, best thing you can do for yourself is to always, always, always rush-
build your formers and Recycling Tanks (unless you're already cranking them out
in one turn, of course). The reason for this is as simple as it is elegant: The
game is about resource management. Because of that, Formers are the most
important units in the game. They can turn a completely average land square into
an amazingly productive piece of property, which in turn gives you more
resources to work with. In the case of Recycling Tanks, consider what you are
doing: Essentially you are turning your base into a "Former" for the duration of
the build time of the Tanks, and the end result in a +1/+1/+1 enhancement to the
base terrain square.

Let us say, for sake of comparison that you and a computer opponent have both
just founded a base with exactly the same amount of productive capacity (built
on the same kind of land, and working the same kind of land). The square your
citizens are working is currently generating 1-1(food/mineral). It will take you
both 5 turns (about the average for a size 1 base) to build the former you're
working on, but you have the cash to rush-build it, so you do. Watch what

Turn 1- You issue the rush-build order. Opponent starts building his former.
Turn 2 - You move your former into position, and start working on your Recycling
Tanks (20 turns to build). Opponent gets his former in four turns.
Turn 3- Former begins to cultivate a forest (3 to go). Rec. Tanks in 19.
Opponent gets former in three turns.
Turn 4 - Former continues forestry mission (2 to go). Rec Tanks in 18. Opponent
former in 2.
Turn 5 - Former continues forming (1 to go). Rec Tanks in 17. Opponent former
next turn.
Turn 6 - Former is done! You get +1 Mineral and +1 energy from that square. Rec.
Tanks is now to be completed in 12 turns! Opponent moves former into position
and begins constructing Rec. Tanks (in 20 turns)
Turn 7 - Your former moves again - RT in 11 - Opponent forest in 3 turns. RT in
Turn 8 - Forest #2 in 3 turns - RT in 10 - Opponent forest in 2. RT in 19
Turn 9 - Forest #2 in 2 turns - RT in 9 - Opponent forest in 1. RT in 18
Turn 10 - Forest #2 in 1 turn - RT in 8 - Opponent forest done! RT in 12
Turn 11 - Forest #2 done! - RT in 6 (rush build for 60) - Opponent moves former
- RT in 11
Turn 12 - You get +1/+1/+1 for the tanks. Your former moves again - Begin work
on Rec. Commons. - Opponent starts work on 2nd forest square (RT in 10)
Okay, let's take a look at what just happened here: You spent 25 energy credits
(the average cost of rush building a former from a new base), and later spent
another 60 to finish your recycling tanks early. Effectively, you used cash (85
energy credits, in this example) to speed up your economy relative to your
opponent's, and here's what you got for your money:

You created a four turn former advantage over your opponent (you got four free
turns of former activity that your opponent did not get, which translates into
+4 minerals and +4 Energy)

You created a total of 10 turns of base turn advantage, netting you +10
Nutrients/+10 Minerals/+10 Energy over your opponent.

For a grand total of +14 energy/+10 Nutrients/+14 Energy. That's only a total of
38 (valuing them all at the same rate for simplicity), and you spent 85, so you
may be wondering where the advantage is in that, but if you are looking at it in
that way, you are missing the point. It's called Turn Advantage because it give
you extra turns of production at the base in question. Turns that your
opponent's base does not get. This is a good thing for you (assuming you are
able to leverage that turn advantage to do something to further the ends of your
own empire or something nasty to the detriment of your opponent) and
correspondingly bad for your foe. The mineral, nutrient, and energy savings are
only a bonus, the primary advantage is that your base is now freed up to begin
work on other things, and his base is and will be tied up for next ten turns
cranking out the stuff you're already done with. And how much did this wind up
costing you? Again, valuing all the factors of production equally: You spent 85
credits, got 38 back, which means that your net cost for the turn advantage was
46, or 4.6 (round to 5) energy credits per turn's worth of advantage you got. If
5 bucks a turn isn't a bargain, I don't know what is.

Now that you have a ten turn base advantage, the question is: What are you going
to do with it? There are a number of directions you could take your advantage,
in order to magnify it:

Research - Begin working on a network node or somesuch, and rush-build when it
gets cheap enough for your liking. Every turn you have a network node and your
opponent, that's x number of research points you get over and above your
Cash - Do the above with an energy bank to magnify your cash advantage over your
Control - If your base is verging on growing to a point where Drones will be a
problem, you can head that off by rush-building an anti-drone facility thus
keeping your base more productive relative to your opponent's base.
Turn - If you want to magnify your raw turn advantage, rather than focus in on
some specific factor in your economy, you can do that by forcing your opponent
to change his mind about what he is doing (and by forcing him to change his
mind, he may lose minerals, and in any case will be slowed down)
Going back to our previous example: You finished your Recycling Tanks a full ten
turns earlier than your opponent, and after taking a look at your options, you
decide that it's in your best interest to build a couple of those spiffy plasma
rovers you finished prototyping not long ago. Each will take you four turns to
crank out, so you set about doing it.

By the time your first one is done, your opponent is six turns from finishing
his rec. Tanks and you decide to see if you can spook him, so your rover drives
over toward his base.

Now the ball is in your opponent's court: If his base is lightly defended, he
just might switch his production to a Plasma Rover of his own. If he does, then
you've just magnified your turn advantage over him, because he probably lost a
few minerals to make the switch, and besides that, when he does get back to
building his Recycling Tanks, he'll be starting from scratch, and in the
meantime your base is getting +1/+1/+1 over his base every turn. That is how you
use your economy as a weapon.

You never attacked him. Your troops never drew or fired. There was no loss of
life. No battle. But you just won an important victory.

The lesson learned here: A given base can only work on one thing at a time. The
primary way to create turn advantage over your opponent is to rush-build things,
especially formers (so they can start improving your land more quickly) and base
facilities which will provide you with a calculable benefit (i.e., you can say
to yourself: If I finish this quickly, it will allow my base to begin working on
something else, and net me +4 energy (or whatever) per turn).

Once you have a turn advantage, the you can magnify it by either running through
another rushed facility (furthering your control, energy, or research edge
relative to your opponent), or to throw your opponent off balance via feint (if
you actually attack then it becomes a skirmish, a separate issue from the
Economic Turn Advantage). You can do this by creating a military unit and
sending it toward one of his bases or otherwise "bluffing" him into thinking
that you are doing something he will not like. Depending on his situation, he
may abandon his current project in order to respond to your perceived threat.

You might not yet be convinced that turn advantage is all that big a deal. After
all, the gain in energy, minerals, and nutrients is relatively small, and if you
don't have anything in particular you need to work on next, you may not believe
turn advantage is all that important, and if that's the case, I'll volunteer to
play you absolutely anytime you want!

Seriously, if you multiply your turn advantage energy/mineral/nutrient gain out
over the total number of bases you have, the numbers begin to look more
impressive, and if you multiply the number of "free" turns you gain in this way
out over the number of bases you're doing this in, you'll quickly realize that
you now have a large "window" of opportunity you can exploit in any number of
ways, with your opponent being unable to respond (or, as mentioned above, if he
does respond, then it will be at the expense of the projects he is currently
working on, which will further enhance your turn advantage), and suddenly the
benefits of turn advantage begin to crystallize.

Practice, practice, practice:

The fastest way to get better at the whole "Turn Advantage" concept is to put
this article down and go play a Hotseat game against yourself. Study the time
differences in various approaches. You will very quickly get better at
determining exactly when to execute the rush order, and how to customize the
general principles to your particular style of play. The whole really is greater
than the sum of its parts, and your personal style, no matter what it is, has
its own unique set of strengths and weaknesses, and when properly meshed with
the principles you've read about in here, it will create for you a stronger,
better playing style.

Resource Advantage:

Terraforming is essentially a game within a game, and can be as simple or as
complex as you'd care to make it. I will not devote much time to this subject,
because there are too many variables and too many differing opinions on what to
do and how to do it when it comes to terraforming, so I will simply say this:
Find a set of "rules of thumb" that work for you, and stick with them until such
time as someone comes along who is capable of proving to you that they have a
better way.

Rules of thumb that I use in my games:

Rocky terrain is a bad thing: I will leave some in strategic places for the
defensive bonus, but I nearly always level it out and plant a forest if I'm
looking for mineral production from a square. As you might imagine, I make
little use of mines. If I'm going to build a mine, I'd rather have a borehole.

Forests are a good source of minerals: True, they don't net you as much as a
mine, but what of that? They give you both nutrients and energy, making forest
squares very well balanced. Almost always a good choice in my book.

Sea bases = Rapid growth and lots of energy. If you're looking to boost your
research, expand into the sea and build LOTS of tidal harnesses. You will be
pleasantly surprised at how much your energy production spikes up.

Minimize your use of mining stations for sea colonies. A better choice is to
supply crawl your minerals from a mainland borehole, and focus your sea squares
on energy and food production.

At elevations of 3000 meters or so, solar panels become VERY good energy

                               Military & War

First understand that there are only two types of warfare you can possibly enter
into: An offensive action, or a defensive action. Beneath those two types of
warfare are a number of "tools" you can make use of, and I'll cover the basics

The Basics:

So, you went and picked a fight with somebody? Or, someone decided to pick a
fight with you? That's okay, and it's all part of the game, but like anything
else in SMAC, if you're going to fight, you're better off having a plan of
action, and it is my hope that this section will give you just that.

The first and most important thing to discern when preparing for war is: Who is
my enemy? In most cases, that's a pretty obvious thing, but sometimes it can be
trickier than you might first realize. True, your immediate enemy is the guy who
just dropped half a dozen missile rovers in your territory, but you have to ask
yourself: Did he do it because I made him mad, or did somebody else put him up
to it?

Before you can coordinate a worthy defense, you need to know the answer to that
question. If you got framed for someone else's probe team action, you might be
able to end the fight with a bribe and get back to doing whatever you were doing
before you got interrupted. Then again, maybe not.

The second most important thing you need to determine is: How many enemies am I
fighting? Nothing is worse than being forced to fight a war on multiple fronts,
or take on several different opponents at the same time, so if you are suddenly
confronted by a new and powerful adversary and you're neck deep in another war
which is taking up large amounts of your Empire's resources, then sue for peace
somewhere, or see to it you bring the war you're already in to a very rapid
conclusion, so you can focus on the new problem that just got tossed in your

Specifics: Fighting a Defensive War:

The overriding purpose of fighting a defensive action is to preserve your bases
and make sure they do not fall into enemy hands. Builders, you'll want to read
this. The best way to fight a defensive war is to be ready for it at any moment.
This means prototyping regularly and often. It means making sure that all your
bases have garrisons with the best available armor (and AAA capability, as soon
as you get it). It means making sure that your frontier bases have at least
twice the garrison strength of the bases in your interior, and it means making
damned sure you've got a core of attack-capable troops (probably the guys you
still have hanging around from weapons prototyping). It would also be helpful if
you had some artillery units handy, so as to shell damaged units until your
attackers can get in to finish them off.

To fight a defensive war, about all you need is up to date garrisons, a small
standing army, and some probe teams. If you have those things, your opponent
will need a truly large force to successfully invade.

When faced with an attacking army, here's what you do:

Look at how your enemy is approaching. Try to figure out which bases are most
threatened, and consolidate your defenses there.

Move probe teams up to take advantage of any misstep by your opponent. If you
can find a single unit in a square and subvert it, you've just made yourself
stronger and your opponent weaker, and time is on your side. Your opponent has
to bring reinforcements in from some distance, while yours are arriving right at
the scene of the battle.

Upgrade any formers you have in the area to armored variants and use them to
mess up his Zones of Control. This will stall his advance, and armored formers
in the forest or on rocky terrain are very hard to take out.

Fight from your bases as much as possible, or, barring that, make sure your best
attack-troops can end their turns back inside a base so as to decrease their

Defend any Monoliths close to the battleground with the best garrison forces you
can get there, to deny your opponent that resource to heal damaged troops.

Use armored formers and crawlers to envelope or cut off a part of the enemy's
army. Once it's isolated, you can deal with the smaller elements of the force
one at a time, smashing one while the other tries to get through and rescue it.
This will take pressure off of your bases and give them more time to crank out

Attrition is your friend, when you are fighting a defensive action. Your
reinforcements are close at hand, and it's likely that his are not. Grind your
opponent down slowly. Make every square he advances into a very expensive
proposition. If you make the advance expensive enough, he'll either give up and
go home, or you'll wipe out the entire army. Either way, he'll likely find
someone less-prepared to pick on, which is exactly what you want.

If it appears likely that you cannot hold a base, then burn it down. Adopt a
scorched earth policy and retreat back to the next line of your bases. Leave
your opponent nothing to work with. You can rebuild later, once the threat is

Take note of the composition of your enemy's army: Is he using lots of
artillery? If so, crank out the best attack rovers (no armor) you can get to the
field quickly, and wipe them out. Is he using lots of rovers? Great! Upgrade
your garrisons to Comm-Jammers and laugh at him as he tries in vain to take your
bases. Is he infantry-heavy? Again, build fast-attack rovers and meet him in the
field. (This is the main reason that Momentum Players get beaten. They tend to
focus on very narrow army construction....most often, they make LOTS of rovers
with little to no armor and the best weapons they can afford. That's okay, but
the first time they take their all-rover force into a prepared opponent's
territory will be the last they see of their much cherished army.)

Destroy anything that might be of value if it seems likely that your opponent
will take a given position. Deny him access to your bunkers, sensor arrays, and
even forests. Again, once he is gone, you can rebuild all that.

If your enemy brings a colony pod with him, do everything you can to take it out
before he builds a base. If it's too late to prevent that, try and slip an
armored probe team in to subvert it, or, use a foil probe team, as the base will
often be coastal, and therefore vulnerable to that.

Build one or two transports and drop off some sturdy defenders (and one or two
decent attackers) behind your enemy. This will give him something else to focus
on besides the bases you're trying to defend, and, if he doesn't focus on them,
it will give you a new direction from which to strike. Either way, it will help
your cause. Put probe teams in all your bases, and more than one in your exposed
bases. Count on your opponent trying to infiltrate you, and if he does, he'll
have to contend with one or more probe teams first. Do not make that an easy
thing for him, and if you have technological superiority, you will want to
preserve that at all costs. Probe teams can do that for you.

One final note about fighting a defensive war is this: Best of all is if you can
stop your opponent before he even lands his troops. To that end, when you get
missile techs, build a few and put them on your borders in "patrol mode." Any
unfriendly ships come toward your territory, the missiles will take them out,
saving you a whole lot of time and trouble.

Fighting an Offensive War:

If you want to take the fight to your opponent, there are several things you can
do to make your life easier. First, and by far most important, is to infiltrate
his datalinks (assuming you're not planetary governor). You need to know what
kind of defenses your opponent has at the ready, and what's in his production
queues. Information is the most powerful weapon you have.

When preparing to fight, you need to make sure you don't bite off more than you
can chew. Start small. Select one, maybe two objectives and bring sufficient
force to secure those objectives.

The most important thing you will need in order to fight an extended action on
someone else's soil (outside of an army, of course) is a base of operation. That
could be a coastal monolith, or perhaps an isolated base. Either way, before you
proceed with a general invasion, you will want to make sure you have a place to
bring your battered forces to get them combat ready again.

Your best bet is to subvert one of your opponent's small border outposts and use
that as your staging point. You take the base without fighting, you preserve
that base's garrison, and you give yourself a staging ground.

Second best is to bring a colony pod with you when you land the attack force.
Just be sure your army contains some covert operatives, so your newly founded
base does not get subverted out from under you!

Last, would be to make use of a Monolith in the area as your staging ground. If
you can take one easily, it gives you a place to repair your units quickly, but
it still does not solve the reinforcement problem if things get dicey. Still,
it's better than nothing, and if it's what you have to work with, then it's what
you have to work with.

Construct a well-balanced attack force. Mix it up to confuse your opponent.
Don't rely exclusively on infantry or rovers, because there's an easy counter to
that. A mixed force is significantly harder to defend against.

Make sure you have enough cash to support the war. Nothing is worse than going
off to fight only to find out you can't support your army with covert ops
because you're strapped for cash. You must balance your rush building program
with saving cash if you know you will be going to war soon, because it's an
expensive proposition. You need funds to rush build garrison troops in conquered
bases, and rebuild infrastructure (especially anti-drone facilities). You'll
also need funds for troop subversions and such, so make sure you have the
bankroll to support your war effort (I'd recommend at least 1500 energy credits
per base on your "hit list.")

Create a diversion. If your plan is to take two coastal bases on the eastern
side of your enemy's empire, then start your war by subverting a base on the
western side to get his army off balance (or, land some troops on the western
side to start making trouble). If you're really devious, create a number of
diversions so that your opponent will pull himself apart trying to deal with the
various threats you've created (additionally, the more diversions you set up,
the more difficult it will be for your opponent to discern your true objective).

Make use of artillery to take out sensor arrays and to hammer beleaguered
defenders in the base you're after. Never give your enemy the chance to rest his
troops. If your goal is conquest, do as little damage to the infrastructure as
you can get away with. If your goal is to simply hurt your opponent for some
larger purpose (i.e., an ally of yours is on the way with the real invasion
force), then do as much damage as you can before your forces get whacked.

If you're not at technological parity, use your probe teams to get you there. If
you already are, use them (your probe teams) to stall his production or destroy
infrastructure. Anything to give you an edge.

The quicker you can secure your objectives, the better off you will be. You
don't have a ready supply of reinforcements (unless you've planned very far
ahead), and even if you do, your opponent can get reinforcements more quickly
than you can, so win your initial battles quickly, then drop to a defensive
stance to protect your newly acquired holdings. Once you are entrenched on your
opponent's land, you are MUCH harder to deal with than if you're simply a
marauding force.

Never miss an opportunity to subvert enemy troops, formers, crawlers, or
whathaveyou. Every unit you subvert can be put to some kind of use (even if all
you do is upgrade the former to an armored variant and use it to make sure your
units are at least double-stacked).

To Psi, or not to Psi?:

Lots of people love the mindworms, and I have to admit, I'm a pretty big fan of
them, but there's a time and a place for their use.

Specifically, if you know your opponent has a negative planet rating (which you
can keep track of after you've infiltrated his datalinks), by all means, bring
out the worms. Likewise, if you are weaker in technology than your opponent,
switch to Green and go with a worm-force. But, if you have technological
superiority, you're probably better off making use of it than using native life
forms. Still, adding a few worms to your attack force (for balance sake) is
probably not a bad idea, just don't go overboard unless you know it will net you
a big advantage (like if your opponent is fighting on the defensive and
maintaining his Market Economy, or again, if you're down in the tech race).

Advanced Combat Tips and Strategies:

Combat is the epitome of chaos and unpredictability. When armies clash, even if
differences in technology make it clear from the outset who the eventual victor
will be, there is absolutely no accounting or predicting what will occur between
here and there. If you think you can predict the subtle nuances, ebbs and flows
of a combat situation with any degree of certainty at all, my recommendation
would be to open up your own psychic hotline.

Having said that, let me stress from the beginning that this article will not
even attempt to cover every conceivable combat situation you might find yourself
in. Simply put, I'm not that good. Not even close. What I **DO** hope to
accomplish with the writing of this article is to stretch your mind a bit. To
perhaps change the way you look at both tactical and strategic situations and
provide some tools for judging the overall effects of choices made by both you
and your opponent. If these tools are applied correctly, then you need not worry
if you encounter an unexpected situation in combat, as you will feel more than
comfortable improvising your way out of it.

Early on in the Strategy Guide, we touched on the first two principles of battle

Know Thyself, And Know Thine Enemy

That is the foundation for what lies ahead, and you can rely on those principles
with absolute certainty. If you do not know yourself, you have no way of
assessing your own capabilities, and if you do not know your enemy, you have no
way of understanding what you are up against. If you have neither of these, how
can you hope to fight a war?

If you're fairly new to the game of warfare, you might ask: "How exactly, do you
"know yourself?"" Specifically, you should know things such as:

How big is your army, including garrison forces?
If you were to launch an attack right now, this turn, how many units would you
have available, and what would they be?
Do you have a means of getting your forces to an enemy's homeland (transports,
landbridge, psi-gates, drops, or some combination of all of the above)
How many bases can you afford to commit to the war effort to replace lost
How long can you afford to fight a war?
What is my level of technology, relative to my opponent?
How many total bases do I have, relative to my opponent?
What are you hoping to accomplish by entering into this war?
If you cannot answer at least these questions, then you're probably not yet
ready to fight, and if you DO fight, you will likely be fighting an uphill

Likewise, initiates to the arts of war might ask "How exactly, do you know your
enemy?" And I would say, specifically, you should know or do these things at a

INFILTRATE YOUR OPPONENT!!! (Nothing is more important than this!)
How many bases does my enemy have? Is it more bases than I have?
How large of an army can my opponent bring to bear on me? If he is attacking,
how will they be arriving (drop, psi-gate, transport, as above), if he is
defending, how good is his infrastructure?
How long can my opponent afford to fight a war?
What is my opponent hoping to accomplish by going to war with me, or, how will
my opponent likely react to my attack? (is he likely to hit back hard, or does
he have a tendency to shrivel up and surrender quickly)
Again, if you can't answer all of these questions at a minimum (and there are
plenty of others), then you're not ready yet.

Let's take a quick look at the seven original factions and see where their
battle strengths and weaknesses lie. This is fairly generic of course, but it is
enough to get your mind turning on the subject:

The Hive

Strengths: LOTS of troops & quick replacement times (+1 growth and industry)
Weaknesses: Possible lagging research (lack of energy), and limited probe team
actions (again, lack of energy)
The Morganites

Strengths: LOTS of probe actions (good money), likely to have technological
superiority (good research)
Weaknesses: Small army (support problems), likely to have lower morale (probably
running wealth)
The University

Strengths: Likely to have the best tech-level in the game (GREAT research)
Weaknesses: Probe vulnerability
The Gaians

Strengths: Best Psi-force on Chiron
Weaknesses: likely to lag in techs (can't run Market, can't get +1 energy per
square until late game)
The Believers

Strengths: Strongest attackers on Chiron & Superb Probe Teams
Weaknesses: Lousy Tech means initial skirmishes (pre-probe ops) will likely be
lost, regardless of fanatic bonus
The PeaceKeepers

Strengths: Baseline. Peacekeeper troops have no notable strengths or weaknesses.
I suspect they were the baseline faction
Weaknesses: (see above)
The Spartans

Strengths: Magnificent fighters, either offensively or defensively. The best,
most well-rounded fighting force in the whole game
Weaknesses: Harder to train replacements (industry penalty)
Building on those basic concepts, we find the first principle of victory:

Use your native strengths in battle

Thinking along those lines, it is easy to look down the list, and come up with
some basic strategies with each faction, and they'd probably look a lot like

The Hive: Use superior numbers to overwhelm your opponent. Don't give him time
to do anything cute or subtle with his greater energy reserves.
The Morganites: Buy his empire out from under him, one piece at a time.
The University: Strength through superior firepower.
The Gaians: Strength through little squggily worms
The Believers: Attack relentlessly. Never let your opponent breathe, and allow
any enemy base to escape the wrath of your hungry probe teams.
The Peacekeepers: Chuckle while your opponent tries to figure out how the hell
to attack you, and chip away at him all the while, looking for the opening to
drive the stake through his heart.
The Spartans: Meet your opponent in the field with care and cunning. Kill him
and dance away before he can return the favor. Nobody can do that particular
dance better than you.
Of course, there is another way of looking at the same equation, and that brings
us to the second principle of victory: Exploit the weaknesses of the enemy to
defeat him.

On the surface, that seems easy enough, but you will find that it is far easier
to say it than to do it.

Thinking in terms of the "second principle of victory," it's pretty easy to
glance down the list, zero in on the weaknesses of the different factions, and
devise a method of beating them. If you do that, you will likely wind up with a
list that looks something like this (Keep in mind that, at this point, we're
still talking in pretty generic terms, and that these particular strategies are
drawn from the notion of using each faction's weaknesses against itself):

The Hive: Wear him out with Probe Teams. Drain what energy he has to keep him
utterly helpless in that regard and eliminate what rush-build capability he has.
Defend your bases with multiple probes to prevent him from stealing techs.
Subvert his troops to even out the numbers and fight him with his own forces.
The Morganites: Use raw numbers to overrun the smaller Morganite army. Simply
sweep them off the map.
The University: Subvert their bases whenever possible to get a foothold. Steal
techs with your probe teams to get technological parity, then blast them off the
The Gaians: Probe-guard your bases to keep your techs safe and crush the Gaians
with superior technology and money (something you will likely have in greater
supply than they will)
The Believers: Kill ANY Probe-team you see, even if you have to leave a unit
exposed to attack to do it. In a fight with your probes, they'll win and grab
tech, and if they do that, you lose.
The Peacekeepers: See how they're being played. The troops themselves don't have
any real weaknesses to exploit, so you will have to wait on their commander to
make a mistake, if you're looking for something to take advantage of. In the
absence of that, play to your own strengths, and hit him hard and often in the
The Spartans: Use attrition. Likely, you will be replacing your troops a good
bit faster than he'll be replacing his.
Taken together, these two lists should give you a pretty solid foundation upon
which to build your attack and defense strategies. That's not to say that you
won't ever encounter oddities, or things that won't fit into these
generalizations. You might find a Hive player who's got money coming out of his
ears, or a Morganite with a massive, clean, elite army, or….the list goes on and
on. Keep in mind that the lists above are not, and were not meant to be
ironclad, but I feel certain you will find that they hold true far more often
than not, and they will serve you well as a beginning point to devising your
battle strategies. If you study these lists diligently, and find ways of
executing the ideas they contain, you will win a great many more games than you
lose. You will, in short, be a very good, solid player.

You will not, however, be a great player.

In order to be a great player, you must strive to consistently achieve the third
principle of victory:

Best and hardest of all, is to use the enemy's own strengths as weapons against

If you can learn to do this consistently, you will be all but unbeatable, and in
time, I will attempt to teach you what I know about it. I am certainly not
saying that I'm the most qualified person for the job. I don't even begin to
know everything about strategy and tactics. In fact, the only thing I can point
to on my "resume" that might make me even remotely qualified to talk about this
particular subject is the fact that I win a good many more games than I lose. At
any rate, it is my hope that you will be able to take what I know about the
subject and incorporate it into your own unique playing style, and from that,
come up with a solid, reliable set of battle principles that serve you well. But
there are other things which must be discussed before we get to the specifics of
the third principle of victory. It is enough for the moment that you are aware
it is out there.

Before we start discussing exactly how to execute a battle plan (and eventually,
how to use your enemy's strengths against him), some common understanding of
terminology seems in order. What follows is a list of specific, named tactics,
and notes on how, when, and where to apply them. I have included a "Baker's
Dozen" of these strategies for your enjoyment. There are literally hundreds, if
not thousands more, but part of the fun of practicing to be a good general is
uncovering new strategies for yourself, and learning to blend their execution in
perfectly with your particular style of play. Note that there are no "bad"
tactics or styles of battle listed here. All of these are exceedingly powerful
and have been time-tested and proven. It falls to each of us, students of
battle, to learn the best times and situations to use these different approaches
in, and when we arrive at an intimate understanding of how to best use these
attacks, we approach that previously mentioned level of greatness.

Demonstration: A show of force against an enemy in the field. A demonstration
can consist of any number of units, in any configuration. It is one of the
mainstays of battle. The main uses of a demonstration are two-fold: First, to
intercept an invading army before your infrastructure and bases come under fire,
and second, to wear down enemy forces as a set-up for a future siege or another
attack made by one of your allies.

Siege: An attack on an enemy base. Like a demonstration, a siege can consist of
any number of units (but the numbers tend to be larger for sieges than for
demonstrations for strategic reasons), and the units might be made up of any
number of chassis-types and capabilities

Feint: A "fake" siege or demonstration. The point of a Feint is to make your
opponent believe you are going to launch an attack someplace, draw a portion of
his army toward the site of the perceived threat, and then hit him somewhere
else, unexpectedly.

Overrun: A specific type of attack, aimed at pushing deeply into enemy
territory. Where a demonstration tends to be rather akin to a parry in a duel,
an overrun is a stab toward the soft underbelly of the enemy. It's intention is
to deny your enemy the use of specific terrain features that are inside his
territory (a borehole, a valuable nutrient square, a monolith, or some landmark
such as that, or, to isolate an enemy base and make it more vulnerable to a

Roverrun: An overrun attack composed of a "Rover-Only" force. Unlike the
overrun, which tends to emphasize a well-balanced attack force to kill the enemy
and hold off any possible counter-attack, the Rover-Run's goal is to wipe the
enemy force out and use speed and maneuverability to avoid any possible
counterstroke the enemy might have planned.

Underrun: An overrun with a small number of ground troops, supported by large
numbers of probe teams. The goal of the underrun is to slip a small number of
troops into enemy territory to cover the vulnerable probe teams and steal your
way to the biggest force you can, using the subverted enemy troops to occupy
enemy territory and putting the enemy in an interesting predicament. Does he
attempt to steal the troops back and drain his energy reserves? Or, does he
attack his own men, effectively working against himself? Either way, it is one
of the hardest attacks to pull off, and also one of the most potentially

Rolling line: A subset of the siege or demonstration. The rolling-line technique
involves relatively large numbers of units and implies an extended campaign. The
idea of the rolling line is to have enough units to be able to attack enemy
positions every turn, and at the same time, be able to pull your damaged units
back to some safe zone to recover, then rotate them back to the front lines
again. In this way, you could conceivably keep the attack running forever. It's
most practical use is in sieges of Hive bases, where the good chairman is likely
to have upwards of thirty units in his most forward positions. You can take a
base like that, but you'd better use a rolling line to do it, or he'll attack
you on his turn, and wipe you out completely.

Scorched Earth Retreat: A desperate defensive gambit. When you know you cannot
win the day, and you cannot hold your positions, destroy EVERYTHING that might
be even remotely useful to your enemy and pull back to a stronger position.

Scorched Earth Overrun: Similar in its execution to an overrun, but your
objective here is not to occupy enemy territory. In this case, all you want to
do is deny your enemy resources. Most often, this is used when your opponent is
significantly larger than you are, and you are attempting to even things out
(you know you are not strong enough to hold any bases that you might take, so
you are not even going to try….you're just out to hurt your enemy's ability to
produce war materials).

Drop and Chop: So named by Korn469, who is a fine gamer by any definition. The
basic strategy calls for breaking the enemy's empire up into zones, isolating
those zones with drop troops, and attacking bases in each zone with a mixed
force of choppers and your drop forces. It is a somewhat risky attack, in the
sense that your drop troops take damage on landing, and you will generally use
this to attack into the core of an enemy's empire, but when executed correctly,
it can be every bit as dazzling as a well-played Underrun.

Stonewall: A "Rolling-Line" in reverse. Your objective here is to hold the enemy
at bay indefinitely by positioning your troops in such a way that troops on the
front line can pull back to a safe zone to recover, and then come back to the
front to continue the defense.

Nettle\Skirmish: A sneaky, limited form of a demonstration. Your main goal here
is to prompt the enemy to do something drastic and rash. Generally, you only
need a few units with good movement rates (needlejets, hovertanks, and rovers)
to nettle your opponent, and the goal is to prompt him into action before he is
truly ready. Annoy him so bad that he'll come after you not fully prepared, and
then you can smash him hard for his impatience.

Flank: The oldest trick in the book, and still popular because it can be
devastating when done correctly. The flank is another subset of a demonstration,
or rather, it is two demonstrations occurring at the same place, at the same
time. The goal is to make your first demonstration against enemy forces to tie
them down while your second demonstration force moves up from a different
direction to seal off all chance of retreat (see the upcoming discussion on zone
of control) Flanks are not used to simply hurt your enemy, they are used to
crush his field army entirely. You should not be using flanking maneuvers if you
want to leave any survivors, because you'll be hard pressed to find any after a
properly executed flank.

So that's enough to get you started. I've kept the specifics of each attack
intentionally vague, because there are so many variations on each one that you
could literally write a book on each attack-type. And, as much as I enjoy
writing, I think I'll steer clear of all that.

One final bit of discussion needs to occur at this point, and make no mistake:
If you want to win and win consistently, if you want to do things with your
army, and win battles that you really have no business winning, then you'd
better learn how to do this, and learn well. I'm talking about Zones of Control.
If you learn how to influence and control the battle by tinkering with Zones of
Control, you will be able to fluster, frustrate, and frankly amaze your
opponents. This is quite possibly the best way to unbalance a battle in your
favor, and once you understand the concepts and what they can do for you, you'll
wonder how the Hell you ever got along without it.

                               The Middle Game

This is the heart and soul of Alpha Centauri, and if you've run a good, strong
opening gambit, you will be well prepared to reap the benefits of it in the mid-
game, but don't dispair. If you suffered some unexpected setbacks in the early
game, there is yet time to put things right and rescue the game. Just understand
that if you have not built a solid foundation by now, the road ahead will be
tougher for you, relatively speaking.

By now, you will likely have made contact (and perhaps repeated contact) with
most of the other factions, and your initial bases are all up and humming along
quite nicely. Now you're probably itching to expand again, either by conquest,
or by building more colony pods to finish filling up your continent. Either way,
the stronger your early game was, the easier you will find things now.

Expansion in the Mid Game:

You can certainly choose to go back to the section on expansion in the early
game and simply use those ideas to continue expansion across the continent. The
expansion paradigms listed there are all quite strong, and any of them would
serve you well. Keep in mind though, at this point, you are likely to encounter
a rising drone problem as your expansion efforts continue, and this will only
worsen with each additional base you build. Not that it should stop you from
doing so, but it is something to be mindful of as you continue to increase your
Empire's holdings.

One of the centerpieces to strategy in the Middle-Game is getting yourself ready
to execute a population boom, and a bit should be said about that right up
front, because it is such a powerful thing to do. It will, over the course of 7-
10 turns of game play, take you from being an average power, to rocketing ahead
of everyone else on the chart.

Myth: Not everyone can Pop-Boom. People point to Yang (who cannot use Democracy)
and Morgan (who cannot use Planned) and declare them weaker factions because
they cannot execute a pop-boom. I have played both, and successfully run Pop-
Booms with both, so I am here to tell you that it can be done, and fairly
easily, at that.

What is it, and where do I sign up?:

As to what it is, the answer is simple: Game mechanics dictate that a base will
grow every turn (provided that nutrient output is sufficient) if your SE growth
rate is +6. So, to do a Pop-Boom, all you have to do is engineer a setting where
your growth rate is +6. For most factions, that's easy. Run Democracy, Planned,
and make sure all your bases have Children's Creches in them, and....Poof! Giant
bases, in a matter of turns!

For the two factions mentioned above (Yang and Morgan), it's a little harder,
but still possible. Simply make sure all of your Children's Creches are in
place, run either Planned or Democracy, and jack your Psych Allocation up
through the roof until all your bases are in a Golden Age. Once there, sit back
for a few turns (checking your Psych Allocation from time to time to make sure
you've got nothing but happy bases), and watch them grow like weeds.

The main strength of the Population Boom is that it can triple, or quadruple
your Empire's population in VERY short order, suddenly making you capable of
doing things you never even dreamed of, and that is why it is mentioned here, as
the very first point of the Middle-Game.

One common strategy is to Boom all your initial bases to maximum size, then
crank out another slew of bases, get them built up to the point that they can
handle the influx, and then Boom again. Do that, and you will find yourself with
an absolutely gigantic empire!

More Expansion Paradigms:

Many of these ideas share things in common with what you've read in the earlier
section, and there are a few new ideas tossed in as well. Browse them over,
select one that is to your liking, and that meshes well with your particular
playing style, and run with it! You will soon find yourself with bases from
coast to coast (if you're alone on your continent - if you're not, you might
want to skip this section and read more on making war, as that will likely be
what you are facing).

Bear in mind that expansion is not necessary to win the game. You need but check
out the results in the OCC Hall of Fame to discover that it is quite possible to
Transcend on the hardest possible settings with a single, size seven base, but
expansion DOES give you more flexibility and options, and it is the natural
inclination of a thriving empire to expand, so most likely you will be doing
just that. When you do, your expansion will work better for you if you go into
it with a plan, rather than take a haphazard approach.

There are a number of perfectly valid expansion strategies in the game, and the
list below is by no means exhaustive. These are, however, the ones I've seen
most commonly employed. I'll list them out, and make notes about each one. Here

Thin Expansion: This policy is very closely related to "Expansion Paradigm #1"
listed in the early game section. It basically says: "Now that I am up and
running good, I want as many bases as I can get, and I want them as quickly as
possible." Likely, if you are going with a thin-expansion scheme, you are
foregoing the building of scout patrols to escort your colony pods, and just
focusing on the pods themselves. A sometimes risky move, true, but, the
advantage to it is the fact that you can get a great number of bases established
in relatively short order, and set them all about the task of building a viable
infrastructure. A purely thin expansion program will have you building your
newest bases four squares apart from each other. Yes, there will be some
overlap, but how often is it that you actually make use of all 20 of a base's
productive squares anyway? Thin expansion trades a little bit of late-game
productivity for the speedy construction of new bases.

Thin Expansion works best for Builders and Hybrid players. A momentum player
will lose too much time in building mass numbers of colony pods. Besides, from
the mindset of a momentum player, why build a new base when you can conquer one
that's already up and running? A very good point, if you're playing the game
that way.

The Rover Defense Model: This plan (which may or may not be incorporated into a
thin-expansion scheme) says that you want all your newer bases spaced exactly
five squares apart, to facilitate their defense with Rovers serving as
garrisons. This also works out quite nicely, as there will be no overlap between
bases, meaning that eventually (sometime in the Late Game), each base will be
able to make use of all 20 squares of production. Keep in mind, however, that
rovers are significantly more expensive than Infantry, and pursuing this model
will make your garrisons much more expensive. Still, if you are running a
classic Builder Game, the added expense won't really be that noticeable.

The Yang Model: So named because the AI generally plays Yang in this very
fashion. It runs similar to the Rover Defense Model, but the bases are stacked
even more closely together: Specifically, three spaces apart. This has a number
of Mid-Game advantages, and only one (relatively minor) Late-Game drawback.
There is significant overlap in all your bases (as with the Thin Model, above),
but again, how often is it that you actually make use of all your squares of
production anyway? And, this model has the advantage of allowing you to make use
of the "Rover Defense" thinking with much more cost-effective Infantry units.
Under this approach, none of your units ever need end their turn outside the
safety of a base, unless you are scouting, or moving to make a pre-emptive
strike. One other very strong selling point to this style is that you get so
many bases up and running on your starting continent that you become very hard
to damage. When you're running the "Yang Model," it's simply not going to hurt
you much if you happen to lose a single base, and if that base is taken over by
an opponent, he will find keeping the base (which is undoubtedly surrounded by a
good number of your other bases) a very difficult proposition.

The Optimize First Model: This says that before you build any additional colony
pods, you want to make all the improvements you can in the bases you already
have. This is a classic builder scheme. Expand slowly, but make each base a
wonder. It probably means that you won't be expanding until well into the Middle
Game, so even builders tend only to use this approach if they find themselves
alone on a relatively small landmass.

Thick Expansion: The opposite of thin expansion (go figure), this approach says
that the building of colony pods is important, but of equal importance is seeing
that it gets to wherever it's going, and making sure that you can rapidly create
an infrastructure for the new base when you get it there. Likely, this means
building an escort for the pod (which becomes the garrison, once the base is set
up, saving the new base time), a former (so terraforming can begin immediately,
if not before the base is established), and perhaps one or two supply crawlers
to enhance the output of the new base's production (generally mineral
production, but I've seen nutrient production enhanced as well). This has the
advantage of making use of your existing bases' strong infrastructure to build
the stuff that a fledgling base would have to spend a number of turns working on
before it could even start it's infrastructural development, saving the new
bases time, but it is slower than a "Thin Expansion" plan, as it ties up your
bigger bases building more units.

More on Combat:

Organizing your offense/defense on Chiron:

There are at least some would-be generals out there who are itching to get
started causing trouble, but they're not quite sure how to make sure they've got
their bases covered when it comes to defense, and they're not 100% comfortable
with the notion of designing an adequate attack force. It is my hope that this
section will help. This is by no means the only way to go about it, and I am
quite sure that there will be some major disagreement in the particulars laid
out here, but that's okay too, I have found that these principles work very well
for me. Not to say they're the only way to run a war, but I have tested them
exhaustively, and I know they will serve you well, so here goes:

When planning the defenses of your empire, there are really only four things you
need to take into consideration. If you are attacked, you will either be
attacked by:

Stuff from the sky (missiles, choppers, and needlejets, planet busters)
Sea bases also need to worry about attacks by ship, but for purposes of
examining sea bases, we'll treat ship assaults of them like infantry attacks.

And of course, any base may come under fire by artillery (which cannot kill any
of your units, except in the case of an artillery duel), but it CAN prevent your
units from healing up.

When planning the defense of your empire, the very first thing you need to take
a look at is: What play-style am I running? Momentum players will likely want to
minimize base defenses so they can put more units in the field. Hybrid players
will probably want to have units that are both armored AND have good weapons so
they can switch gears when the need (or opportunity) arises, and Builders will
want to cover all their defensive bases, and they can afford to do this, as
their attack force will likely be quite small.....at least until later in the

Momentum-Style Base Defense:

These guys generally use the "attack to defend" approach (and the Believers are
the very best of all at this), which further develops the Momentum theme that
the best defense is a good offense. In general terms, base defenses will be
sparse, consisting of one or two units (probably a mixed bag, one infantry and
one rover or older needlejet, depending on the timeframe of the game and the
available technology). Momentum players tend to recycle their units with
obsolete technology by upgrading the units with the highest morale to newer
technology, and pushing the rest back to their bases to "trade up" to better
base defense (disbanding the original scout patrols or what have you to help
build newer, meaner units). For the most part, Momentum players cannot afford to
continually upgrade their entire army, because they do not have sufficient
infrastructural development to bring in the kind of cash it would take, but this
"recycling scheme" is a pretty fair substitute.

Despite the fact that each base tends to have only light defenses, the presence
of such a mixed bag of forces can create quite a potent set of defenders.
Interceptors, old or not, have sufficient range that several can be brought up
to beleaguered areas in a very short time. And Momentum bases tend to be pretty
close together, facilitating the Rover Defense Model, which means that every
base which has a speeder assigned to it (generally every third base or so), then
several speeders could be in the embattled base in just a turn or two.

Here's a pretty standard Momentum-Defensive Net Layout:

1 Infantry unit per base (armor and weapon depending on when you check)
1 Speeder per 3 bases (armor and weapon varies)
1 Interceptor per 4 bases (armor and weapon varies)
One final note about Momentum-Style defense is this: Attack to Defend strategies
tend to work better than "sitting still" strategies because of your lack of
infrastructure. Likely, you've not invested in Children's Creches, Perimeter
Defenses, or Tachyon Fields, so you won't get the benefits of those structures.

Summary: One or two of your older units (pulled off of the front line) per base.
Note that this is an average, and you certainly don't need to keep two units in
every base. If you feel your interior bases are secure, by all means, just leave
one unit in those bases and shuffle the rest toward the periphery of your
empire. You'll likely have a mixed bag of infantry, rovers, and needlejets
making up your defense, and your best bet is to strike your enemy before he
strikes you.

Hybrid-Style Defense: Since there is no way to tell in advance what situations
might develop, you must attempt to strike a balance between meeting your
defensive needs, and being able to put together a good attack army fairly
quickly. Since it would be far too expensive to create ironclad defenses
everywhere AND build a massive invasion army, your forces should be designed for
both roles. This has the advantage of greater flexibility (which the Hybrid
Play-Style is famous for anyway), but it means that your army will likely be
more expensive on a "per unit" basis than your opponent's force. Something to be
mindful of when you start taking losses. Your troops will likely take longer to
replace, and you probably won't have as many to begin with, so you need to
conduct your war with care and forethought.

The Hybrid's opponents will be Momentum players for the most part, and maybe
other Hybrids (Builders seldom attack until late game, so you generally need not
worry about them....don't let your guard down, but don't fret too much over it),
and Momentum players LOVE Speeders. Since you know that, Comjamming troops
should be VERY high on your list.

When determining what level of armor to provide to my garrison forces, my rule
of thumb is this: If I'm playing Hybrid style, I like to have one AAA Garrison
with the very best armor available and "hand weapons" only. After I've got
Neural Grafting, I will generally give this defender Trance ability to cover two
of my defensive bets with that one unit.

My secondary base defender will generally be another infantry, with one
generation obsolete armor and the best weapon I have available. This unit
generally comes equipped with commjamming ability (and, post-Neural Grafting),
he gets AAA capability as well. This is my "detachable" unit. The one I pull out
of the base when I want to go start trouble.

Also, for every two bases I have, I'll create a rover with one less than the
best armor, and the best, or second best weapon I can afford. Generally I'll
make these guys AAA/Clean and use them to augment my base defense or add them to
my attack force when I'm ready to rock and roll.

For every three bases I have, I'll drop in an Interceptor, generally going with
no armor and the best or second best weapons I can afford. I'll also drop in one
Artillery unit per three bases or so (again, going with light or no armor) Using
this as a general guide, if I've got fifteen bases by the time I decide to go
mix things up a bit, my "offensive force pool" consists of something like:

15 Infantry units
7-8 Rovers
5 Interceptors
5 Field Guns
That is sufficient force to do all sorts of nasty things to someone, but more on
that when we actually get to offense....for the moment, take a look at the
defensive capability this army has. Defensively, I've got:

30 Infantry Units
7-8 Rovers
5 Interceptors
5 Field Guns
And more than half my force is mobile....able to move to embattled areas and
support my threatened bases.

If I'm playing Hybrid style, then it's a given that I've got a good
infrastructure in place. My defenders have the benefits of Perimeter Defenses
and Children's Creches, at the very least (and probably selective Command
Centers, and other defenses as well, depending on the technology available). All
my bases are connected by roads, and I've got good, clean lines and multiple
routes to each base in the event that some of my roads are destroyed by
attacking units. At this point, a Momentum Player will be hard pressed to do a
whole lot to me, and will probably find somebody less well-prepared to pick
on....of course, if he insists on starting trouble, I'm more than happy to
finish the fight he starts.

One final note about Hybrid Defense: Because you've got a good, solid
infrastructure, you can count on having a pretty good income coming in every
turn. This will allow for selective upgrades to better armor for your key
defenders, and it will allow for the selective use of armored formers and
crawlers in defensive roles, which will add to your defensive force pool, and
complicate your enemy's attack. Keep in mind though, that this must be balanced
against the need to keep some money available to subvert enemy troops. If your
opponent's force is particularly large and threatening, there is no better way
to quickly equalize things than to subvert a portion of his army and use it
against him.

Summary: Hybrid players who construct their defense scheme to be consistent with
their greatest strength (flexibility) will find themselves with a vast number of
options available to them at any given point in the game. Depending on your
opponent, you can structure your defense to be aggressive ("attack to defend")
or passive (let them come to you)....whichever will net you the greater
advantage against that particular opponent. (note that the defensive scheme I
outlined above works out to about 2.5 defenders per base, as compared with about
1.5 units per base for Momentum players)

Builder Defense: Builders have two important defensive advantages: They have the
best infrastructure in the game, and they have cash coming out of their ears.
This makes assaulting a Builder faction in anything other than the very early
game a dangerous proposition indeed. As a Builder, you can afford to lavishly
defend all your bases, since your core attack group will likely be quite small,
and I'd recommend doing it to the hilt. If you get attacked by a Momentum
Player, you'll need it, and, when you decide to take the fight to your enemy,
you can scale down your base defenses and have a truly massive army.

General scheme: I usually only give each of my "Builder Defenders" one special
ability and reserve the other one to be "Clean" as soon as I get the tech for
it. This means that, in general, each of my bases has quite a number of
defenders, and I don't skimp at all if I'm in a Builder game. There's no point
in skimping....I've got plenty of money.

Each Base is ultimately responsible for maintaining the following troops (and
not necessarily in the base of origin):

1 Trance/AAA Defender (Infantry) (best armor, hand weapon)
1 Commjammer/Clean Defender (Infantry) (best armor, best weapon)
Every other base is responsible for either:

1 Rover or (best armor, second best weapon)
1 Field Gun (Rover Chassis) (best weapon, second or third best armor)
Every third base is responsible for either:

1 Interceptor (second or third best armor, best weapon)
1 Penetrator (as above)
1 Chopper (as above)
Every base is responsible for maintaining at least two missiles.

Of course, it's important to know WHEN to build your units, too. I will
generally run my Builder Defense in two phases: Pre-Hybrid Forest and Post-
Hybrid Forest. In pre-hybrid forest times, I run my bases with one infantry
defender (best armor and hand weapons, giving him AAA/Trance as soon as they
become available). Every base also gets the benefits of a probe team, and, if I
can support the additional unit without eating into base productivity too much
(ie, I like to keep my bases churning out at least six minerals per turn), I'll
add either a second infantry (best armor and best weapon) or Rover (best armor,
second best weapon) to my force pool. Pre-Hybrid forests, my plan is to rely
heavily on the selective armoring of the formers I have out in operation to
support my defenders (and this can easily give me 2.5-3 units per base, counting
formers for defense. Also, again, pre-hybrid forest, my probe teams take a very
active stance. The general scheme is this:

If a single attacker comes up to the base, he gets subverted. If they're double
stacked, the rover hits the stack to kill one unit, and the other one gets
subverted. If they're triple (or more) stacked, I attack as I can, wait for
developments and bring up reinforcements.

Post Hybrid forests, my bases are growing so rapidly, and have so many minerals
that support costs cease to become much of an issue, and I generally run the
entire scheme outlined above. Counting missiles, this gives me an average of six
defenders per base (after Hybrid forests), and 2-3 before Hybrid forests are in
place. This makes a Builder Player a very tough customer indeed, as all of the
bases are interlocking, providing an almost fool proof defensive network. It
takes a determined attacker indeed to crack those kinds of defenses.

A breakdown of the defensive schemes by playing style: Momentum style: 1-1.5
units per base Hybrid style: 2.5 units per base Builder style (early) 3 units
per base (including formers) Builder style (mid) 6 units per base (excluding

Taking the offensive (or, being offensive in general):

If you want to start a war, here's what I recommend: Again, the first thing you
need to ask yourself is: What is my play style? A very close second is: Have I
(or can I) infiltrate this opponent's datalinks? If you have, you will fight a
very different sort of war than if you have not or cannot infiltrate his
datalinks (and that is why the question is so important).

Some notes on infiltrating datalinks:

The reason this is so important is because once you've infiltrated your
opponent, you have perfect knowledge of his defenses, even to the point of
knowing what he's currently working on in every base, and if he's making use of
his build queues. This is such a powerful advantage that if you cannot
infiltrate your opponent, you might be wise to simply leave that faction alone
until it's just the two of you (unless you KNOW you have technological
superiority, then run over them just as quickly as possible). Making war, broken
out by Play-Styles:

Momentum-Style: Fast and loose. Crank out the best units you can (best weapon,
light or no armor), in a mixture of infantry and rover combinations, and turn
them loose! As new chassis types become available, sprinkle them into the mix as

A note to momentum players: I know you will want to make an all-rover force for
greater maneuverability, and you'll likely win a good number of games that way,
but trust me, the first time you meet a well-prepared opponent, you will change
your mind, as you watch every one of your elite rovers burn and die at the hands
of a relatively few sturdy garrisons and support troops. Take the time to build
a balanced force, and use that to attack with. At least that way, you won't be
taken down by one of the "easy counters."

Make use of mindworms! Chances are good that at certain points in any given war,
you'll be at a technological disadvantage, and worms are the big equalizer, so
use the hell out of them!

One of the best investments you can make when you're off on enemy soil is to
subvert one of his formers. You can armor it up, and use it to make bunkers and
such for yourself, which could be the very thing that turns the tide of battle
in your favor! If you take my advice and go with a balanced force composition,
then take care not to mess up the enemy's infrastructure too badly. You need
roads intact to move your infantry through his territory quickly, so don't bust
them up, and if your opponent has busted up the roads, this makes capturing one
or more of his formers even more important!

Numbers - How many troops do I need?:

Consider your objectives carefully. Think about what you want to accomplish in
your invasion, and plan to bring more troops than you need to accomplish that
objective (to compensate for the unexpected, and to prepare for the inevitable
counterattack). Having said that, if you're a Momentum player, if you've
infiltrated your opponent's datalinks, and if you're at or near technological
parity (or have lots of worms at the ready), I would recommend 2 units over and
above whatever your opponent is holding the base you want to take with. Repeat
that same formula out over the number of bases on your "hit list," and you'll
come up with the total number of units you will need for this particular

If you are attacking blind (without the benefits of infiltration), then I would
use six (6) units as a rule of thumb. Six units per base (not counting the probe
team, which requires no support).

Army composition:

Here are some of the more effective unit types you can crank out for the attack,
and this is a pretty typical force I'd take against a single base:

1 AAA/ECM Infantry (best weapon, light armor)
1 SAM/AAA Rover (best weapon, light or no armor)
1 Probe Team
1 Mindworm
1 Artillery units on Rover Chassis (best weapon, second or third best armor)
(might switch out for another infantry or attack rover, depending on my survey
of the forces standing against me)
1 Garrison unit (Infantry)(to hold the base once taken) (best armor, hand
weapon) AAA/Trance
*1 Needlejet or Chopper for support (optional, depending on defensive forces
arrayed against you)
Faction specific notes:

Believers: I'd forget the air support and add another rover.

Hive: Add one more to this total (you choose), just to make sure you've got the
numerical advantage.

Spartans: Take out the garrison unit and bulk up the armor on your lead infantry
unit (more like a hybrid player).

Of course, if your objective is larger than just a single base, then you begin
to see the scope of planning required. You'll need the troops themselves, of
course. You'll need enough transports to haul them across to the battle, and
then you'll need escorts for the transports, at a minimum. All in all, making
war is a VERY expensive proposition, but there aren't too many bases around that
can hold out against a properly executed attack with the force outlined above.

Taking them through their paces:

The force outlined above against the typical defenses you would find at a
Momentum Base: No contest. If you've done your approach correctly, your opponent
has no idea which base you plan to hit, and you can take out the one or two
defenders, probably with the rover alone.

Against a Hybrid Base:

A tougher fight, and you'll probably need to augment that basic force with some
air cover. Start shelling the base early to keep the defenders worn down. Use
your needlejet support to weaken or pick off defenders, and use the first of
your "rover attacks" to kill, but use the second move to retreat and heal until
you are sure the base can be taken.

Against a Builder Base:

Bring in a chopper for additional support and you should be fine. The multiple
attacks of the chopper should nicely offset the Builder's relatively large
number of defenders. If he's got stacks of AAA guys, then send in infantry and
rovers. Infiltrating a Builder to determine exactly what kind of defenders he is
using is vitally important, and plan your attacks around where he is weakest. If
he's been slacking in making commjammers, hit him with your rovers every turn.
If he's low on AAA guys, your chopper will make short work of him. If nothing
else, bring out the worms. The only way to beat a builder is to find a weakness,
no matter how small or insignificant, and exploit the hell out of it.

The Hybrid General: Flexibility

The Momentum Player needs to think in terms of expecting a counterstrike, and
either heading that off or taking it on the chin, but your army is already
geared to that, which takes at least one element out of the equation for you.
From the get-go, you've been making your army a versatile tool, and each unit is
an able attacker and a sturdy defender, which simplifies your planning when you
go off to war. To that end, here's a pretty typical example of what a Hybrid
attack force would look like, against a single base:

1 AAA/ECM Infantry (second best armor/best weapon)
1 AAA/Trance Infantry (as above)
1 SAM/AAA or AAA/Clean Rover (second best armor/second best weapon)
1 Probe Team
1 Mindworm (might sub a second rover in, if I have the tech lead)
1 Artillery unit (Rover Chassis) (Second or third best armor, best weapon)
* 1 Air support unit (optional, depending on enemy force disposition)
Faction specific notes:

Peacekeepers: No notes. Adjust your forces per opponent.

Gaians: Use your psi bonus! Take out one of the Infantry and sub a worm in his
place! A quick comparison of the two forces (Momentum and Hybrid) will reveal
that the Hybrids are better armored across the board, making the act of re-
taking the base from a Hybrid player a pretty daunting task.

Taking them through their paces:

Against a Momentum Base: Again, their weak defenses will not be able to stand
against you, and you should be able to take them out quickly and easily. The
expected counterstrike will be easily dealt with too, as your troops have good
armor. This can further be augmented by rushing a perim. defense in the base as
soon as you occupy it.

Against another Hybrid: Jack up all your weapons to best, to counter their
massive amounts of armor. Scout the defenses, and if they have artillery, you
might want to pack in two arty units. One to duel him with to eliminate his, and
a second one to keep his troops weakened.

Against a Builder: Again, study their defenses carefully and compose your force
where they are weakest. Bring in 1-2 more units than you think you'll need.

The Builder General:

Chances are good that when you attack, if you attack anybody except another
Builder, you'll have at least one generation's worth of technology over your
opponents (as a rule of thumb, you can expect to be one generation ahead of a
competent Hybrid, and two ahead of a competent Momentum, by the time you take to
the field). This gives you all sorts of advantages, and makes conquesting a
pretty easy thing.

As a Builder, you have the cash to conduct the kinds of warfare that make the
other factions green with envy. In fact, you need not mobilize the army at all.
Instead of pulling out your army you can:

Missile your opponent to death, and use drop troops or orbitally inserted
Build enough planet busters to knock out every one of his bases in the same turn
(and expect to get worm-raped)
Conduct an entirely covert war. Subvert his bases, keep his energy reserves
drained, and cackle that he cannot do the same.
Ensure that no one but you and your allies has orbital defense pods by building
so many of them that you simply cannot countered, then use them to wipe out
everybody else's satellite capability, period.

Of course, if you like you can always take the more traditional approach, and if
you do, your force might look something like this:

1 AAA/ECM Infantry (best weapon, best armor)
2 SAM/AAA Rover (best, 2nd best)
1 Artillery unit (Rover chassis) (best, 2nd best)
1 Probe Team
1 Infantry (AAA/Clean) (best, best)
1 Air Support Unit (best, 2nd or 3rd best)
This will have you fighting at more than parity with your opponents, and you'll
have plenty of money to subvert enemy units that get caught out alone. As
mentioned before, when a Builder player moves in for the kill, you're likely
dead already and don't realize it yet, so if the technological gap I mentioned
previously is present, expect that a Builder who is on the attack will pretty
much blow your doors off....the end game belongs to the Builder, hands down. If
a Momentum player can't beat him by the early or mid game, chances are very good
indeed that he won't beat him at all. Likewise, Hybrids can compete with
Builders for longer, but time does favor the Builder, and if the Hybrid player
waits too long, he may find himself in trouble.

Money in wartime:

I mentioned earlier in the strategy guide that I'd recommend somewhere in the
neighborhood of 1500 credits in your bankroll per base you plan to hit before
you begin your attack, but I did not really outline why you'd need all that
money, so I will do that now, for those of you who might be newer to the game:

First and foremost, you should be on the lookout for any attempt to subvert
enemy units! Subversion is one of the most powerful battle strategies you can
implement. Consider: If you do battle with an enemy unit, you may or may not
destroy it, but you will surely weaken your own forces (at least temporarily,
until your unit is repaired), but if you subvert an enemy unit, you get
stronger, while your opponent grows weaker. Keep that up, and you'll be so
strong eventually, that your opponent cannot hope to stand against you. Of
course subversion need not be on the individual unit level....if you can bring
an entire base under your sway for a bit of cash, so much the better!

Second, you need money if you intend to turn the base you just took over into a
halfway productive center for you. Chances are good that when you move into a
newly occupied base, there will be rioting. If you don't mind being a bad guy,
you can just nerve staple them and have done with it, but I have never been
happy with that solution. I LIKE being the good guy, so when I take over a base,
generally the first thing I do is drop down a rec. commons to get the drone
problem solved. It's expensive, sure, but the advantage is that I get the base
healthy and productive very quickly, and then I've got a productive center right
there on my enemy's soil, which is a very bad thing from his point of view. (If
the battle was a very near thing, or if my troops are battered, I'll probably
delay the Rec. Commons for a turn in favor of a Perim. Defense, but again, this
depends on the situation at hand).

Third, you need money to rush build replacement troops, get garrisons in newly
conquered bases, and money to throw around in feint efforts or other things to
try to throw your opponent off balance. (If you are worried that you might not
be able to hold the base you just took for very long, for example, send a foil
probe team to the other side of your opponent's holdings and subvert one of his
fringe bases out from under him. Now he's got a choice to make, because chances
are good he can't deal with both losses at the same time, and you'll be able to
fortify your position around whichever one he decides to leave alone for a
bit....either way, you win.)

I must close this section by stressing again that the ideas outlined above are
by no means the only way, or even the best way to conduct a war, but they work
very well for me, and I win more games than I lose, so I believe that adds to
the validity of the approaches outlined here. Still, the bottom line is: "do
what works best for you." If these ideas don't mesh well with your current
playing style, then feel free to ignore them. If nothing else though, keep them
in your mind as possible things you might expect when you square off against
someone in the PBEM arena.....you never know, it might be *me* over there in

                           The Supply Crawler

By now, you've probably got quite a number of supply crawlers floating about in
your empire, adding to your base's native ability to harvest nutrients,
minerals, and/or energy. You have seen first hand the benefits of building them,
and are probably quite a fan. It should not be difficult to convince you then,
that Supply Crawlers are the second most useful unit in the entire game, but it
has been my experience (from watching and playing against many of the members
here in the War College), that supply crawlers don't get utilized nearly as much
as they should. This section then, provides some additional notes to get your
mind turning on the subject of the Supply Crawler, in hopes of demonstrating a
few uses for the sturdy little units that you might not have already thought of.

The number one best use of Supply Crawlers is obvious: To boost the nutrient,
energy, or mineral production of a given base. Generally, I go for increasing
energy output, and if you do so with a vengeance, multiplied out over several
turns, you will find your energy reserves spiking up two or three hundred energy
credits per turn.....multiplied out by your energy banks and such, they tend to
pay for themselves VERY quickly. Some notes here: Keep in mind that if you have
a base with the Merchant Exchange in it, and that base builds a supply crawler,
the unit will get the +1 energy bonus in the square he is harvesting from,
making the ME base a VERY attractive one to build crawlers from. And, if the ME
base also happens to be your Headquarters, then that base will not suffer any
inefficiency, which means that you get to keep 100% of the energy harvested.
This can set you up quite nicely to turn your HQ base into your primary research
place (build the supercollider and theory of everything there, and you've got a
positively EVIL amount of research. Add the network backbone, and the base can
probably net you a tech all by itself every turn).

The second best use I have come up with (and this frustrates the HELL out of my
opponents here at the college, though strangely, I have not seen them copying
the idea) is to make an armored crawler, drop him down on a "choke point"
(narrow strip of land leading to a rival's territory) to harvest energy from a
forest (on a sensor array). Now you're getting 3 or more energy per turn, and
keeping the bad guys at bay at the same time, and an armored crawler in the
woods on a sensor array is a pretty tough cookie. Give him Trance ability to
defend against worms, and he'll probably be there for a good long time.

Third thing: I generally build my initial boreholes coastally, and the reason
for that is as follows: If I'm on a landmass by myself (and that's generally my
favorite, being a builder at heart), then the only way that forces can even get
to me easily is to land troops on my coast, which is impossible thanks to my
ring of boreholes and crawlers. There's simply no way the invasion can even get
started (unless they come at me early....it DOES take quite a while to crank
that many crawlers out). True, the units could air drop in, but they take fifty
percent damage on landing, and then be munched by my rover units, or subverted
by my probe teams.

If the bad guys DO get through though, crawlers are excellent units for messing
up the invasion force's zones of control, because in addition to doing that,
they're also harvesting resources for you.

Another good idea would be to make the choice NOT to work the square in your
base's production radius containing your sensor array, putting a cheap armored
crawler on that square to draw resources for you. Protection from sniping.....

                              The Late Game

Long before you get here (and generally, the Late Game is defined by the arrival
of Habitation Domes), you have either won or lost the game, so there is little
you can do at this point to save yourself if you're losing ground. You get some
attractive "Future Society" choices on the SE table, but these additional
advantages will likely not be enough to turn the tide for you if you find
yourself slipping. Chances are very good though, if you have followed the
suggestions laid out in this guide, that it will be all over but the cleanup.

If you are losing though, don't dispair. Take a look at your game and try to
identify where you went wrong. A loss is but an opportunity for improvement.
Simply locate the specific things you did to allow yourself to get beaten and
change those behaviors in your next game.

Locking Things Down:

Assuming you have not encountered any bizarre or unexpected problems though,
chances are quite good that all that remains in the late game is the mop-up.
Even if there are some big Empires out there sabre-rattling, the game is over
and they don't yet realize it.

If you're playing Momentum-Style, now is when you want to end whatever war
you're involved in currently as fast as you can, and go pick a fight with the
biggest Empire still in the game. Hammer him relentlessly until he's dead or
submits, and then take out the next biggest. Your army is likely composed of
nothing but Elite troopers at this point, and you can simply overwhelm your
opponents with wave after wave of troops.

Hybrid or Builder Players: If you can keep the peace, you will likely be well
set up to run for a Transcendence victory, but if someone wants to pick a fight,
now is the time to carry it to them. Do not be intimidated! The late game
belongs to Builders (and Hybrids, to a lesser degree), so you will likely have
all the important advantages on your side if you choose to fight, and these
advantages, combined with the vast efficiency of your Empire, will be more than
enough to end the fight very quickly indeed, and at this point too, your
infrastructure will be sufficiently developed that you can literally fight the
war with "one hand tied behind your back." That is to say, at this stage in the
game, you need not scrap your plans to go for a Transcendent victory if someone
wants a fight. You will, more often than not, be able to use less than half your
bases for cranking out war materials, leaving the other half to focus on
continuing the buildup and preparation for Transcendence. This is the true
strength of Builder style. It is the moment you have been playing toward for the
whole game. Make the most of it.

                                 Final Thoughts

Against The Hive: Let the good chairman build sea bases for you. He generally
LOVES to surround factions with sea bases, and they're almost laughingly easy to
subvert. So, let him use his industry and growth bonuses to your advantage!

Against The Morganites: Bully them! They make a lot of money, but under computer
guidance, they're wimps! Bully and badger them til you break the bank! If he
get's rowdy with probe teams, send him a little present in the form of about
three dozen mediocre troops with polymorphic encryption and LET him subvert
them. He'll blow all his money grabbing your average troops, and then you can
send in the real invasion force. Even the Morganites have their limits, and
without any money, he's a pushover. Alternately, keep taking the same base with
your units and LET him steal it back. Repeat til he's broke, and unable to cause
you further grief. Morgan without money is like a tiger without teeth. Big cat,
but not particularly threatening.

Against the Gaians: Their main strength is Psi combat, and their ability to cozy
up to planet. Most obviously, build lots of trance and empath guys to even
yourself out with them, but also, send armored formers into their territory and
strip out their worm-farms. Likely, they'll be relying heavily on those in the
early game to augment their otherwise average troops, and that heavy reliance
can easily be their undoing. Besides, in a lot of cases, a former in enemy
territory is more threatening than a shard invader!

Against the Believers: She wants to attack first....ok. Let the wench. Bulk up
your garrisons in embattled bases, use lots of ECM troops mixed with AAA guys,
keep TONS of probe teams handy to counter her attempts at getting decent tech,
rush perim defenses and tachyon fields wherever she attacks and THEN see how her
vaunted 25% attack bonus fares. But, more often than not, she'll attack anyway,
and quickly be out of your hair.

Against the University: Ahhhhh technology. The pride and joy of the good
Professor. But they don't do him any good unless he can turn them into THINGS,
so don't let him. Feint him to death, and bleed his energy reserves per Morgan
to keep him broke and unable to rush build. Keep him so busy wondering what
you're up to that, techs or no, he won't be able to react. It's very easy to
paralyze this faction with an aggressive stance, and lots of nettles and feints.
Even human players who favor the University tend to fall for this more often
than you'd expect. It's strange, and rather amusing at times.

Against the Spartans: Subversion. Their units are awesome! And wasn't it nice of
Santiago to deliver a whole bunch of them right to your door!

Against the Peacekeepers: Ahhhh, but here's the crux of it. Nothing in the game
mechanics to exploit, so you'll have to study whoever is PLAYING the
Peacekeeping forces and use the PLAYER'S strengths against him. Is he
aggressive? Is he the consummate peace-keeper? You'll have to get a bit creative
here, but you'll find the strengths and weaknesses of his style, and you'll be
able to use both of them against him.
The Fifth Thing: A small, but important thing. Don't sit in a comfortable chair!
Don't allow yourself the luxury of comfort. It will relax your mind and take
away from your focus. I play all my games in a straight-backed, wooden chair.
Yes, I get stiff and sore, but it is an important reminder.

                                  Hot Keys


Move units/ View Map- [V]
Zoom in- [Z]
Zoom Out- [X]
Standard zoom in- [Shift][Z]
Standard zoom out- [Shift][X]
Full zoom in- [Ctrl][Z]
Full zoom out- [Ctrl][X]
Toggle flattened terrain- [Ctrl][Shift][X]
Toggle map & Grid- [Ctrl][G]
Toggle base grid- [Ctrl][Shift][G]
Show autoforward routes- [Ctrl][Shift][B]
Show patrol orders- [Shift][P]
Terrain Survey- [T]
Hide/ Show Names Et Production- [Ctrl][N]
Name Landmark- [Shift][N]
Erase Landmark- [Ctrl][Shift][N]
Locate Base- [Ctrl][B]
Previous Cursor Position- [Backspace]
Next Cursor Position- [Shift][Backspace]
Center screen- [C]


Construct Base [Colony Pod]- [B]
Join Base [Colony Pod]- [B]
Obliterate Base [Any Unit in Base]- [B]
Long Range Fire- [F]
Airdrop- [I]
Activate Special Ability- [I]
Psi Gate- [Shift][I]
Convoy Resources- [O]
Destroy Enhancements- [D]
Disband Unit- [Shift][D]
Automate Unit- [Shift][A]
Explore Automatically- [/]
Patrol- [P]
Designate Bombing Run- [B]
Automate Air Defense- [Ctrl][Shift][B]
Go to Base...- [G]
Group go to...- [J]
Assemble Group- [Shift][J]
Go to Home Base- [Shift][G]
Set Home Base- [Ctrl][H]
Activate (Move Now)- [A]
Wait (Move Later)- [W]
Unload Transport- [Shift][U]
Upgrade Unit- [Ctrl][U]
Turn Over Unit Control- [Ctrl][Shift][U]
Designate Defender- [Ctrl][D]
Sentry/Board Transport- [L]
Place Unit "On Alert"- [Shift][L]
Hold 10 Turns- [Shift][H]
Hold This Position- [H]
Skip Turn- [Spacebar]


Cultivate Farm/Kelp Farm- [F]
Construct Soil Enricher (Over Farm)- [F]
Construct Mine/Mining Platform- [M]
Construct Solar Collector/Tidal Harness- [S]
Plant Forest- [Shift][F]
Build Road- [R]
Build Mag Tube (Over Road)- [R]
Construct Bunker- [K]
Construct Airbase- [.]
Construct Sensory Array- [O]
Remove Fungus- [F]
Plant Fungus- [Ctrl][F]
Construct Condenser- [N]
Construct Echelon Mirror- [Shift][E]
Construct Thermal Borehole [Shift][B]
Drill to Aquifier- [Q]
Terraform Up- (])
Terraform Down- ([)
Terraform Level- [_]
Farm+Solar+Road- [Ctrl][Shift][S]
Farm+Mine+Road- [Ctrl][Shift][M]
Construct Road To- [Ctrl][R]
Construct Tube To- [Ctrl][T]
Automatic Roads- [Ctrl][Shift][R]
Automatic Tubes- [Ctrl][Shift][T]
Automatic Sensors- [Ctrl][Shift][O]
Automatic Fungus Removal- [Ctrl][Shift][F]
Autoimprove Home Base- [Ctrl][Shift][A]
Fully Automate Former- [Shift][A]


Switch To Detailed Menus- [F11]
Switch To Simple Menus- [F11]
Preferences- [Ctrl][P]
Warning Preferences- [Ctrl][W]
Advanced Preferences- [Ctrl][O]
Automation Preferences- [Ctrl][A]
Audio/Visual Preferences- [Ctrl][I]
Map Display Preferences- [Ctrl][M]
Save Game- [Ctrl][S]
Load Game- [Ctrl][L]
Resign- [Ctrl][Q]
Start New Game- [Ctrl][Shift][Q]
Quit- [Q]
Speed Up Game during AI turn- Hold [Shift]


Chat- [Ctrl][C]
Voice Transmission- Hold [\]
Pause- [Backspace]
Alter Time Controls- [Shift][T]
Zoom to Base Messages- [*]
Use Time Bonus- [Ctrl][Spacebar]
End Turn- [Ctrl][Enter]
Resume Turn- [Ctrl][Enter]


Social Engineering- [E]
Set Research Priorities (with Blind Research)- [Shift][R]
Change Research Goal- [Shift][R]
Design Workshop- [U]
Datalinks- [F1]
Laboratories Status- [F2]
Energy Banks- [F3]
Base Operations Status- [F4]
Secret Project Data- [F5]
Orbital and Space Status- [F6]
Military Command Nexus- [F7]
Alpha Centauri Score- [F8]
View Monuments- [F9]
View Hall of Fame- [F10]
Communications and Protocol- [F12]
Corner Global Energy Market- [,]
Review Scenario Objectives- [=]

                                   Unit Design Info.


Domain: Land
Speed: 8km\hr
Modality: Manual\Tracked
Dimensions: N\A
Modifiers: +25% vs. base

Domain:  Land
Speed: 102km\hr
Modality: Wheeled
Dimensions: 7.7x3.6x2.9m
Modifiers: +25% in open

Domain: Land
Speed: 227 km\hr
Modality: Aircushion
Dimensions: 6.9x3x3m
Modifiers: +25% in open

Domain: Sea
Speed: 62 km\hr
Modality: Airfoil
Dimensions: 162x24.25x17.5m
Modifiers: None

Domain: Sea
Speed: 115 km\hr
Modality: Naval Keel
Dimensions: 200x50.5x20m
Modifiers: None

Domain: Air
Speed: 766 km\hr
Modality: Fixed-wing aircraft
Dimensions: 18.6x12.5x4.4m
Modifiers: Require refuel every 2 turns

Domain: Air
Speed: 523 km\hr
Modality: Rotary
Dimensions: 15.5x6x4m
Modifiers: Range unaffected by fuel

Domain: Air
Speed: 1021 km\hr
Modality: Gravitron booster
Dimensions: 22x8x6m
Modifiers: Range unaffected by fuel

Domain: Air
Speed: 232.5 km\hr
Modality: Assisted airflow
Dimensions: 15.5x.5x.5m
Modifiers: Destroyed on impact


Rating: 32655 kw
Throughput: 29377 kw
Efficiency: 89.99%
Discharge: 52 r
Fuel source: U-235

Rating: 68003 kw
Throughput: 62821 kw
Efficiency: 92.38%
Discharge: 67 r
Fuel source: Ionized deuterium

Rating: 147893 kw
Throughput: 141977 kw
Efficiency: 96.01%
Discharge: 21 r
Fuel source: Deuterium-tritium mix

Rating: }4000000 kw
Throughput: Var
Efficiency: Var
Discharge: N\A
Fuel source: Vizorium-5


Ammo: 7.62mm UN standard
Muzzle velocity: 1100 mps
Rate of fire: Var; max 120\min
Max range: 550 m
Target acquistion: Visual

Active medium: Diode
Type: Fiber-coupled
Pulse duration: 5 nsec
Wavelength: 193 nm
Peak power: .84 gw
Burn rate (1m steel): .76 sec

Ammo: 10mm caseless Kinetic Energy
Muzzle velocity: 2500 mps
Rate of fire: 1100\min
Max range: 2700 m
Target acquistion: Optical

Ammo: Mk. 12(t) 'Sabre' missile
Velocity: Mach 2.2
Rate of fire: 6\min
Max range: 90 km
Target acquistion: IR signature

Active medium: Neodymium-glass
Type: Conductively cooled stacked array
Pulse duration: 2 nsec
Wavelength: 107 nm
Peak power: .96 gw
Burn rate (1m steel): .52 sec

Ammo: 9mm caseless Field Disruptor
Muzzle velocity: 3000 mps
Rate of fire: 10\min
Max range: 11 km
Target acquistion: Field Differential

Active medium: Neodymium-YAG
Type: Actively cooled stacked array
Pulse duration: 15 nsec
Wavelength: 573 nm
Peak power: 2.4 gw
Burn rate (1m steel): .14 sec

Active medium: Molecular hydrogen
Type: Active liquid coolant
Pulse duration: 1 usec
Wavelength: 680 nm
Peak power: 5 gw
Burn rate (1m steel): .07 sec

Ammo: 15 mm Mass-energy shell
Muzzle velocity: Var; max 4000 mps
Rate of fire: 160\min
Max range: 16 km
Target acquistion: Charged particle

Active medium: Temporal field distortion
Type: Crystal diffusion
Pulse duration: N\A
Wavelength: .005 nm
Peak power: Var.
Burn rate (1m steel): N\A

Ammo: 2mm 3-stage particle-accelerated
Muzzle velocity: 9800 mps
Rate of fire: 2000\min
Max range: 1.4 km
Target acquistion: Nanoremote

Active medium: Temporal boundary
Type: Singularity induction
Pulse duration: Relative
Wavelength: .001 nm
Peak power: N\A (approach inf.)
Burn rate (1m steel): Relative

Active medium: Patterened energy
Type: Compelled dissociative
Range: Line of sight
Peak power: Inverse to distance
Target acquisition: Psi lock

Designation: Mk. 714 Plasma bomb
Active kill radius: 2000 km
Explosve force: 296 gt TNT
Target acquistion: Charged particle

Complement: 1000+
Composition: Prefab plastic
Hydroponics rating: indef.
Armament: Sidearms only
Armor: Passive (Applique)

Crew: 367
Composition: Bonded steel\ceramic
Armament: Sidearms only
Armor: Passive (Applique)

Capacity: 500 troops + support
Composition: Hardened plasteel
Hydroponics rating: ST
Armor: Passive (Applique)

Capacity: 2575 mt
Composition: reinforced plasteel
Armament: Sidearms only
Armor: Passive (Applique)

Complement: 16
Counterintel suite: ShieldSafe V 6.0
Armament: Cyberlinks\mind control
Armor: Passive (Applique)


Type: N\A
Tensile strength: N\A
Density: N\A
Thickness: N\A

Type: Chobham (modified)
Tensile strength: Base
Density: 2.3 kg\l
Thickness: 250mm

Type: Mass-energy composite
Tensile strength: 5X base
Density: 2.5 kg\l
Thickness: 520mm

Type: Bonded
Tensile strength: 23X base
Density: 2.5 kg\l
Thickness: 520mm

Type: Refractive field
Tensile strength: 46X base
Density: N\A
Thickness: 2m

Type: Phase adjustment
Tensile strength: 97X base
Density: N\A
Thickness: N\A

Type: Kinetic diffusion
Tensile strength: 198X base
Density: 4kg\l
Thickness: 755mm

Type: Reactive
Tensile strength: 560X base
Density  -4 kg\l
Thickness: Var.

Type: Temporal field distortion
Tensile strength: N\A
Density: N\A
Thickness: N\A

Type: Pattern refraction
Resistance: Proportional to distance
Density: N\A
Thickness: N\A


Desc.: SmartSettler V2.0 s\w upgrade
Effect: Terraform rate doubled
Limits: Terraformer unit only
Domain: All

Desc.: Mk. 45 Sensor array upgrade
Effect: Sees 2 spaces
Limits: None
Domain: All

Desc.: Type IV Refraction\diffusion shield
Effect: Invisible; Ignores ZOCs
Limits: Not for use in Probe Teams
Domain: Land

Desc.: Hoverpod LCs
Effect: Attacks from ships
Limits: Combat units only
Domain: Land

Desc.: Aircushion LCs
Effect: Can make airdrops
Limits: None
Domain: Land

Desc.: Mk. 66 fire control sensor
Effect: Attacks air units
Limits: Combat units only
Domain: All

Desc.: Reinforced Silksteel chassis
Effect: Operates underwater
Limits: Combat units only
Domain: Sea

Desc.: Bonded alloy flight deck
Effect: Mobile Airbase
Limits: Not for use in Probe Teams
Domain: Sea

Desc.: Mk. 190 FUBR fire control system
Effect: x2 vs. air attacks
Limits: Not for use with Psi or air units
Domain: Land, Sea

Desc.: Type IX ECTS EMP pulse generator
Effect: +50% vs. fast units
Limits: Combat, non-Psi units only
Domain: Land

Desc.: Gravitron repulsor pylons
Effect: +1 movement rate
Limits: None
Domain: Land

Desc.: Psi lock s\w upgrade
Effect: +50% attack vs. Psi
Limits: Non-psi combat units only
Domain: All

Desc.: Boron defoilant system
Effect: Clear fungus at double speed
Limits: Terraformer units only
Domain: All

Desc.: Advanced Warfare Training
Effect: Gains morale upgrade
Limits: Combat units only
Domain: All

Desc.: Reactor chamber upgrade
Effect: Bombards; -50% armor & move
Limits: Non-psi units only
Domain: Land

Desc.: Reactor emission containment system
Effect: Requires no support
Limits: None
Domain: All

Desc.: Temporal distortion field
Effect: Bypass base defenses
Limits: Combat units only
Domain: All

Desc.: Psychic amplification module
Effect: +50% defense vs. PSI
Limits: Non-psi combat units only
Domain: All

Desc.: Mk. 1 VX delivery system
Effect: Can +50% offense (Atrocity)
Limits: Non-psi combat units only
Domain: Land, air

Desc.: Modified Supply Transport module
Effect: Repairs ground units on board
Limits: Transport units only
Domain: Air, sea

Desc.: Stunjack cannon & training for police
Effect: x2 Police powers
Limits: Combat units only
Domain: Land

                                   General Tips

If you've got a tip of strategy, email me at [Address Removed By Author].

The Early Game

In the early game, don't waste industry on well-armed or armored military 
units; instead, keep about 100 energy credits on hand and garrison cities with 
cheap Rovers (hand weapons / no armor) or Scouts (before Doctrine: Mobility). 
Since worms are almost always your only concern for the first 40 turns or so, 
more-expensive units are useless anyway.

When suddenly faced with a conventional force, you can upgrade 1 unit at the 
cost of its turn, or upgrade them all in the Workshop and they all still get to
take their turns.

The risk is in prototyping -- if you haven't prototyped, say, Impact weapons, 
and a conventional force suddenly lands next to your capital, you won't have 
time to build the prototype and upgrade. When and how often to prototype is your
job to figure out.

By G. Derrick Jones

Air Defense

There is a slight problem with using Needlejets as interceptors -they can then 
get shot down too. Besides they can only take down one enemy each turn and they
are expensive. The best and cheapest method to defend your skies is to create 
rovers with a decent weapon (tachyon, chaos, even missiles - doesn't have to be
the best), air superiority and no armour. By the time the air war heats up all 
of your cities should be connected with mag-tubes. Leaving a couple of anti-air 
rovers in your bases will not only keep them safe and hidden but enable them to
zip out and defend any of your cities that gets attacked. When an anemy flies 
in, race out, shoot it down and nip back to safety in a far away city. If you 
have an elite then you can take down two in one go. The enemy will have a hard 
time getting rid of your little menaces. Needlejets are expensive and rovers 
are cheap. Although his (no offense to any girl players) bombers may do some 
damage, in the long run he will realise that it's a far to costly way to wage 
war and divert to some other strategy. Cruisers can be used at sea if necessary.
And I am by no means saying don't build interceptors at all, they can still be 
useful. If you can use a rover then do so first.

By Caleb

War: Mobility

Mobility is a key when launching an attack. To have some strong mobile units, 
stick a big gun, medium armor, drop pods and a blink displacer on a hovertank. 
With the space elevator, they are almost unbeatable. Land on sensor arrays and 
instead of moving, destroy it. Land all the others on forests or rocky squares,
which grant a +50% defense bonus. Whe you attack next turn, the only bonuses the
defenders can get are from tachyon fields, which the computer rarely builds.

By Grigger

Secret Projects and Science

To gain huge lab outputs from a base, make sure you build the Merchant Exchange,
Supercollider, Theory of Everything and the Network Backbone. Try and place 
this city near the Pholus Ridge or Uranium Flats, even the Geothermal Shallows 
and make it your capital to get rid of inefficiency. Surround it with Forests 
if you have a hybrid forest there and are on low terrain, or solar collectors. 
Gain additional energy from supply crawlers. Give it an Aerospace Complex to get
maximum energy from orbital power transmitters. Make sure that you are stocked 
up on the lab enhancing improvements and build network nodes in all your other 
cities to help the network backbone. This super science city should be able to 
get a tech every other turn by itself if done properly.

By Grigger

This and That

* Manipulate build queue -- often the game won't allow to build something until 
another structure has been built. For example the pleasure dome can't be built 
until you have the recreation commons. However, you can put the recreation 
commons in the build queue, add the pleasure dome after it, and then delete the 
recreation commons from the build queue. Then the pleasure dome can be built 
first (yeah I know, limited usefulness).
* Free support off pact brother -- build up a little base in a corner near your
own bases, and give the little base to a pact brother, then send all of your 
own units there, open the city screen and change the unit's ownership. Nobody 
ends up supporting the unit. Not only that, but those units can now be freely 
sent out of the city for battle duty, and they won't create unhappiness since
they don't belong to any of your cities.
* Free support + Ascend to transcendence -- build and save up heaps of military 
units, sending them to a pact brother city to get the free support as necessary.
When the transcendence project becomes available, you can scrap your units in 
the base that's building the secret project, meaning that you effectively 
started to build the project as soon as you started building up the units.
* Catching up in the race to transcend - if you're falling behind in industrial 
capability compared to a competitor building the transcendence secret project, 
it is better to catch up by building units and sending them to be scrapped, 
rather than stockpiling energy and then buying partial production. When you 
build and scrap, the industry input from other bases is basically halved (as 
well as a bit of wastage depending on the build schedule). However when you 
stockpile energy, you lose 3 quarters of it when you try to rush the secret 
project because it costs 4 credits to buy each unit f a secret project. 
Therefore it is twice as economical to build and scrap than it is to stockpile 
and buy. (Q: when you stockpile you get 1 production = 1 energy don't you? If it
was 2 production = 1 energy then you'd lose 7 eighths of the input rather than 3
* Plasma Hoverboats (2-3-4) rule the water world -- On a world which is 
predominantly water, the plasma hoverboat rule because they are so cheap (same 
low price as a plasma sentinel) yet can bombard the enemy's terrain improvements
every bit as well as a stronger ship. They are also great naval city defenders.
* Inland sea - the best bases are usually ones next to water because of the 
excellent food and energy income from water tiles, while forests and occasional 
boreholes on just a couple of land tiles will make up for production. The only 
problem with this is that coastal cities can be attacked by enemy ships. So what
do you do? build on an inland sea. None nearby? Then create one. Get a mid sized
island, populate it, then get a bunch of formers and proceed to build a thin 
"ring" of land just a couple of tiles off the coast of the entire island. If the
enemy tries to take a foothold on the outer land ring, you can send your entire 
navy from your core bases to wipe them out without worrying about being attacked
from a different direction. I doubt the AI will ever figure out it needs to 
lower the land to turn your land ring into sea (but in that case you can just 
build it right back, or go out there and destroy their sea formers enmass). Most
likely the AI will just build a small land bridge towards one part of your 
protective ring, which means you have them controlled at a chokepoint. If you
build air defense units all around the protective ring you might even stop the 
enemy being able to scout you, so they'd not be able to find out what you have 
in the "core".

By Marty Party

War, Aliens, and Terraforming

First thing you do before even making the game is crank the alien abundancy to 
abundant. This gives you more mind worms to try and control, if you fail to 
control them it will give more energy or increase the morale of your mind worms.
This will also give you a bonus to your Alpha Centauri score. Another side 
effect to this is the act the aliens slow down and harrass the other 

To keep your planet ecology in balance terraform the surrounding terrain into 
forests. Build Tree Farms and Hybird Forests as soon as posible if you do 
otherwise you might get your population stagnated. Once those improvements are 
built the bonuses will raise the nutrients and population fairly fast. Once the 
fungus starts growing and tearing up the forest let it, go build improvements on
the fungus if able to.

All the forests do two thing. It keeps your ecology in balance better and 
sometimes the aliens leave you alone. The second thing is it makes it harder for
enemy units to get to your cities because most units can only move through one 
square of forest. To make the second part work you only want to make roads or 
mag tubes in a straight line to your other cities. The amount of roads and mag 
tubes you have affects your cities ecology rating.

Also forget technology units until you are forced to use them. If you build the 
biology labs and secret projects that increase life cycles or morale this will 
allow you to pick the governments styles that have a morale penalty. Or if you 
want pick all the government styles that give a morale bonus.

By Elvis Fett

Diplomacy and War

When you have a chance to force your opponent to surrender, do so. For example, 
if you're playing the Spartans, forcing the University faction to surrender and
allowing them to expand and do their research will free up your own resources. 
You can then churn out a large invasion force and choose social patterns suited 
for invasion and still keep up with the technology race by bullying the 
surrendered University faction into giving you all their research knowledge.

Surrendered factions and their benefits:
1) Hive - Keep them in check
2) Believers - Warmongers, use them against all your enemies
3) University - Knowledge, pure knowledge
4) Morganites - Cold hard cash
5) Gaians - Will provide you with necessary means to rear "pets" for invasion
6) Spartans - Use their large invasion force against your toughest foes
7) U.N. - Their votes count double. Useful when you need the extra votes in a 

Besides the above benefits, surrendered factions cannot take offence when you
choose social patterns that contradict their own beliefs. For example, if the 
Hive have surrendered to you, you do not have to worry about them complaining 
when you choose a Fundamental or a Democratic political structure.

Surrendered factions will, however, still declare vendetta on you if you commit 
a major atrocity like using the Planet Buster.

Remember that you want to keep the factions alive. If they grow too big and 
powerful, either force them to fight against other factions or deceitfully set 
your pact brothers/sisters against each other.

Surrendered factions count as a conquered factions towards a conquest victory.

By Theophilus

Combined Arms

I usually play an Ascendence game, building as many bases as possible, getting 
as many techs and SP's as possible, and maintaining Pacts and Treaties with most
of the other factions. I keep my reputation clean (Noble or Faithful) to keep 
from being back-stabbed by an ally. I usually wage a war of conquest in mid-game
(Tachyon or Shard weapons) to take over a neighbor and keep expanding. And then 
I sit back.

Once I have Graviton or Singularity weapons, I clean up and take over all but 
one other faction. And the key to doing this is COMBINED ARMS. I use Hovertanks 
with Grav pods (5 moves when Elite), Drop Squads with lots of armor, and 
souped-up Copters.

Because Copters can attack once for each movement point, they can really do a 
lot of damage. Each Copter can take out all of a base's defenders, no problem. 
Once the Copters have done their work, send in Hovertanks or Drop Squads to 
secure the bases, and then land the Copters in your newly-acquired bases to 
refuel. And repeat.

By using combined arms like this, you can sweep through your opponents quickly
and efficiently. They won't have much time to either mount a counter-offensive 
or adapt to your troops.

And once you control 95% of Planet, you can really crank that score up.


Once I have the "Non-Lethal Methods" unit ability (x2 Police), I always design 
a "Police Sentinel" unit. You can keep a few of these ready for drone hotspots, 
as needed. Also, you can upgrade old garrison units to the Police version at 
any time.


Keep in mind that Transcendent techs are worth MUCH more than regular techs when
it comes to your final score. Even though you get a bonus for winning the game 
earlier, I think it's much better to take your time.

By the end of the game, I usually have 100+ bases, with an average size of at 
least 20. Once you have the Cloning Vats, the Space Elevator, and plenty of Sky
Hydroponics Labs, your population will skyrocket. High population equates to 
high Econ and high Lab output, so you'll have plenty of credits and plenty of 
techs rolling in.

While you "lose" 2 points for every extra turn, you more than make up for it 
with more citizens and more transcendent tech.

Copter Assault

I've been refining my COMBINED ARMS strategy, with devastating results. When 
it's time to kick butt, I build a couple of Copters with the biggest guns 
available, and a bunch of hovertanks with the best armor available. The Copter 
is now officially my favorite unit. After they wipe out the opposition, I send 
in the hovertanks for defense.

Never overlook the benefits of carriers. With a cruiser chassis and good power
plant, they can carry 12 units. Equip the carrier deck on a transport, add in 
some armor for safety, and load it up with 12 Copters. Sail the carrier right 
next to an enemy city, and you have the potential for 144 separate attacks (12 
Copters x 12 moves each, assuming fusion reactor). As the reactor improves in 
the Copter, so does its lethality--more attacks per turn. Airdrop in some 
defenders and reap the rewards.

By Matt

Use of Formers and Supply Crawlers for Defense

In the event that you have opponents attacking you with needle jets, try this 
strategy: create formers or supply crawlers with armor either medium strength 
or strongest armor type you can produce and position them along your borders 
where they will most likely be attacked. The AI will most likely, and many human
players will, attack the crawlers or formers. The Former often times will 
survive and the opposing needlejet will be destroyed. However, if you lose the 
former or crawler, well too bad, but you damage the needlejet some, and will 
make it easy to counter attack with a cheaply produced SAM unit. I suggest you 
make the cheapest units possible that have 2 moves and position them 
strategically for a counter attack. Do not bother to make SAM units with the 
highest attack values. An attack value of say 2, 3 or 4 is sufficient and very 
inexpensive toward the middle-end game because most of the attacking needlejets 
will have no armor at all. One other note: If you use the design workshop screen
I often find that you can choose a medium attack weapon and it will cost the 
same as a weapon of the least strength. Finally don't forget that you can use 
the former or supply crawler as a defender in a base under attack. When opposing
troops march toward your cities, reign in your armored units as extra defenders.

By John Doe

New Colonies, New Methods!

I have found two units to be extremely usefully in expansion of terriotory:

Drop Colony Pod: This is your basic colony pod with drop jets(See the uses) It
really comes in handy if you get The Space Elevator Secret Project which allows 
for dropping units to any point on the map.

Hover Terraformer: This is a combe of the terraform tool and the hover chassi 
(not the hover tank, though it might work havent tried it).. then the usaul 
terraform special abilities(double removal and terraform rates) and you highest 
engine and sheilding if you want. How is this useful, you ask. With those flying
colony pods these can get to them fast, do to there ~16 square movement 
regardless of terran, and help the colony get going.

By Anex

Sleeping Demons

This is my favorite strategy. It is a conquering strategy based around building
up your defenses quickly (armor, perimeter defenses, etc,) and "sleeping" 
behind them. Then once your defenses are build up enough, (usually after 
Probability Mechanics, with level 6 armor and Tachyon Fields,) release an army 
of high-powered minions. Yang is best for this strategy by far. Morgan works 
well also. Miriam works well, but I hate wasting her faction's attack bonus. 
Santiago and Zakharov are fair at best, while Dierdre and Lal stink at this 

You'll want to avoid combat at first. Research Industrial Base, then go for High
Energy Chemistry. Go for Doctrine: Loyalty next, followed by Intellectual 
Integrity, (for the Citizens' Defense Force.) Even if you are playing Yang, 
you'll need these later, so it's your choice whether to go for them or wait till

Now for the big armor. Go for Silksteel , Photon/Wave Mechanics, and Probability
Mechanics. Build a Tachyon Field, then start researching weaponry and attacking 
people, and winning.

Since you aren't going to be researching things like Centauri Ecology and
Biogenetics, it's manditory that you trade for these, just be careful what you 

By K. Sharp

Cuban Missile Crisis

Make planet busters and quickly hand them over to your allies who are in war 
with other factions. They'll use them and your reputation will not suffer!


Skiguy500's Favorite Units

Empath Plasma Sentinels: 1e-3t-1
good at getting rid of those pesky mindworms and can take almost any other 
attack on (can be a scout rover)
Trance Plasma Sentinels: 1p-3t-1
can take on those mindworms and can take on the drones (Trance,Police)
AAA Recon Rover: 2aaa-1-2
being cheap to build makes it easy to "Mass-Produce" these Needlejet defenders
Police Recon Rover: 2p-1-2
easy to make, it's a police car!
Secure Recon Rover: 2-1-2
one of the best rovers or weapons that are cheap to make and can take out Miriam
and her probe teams
Tachyon Tank: 12-8-3
Any one of these can take out anything that gets in it's way. these are on my 
front lines against Yang or the Spartans. They may be a little expensive but if 
you can get these things out there and Elite, then you can seriously pound their
teeth in.
Destroyer Transport: 1-5-6 Carrier/Repair
These thing you can send out to become moble air bases.(you can take out the 
repair bay and put in a clean reactor if you want a good air transport that can 
support itself, works best with singularity engine)
Navy Seals: 10-6-1 Amphibious
Can go from water base tio land with out need of transport, that is if it is a 
coastal base, and can take on allot of pressure from most of the other weapons
Mindworms: these babies can take out a whole base and then take out a whole 
another. Works best as locusts of chiron
Singularity Copter: 24-3-8
These things are great for base hopping. they can attack using their singularity
lasers as much as 16 times per turn (Think 2x16=32, 32 attacks per turn, with 
singularity lasers!)
Drop Supply: 1-1-1 Supply/Drop
These things are cheap to bulid and can reach far off islands that are rich in 
resources and dont need support.
Drop Colony Pod: 1-1-1 CPod/Drop
This can reach those islands intent for those explorers tring to get key areas 
for airbases and naval bases
Gravship Formers: 1-2-8 Super/Fungicidal
These are the best formers that you can make, the can terraform both sea and 
land and have no range that is affected by fuel
These are some units that I found either good or extraordinary none the less. 
My basic Unit for garrison is a Police Probability garrison. (1p-6t-1) they can 
take out any attack. i also build the special garrison with AAA or SAM or 
Secure, what ever is needed. I know that I couldn't get them all in but I will 
try to find more as I go so tell me if you find any good garrison units or any 
others and I will relay them to others so that they can get the picture. These 
uints are things that I tried to make different so that they would be used by 
many people. Feel free to try different types of weapons on each thing.(I know 
that the recon rover is so 2200s but they are really cheap, and I kinda like the
name.)I will try to keep all the people who actually read this and think I am 
weird know that i am only trying to help their game out.

By Skiguy500


Hiding fungus is the best way to win a war. If you find yourself struggling to 
survive constant attacks on your terratory hide your best and brightest 
infantry in the fungus. Your opponent will go straight for your outlying bases 
'cos tey won't see you, and they'll avoid the fungus to reach your bases 
quicker, so your zone of control won't give the game away. When they've gone
past come up behind and whoop their asses. However, make sure your infantry are 
elite, because those two squares in one turn will be a real boost. Also if 
you're the defender they'll need to be good to defeat the opponents. The 
xenoempathy dome is also quite essential, since you'll want to reach your enemy 
quick before they get to your base.

The xenoempathy dome is also essential for quick sneak attacks on your enemy. 
They won't see your troops who are stealthily racing towards their vulnerable 
bases. This tactic is invaluable for eliminating sensor arrays and capturing 
strongpoints like barracks. The final winning strategy runs like this:

- get the xenoempathy dome (very important)
- Send one or two fast elite infantry units through the fungus between you and 
  your target base
- before they exit the fungus start bringing up the rest of your invasion force
- while the bulk of your army is on its way get your fast elite infantry to 
reach that damned sensor and destroy it.
- Quickly get to that nearby bunker. If there isn't one (there usually is 
though) return to the fungus
- The rest of your forces should be leaving the fungus now. Here comes the easy
bit- simply push all your forces forward to the base. Without the sensor the 
defenders will be easy prey to those elite infantry, and should they succumb 
you've got plenty more in reserve. The shear speed at which your army appears 
infront of the enemy base will mean that reinforcements will not arrive in time 
for you to have conquered the base.

This tactic will defeat even the strongest bases. Thank you Sun Tzu.

If you keep finding your units are not strong enough, even with superior 
weaponry then try this: be the spartans (+2 morale), build the command nexus 
project (+1) and the cyborg factory project (+1). Now go to the social 
engineering screen and use Fundamentalism with Knowledge. The two will cancel 
out but leave you +1 morale. Thats five morale-boosters!Now you will often find
yourself producing commando or elite units straight off. With this you can 
produce a small yet cheap and well-trained army. A bit like the british army of
the 19th century that conquered a good third of the world then...

By Bobsy

Now I'm a Believer!

I used a strategy for AC awhile back that I thought was good. I couldn't beat 
the Believers with the limited units I had, so I terraformed a bunch of channels
through their territory. It took awhile, but I was able to divide their forces 
and win. The computer is not very good at moving units across water to reinforce
other areas (atleast it didn't seem to do that with me). So, you only have to 
deal with half of an empire instead of all of it.

Also, if you sink their bases, you can use boats to conquer a city.

By Chad R. Collins

Always maintain a standing army...not necessarily a big one, just enough for 

Don't automate every terraformer. Have at least one off auto at each base, and 
then two on auto. Auto formers don't always do what's needed.

Extreme terraforming (raising and lowering terrain) can be VERY profitable. 
Rather than putting pods on a transport, build the Weather Paradigm and raise a 
bridge to the new continent. If you're extremely strong, you can influence the 
importance of naval power by restricting boat range with artificial ithmuses. 
When a single continent stretches around the globe, it cuts the oceans into two 
parts, which can be good if you want isolation.

Don't build your cities too far apart; let them overlap a little. I know it 
looks ugly on the city layout, but you can deal with it. You don't need to make 
size 63 cities everywhere- they just take too long to get to that size even with
the Cloning Vats. City population is counted different in SMAC than in CivII, 
where you wanted the city to be as big as possible. In SMAC, each number is
10,000 people and only goes up by 10,000 when population is added. The same 
land area will still support the same number of people. Rather than 12 size 31 
cities than six size 62 cities in the same area. This is especially important 
in the very beginning of the game, more cities means more military units 
produced per turn. You're going to need the extra military to battle for a big 
enough chunk of land to grow on to make it into the middle and end game.

So far I finished with four factions at Transcend level: Gaians, The Hive, 
Morgans, and the UoP.
The strategy for each faction is quite straight forward.
For Gaians, I used Police State/Green/Knowledge combo and built tons of 
mindworms. Starting in 2230, I pounded everyone into submission by 2303. Now I 
can persue any of the victory conditions.

As The Hive, I just built base facilities and units en masse. By 2257, all major
oppositions are defeated, leaving the tedious task of mopping up.

Morgan is probably the easiest faction to play. Switch to Police/Free 
Market/Wealth early and you can conquer the world with probe teams. However, 
you need conventional units to overwhelm the Gaians because of their high 
efficiency rating and mindworms.

If you play UoP, use the Police State/Free Market/Knowledge combo to 
outresearch everyone else. Then build up your military as soon as you 
discovered Air Power. You can achieve a quick conquest. Don't forget to build 
Hunter-Seeker Algorithm to protect you from probing.

If you find someone blocking your expansion, destroy them as quickly as you can.
But, don't eradicate them too soon, because they will get a chance to start 
somewhere else, and this is a long game.

Infiltrate the datalinks of all factions. This will give you the individual base

Always attack enemy bases with the most mobile offensive units (copters,
needlejets, rovers...), this will take away the enemy's offensive capabilities, 
giving you time to recover your worn-out units and to build defenses.

If you mount an attack against a more powerful enemy, raid them first. That 
means you will conduct wars on enemy teritory, wreck their infrastructure, 
pillaging energy reserves, and take away Secret Projects.

Don't always go for conquest victories. A good way to achieve victory is to go 
for a diplomatic victory. The key to this is eradicating factions that you know
won't vote. This includes: Believers, Hive, and maybe Peacekeepers (unless you 
have the Empath Guild Secret Project, which is strongly recommended for this 
type of victory). The best race to be is the University, because you will 
become the personal techno slave of every faction. Research as fast as you can. 
Colonize quickly. Eradicate the enemy factions when they only have a few cities 
(allowing Mirian to grow is NOT an option). Give everyone tech gifts to keep 
them placated (especially the Spartans; renew your pact with them every 25 
years with a "give all tech" gift. When you've been assured that 3/4 of the 
vote are for Supreme Leader, chance it.

Never underestimate the power of conventional missiles. A few may not seem to 
do much and may not even seem to be worth while building. I never thought they 
were. So, I tried lots of missiles just to be different. Man, was that nasty! 
Send 20-30 missiles at a time at an enemy, and it's amazing how fast the mighty 
can fall. Once the defenders are gone, just walk right in and take control of 
their city. No more slugging it out for years to take over a single base. For 
sea bases, kill the defenders with missiles and just fly in a graveship- easier 
than pie. I did this to Yang in my present game, and took out 95 of his military
in one turn, (he still had a dozen and a half sea bases left scattered across 
Planet). Half of his cities are in revolt (big cities w/ no police)- so he can't
create new units there until he stops the revolts, and the other half are too 
small to build a unit any time soon- by the time those cities do, I'll have 
another 20-30 cigars to jam down Yang's throat, and graveships knocking on the
door. Actually, it seems a little unfair that there is nothing he can do about 
it anymore, so much for fighting fair.

Starting- if you find the Monsoon Jungle while exploring, focus your
colonization efforts there. Your bases can grow really fast and then you get 
techs faster.
The Borehold Cluster is good to grab if you can find it. It is a good area to 
build Special Projects.

I don't like to build many sea bases. They take more resources to build and are
harder to get units in and out (unless you are only using drop pods).

Unit design- make sure to design your own AAA garrison unit. The default choices
don't include a cheap AAA unit.

Another good unit to design is a probe team with drop pods, especially if you
build the Space Elevator. It's great to drop in and disrupt/subvert a few key 
bases (like those with Secret Projects you want to capture).

Land vs Sea- I find it easier to terraform a land bridge to a new continent 
than to build a fleet, if you keep up with your mag tube building you can 
redeploy your whole force in one turn.

All Secret Projects are good, but I think that Weather Paradigm is the one you 
want to build first if you have a choice (try to build four first base next to 
a mineral resource and use it to build your first Secret Project).

Tactics- use fungus to approach enemy bases if you are springing a surprise 
attack. Destroy sensory arrays with air units in advance of assaulting nearby 
bases (defenders get 25 from nearby sensors). Use the "V" command to switch to 
view mode and see if a unit in the open is ECM or AAA before deciding which 
units to attack first. Capture as many bases in one puch as possible (3-5) and 
then go for blood truce if you find yourself over-extended by the assault. If 
not, keep attacking in following turns.

In a word: Infrastructure.
This comes in two flavors: Infrastructure external to your base, in the form of 
a road network (and later Mag Tubes) that makes sense and facilitates troop 
movement within your borders, and terrain enhancements which increase the
productivity of each square your people are working.

In the case of terrain enhancements, the goal is to figure out what type of 
improvement will net you the greatest benefit, given your current level of
technology, and let that determine how the squre is developed. I agree with the 
"Forests Everywhere" approach, but not for the early game. You simply don't have
the technology or access to the base facilities to make full use of the forests,
so there are often better choices available, but (and this will keep your 
formers busy), as new techs/facilities become available, you should begin to 
replace your other enhancements with forests.

Enhancements internal to your bases are, well....facilities. Some of the most 
important basic facilities are those with no upkeep costs, such as the Recycling
Tanks and Permieter Defenses, and these should be built at every base you have 
(but most people don't have to be convinced of that). After that, you should not
just blindly build a facility because it is available, rather, you should look 
not at individual bases, but at the empire as a whole, and devise a system of 
specialization for certain regions (groups of bases) within your territory.

An Empire with a solid, stable infrastructure can carry on a successful war 
effort for a far longer time, and with far fewer adverse effects than an empire 
which has let the development of its infrastructure lag, plus, your 
well-developed territory is quite easy to defend.

Added to that, would be simply to Know Your Faction!! That seems obvious, but 
it's amazing to me to watch people's play styles develop, and discover that 
they're attempting to force a faction to do something they're just not natively 
very good at. Not that it's impossible to do (I've played The Bel ievers on 
"Thinker" level, and was getting Techs every four turns (have yet to try that 
on Transcend)....but....the effort involved in getting to that point was 
obscene. Play to your faction's natural strengths and devise your strategy 
around minimizing the impact of your negatives and you will almost always do 

Where units are concerned, if you're serious about winning the game, take the 
time to look at unit construction. Yes, you can roll over your enemy with a
horde of Shard Rovers or what-have-you, but a well-prepared enemy will eat you 
alive if you try something so basic as that. Design and build a variety of units
with overlapping functions and use them to create a force which can deal with 
any threat it encounters in a variety of ways. Then, if your opponent throws you
a curve, chances are good you'll be able to cope with it.

Finally: Always remember that it is your right and duty to blatantly ignore or 
ruthlessly violate any principle or strategy you read here or anyplace else, 
and take all accumulated wisdom with a grain of salt....in the end, the only 
real test is battle, and the only trials that produce a lasting impression are
those by fire....

As always, the key to winning the game is early expansion. Use early transports 
to move your colony pods. If you find a unity transport, immediately upgrade 
it(you'll get 1 move & 1 cargo capacity at least). If you have mindworms, use 
them to escort your colony pod & former thru the fungus to their destination
(wild worms won't attack your worms), and to escort artifacts back to your 
cities. Build toward your enemies to cut off their expansion. If you find the 
monsoon jungle, colonize it ASAP! Forest everything even if you don't have tree 
farms, you'll still get 1 food from the squares. Forest squares with nutrient 
bonuses from the beginning. When you do get tree farms, forest everything in 
those cities(with the possible exceptions of rolling/rainy & rocky minerals).
Later (as mentioned by Imran) use air units as colony pods. Heliocopter pods 
have an even farther range than fighters.
When building a city, 1st put down a sensor array on the spot you will settle.
This will give you a +25% bonus to defense that cannot be destroyed unless the 
city is. Aerospace complexes add 100% defense vs. air attacks, so build them 
once the enemy has air units. Build 1e-1-1 x2 empathy police (a cop who feels 
for you as he clubs you?), a cheap unit that works great for unrest and to 
attack worms. They are cheapest with fission reactors, so don't plan on using 
them to defend against other factions. Build them in new cities & newly 
conquered cities. Another good combo is the AAA/ECM infantry. Learn what 
combinations of armor/weapons/specials are cheapest yet still effective.
Terraforming is key to winning; therefore the Weather Paradigm is a must-have 
project. It will greatly increase your terraforming speed & allow you options
normally unavailable until later. Use them!
No matter what faction you play, you can create a powerful army early. Command 
centers & bioenhancement centers are not the only things capable of modifying 
the morale of your army. Monoliths obviously, but also children's creches IN 
THE CITY T HAT SUPPORTS THE UNIT will add 1 to the unit morale. Other 
structures have the same effect (ones that affect pysche, I believe. Research 
hospitals?). So a unit built in a city with a command center, sent to a 
monolith, and supported by a city with a children's creche will receive 4 morale
upgrades. Even the Gaians can build veteran troops from the get-go. The
Spartans could build elite infantry from the start.

I play mainly as Zakharov, and act like the Mafia with a research grant. While 
pod-popping, the free nodes are invaluable.
Of course, build early and often. Fortify your frontier towns and let your 
inner core of cities work on prototypes and Projects. Buddy up to Dierdre and 
Morgan. Your early goal should be to become Planetary Guv and you'll need their
votes. Plus trading for Gaian tech gives a nice advantage. If Yang, Miriam or 
Santiago are nearby, crush them early. If they all are, get Yang first. His 
growth rate usually has him in the running for Guv, and Santiago can be relied 
on to attack anyone. Have a treaty with her, kill Yang and let her beat on her 
neighbors for you.

Don't be afraid to beat up Lal, either. No one else can stand his namby-pamby 
UN. Don't be afraid of stabbing Miriam, Santiago or Yang in the back if needed. 
This is a Looooong game and your reputation can recuperate.

Miriam can be taken anytime into mid-game. She defends lightly. Santiago 
overextends herself via conquest and her cities are easy to bribe. So are her 
units, so if she's driving on you, a few well placed shekels can gain you some
cannon fodder.

Once you're guv and the more belligerent neighbors are cowed, consolidate, 
research and expand. Now is a good time to build a sea colony or two while 
letting the others forget your past transgressions.

It's now time to guage your strength and choose your mode of victory.


Don't worry about taking territory. Slash and burn.

When you feel strong enough, whack Lal if he's within your reach.

Assuming that all the totalitarians are no longer a threat, plan for a big 
showdown with Morgan. His resources are the only thing that challenge your 
eventual dominance.

Kill Gaia last.


Kill Morgan, Kill Morgan, Kill Morgan! (or start as Morgan). Make peace with 
everone else. Make money.


Kill Miriam, Santiago and Yang. Kiss up to two of the other three.
Win with 3 of only 4 votes.


Strike allian ces as necessary, whack anyone who gets too big. This may be when 
you want to take Dierdre and the Gaians for a ride.

Remember...your goal is to Capo di Tutti Capi, not to be loved. Play accordingly!

If you don't take care to expand quickly right from the start, you'll get 
yourself in trouble later. Having just a couple of big and well-developed bases 
won't cut it - you'll be outdone by anyone who's got more bases to work with in
doing just about everything.
Expand, expand, expand, therefore. Don't stop until you start getting the 
efficiency warnings; maybe not even then - go on until you're sure you're by 
far the biggest faction.
At the start, use the scout to explore. Don't worry about leaving your home 
base undefended - you can gamble on the restart if something should happen.
If you don't already have one, build a colony pod - but make sure that the 
build time is longer than the base's growth time. If it isn't, build another 
scout after all, to defend the base.
Get formers as soon as you can - always one per base. Have them build roads 
first, then forests.
Make sure every second item you build is a colony pod, though!
Your first improvement should either be the tanks (if drones are not a problem 
yet) or the rec comm (if they are).
After that, nodes - also for cashing in the artifacts as you find them while 
pod popping all the time.
Keep pod popping! You may lose (a lot) of units to worms (less if you"re Gaian 
and can convert a few), but the free techs and the artifacts and the bonuses 
are vital.
Never use artifacts to further wonders, if you can avoid it. Link them to your 
nodes, and get the tech.
Conquer tactics - as Gaian, go for the mindworm rush. Collect as many worms as 
you can, gather them, and go for the nearest rival. Get them to go Corleone on 
you first by demanding withdrawal, or threatening to crush them if they don't 
surrender a nice fat base.
If not Gaian, it pays to go for tech advance and get to air units before the 
others. Choppers can chew up a base or two per turn, ground forces or drop units
can come in after.
Accept total surrender when offered, but then demand they give up all their 
bases but one. If they won't, cancel the pact and go have war again.
Don't strive for individual base expansion too much - keep it down by building 
pods, a lot of size-sevens can stay very effective for a long time with 
relatively little drone trouble.
Special Projects: Human Genome is an early boon, for the extra talent in every 
base. Later, feed SPs in small bases with supply crawlers from big bases; that 
way you can spread your SPs around in case of Planet Buster trouble later on. 
Build all the science wonders in one base, though (cumulative effect).
Try and keep a building rhythm of improvement / unit / improvement / unit / etc.
Units can be pods, formers, crawlers, spies, orbitals, as well as combat units.
Never stop terraforming, never forget new bases might be useful (if only as PB 
launch pads).

I have seen too many people say that they are able to get 1 or 2 of the 200 cost
secret projects, 1 or 2 of the 300 cost secret projects, etc.
I play on Librarian because I am just not ready for the higher levels, I usually
miss getting only 1 or 2 of the 200 cost secret projects and I get all but 1 or 
2 of the entire list of the rest of the secret projects. The way I do this is to
capitalize on the incredible strength of Supply Crawlers. I play UofP so I start
with a free Tech. I always choose the tech that allows Terraformers. That way, 
I can set my build order to be scout, Former, colony pod, former, colony pod,...
I then go for Secrets of Alpha Centauri (getting the required techs for that 
along the way, of course!) for the free tech and the required Trance special 
ability. I then go for the industrial techs so that I can switch to Free Market 
and Wealth. Since I am now raking in money and science hand over fist, I can 
concentrate on my industry. I don't improve my production by putting my workers
on mines. Instead, I build supply crawlers and sit them on mines. With Supply 
crawlers, a city can be producing 15-20 minerals per turn and still only be 
size 3. This is important because large cities are less productive (you get a 
free worker for your base square) more unhappy (as UoP on Librarian, I get 0 
drones at size 3 and 2 drones at size 4) and generally a pain to work with. 
Instead, grow like mad. You will have more territory and you will be much more 
productive. Using Supply Crawlers means that you can have high production cities
that are still manageable. Now, go build those secret projects!

For Social Engineering, the combo I use most often is democracy, green 
economics, knowledge, and then cybernetic. This gives you a remarkable advantage
on planets with lots of fungus and life forms, giving you a mindworm capture 
rate of 75% if I remember correctly. This will also basically have the Gaians 
eating out of your hand due to your 'love for planet' although you probably 
terraform like mad. The Hive and Morgans will be mortal enemies under this 
social arrangement, and often stronger than you starting out. It is best you 
learn how to compromise, knowing when to say when, but also when to give in and
The University's strength is obvious: knowledge. When done right, you can have 
Tachyon bolts and photon armor when other factiions are still using particle 
impactors and plasma steel armor. Using your technological advantage is 
critical. You can also use knowledge brokering as leverage for diplomacy.

As with all factions, you MUST expand and expand like crazy if you wish to 
survive. Your only hope of winning is to become as massive as possible, 
generating large cash flow and quick research. A large faction size is also 
good for supporting large numbers of units without causing rioting. You 
absolutely must grow if you hope to survive. If you stay small, you will easily 
be overwhelmed by factions like the Hive and Spartans, who can produce large 
quantities of units fairly cheaply. They will overwhelme you with shear numbers 
unless you can fight back with superior units.

As far as secret projects go, all are good, but some are just better: Citizens 
Defense Force, Command Nexus, Maritime Control Center, among others are good 
choices. My personaly opinion is don't waste your time on the Ascetic Virtues
because it just isn't worth wasting the production time on it. You will want to 
build any wonders that give you base improvements, for a couple of reasons:1. 
You don't have to build those improvements in your city. 2. Reduced maintenance 
costs. 3. And of course the benefits of the improvments.

Not sure if he's off the scene now so here goes (some strategies may've been 
reported by other people already):
* Manipulate build queue -- often the game won't allow to build something until
another structure has been built. For example the pleasure dome can't be built 
until you have the recreation commons. However, you can put the recreation 
commons in the build queue, add the pleasure dome after it, and then delete the
recreation commons from the build queue. Then the pleasure dome can be built 
first (yeah I know, limited usefulness).

* Free support off pact brother -- build up a little base in a corner near your 
own bases, and give the little base to a pact brother, then send all of your own
units there, open the city screen and change the unit's ownership. Nobody ends
up supporting the unit. Not only that, but those units can now be freely sent 
out of the city for battle duty, and they won't create unhappiness since they
don't belong to any of your cities.

* Free support + Ascend to transcendence -- build and save up heaps of military 
units, sending them to a pact brother city to get the free support as necessary.
When the transcendence project becomes available, you can scrap your units in 
the base that's building the secret project, meaning that you effectively 
started to build the project as soon as you started building up the units.

* Catching up in the race to transcend - if you're falling behind in industrial 
capability compared to a competitor building the transcendence secret project, 
it is better to catch up by building units and sending them to be scrapped, 
rather than stockpiling energy and then buying partial production. When you
build and scrap, the industry input from other bases is basically halved (as 
well as a bit of wastage depending on the build schedule). However when you 
stockpile energy, you lose 3 quarters of it when you try to rush the secret 
project because it costs 4 credits to buy each unit of a secret project. 
Therefore it is twice as economical to build and scrap than it is to stockpile 
and buy. (Q: when you stockpile you get 1 production = 1 energy don't you? If it
was 2 production = 1 energy then you'd lose 7 eighths of the input rather than 3

* Plasma Hoverboats (2-3-4) rule the water world -- On a world which is 
predominantly water, the plasma hoverboat rule because they are so cheap (same 
low price as a plasma sentinel) yet can bombard the enemy's terrain improvements
every bit as well as a stronger ship. They are also great naval city defenders.

* Inland sea - the best bases are usually ones next to water because of the 
excellent food and energy income from water tiles, while forests and occasional
boreholes on just a couple of land tiles will make up for production. The only 
problem with this is that coastal cities can be attacked by enemy ships. So what
do you do? build on an inland sea. None nearby? Then create one. Get a mid sized
island, populate it, then get a bunch of formers and proceed to build a thin 
"ring" of land just a couple of tiles off the coast of the entire island. If the
enemy tries to take a foothold on the outer land ring, you can send your entire
navy from your core bases to wipe them out without worrying about being attacked
from a different direction. I doubt the AI will ever figure out it needs to 
lower the land to turn your land ring into sea (but in that case you can just 
build it right back, or go out there and destroy their sea formers enmass). Most
likely the AI will just build a small land bridge towards one part of your 
protective ring, which means you have them controlled at a chokepoint. If you 
build air defense units all around the protective ring you might even stop the 
enemy being able to scout you, so they'd not be able to find out what you have 
in the "core".

I have here detailed some salient points of my Gain strategy.
Gains have the best planet rating so use this to your advantage:pollute.But 
don't build mines or condensers or farms, they merely make squares where enemy 
units can move easily, build fungus and boreholes ONLY. This simplest if you get
the weather paradigm and begin borehole production early in the game, not more 
than 1 former for 2 bases. Don't build your boreholes beside your base squares, 
only fungus, to give your worms the advantage.Always station a mind worm on a 
borehole.The first base facility you build should always be a biology lab: more
research more lifecycle. Go straight for the Centauri-techs & Secret projects as
they will allow your bases to produce more with fungus.Never trade these techs 
as a matter of forcing high-science players to research them, something often 
neglected till post Quantum. Be sure that no one gets the xenoempathy dome and 
nulliffies your fungus advantages.Be SURE no one gets the neural-amplifier as 
this is a major asset if gained and a major pain if lost.All research towards 
neural grafting is my top priority until I have the amp secured which 
effectivly defends against the spartan-elite-rush.Make sure you expand 
frequently and remain democratic/green/wealth. Always build preserves and 
things to give lifecycles. Once the Dream twister is secured send a plague of 
demon-boil locusts to any near bases/pesky rival.If you are still alive this far
into the game your island should be a carpet of fungus and boreholes.I have 
found many players die simply to the plague but if it seems to be a long game 
Save up ALL your artifacts in a well protected inland base and build the 
Universal translator.Trade tech with the other factions until you have roughly 
all the tech up till discover level 10 then rocket ahead to acheive 
transcendance when the world is sitting at digital sentience!

The Spartans are an interesting choice as a faction. Their morale starts at +2 
in the society window and their prototypes cost the same as the regular unit. 
The only problem with the Spartans is their -1 industry. A little social
engineering will take car of that. In the early came or when you're not at war 
your social choices should be Fundamentalist, Green or Planned, and Knowledge. 
Future society is not really that important until later in the game. By chosing 
both Fundamentalist and Knowledge you cancel out the major benifits of both 
along with your own -1 industry. Growth be high whenever you gain empty 
territory. But in this time of expansion planet should be high too. Hence you 
alternate between Planned and Green as needed. When you do go to war chosing 
power instead of knowledge is okay if you think you can wipe out your opponent 
with relative speed.
Now, on to military developement. When you start the game research Applied 
Physics and then Centauri Ecology. Each of your bases hould build two scout 
patrols, one scout rover, and one former. As you gain technological advantages 
just upgrade the units that you have already built. (remember that with the 
Spartans you don't have to prototype.) Be as aggressive as you can in the early 
game. Laser and Impact rovers should be your staple military unit against your 
opposition. Rovers are better than infantry because early in the game you need 
their speed and flexibility. Armorless foils are not an uncommon choice on a 
water orinted map either. Infantry should serve no other purpose than to 
garrison your bases so upgrade both scout patrols as you reasearch new armor 
Once you have established Sparta Command's garrison and terriforming units 
begin to build the Command Nexus. You should be the first faction to build a 
secret project unless another faction is feeling aggressive. Also build the 
Merchant Exchange if you have the time since you'll need lots of energy to 
upgrade your units.
Other secret projects should include the Cyborg Factory and the Cloning Vats. 
If you encounter a faction with a greater number of military units and a well 
established defensive network (usually Yang) try to make friends and limit their
expansion. When you have sufficient strength go in for the kill.
The overall goal of this strategy is to produce a large number of well trained, 
fast, and technologically advanced units. Don't be affraid to give your rovers 
armor if your having trouble researching Nanometalurgy.
One trouble area is the transition of your forces from primarily speeder to 
primarily tank. Don't do it while your at war. Wait until you're not fighting 
anybody and quietly begin to replace your rover's with tanks like this. Sent a 
rover home and disband it. Build an armorless tank with a decent weapon from the
recycled rover. Upgrade it as soon as posible and circulate it into service. Do 
not do this with more than two rovers at a time or you'll find yourself with 
half the army you used to have and very little cash.
Another thing to beware is enemy airpower. If you move quickly enough you won't 
need to worry. But if you start seeing needle jets come midgame: don't worry. 
Design a radar with AAA and SAM special abilities and go after them. Try not to 
over extend yourself though or you won't be able to support these anti-air 
units. Speaking of support, as soon as you develope the clean reactor, use it.
Other special abilities to monopolize on should be deep radar and drop pods. The
Space Elevator can be useful in that respect but you really don't need it.

Tectonic missiles ensure that your continent remains above the sea level, 
making it obsolete to employ sea formers to raise your terrain, and are very 
useful in initiating global warming, since they are cheap and generate a huge 
amount pollution.
Fungal payloads can help spread the fingus at your continent. The fungal towers
should be easy to control. Furthermore, the Manifold Harmonics project can 
extend your fungus production to gigantic levels.

Choppers are very versitile units. Not only can they travel long distances 
without refueling, but they can also attack multiple times within one turn. One 
good strategy for quickly taking over bases uses choppers. Build up a number of 
these aircraft and give them your best weaponry and offensive special abilities,
and a few ground units as well. Attack the target base with your choppers, and 
if your choppers are superior in strength, they can keep attacking the defenders
until there are none left. They simply move one of your ground units into the 
base. This sort of attack can come as a surprise and overwhelm your opponent 
when he can start producing defensive units that are effective against aircraft.
Therefore, use this strategy when your opponent does not have a force of 
anti-air units and keep puching forwards once you have started the attack so as 
not to let your enemy rebuild and upgrade.

Be sure to use the best terrain improvement for each square: farms in rainy 
squares, forests in arid or moist, and mines in rocky.

I recommend to build at least two military units at each base to start off with.

After your military units are built, build some formers.

I recommend that you build recycling tanks and supply pods next. This will 
increase efficiency and expansion.

If you want, build Mind Worms. However, you must build these nasty critters 
early in the game. They won't be as useful later in the game, because the 
factions will have sufficiently developed their Psi defenses.

Don't forget to build things like the Children's Creche, Biology Lab, and Hab 

I recommend signing treaties or pacts with some or most of the other factions 
for a short time, at least.

Don't forget that units can hide in the fungus.

Boreholes are very important in the production of resources at your bases. I 
recommend having at least one borehole for every four bases.

Remember to scout for the landmarks. They will provide extra resources.

Build sensory arrays as you explore to watch for mind worms.

Send Supply Crawlers to retrieve far away resource deposits.

Naval Bases and Aerospace Complexes add to your faction's dominance and 

Remember to build kelp farms, tidal harnesses, and mining platforms for bases
near an ocean.

You can defend your borders by planting a line of fungus and hiding units in it.
Remember to make some sensors near there as well. This will prevent the other 
factions from doing the same.

If you're located on the western side of a long landmass that you share with 
other factions, you must define the eastern edge of your territory by raising a 
ridge line. You can settle the green exposure, while the barren, eastern 
exposure will create a no- man's land that the enemy will be reluctant to 
expand into.

To invade a nearby landmass which isn't connected by land, consider raising a 
land bridge. You can also use transport boats.

If your land is arid, build a condenser to make it more moist.

Build solar collectors adjacent to Echelon Mirrors in high elevation locations.

Forests are easy to produce and provide sufficient resources, so plant several 
forests near your bases.

Upgrade your units in the field by pressing [Ctrl][U].

If possible, get the Weather Paradigm. You will be able to do the other types 
of terraforming that requires Ecological Engineering, without actually having 
that technology.

You should upgrade to Mag Tubes when you get the Monopole Magnets Technology. 
You will be able to move a little quicker. Unfortunately, the other factions can
still use them.

To soften up a unit prior to final attack, complete a bombarding run.

I have noticed that is another faction declares a vendetta upon you, and 
they're not on the same continent, they won't attack you. Because they swore a 
vendetta upon you, you do not have to attack them, if they don't attack you.

I noticed that not many people use diplomacy in this game. It is one of your 
most useful tools. If you are playing single player, make your allies stop 
vendettas as soon as possible. If the factions don't fight, they grow slowly; 
on the other hand, if you allow one faction to assimilate two or three others, 
they will become those strong powerhouses that take ages to destroy. Even in 
Multiplayer, an inventive person can cause all sorts of havoc with the right 
moves, especially with probe teams.

This strategy is best used early in the game, but not too early - when you are 
the second or third most powerfu faction. It also helps to the the Spartans. 
Try to make a pact of brotherhood with the most powerful faction, or if you are 
the most powerful faction, your strongest rival. Them, somehow, get your pact 
brother (or sister) to attract your next biggest rival. When he has been 
eradicated, heal all of your damaged units in your pact brothers cities, and 
keep them all in near his cities. Then break your pact and crush him swiftly 
and mercilessly. After this, no one will probably trust you, but it doesn't 
matter because from your conquests, you are probably superior in tech and 
faction size.

In Alien Crossfire, if you are the Cult (or Caretaker), it's a great idea to
use GREEN CYBERNETIC and employ mind worms only, because of special bonus 
(PLANET * 10) in the attack. If you can get the Neural Amplifier and Dream 
Twister (you get 50 to attack and 50 to defense), your mind worms become almost 
unbeatable in attack. Mind worms are also easy to build, and you get them also 
free, when you capture wild mind worms. Walk with the Planet!

If you are the Peacekeepers, and you have not acquired Eudamonia, the best 
social engineering is: Fundamentalist, Simple, and Knowledge. This will end up
giving you all 0's and a single 1 in Economy. It pleases the UoP because of the 
Fundamentalist, and it pleases the Gaians because of the 0 in Planet.

I think there are only two points that really matter: Growth and Research. It's 
absolutely necessary to have large growth and research. So, first obtain the 
democracy and planned economy (free market is terrible because of riots). It's 
necessary also to acquire the Virtual World, Citizen Defense Firce, and in the 
classic SMAC, the Hunter S. Algorithm.
If you have a big country, large output and fast research, are "musts" to win!

A small tip: Towards the beginning of the game, especialls as the Gaians, set 
your planet rating high and get the Centauri secret projects. Then, get rid of 
all of your sea improvements (I mean ALL), and plant sea fungus instead. If you 
have lots of tech, it wil give you tons of resources. This is especially good 
if you have SMACX, because the Manifold Harmonics makes fungus squares. If you 
are Gaian/Cult, and have green ec and/or cybern. society, it gives you even more
resources. If you do this, you can spread fungus in your land as well, and it'll
give you more than farms, sc's, mines, etc. Enemies can't invade you, because 
they get stuck in fingus. With sensors, pholus mutagen, and xenoempathy dome, 
you can sneak up on them and wipe them out easily. Also, if they capture a city 
w/o tech, it'll starve.

Use chains of transport foils to create temporary bridges so that the bridge is 
one way with you holding the key. There is almost always a site where only two 
squares separate your continent from that of your nearest enemy. Put two foils 
in thse squares and let your armies march across. Then move one foild away to 
close the bridge until you need it again. I tend to build roads or mag tubes to
my bridge site and let my armies flow across into enemy territory. Later in the 
game, clean reactors, maritime control centers, and carrier decks make these 
foils mobile bridge/airbases that are cheap to keep around and can move anywhere
else on the sea map quickly. Even later in the game, submarine transports could
be used to have a bdidge that can "disappear" without having to move. I have 
found this srategy to definitely bolster my war efforts on some maps. It
obviously depends on the terrain and how the islands are spaced. On the map of 
planet, it works great if you have started on the L-shaped continent to the left
and want to get to the central continent.

Hans van Pelt
The idea is to get your hands n as many alien artifacts as you possibly can and 
taget your research for this, and ultimately the Universal Translator. This will
make you practically invincible, so you can teach those other pesky factions a 

Target your research at knowledge, at Secrets of the Human Brain, to be exact. 
This will speed up your research rate. Make your scout patrols check the terrain
for unity pods (and mind worms). Remember: you're after the alien artifacts. 
Guard them back to one city carefully; don't let them wander the fungus alone!
After you've discovered Secrets of the Human Brain, go for Doctrine: 
Flexability, which allows you to build boats, then for Doctrine: Initiative. 
Don't waste too much time on any other, especially weapons or shielding 
research. Use diplomacy to settle conflicts, even try to negotiate in conflicts 
between other factions.
If you're not Gaian, build a lot of transports and offensive ships to escort 
them. Put some scout patrols and rovers on the transports, and go get those sea 
pods. Use the scouts and rovers to explore uninhabited islands. Move all the 
alien artifacts you come across to the city where you do your piling up.
If you're Gaian, build only a few offensive ships (like gun foils), and have 
them move about through sea fungus. Do it for some time, and you'll end up with 
your own fleet of isles of the deep, some carrying mind worms. These are even 
better than transports because they can defend themselves.
Don't link alien artifacts to network nodes unless you're desperate for new 
techs (powerful faction attacks), but pile them up.

Mid Game

After having discovered Doctrine: Initiative, have one of your bases (you should
have size 10's or more by now) build the maritime control center project. Speed 
it up if you have the cash. This project enables you to move your ships yp to
twice as fast. Continue to bring those artifacts in. Now focus your research on 
Homo Superior. It will take a series of different discoveries, and quite a long 
time before you get there, but when you have it, have one of your biggest bases,
preferrably close to the city where you are collecting your artifacts, build the
Universal Translator Project. Hurry it up if you can. The next neato project you
can focus on is the Hunter-seeker Algorithm, which will protect your techs 
against theft.
When you have the Universal Translator project and a nice collection of alien 
artifacts (normal numbers are 15 to 25, but 30 is possible), you are all set for
hard times. Wait until you're in a pickle (vendetta with a multitude of other 
factions), or try to maneuver yourself into one by clumsy diplomacy, but DON'T
do this when things are peaceful and quiet: Rush all collected alien artifacts 
to the Universal Translator at once, and hook 'em up. This will give you a surge
in tech level. All of a sudden, you will have weapons, defenses, and unit 
technologies way ahead of the other guys and gals.

End game

Use your rediculous tech level to build many heavily armed choppers (about 20). 
Also build some drop troops (2 to 5) and some fast ships (maybe you have some 
left from your expedition forces?). Now target an enemy faction. Send your ships
there if they have any sea bases, and most important of all: get the choppers 
there. Maybe you had planned for this, and you already have bases at flyable 
intervals towards the enemy faction, maybe you'll need to build an aircraft 
carrier (design workshop: if you design a transport vessel, one available 
special ability is "carrier deck". Check that, and you will have designed an 
aircraft carrier; Very hard to spot for the opposition).
Le's hope your victim doesn't have aerospace complexes, they make this tactic 
pretty hard to carry out. Use the choppers to clear out big enemy cities. 
Choppers can attack and destroy multiple targets iside one turn. Beware of fuel 
limits, but if you're sure that a base is going to be captured within the same 
turn, fire away until you have only one movement point left, and select another 
chopper to pick up where the previous one left off. Use this tactic also if a 
chopper is too banged up to continue with a next target: simply select another 
chopper, you should have enough of 'em. When a base is empty, airdrop a drop 
unit into it. Now all wounded and amost-out-of-fuel choppers may rest there too.
DON'T, however, skip the turn for the drop squad! Select another chopper and do
another city, reactivating the drop squad for that decisive airdrop.
It works the same on the sea. Clear those bases with choppers, take 'em with 
boats. This way, you can sweep the enemy off his'her feet. Wipe 'em out before 
they can say "planetbuster"! Yep, you can do 7, 8 bases in ONE turn EASY...
Select one small base and attack it last. While the attack is still in progress,
your opponent may come begging for mercy (the story about granting you all 
their energy credits (0) and all their new techs (0 too)). Accept that is you 
want to be known as "noble," otherwise KERSPLAT!

Next faction, please!?

When you have subdued all hostile factions, apply for the job of supreme leader.
You will have achieved diplomatic victory.

Expansion is definitely key to a quicker and easier victory. But if you're like 
me, and you prefer small empires (9-12 cities) of well-developed cities, try 
Play as the Cult, the Gaians, or the University. Build 9-12 cities in 
fairly-close proximity. They can be VERY close together if at least half of 
them are coastal (and can therefore expand into ocean shelves). Terraform all 
the surrounding landscape as quickly as possible and build lots of facilities 
and secret projects. Your cities will soon be the envy of the planet, pumping 
out lots of energy reserves, psych and research points, and minerals.

While you're doing this, however, the other factions will be plastering the map 
with their cities and building up arsenals. Your better-developed cities should
be keeping you ahead in the technology race, but you won't be in a position to 
directly challenge these other large empires. And you WILL be attacked.

Fortunately, you have a relatively-small area to defend. A few defensive units 
squatting on sensors (and maybe bunkers) can keep land units out, especially if 
you have an island (the computer isn't very good at amphibious assaults). Air 
units are more of a worry, but AAA seems to keep them away. Your biggest 
problem is probably missiles, but if you can survive those . . .

Pick an enemy and take out all his terraforming. I mean ALL of it. If you're 
geared for conventional warfare, use well-armored ships to bombard coastlines 
and bombers to lay waste to the interior. Better yet, "go native" (be sure to 
have built biology labs, centauri preserves, and the "centauri" projects to 
boost life cycle bonuses). Once you get the Locusts of Chiron, you're on your 
way to victory. The locusts can go anywhere on the map and don't have to refuel,
so even a few of them can decimate an enemy's continent.

Don't bother attacking cities (or units, unless they're guarding improvements 
you want to destroy). Sit back and watch the enemy's empire starve. As his 
cities shrink, paralysis sets in, because what little mineral production he has
left goes to supporting his bloated military.

Soon those cities will be ripe for the picking. But you're a "small empire" 
player, so you want to take them over only long enough to destroy them (besides,
your military isn't capable of holding onto lots of cities beyond your borders).
Problem is, obliterating a base is an atrocity, which you may not want to 
commit. However, nothing stops you from doing this: (1) take all workers off 
production, and wait for the city to starve down to size 1; (2) build a colony 
pod, abandon the base, then disband the pod. Bye-bye city. If you have ample 
energy reserves (and you should), you can hasten this process by hurrying 
production of pods. This is advisable where you might not be able to hold onto 
the base long enough for it to die a slow death.

Alright, I'm probably the odd guy out here but...
I never play as the hive. To tell the truth I always thought of them as the 
"badguys". Same with Santiago. Instead I usually go for the peaceful game 
ending. But if you're going for that there are strategies too!

Each ending has a "best" faction you should go for it with.

If you want to corner the Global Energy Market play as Morgan and get as many 
pacts as possible. Also build "energy farms" with long rows of echelon mirrors 
and solar collectors in the following fashion:
Also be sure to build as many energy banks and secret projects as possible. And 
if there is huge energy deposit far away from you send out upply transports to 
go get it!

If you are going for transcendance use the University. Also build as many bases 
as possible and turn the governor on in each of them and set it to: Discover. 
Trade techs as much as possible and make pacts not vendettas that way you won't 
waste time building your military instead of your knowledge. Set your social 
engineering screen to democracy and knowledge. (note: this usually gets more 
than a few people mad at you including: yang, lal, miriam, and santiago) Build 
as many secret projects as possible and also DON'T HURRY ANYTHING UNLESS 
ABSOLUTELY NECCESSARY! If you do the above thewn by the time you start building 
"Ascent to Transcendance" you should be able to rush buy it.

If you are going to try and get elected supreme leader use Lal because he gets 
x2 votes. Then build the "Empath Guild" secret project to get x2 votes again. 
That means you will have x4 votes. Then build as many bases as you can (the 
more voters you have the easier it will be) Then get elected planetary governor.
Next, go for supreme leader. You should be able to vote yourself in but if you 
just want to be cautios you can bribe a few votes. ( n ote: I forgot to tell 
you to make pacts. Your pact brothers and sisters will almost ALWAYS vote for 

Martin Eggers
Play with the Gaians on a custom large/huge flat map with no cloud cover and 
lots of oceans so you'll have an island on your own.
Build about 10 bases, protect them with a few defensive units and builc 
children's creche in every single one.
Now switch to democracy and planned, and you will get a population boom 
everywhere, while using only forest(with tree farms) and fungus squares for 
food (yes, you should actually plant fungus). When your Bases have grown to a 
strong size, build a few Boreholes to get minerals and keep on researching until
you have got fusion planet busters (yeah!). Fire about 10-15 Busters in all
directions at your enemies (even in transcend they should not have orbital pods 
at this time) and ensure you are working the borehole squares and have a lot of
trance and empath garrisons.
The following ecological destruction will result in approximately 2000 metres 
of sea-level rising, which means that there should be only sea bases by this 
Keep the terrain around your bases ocean shelf so you can plant fungus squares 
everywhere, and it should be easy to destroy the remeining factions, as the AI 
is catastrophic in sea warfare and even in multiplayer you will have an 
advandtage since no one can cultivate sea squares comparable to your fungus. If 
you build Xenoempathy, it will even help to kee other ships out of your 
territory while allowing yours to pass for 1 MP.
This strategy should work on all levels of difficulty, it has been tested under
thiner but transcend should be possible, too.
Tip: If you're going for an especially high score or if you want to train for 
multiplayer, go for IRON MAN Settings, it will give you a 100 bonus.

Provost Mark
My strategy works regardless of who I start as, though I prefer to start as 
Gaia, UoP, or Hive.

My order of precedence at a base is:
1) Guard unit (high defense, trance (if avail), and police (if avail)). Updating
 these is your highest priority. Designate this unit as a primary defender 
 (Ctrl-D), then Hold them (H).
2) An attack unit. Make this unit a high movement rate unit. Give it AAA (if 
avail), and the BEST attack strength you've got, but keep the defense level at 
1 (keeps the unit affordable). Station this unit with the L command.
3) Build a Former. Make this former the BASIC former. Upgrade it using funds to 
a better armored super-former after it has been built.
4) Build Recycling Tanks.
5) Build another former.

Now at this point, I diverge depending on where the city is:

If this city is on a front:
*) Crank out Air, Sea, or Attack units. Make them CLEAN!! Crank them out 
endlessly and station them near the front-line in some fungus. As soon as you 
see an enemy, attack with the mongolian horde.

If this is a city to the rear:
1) Children's Creche.
2) Recreation Facility.
3) Energy Bank.
4) Network Node.

NEVER build the following unless someone has beaten you to the punch: Perimeter
defense (use the Citizens' defense), Hologram Theatres (use Virtual), etc.

Designate a few VERY well defended cities to be your SECRET PROJECT sites. 
Rapidly produce quick moving rovers in the neighboring cities to move to these 
project-building cities and sacrifice. This takes almost no time and rapidly 
advances the production of your secret projects. The basic projects that are a
MUST are:

1) Weather Paradigm
2) Citizen's Defense

I usually go for most of them, as they all seem to have serious advantages to 
having them.

Wim Tavenier
If you are only interested in getting the highest score, then play with the 
Gaians on the biggest possible map with abundant native life forms. It also has 
to have the biggest landmass. Then build a lot of mindworms and dito 
improvements (Biology Lab). Don't mind the secret projects, because the first
time you will meet an opponent, you will have more mindworms then there are 
bricks in the Great Wall! For even more mindworms turn to green economics asap. 
Then you will have enough mindworms to conquer every opponent with ease. I once 
played like this and started with 2 recon speeders and that was all I build as 
an attack force, because the rest was only captured mindworms. My bases could 
only concentrate on building improvements and garrisons!

Mark Davison
This the most Revolutionary strategy that will ever hit the scene. Basically 
you start of by establishing 4 bases fairly close together linked by roads, 
obviously being sure to fully exploit the terrain.Build a single scout vehicle 
in each of your four cities. Then send a Seperate scout vehicle to find other 
factions. Make a treaty with them And then a brotherhood pact, trading as much 
technology as possible.All the while build up a huge military force on the sly.
Move in your forces to surround the capital and other cities of military 
importance and then strike breaking all treaties and unleashing mass death and 
destruction to your opponents granted through the element of surprise.Once you 
have drained the putrid filth for what they have,feast on the soft goey 
substance in their brain.The result liquid will send you insane,allowing you to 
return all your troops to their home cities and destroy them all thus commiting 
suicide.Ingenious eh?


I dunno who reads these but it's kinda cool that i can post something. These are
only a few tricks that I use, and I know they work because I beat the shit out 
of the game on transcend. The Hive is invincible. If you don't realize this 
play some more. Conquer everyone as fast as you can. Go police state and 
planned immediately (no negative consequences). Expand as much as possible also
Other little things -
If everyone hates the aliens then nuke the aliens, no one will care.

Build skimship and cruiser probe teams (use the workshop!!).

Free market is almost always the best. Especially if you have the Ascetic
Virtues (unless you're the Data Angels and then that won't help you)

Always trade tech unless it's really gonna fuck you up.

Finally, if you are playing correctly by 150 to 180 turns into the game 
everyone should vendetta you unless you've made them your bitch. I haven't
tested this with the aliens in yet so that might change things. Normally I have 
almost every wonder and so much power the comp always hates me.

Finally, if your morgan and you start next to the believers or aliens on any 
decent skill level your normally fucked.

I play huge maps so the game doesn't end before anyone gets half way through the
tech tree.


This strategy is for those of you who want to beat the game on as high a level 
as you can. i have ussed this strategy to beat the game on transcend. I played 
as the spartans, and they would be best, but in the situation I will describe, 
the hive, the believers, and even the gains could pull it off. Customize your 
world for large landmasses, small map, lots of native life (especially if your 
gaians) and no cloud cover. Don't panick when you se a map without any green on
it. Start by expanding as fast as possible. kill anything that gets in your way 
(it actually helps to turn on the animosity option; that way they won't work 
together). Don't accept anything less than wiping them out; you need the 
realestate. take their bases and their tech, you need both. as soon as a base 
has cranked out a colony pod or two, start build formers to make forests. Go 
for only the basic improvements, you need tanks first, then creches and command 
centers. if you feel you have a city that's already developed and you have the 
resources to start a war without that city 9and that should be a neat trick on 
transcend) build the command nexus and citizen's defense force. the only other 
improvements you want will be naval yards and aerospace complexs, if you get 
that far. set out in all directions, find the enemy, and take a base as fast as
possible. Consolidate quickly, buy units to defend those bases, keep moving with
your attck units. the longer you take, the harder it will b to kill your 
enemies. kill yang and miriam asap, they are hard to wipe out the later it gets.
sea bases aren't as important, it takes to many resources to transport units.
The important thing is to get to your opponents quickly, if you haven't wiped 
out a faction within the first 10-25 turns, start over, you won't win. Tech, 
economy, population, and psych are all secondary to the war ef fort. every base 
must be defended, new bases must be held, and you must explore for new ways to
reach your enemy. keep the pressure up, your population barely content (so keep 
those bases small!), your bases connected by roads, your weapons cutting edge 
(love the needlejet. good needlejet) and your wits about you, and you can have 
the game rapt up in under a hundred turns. and just look at your score!

My strategy centers around economic, technological, and military powers. Early 
in the game, I tend to make alliances with anyone who'll cooperate and gang up 
on Yang, the Believers, or, in some cases, the Spartans. I've played everyone, 
but the UN, the Gaians, and the Morganites are the best for this form of 
strategy. The University tends to be too weak for military actions, ao what's 
the point in advanced weapons? The UN is by far the best, as one can expand 
quickly and grab tons of land. I tend to have NO overlap early in the game; I 
fill in spaces later with tiny bases that stay tiny. My advantages come in 
early Tech advancement, so while the other factions are destroying one-another 
(my allies do the early fighting for me) I develope powerful weapons. I love 
naval power and tend to concentrate on sea bases. The basic strategy here is 
that the seas are all interconnected so one can go anywhere. I try to develope 
air power early so I can strike out from centraly located sea bases and then 
use drop-pod-equipped units (usually hovertanks) to take over with only a few 
units. It takes me a few hundred turns to really crank up the power; other civs
grow and expand, ussually becoming the most powerful first. Meanwhile, I bide 
my time and get the others to fight useless wars. At the right time, I emerge 
from my isolation and conquer the most powerful faction first with lightning 
fast strikes that roll over the enemy in one or two turns. I kind of go overkill
on the military at this point. I have hundreds of units all just tooling around.
This is when I get really tough. If anyone left crosses me the wrong way, I 
invade mercilessly until they either sign a pact forever, or until they are 
dead. I don't like killing factions; I tend to leave one isolated city with no 
defenses surrounded by 20 or thirty units. More on this later!! Bye

I like to build 10-15 "core" bases during the early expansion phase. Site 
selection isn't that big of a deal, but I do try to minimize overlap in order 
to leave some buffer squares for supply crawlers between the cities. Terrain 
can be a big factor in the early game so i find it's always a good idea to get
2-3 rocky mined per city, enough farms to ensure steady growth, and get forests 
started early enough that they'll be good size when i'm ready for them. I 
generally don't spend too much time on economy, but more on that later.
The first thing to do is find your neighbor and take him out, expanding right 
into his territory in the process (if it's worthwhile). Once you have a few of 
their bases, use them to fuel your war/expansion machine while your core bases 
continue to grow/build SPs/research/etc. Some civs such as yang always seem to 
pose a serious threat unless dealt with early. Once I have the continent to 
myself, planetary governor is within reach. I use the intel this provides along 
with the state of my armies to determine whether conquest is an option.

Meanwhile back at home, I'll have 2-4 bases always building SPs, with the other 
cites alternating between facitlies, the occasional prototype, and supply 
crawlers. Send the crawlers to your project bases and home them there (CTRL-H), 
then send them out to some mine your formers have prepared in the wilderness 
near a secure border to build even faster! Typically during this phase i'll have
a number of border cities pop 3-5 that are building units and expanding while 
my core cities are pop 7-9. I like to stay democracy/planned/knowledge or wealth
if at all possible.

It may take a few games to get used to the tech tree (don't use blind research 
unless you like a challenging, looong game), but once you are good enough to
survive the early catfights, do your fighting on the enemies' soil, and keep 
your core bases kranking out SPs and new techs, you will roll over Planet with 
little opposition.

Alpha Transcend
Using the University, I can research tech so fast that none of the fractions
can catch up.
Select the free tech as Formers. Find good starting location with at least 2
mineral resouces. Build formers and start terraforming the surrounding to
increase your population.
Build 1 colony pod and then start to enhance your city.
Start to build mines.
Research as follows :
1) Recycling centres
2) Secrets of the Human Brain
3) Fundamentalism (change society to Planned)
4) Democracy (change to democracy)

With Democracy and Planned, you gain population explosion, so
by this time, you should be closed to completing the Virtual World and the Huma
Management Centre.

Build armies to keep the people happy when necessary.
Use money to buy facilities like recycling centre.

The trick is to build the starting secret projects fast so that the other
factions cannot catch up.


- Firaxis Games (especially for the story)
- Electronic Arts
- PC Gamer
- Prima
- SMAC game manual
- Everyone for their Tips/Strategies
- Jeff "CJayC" Veasey and GameFAQs -- http://www.gamefaqs.com
- Al Amaloo and Game Winners -- http://www.gamewinners.com
- Dave and Cheat Code Central -- http://www.cheatcc.com
- http://www.alphacentauri.com/
- http://alphazone.cjb.net/
- http://civilization.gamestats.com/smac

   The large part of this FAQ was written by Chris Hartpence (aka Velociryx).
   I thank him very much for his contributions!


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