///============
   ///  OPEN FAQ
  |||

  ENDLESS SPACE
  basic walkthrough
  Created by scrye493 (the_IGIST@yahoo.com)

  The work contained in this document is owned and copyrighted by its
  creator, scrye493 (Chris Ng), and may not be used without permission. 
  It was written specifically for the website www.gamefaqs.com. If you
  are reading this at any other site, it is there without permission;
  please contact me immediately.

  This FAQ / Walkthrough is my second; the other is for Atlus's "Stella
  Deus: the Gate of Eternity". As a result of my inexperience, the
  formatting, style, etc may be totally off. It's also not an ORIGINAL
  FAQ, not entirely: there's a lot of data floating around about
  Endless Space, but most of it is messy and disorganized. This is my
  attempt to gather some of it on one place. Any research not my own
  will be credited by name.



     //=================================================================
    //     TABLE OF CONTENTS     [0=00]
   //===================================================================
   ||  1=00 - Version History
    >>------------------------------------------------------------------
   ||  2=00 - Glossary of Terms
    >>------------------------------------------------------------------
   ||  3=00 - Playing The Game
   ||    3=1 - System Management
   ||    3=2 - Early Game
   ||    3=3 - Intermission
   ||      3=31 - Heroes
   ||      3=32 - Military Matters
   ||      3=33 - Manual Battles
   ||    3=4 - Late Game
   ||      3=41 - Military Victories
   ||      3=42 - Passive Victories
    >>------------------------------------------------------------------
   ||  4=00 - Factions
   ||    4=1 - Custom Factions
   ||    4=2 - United Empire
   ||    4=3 - Sophons
   ||    4=4 - Hissho
   ||    4=5 - Automatons
    >>------------------------------------------------------------------
   ||  5=00 - Trivia
   ||    5=1 - Achievements
    >>------------------------------------------------------------------
   ||  6=00 - Acknowledgements
   \\===================================================================
    \\     LUBTE OL CONLENLS
     \\=================================================================



   //===================
  ||  HISTORY  [1=00]

  V1.00:  01.18.13 - First version of this FAQ.  Possibly the only one,
          depending on what needs to be changed or added.

  ||  close HISTORY
   \\=================



   //============================
  ||  GLOSSARY OF TERMS  [2=00]

  Like most people, I have a personal shorthand that I use when
  discussing certain aspects of the game. They all have official names,
  but I don't necessarily use them. This section goes first so that you
  understand what I'm saying.

  •POP POINTS - Population. The little head-and-shoulders silhouettes
    that arc around each planet. They're white when empty, blue when
    filled in and grey on uncolonized planets. Pop is the lifeblood of
    the game, and we'll be discussing it at some length later.
  •TECHNOLOGY TREES - there are four of them. I will typically abbrev
    them to save myself typing:
     •Galactic Warfare = GW
      •Diplomacy and Trading = D&T
      •Exploration and Expansion = E&E
      •Applied Sciences = AS
  •COLORS - many things in this game are color-coded, and I will refer
    to them as such.
     •WHITE - Luxury Resources like Redsang, Mercurite, Eden Insence
       and so on. There is one topic in each of the four trees that
       unlocks one of the four flavors of White (Vegetable, Drug, Jewel
       and Artifact).
     •SILVER - These are System Improvements--BUILDINGS, not resources--
       that increase your System's sight range. Silver is also used for
       Research topics in D&T that have to do with politics: f'ex, the
       topic that unlocks Alliances with other empires is silver.
     •PINK - System Improvements that improve a System's Approval
       rating.  They are found in D&T.
     •RED - System Improvements that improve a System's defense rating,
       making them harder to conquer. They are mostly found in GW.
     •ORANGE - These are System Improvements that improve your system's
       Industry output. They are mostly found in AS.
     •YELLOW - These are System Improvements that improve your system's
       Dust output. They are mostly found in the D&T tree.
     •GREEN - System Improvements that increase a System's Food output.
       Mostly found in D&T.
        •Confusingly, Improvements that increase your Pop Point cap are
          also this color of green. Don't mix them up.
     •DARK GREEN - research topics, mostly in E&E, that have to do with
       unlocking new planets for colonization. I mostly won't talk about
       these, but be aware that these are different than the lime-green
       Food topics.
     •BLUE - System Improvements that improve a System's Science
       output. Mostly found in (go figure) AS.
     •CYAN - These light-blue Research topics, mostly in D&T, have to
       do with your Heroes: increasing the ACademy caps, reducing how
       long it takes for you to get a new one, etc. Relatedly, it should
       be pointed out that each research topic has a different shape in
       their upper right corner denoting what they accomplish: squares
       for ship Module unlocks, stars for empire-wide upgrades (IE CP
       cap upgrades, which are Red) and triangles for System
       Improvements.
     •PURPLE - Strategic Resources like Titanium-70. Their unlocks are
       all in AS, and unlike Whites they unlock one topic at a time.
   •TRANSPORT, CORVETTE, DESTROYER, CRUISER, BATTLESHIP, DREADNOUGHT -
     these are the six classes of starship you can make, in order of
     discovery. You own the Transport and Corvette at gamestart, and
     can unlock the Destroyer pretty quickly. I use the United Empire
     names because they can be used to sort ships by size, but keep in
     mind that each race has a different in-game name for them: the
     Sophons call their destroyer a "Kilo", for instance, while the
     Horatio call theirs a "Coms".
   •FIDS - An in-game acronym for "Food, Industry, Dust and Science".
     This can be improved by System Improvements and also goes up and
     down in relation to the system's Approval rating, which is related
     to Tax Rate. When referring to one of the four individual factors,
     I will typically use a three- or four-letter contraction: "Food,
     Ind, Dust, Sci". (No reason to call it "Foo".)

  ||  close GLOSSARY OF TERMS
   \\==========================



   //===========================
  ||  PLAYING THE GAME  [3=00]

  I wanted to be able to come in and tell you that there are three
  phases to each match of Endless Space, early mid and late. But that's
  just not how it worked out. There are only two phases, Opening and
  Closing. And of the two, the first is a lot more important than the
  second.

  But first, a preface.

   /-----------------------------
  /  SYSTEM MANAGEMENT  [3=1]

  Each System you control has four output figures: Food, Ind, Dust and
  Sci, AKA "FIDS". Pretty obviously, one of your goals in Endless Space
  is to maximize the FIDS output of all your systems. The fastest way to
  do this is to maximize your Pop.

  Here's the thing. Chess, to take just one example, has several ways in
  which you can measure who is winning. Either player might have a
  "material advantage" (more or better pieces), "development advantage"
  (pawns in better positions), "positional advantage" (non-pawns in
  better positions) or "tempo" (roughly, he's on the offensive and the
  other player is reacting to him). In Endless Space there is really
  only one measure: who has more Pop, and thus more FIDS.

  Pop's impact on FIDS is exponential. Each System Improvement you build
  will cause each Pop to add +# Food (or Ind, or Dust, or Sci), and this
  can begin to scale very, very quickly. Even worse, Pop is a finite
  resource. Each galaxy map has a limited number of systems (you can
  find out the exact numbers when you specify the galaxy size you want:
  it ranges from 16 in a Tiny galaxy to 80 in a Huge one), each system
  has a limited number of planets (also alterable from the Game Setup
  menu), and each planet has a limited amount of Pop it can support. You
  can have five really awesome systems, but if the opponent has ten,
  he's just plain-old doing better than you, because he can do more,
  faster.

  The problem, of course, is that each Pop point you have lowers
  Approval, so Pop going up means Approval going down. Even worse, as
  Approval goes down, it takes a toll on your FIDS. So your second
  priority, after maxing your Pop, is to max Approval. By and large, you
  don't ever want a System to be below white Approval. Of course, Class
  II and higher planets bring an Approval hit WITH them. If you colonize
  a system that has nothing but Lava, Barren and Gas Giant planets, it
  will start with Approval down in the orange. I'll describe some
  solutions for this later, but long story short, don't colonize these
  systems until you have some Pink improvements you can build on them.

  FIDS is your empire's lifeblood, but high Pop and high Approval are
  FIDS's lifeblood. I will continue to make the point when appropriate,
  but suffice to say that this guide is written with the assumption that
  Pop, and to a lesser extent Approval, is your priority.

   /-----------------------------
  /  EARLY GAME  [3=2]

  Even on Newbie difficulty, AI players are known to have taken their
  fraction of the galaxy by Turn 80; if you haven't staked out your
  borders yet, they'll start gobbling up YOUR share. Needless to say,
  you need to expand, fast. But every Colony ship you launch requires
  launching a Pop point at the new system. This makes Pop even more
  important: each Pop point is another system you can colonize. Ideally,
  you will be so on-point with your Colony ships that the instant each
  system gets an extra Pop point, it's loaded onto a ship and thrown at
  another star. (This is not actually possible; you're not allowed to
  launch Colonizers from systems of Pop 1, and besides, building up Pop
  makes the ships BUILD faster. But it's a good guideline to keep in
  mind.)

  So how do we make this happen? First off, scout. The galaxy is divided
  into several "constellations," which are clusters of stars linked
  primarily by wormholes. The size of your starting constellation can
  have a big effect on your fate, but it also leads to choke points--
  spots where all traffic in and out of your constellation can be
  controlled. Sometimes these will be standard Cosmic Strings, but they
  will also be Wormholes, the wavy-tendril lines. Wormholes are the best
  chokepoints around: traveling through them takes up all of a fleet's
  remaining Move points, so your blockading fleet will have at least one
  free shot at them when they arrive. (Obviously, all this is all a lot
  easier with the Amoeba, but even if you're playing them, do send your
  scout out anyway, to collect the Exploration Events if nothing else.)

  Some players might advocate building a second Scout right off the bat.
  I would do this only if your constellation is large. At the Game Setup
  menu, you can how many constellations there are in the galaxy; default
  seems to be two, meaning you're going to be sharing yours with at
  least one opponent. If you have set the game up so that you have a
  constellation all to yourself, then I wouldn't bother with a second
  scout. If you're sharing, though, a second one is a smart idea: you'll
  want to know WHERE that opponent is, and quickly, so that you can
  expand in his direction and corner him in. Your first priority,
  though, should always be expansion. Don't build that second scout
  until you have nothing better to do with your systems.

  A quick thought on Galaxy Size, and thus constellation size: larger
  galaxies decrease the likelihood of your empire getting hemmed in and
  trapped into a losing game.  They also also the ease of your doing the
  same to the enemy. Having said that, larger galaxies also increase the
  likelihood of overreaching yourself: expanding so quickly that your
  empire starts to collapse from its own weight. In most games you're
  recommended to expand in waves: taking a few new colonies at a time,
  putting some work into them, lather rinse repeat. That doesn't work in
  Endless Space. You have to go, go, go, and turn your tax rate up to
  30% until you get your Pinks researched and built. At lower
  difficulties, this isn't as big a risk, because your empire is
  stronger AND your enemies less likely to be intrusive, but you're
  still going to have several uncomfortable decades where your empire is
  teetering at the edge of bankruptcy and/or rebellion. The opportunity
  WILL be there; it's just a question of whether the AI will be smart or
  aggressive enough to take advantage of it (spoiler: they probably
  won't). So while having a larger galaxy makes victory easier in the
  long run, it also requires you to be better at micromanaging your
  empire. That's a good skill to have anyway, so I recommend Large or
  Huge at all times, but keep in mind that this is what you'll have to
  deal with, and be on guard against the enemy hitting you while your
  empire is still building itself up.

  A note on difficulty as well. The actual game doesn't spell anything
  out, but according to Wikia's pages on Endless Space, which is
  endorsed by Amplitude Games (by which we mean, the official website
  links to it), on "Newbie" difficulty your Overpopulation Disapproval
  is the same as the AI's, x1.0, but their Expansion Disapproval is 3.0
  where yours is 4.0, and they get +15 Approval that you don't. At
  higher difficulties, this disparity gets worse: Normal is 1.2x
  Overpopulation for you, 0.8x for the AI, 5.0x Expansion for you versus
  2.2x for the AI, and +25 "cheat" Approval. In other words, Newbie
  difficulty is the closest you can get to a numerically-fair game,
  because it's the least biased in the AI's favor. 'course, the AI isn't
  that smart. But it's still something to keep in mind.

  While your scout is doing his thing, research the Dark Green E&E
  topics that let you colonize new types of planets. The most important
  ones are the Class II planets--Tundra (Xenobotany) and Arid (Arid
  Epigenetics)--because, along with the Class I Terran, Jungle and Ocean
  planets, they provide sufficient Food for fast Pop growth; Class
  IIIs--Arctic (Compact Fusion Reactors) and Desert (Sustainability)--
  are of secondary priority, though at least they do provide Food.
  (Planets are classified according to Food values, from highest to
  lowest.) If, from game start, you do nothing but research these topics
  and build Research from your planets, you can do a few things quickly:
  scout without distraction, open up lots of colonizeable planets, and
  build up your Pop.

  It can be tempting to expand to the planets within your already-
  controlled systems. Don't do it unless your existing planet(s) is
  already at max population, and there are reasons you can't send out a
  Colonizer instead. The last thing you want to do is end up with two
  planets, each at 1 Pop: now that system can't launch Colony ships
  until at least one of those planets gets up to Pop 2.

  Once you've found choke points, consider colonizing those systems
  WITHOUT colonizing the ones between. Doing so comes with a downside:
  it requires you to waste turns building a military. When you colonize
  a new system, it spends its first 30 turns as an Outpost, with no
  colored culture ring around it, and during this time your enemies CAN
  attack it during Cold War. To keep them away, you will need a fleet.
  However, if you don't go and grab the choke points, you run the very
  real risk of someone else taking them instead, and thus gaining not
  only a gateway into your territory, but holding--guess what--an
  easily-defensible choke point that will be difficult for you to
  conquer back.

  I'd also like to bring in Pirates at this point. The good news about
  Pirates is that they can be totally disabled from the Advanced
  Settings menu--fans found them annoying, and Amplitude listened. If
  you don't, however, they can show up in several ways. One is through
  Exploration Events: you'll unlock one that spawns Pirates at that
  system. Another is through pure Random Events: these will typically
  spawn at your Home Planet. And the third is through reconnassance.
  Similar to the Civilization games, once a system has been discovered
  but is behind the Fog of War again, it has a certain probability every
  turn of spawning a Pirate ship. Needless to say, it's quite annoying
  to "face check" such Pirates using a Colonizer. And this is why
  everyone is glad you can now disable all manner of Pirates: previously
  you could only turn off the ones that spawned behind the black, not
  the Random Events ones.

  Don't colonize ANY new system unless you can set down on a planet with
  Food and Ind totaling at least 5. Of the two, Ind is a bit more
  important: with high Ind you can trot out your Greens that much
  faster. Of course, with high Food, you can fill out your Pop slots
  that much faster, which adds Ind. But with high Ind, at least you FEEL
  like you're making progress. This makes the Class IV and V planets--
  Lava (Baryonic Shielding), Barren (Containment Fields), Asteroid
  (Atmospheric Engineering) and Gas Giant (Atmospheric Filtration)--an
  interesting proposition: those planets ALWAYS have zero Food, but
  Lavas and Hydrogen Gas Giants also always have high Ind. The downside
  is, a couple of the Green SYSTEM improvements cannot be built unless
  your system has a planet with at least 1 Food... and Green
  Exploitations aren't worth all that much in the long run.

  Additionally, make sure to find planets with high max Pop values.
  Again, there's nothing more frustrating than starting off with a
  planet with, say, 5 Food and 5 Ind, but it's a Tiny planet with only 2
  Pop slots. Intra-system expansion is going to be slow as molasses
  there. Under THOSE circumstances it might be better to expand to a
  high-Food, high-Pop planet, facilitating future expansion.

  Remember that planet Exploitations are VERY easy to replace. So during
  the early game, consider building nothing but Green Exploitations.
  Later, when the system has maxed out its population, you can replace
  them with whatever it is you'd rather do with the planet. Again, the
  sole exception is if you're playing Sowers, at which point Orange
  Exploitations are the smarter way to go.

  Be aware: if you and an AI get to a planet at the exact same instant
  and both use Colonize, the AI wins.

  Of course, the larger and more populous your empire gets, the lower
  your Approval goes. Pink Improvements will increase your Approval, so
  they are a good idea. Also, every time you take a new planet within a
  system, or launch a new Colony ship, you take an Approval hit. There
  are a couple of Star techs that reduce this penalty--one of them is
  associated with the Battleship unlock, and the other is right under
  the Dreadnought unlock.

  In a similar vein, keep an eye on your tax rate. The lower it goes,
  the higher your Approval rating--and, through it, your FIDS. With that
  in mind, max Approval by minimizing tax rate: try to keep your
  incoming Dust rate as close to zero as possible. DO NOT TRY TO BULK UP
  YOUR TREASURY JUST SO THAT YOU HAVE MONEY.

  To most of us, used as we are to personal finance, this makes the
  hardest kind of sense. "But isn't it better to have money in the
  bank?" Yes, it does, if you're a single human being--possibly with a
  spouse, possibly with dependents--who needs to have a buffer against
  future financial mishaps. But the thing is, your empire is not you.
  Your empire is an empire. Your empire, more accurately, is a
  BUSINESS--and one of the best things a BUSINESS can do is use their
  nest egg. "You gotta spend money to make money," the saying goes,
  because when money is OUT of the bank, out in the world circulating,
  it can be WAY more productive for you than it is just sitting in the
  bank earning interest. Especially here in "Endless Space" where you
  don't EARN interest.

  If you bank your Dust but then never use it, you are sapping your FIDS
  for no good reason whatsoever. You have turned a useful resource--
  FIDS--into a useless resource--Dust--that is accomplishing nothing for
  you. Better to spend it, whether as Dust or FIDS.  So if you are
  saving up for something, save up for something and then lower your tax
  rate when you're done. And if you are NOT saving, lower your tax rate.
  In strategy games, a penny saved is a penny wasted.

  (The sole exception to this rule is Economic Victory, but we will
  cover that later. Besides, while you CAN start with that now, you're
  better served with keeping Approval low while you expand.)

  Use the Galaxy icon in the upper left to keep tabs on the other
  empires and their numbers. This can help you get a rough sense of
  whether you're keeping up with everyone else. Fleets of warships--
  which you shouldn't be building--add materially to the score, so the
  enemy's numbers will look inflated compared to yours. Don't be fooled.
  Make sure your score never dips into the bottom half. If it has, go
  colonize more planets. It's easy to assume that, as long as you have
  one neighbor nearby that's relatively weak, you can conquer them and
  inflate your score that way, and that's true, but the problem is that
  this game moves FAST--AIs can win by Turn 200, even on Newbie
  difficulty. With a longer game you might be able to claw your way up
  from behind, but Endless Space doesn't go long. You won't have time.
  If you're not in a good position, my advice is honestly that you
  should quit and start a new match on a different map.

  A little bit on individual races:

  If you're playing the Sowers, you might be better off going for high-
  Ind planets to start with, instead of a balance between Ind and Food.
  This includes Methane gas giants.

  The Pilgrims have a unique building/ship called "Fleet Errant". This
  loads all your Pop, save one or two per planet (I'm not sure how the
  game decides; it's not consistent), into the new ship, ALONG WITH ALL
  YOUR IMPROVEMENTS. It then serves as a Colonizer that dumps out all
  that Pop and buildings onto the new system. You can mouse-over the big
  orange ship itself to find out how much Pop and what buildings it has.
  While this is obviously a very cool idea, the only bit of it I find
  advantageous is the fact that you can bring Pinks with you, which is a
  really practical way to counter the Approval bump that comes from
  higher-Class planets. The rest of the process may SEEM like it's
  ultra-efficient, but that's not really true unless you've already
  started expanding to new planets WITHIN your systems, which I don't
  advise doing anyhow. So when you need to settle a location that has
  nothing but Asteroids, Gas Giants and Lava planets, THEN use a Fleet
  Errant with Pinks. If not, stick to basic colonizers.

  If you send a Fleet Errant with, say, 5 Pop to a system and choose to
  land on a 4-Pop planet, the remaining point will be settled onto
  another planet, chosen randomly. Unless you landed at the only planet
  you currently have the tech to colonize, at which point that extra
  point just disappears into space, never to be seen again. Even worse.


   /-----------------------------
  /  INTERMISSION  [3=3]

  In this section I'm going to talk about some elements that are common
  between both the start phase and the end phase of the game: Heroes,
  Military Matters and Manual Battles.


   /-----------------------------
  /  HEROES  [3=31]

  There are Heroes in this game. At the beginning of the game, you can
  own three Heroes at a time and have three more waiting in your "for
  hire" pool; Cyan techs will expand both numbers.

  Heroes have five basic stats. "Labor" gives +2% Food and Industry on
  a star system, "Wit" +2 Science and Dust. "Offense" and "Defense"
  apply to fleets, adding more Military Power and defensive rates.
  "Melee" adds Defense to the Star System and Invasion power to a fleet.

  Additionally, Heroes come with two of five classes: Commander, Pilot,
  Corporate, Administrator and Adventurer. "Commander" makes them good
  at offensive space operations, "Pilot" at defensive space ops.
  "Corporate" gives Science and Dust bonuses to systems, "Administrator"
  Food, Industry and Approval. "Adventurer" gives a variety of "Battle
  Actions," which are essentially spells used in combat and cost Dust to
  use. These classes not only determine the Hero's starting stats, but
  the different Abilities they can learn each time they level up: there
  are several Abilities that any Hero can learn at any time, but a bunch
  of others that they can only learn if they're the appropriate class.

  There are two basic offices a Hero can perform: governing a planet and
  being the admiral of a fleet. Corporate and Administrator obviously
  contribute to the former, and Commander and Pilot to the latter.
  Adventurer best Commander or Pilot, as it's more combat-oriented and
  only has two Abilities that provide benefit to Systems.

  The hard part is that you don't control what kind of Hero you get.
  With 10 different combinations, you only have a 10% chance of getting
  a Governor (IE Corp/Admin), for instance, and nothing else is really
  sensible for the position. At least military heroes are easier to come
  by, since Pilot/Adventurer, Pilot/Commander and Commander/Adventurer
  all work. If you must have a half-military, half-civilian type (IE
  Pilot/Admin), well, good luck to you. Personally, I would expel the
  useless Hero and hope for better luck of the draw in 50 turns.

  Of the five classes, I personally value Pilot and Administrator.
  Pilots come with the skills "Tinkerer," "Lethal Modder" and "Defense
  Systems Specialist" which add even more Defense and Offense points,
  thus maximizing the fleet's Military Power. Administrators have the
  "Ministry of Propaganda" skill. If you get both levels of it, the hero
  adds +70 APPROVAL to his or her Star System. This is one of the best
  and most effective ways to get Star Systems up and running when they
  have nothing but Class-IV and -V planets, which start at VERY low
  Approval (sometimes flat-out zero) regardless of your Tax Rate. The
  alternative is using Buyouts on Pinks, which your empire typically
  will not be able to afford for very long.

  Heroes gain levels. They get 1 EXP every turn at all times, 1 EXP each
  time the system they're governing builds an Improvement, and a bunch
  of bonus EXP for each battle they win when they're commanding a fleet.
  As such it is actually a good idea to deploy a civilian Hero into
  combat, or ground a military Hero if there's no wars to be fought, but
  beware: if the fleet is destroyed, the Hero becomes Injured and you
  have to pay a fair bit of Dust to heal them. The level cap, meanwhile,
  is 20.

  If you get a Governor Hero, it can be tempting to assign him or her to
  your capitol, to maximize efforts there. It's actually smarter to
  assign them to your newest, latest system, where their impact will be
  greater. I mean, yeah, they add +6 Food or whatever, but where does
  that mean more: on your capitol with 47 Food per turn (Turn 9) or your
  first colony with 4? Again, this is especially true once you start
  having "Ministry of Propaganda" in play. Keep in mind, though, that
  you can only reassign Heroes every 6 turns. (There is a Commander
  ability, "Hyper Driven," that ability that lets you halve this, but it
  requires a Level-SEVEN Hero: Assailant / Defender / Director /
  Negotiator 1, Veteran 1 through 4, Cyberskilled, and finally Hyper
  Driven. It also requires you to assign an Admiral as a Governor, which
  [as previously mentioned] I think is a dumb idea.)

  It can be tempting to assign your admiral Heroes to scouting fleets.
  I would not do this. Scouts almost inevitably get blown up during the
  cold-war period of first contact, and an Injured Hero takes a fair bit
  of Dust to revive. And while they're lying injured, they don't get
  trickle EXP. Injured Heroes will slowly recuperate on their own, but
  I'm not sure how long it takes and it may be bugged--I waited the 30
  turns and then some, and my Hero never got back on his feet. 
  Eventually I had to pay the revival fee.  It had not appreciably
  decreased.


   /-----------------------------
  /  MILITARY MATTERS  [3=32]

  Before long you'll probably want to start building a military, and
  designing your ships as well. This section concerns just that.

  First off, a note on movement. Ships come with blue arrows, which
  denote their movement speeds whilst on Cosmic Strings, and also green
  arrows. It took me a while to find out what the green arrows mean:
  they're only unlocked after you discover Warp Drive (E&E: Atmospheric
  Filtration) and denotes how many units a ship can move per turn whilst
  at warp.

  Now, a bit on the Start-Battle window. It will show you the ships you
  have involved and the ships the enemy has involved; you can mouseover
  any and all of them to see what those ships are equipped with. There
  will also be a bar in the middle with segments in the colors of the
  combatants. The length of the bars compared to each other gives a
  rough estimate of which side is stronger. As of the latest patch, down
  at the bottom will be slots for Battle Cards at Long, Medium and Melee
  range. Finally, there are the "Auto" and "Manual" buttons. As of the
  patch, the only difference between them is that "Manual" mode shows
  you a cool little machinima of the two fleets clashing. I will go over
  Battle Cards and Manual Mode in more depth in the next section; here
  we're going to talk about fleet design. Fortunately, there's something
  pertinent to take away:

  Missiles are most accurate at long range, beam (as in "laser") weapons
  at medium and kinetic weapons (IE, guns) at melee. This is useful
  information to keep in mind when designing your ships.

  For all-around purposes, beams are your best bet: they never drop
  below 50% accuracy at any range, as opposed to missiles (40% at short
  range) and kinetics (20% at long range). However, some beams require
  the Purples Hyperium or Siderite, the latter of which is pretty far up
  the Applied Sciences tree. They also have a 0% crit rate. There is an
  Adventurer spell that gives them 15% crit, but it costs 50 Dust a pop
  and requires a Hero with at least 4 Ability points to spare (Assailant
  / Defender / Director / Negotiator 1 -> Veteran 1 -> Ground Pounder 1
  -> Battle Action: Beam Surge, which is the spell in question).

  For Defense Modules, unfortunately, there is no all-around choice to
  be had: Shields are specialized to protect against beams, Deflectors
  to block kinetics, and Flak to stop missiles, and they do NOT have
  secondary defense values against other weapon classes. So if you don't
  know what you'll be facing, consider replacing the Defense modules
  with Armor Modules in the Support section: they add base HP. However,
  Defense Modules actually add more to the ship's Military Power than HP
  modules. When in battle, a ship that has no Defense modules that work
  against the enemy's armament will nonetheless be treated as stronger
  than one which just has lots of HP. I didn't write the rules.

  And of course each module adds Tonnage to the ship, and each ship
  chassis (Transport Corvette Destroyer Cruiser Battleship Dreadnought)
  has a maximum Tonnage limit. The bigger ships have larger Tonnage
  limits--100 on the Corvette vs 400 from Dreadnoughts--but they also
  cost more--25 Ind vs 400. That's 4 times the Tonnage but 16 times the
  Industry. More than 16, actually, because each module adds Ind as well
  (cheapest Weapon adds 3, most expensive 75). There ARE Tonnage modules
  in Support that increase the ship's cap, but the cheapest one is 100
  Ind. The point is, you cannot put EVERYTHING on one ship; you will
  have to pick and choose.

  One viable solution is to put a little of everything onto each ship.
  This trades Military Power for versatility, but is going to be
  difficult on smaller ship sizes due to Weight limits. (It's also
  actually a bad idea, because for some reason you'll always have more
  advanced Kinetics than the other two.) One is to just specialize: put
  lots of (f'ex) Kinetics and Deflectors on the ship, and just pray.
  One is weighted opposites: arm your ship out with Kinetics and then
  use anti-beam and -missile Defense modules to protect it on the way
  in.  This is personally what I like to do, but even on Newbie
  difficulty the AI will ADAPT: if they see you charging in with solely
  Kinetics, they will modify their ship designs (and Battle Cards) to
  emphasize anti-Kinetic defenses, lowering your efficacy a lot. The AI
  have a tendency to have a lot of varied ship designs in one fleet--
  some with Kinetics, some with Missiles, some with Beams--and while
  this takes a lot more effort, it might be a good idea.

  A note on ship classes themselves: each of them has a specialty.
  Transports are best at carrying the Seed Modules that let you start
  new colonies. Corvettes have Tonnage bonuses to Engines, Sensors and
  Repair modules, making them ideal scouts or fast-response units.
  Destroyers get weapons at 20% off, Cruisers get Armor, Invasion and
  Power modules at 25% off, Battleships get Defense Modules at 20% off,
  and Dreadnoughts have no bonuses whatsoever. Long story short, each
  ship class has something they're GOOD at. Keep this in mind when
  coming up with new ships to approach a problem. If you're looking for
  all-arounders, Cruisers are probably your best shot. They do have the
  only Purple requirement of the classes: they need Titanium-70. Having
  said that, T70 is the first Purple you discover, so if you don't have
  any, you did your early-game wrong. If not, go with Battleships: set
  up right, they're practically unsinkable.

  Once you've gotten your ship designs finalized (probably using the
  "Auto Upgrade" function) and are starting to build them, you get to
  combine them into fleets. There is no good reason NOT to do this: not
  only do fleets fight together using cumulative Military Power, but now
  you can assign a Hero to them. However, the size of your fleet is
  limited by Command Points, an unlisted cap.  For every race except the
  Cravers, this cap starts at 5 CP per fleet and through four different
  research topics in D&T can be upgraded to a maximum of 22 (Cravers
  get 24). This is nice because Cruisers and Battleships both cost 2 CP
  each, and Dreadnoughts 4.

  The last thing you want to do while blasting your way through the
  galaxy is have fleets with unused CP. Most of the time your CP total
  is going to be an odd number--of the four techs, everything but
  Directed Computing gives you increases in multiples of 2. This means
  that if you stack, say, one Dreadnought and two Cruisers together,
  you're likely to have at least one CP left over. The best thing you
  can do for yourself in this case is outfit a Destroyer with the best
  weapons possible and use it to fill up the single CP remaining.

  In the same vein, feel free to reorganize your fleets. If you've just
  fought an engagement and some of your ships are damaged, and you can
  rotate them out to heal or replace them with undamaged ships, you
  should definitely do so. You can't do this if a battle is pending, so
  don't engage hostile fleets in orbit of your systems before you've got
  your best ships forward. Also, if you click "Disband" on a fleet--a
  FLEET, not "Scrap" on the ships themselves--the ships inside the
  disbanded fleet will return to the planet's Hangar. I don't know if
  they're healed extra or anything while they're there, but it can be
  very useful to do this if you're trying to organize your ships and
  don't want lots of 1-ship fleets floating around in the dialogue
  window. It also helps you save Colony ships from those damn pirates.

  The main reason you'll want to attend to these fiddly matters is that
  the power levels in this game are not well-balanced. We've all hated
  the AI in Civ for managing to hold off our 1960s-era tanks using
  bronze spears from around the time of Homer, and Endless Space doesn't
  have that problem... but that comes with its own downsides. Remember
  those colored bars displayed during the Start Battle screen? If that
  bar is even a LITTLE bit off to one side, the player with the larger
  segment will win. If it's even a little MORE off to one side, the
  weaker player will not only lose, they will FAIL TO DO DAMAGE--the
  stronger player won't even take a scratch. This makes wars of
  attrition absolutely IMPOSSIBLE: strong, cutting-edge ships are
  impervious to anything except other strong, cutting-edge ships. The
  Zerg have no place in Endless Space.

  Under Support Modules you can find "Invasion Modules", which increase
  the speed at which you can conquer systems. I'm not sure how long it
  takes you to conquer them without these modules--or, indeed, if you
  can. I think you can, because I've seen AI try to conquer my systems
  by sending in a single besieger, who (according to the readout) was
  going to take 33 turns to do it--plenty of time for me to scare up
  some Destroyers and punch them out of orbit; I THINK you can, but I've
  never tested it to be certain. I do know that Invasion Modules add a
  small amount of Military Power, but not much. In other words, a ship
  carrying an Invasion Module instead of another gun is weaker. This
  raises the question of how to bring these modules into battle.

  There are two schools of thought. One is what I call the "Sins of a
  Solar Empire" school. In that game, each race has a dedicated planet-
  bombing ship, which can attack enemy planets alongside your Hero
  characters (IE, capitol ships). They excel at space-to-ground bombing
  but SUCK at ship-to-ship combat, which is bothersome because enemy
  ships always home in on them. To use this tactic, design a Cruiser
  around Invasion modules and nothing else. The downside of course is
  that if you do something silly, like accidentally order those Cruisers
  to jump into the teeth of a defending enemy fleet, they will get
  chewed to pieces. The solution to this is obvious--don't do it--but is
  also easier said than done, especially given the somewhat rudimentary
  ways in which "Endless Space" allows you to organize your units.

  The other thought is to hybridize. When you design your Cruisers,
  Battleships and Dreadnoughts, sneak a single Invasion module onto
  them. You don't have any vulnerable bombers sitting around, and with
  enough ships and/or fleets you can still turn planets quickly. The
  downside is that your ships are a bit weaker on the Military-Power
  front, but I still prefer this method: it's just that much easier to
  keep your ships and fleets organized.

  There are Repair Modules in the Support category, but ships heal
  automatically for every turn they spend inside your borders. Consider
  shuffling damaged ships back behind your lines to heal. Consider
  consolidating fleets as well--as fleets take damage and ships get shot
  up, combine two half-fleets into a whole one and keep rolling forward.

  Finally, let's talk about financing. Fleets have too: 1 Dust every
  turn for each CP you control. This makes it that much more difficult
  to wage war: you need to raise your tax rate, which impairs your FIS.
  So whatever your empire looks like the instant you start a war, it
  better be good enough to carry you THROUGH that war. In particular, if
  you're building up a fleet in preparation to start a war, take the
  time also to max out your Approval.  Be at 100% Fervent as a starting
  point, because your increasing Tax Rate will knock it down--not to
  mention the inevitable rock-bottom Approval rates on your newly-
  conquered systems.


   /-----------------------------
  /  MANUAL COMBAT  [3=33]

  As mentioned above, there are five phases in battle--long, medium,
  short--with a prep & waiting period bookending the shooting. If you
  go into Manual Combat, you get to pick one "Battle Action" for each of
  the three shooting phases of the battle. Each card falls into one of
  six categories--Offense, Defense, Engineering, Tactical, Sabotage and
  Unblockable. The card will tell you what category it counters. If your
  opponent plays a Defense card, and you play an Offense card that says,
  "Cancels Defense cards," then yours gets stronger and his gets weaker.
  If the two don't interact, nothing happens. This would make for an
  interesting game of tactical-rock-paper-scissors if you were allowed
  to see what cards your opponent was playing. Unfortunately, you are
  not. Then again, if you were, the human would always win since the
  responding player always does in these situations. And while we humans
  obviously wouldn't complain about always winning, we must admit that
  it would rather defeat the challenge.

  During the Start-Of-Battle dialogue, you can mouseover each enemy ship
  and see which kinds of weapons they're carrying. Tailor strategies
  appropriately. For instance, since the game's tech tree loves kinetics
  so much, it's likely that the enemy fleet will be carrying lots of
  kinetic weapons. How can your fleet take advantage of that? During the
  long-range phase, for instance, you can strike hard while the enemy is
  outranged; play cards that boost damage output or accuracy. During the
  melee phase, when their kinetics are strongest, play a defensive card
  to lower incoming damage. Or, if most of them are destroyed, go for
  broke and try to slaughter the remnants. Having Heroes with spells can
  obviously be a benefit during these times.  Alternately, tailor to
  your own fleet. (This tends to be a little easier against AI and their
  wide variety of armaments.)

  If you choose Manual Mode AND don't specify Battle Cards from the
  Start-Battle dialogue, you will get to experience battles as they were
  before the game's second major patch: cinematic machinima AND a timed
  window for Battle Cards. You can select Battle Actions at any time
  prior to the start of the specific phase. This means you should
  probably pick your long-range card first, but you can choose all three
  right at the start if you feel like it. Once each phase actually
  begins, though, the current choice is locked in. If you haven't made a
  choice, your fleet just shoots as normal, without placing emphasis on
  any one department.

  Finally, there are two very useful cards for when discretion is the 
  better part of valor: the Unblockable card "Retreat" and the Tactics
  card "Offensive Retreat". The latter can be countered by an opponent's
  cards, but only allows the opponent one unopposed round to deal damage
  to your fleet. The former is, as suggested by the card's category,
  unstoppable--if you choose it, your opponent does not get to counter
  it. But that's because you're essentially choosing to try and flee at
  the end of two rounds. If you have any ships available at that time,
  they will escape. In both cases, the fleet will automatically flee to
  your nearest controlled system.


   /-----------------------------
  /  LATE GAME  [3=4]

  My definition of the second phase of the game is that it starts when
  you've colonized all the systems in your corner of the galaxy,
  whatever that corner may be and however many systems that consists of.
  Now you can start really building up those systems, which changes the
  tone of the game tremendously. Feel free to disagree with me; if 
  you've read my other FAQ, you know that I listen to other people's
  opinions. I'm only one person and I play the game a certain way; there
  are viewpoints I am overlooking, and I know it. If you bring me one of
  those viewpoints, I will pay attention--and, probably, ask if I can
  quote you here in a later version of the FAQ.

  Obviously, a system only recently colonized is going to have slower
  growth than your mainstay planets. To help speed this along, you can
  send Colony ships to that system AGAIN, shifting Population around
  inside your empire. Colony ships CAN add their Pop point to an 
  already-settled planet, as opposed to being limited to landing only on
  presently-virgin planets. Also, when spreading out to new planets
  within an already-owned system, prioritize the ones that have high
  Industry--unless of course some other planet has a resource or luxury
  you need more.

  A note on System Improvements: if you will pay attention, you will
  notice that each one has an upkeep cost, ranging anywhere from -2 Dust
  per turn to -11. As previously mentioned, the same is true of fleets.
  This is an incentive to not go build-crazy; wars, for instance, can
  sap your Tax rate VERY easily. Only build what you need, and going
  into the System menu to scrap stuff you don't need.

  As a corollary, make sure that an improvement is going to pay for
  itself. The Yellow "Careful Sweeping" is a good example. It gives +2
  Dust/Pop, on planets with an explored moon. That makes it a little
  hard to deploy straight out of the gate: the improvement is attached
  to "Optimized Logistics," which has a very potent Pink that you'll
  want early; by the time you get them, you probably don't have a lot of
  explored moons (and, quite possibly, don't even have the ABILITY to
  explore them yet). However, if put Careful Sweeping into play later,
  it quickly pays for itself: it only costs 3 Dust a turn in upkeep, so
  you only need a planet with 1) an explored moon and 2) 2 Pop minimum
  before the thing turns a profit. I didn't like this improvement at
  first, because it's so conditional, but I'm beginning to rethink my
  stance: it can add a lot to a system's Dust output, and at very little
  cost in terms of upkeep and build time.

  During this phase of the game you will want to grab several specific
  research topics, mostly found in E&E, for their very useful System
  Improvements:
  •Improved Thermodynamics, Non-Baryonic Shielding, Personal Fields and
    Sustainable Supercities all give you Improvements that INCREASE YOUR
    SYSTEM'S POPULATION CAP. Needless to say, I think these are
    important improvements.
  •Graviton Manipulation, Low Temp Hydration and Dark Energy Effects
    give you Improvements with Rainbow-colored tabs.  The first one adds
    a flat +6 FIDS; the second give you +1 and +2 FIDS (respectively)
    for every Pop Point in the system.  These almost make all other
    Improvements obsolete.
  •Optimized Logistics, the only one found outside E&E (D&T in this
    case), is a Pink improvement which adds 30 Approval AND gives a
    +10% FIDS bonus to an Ecstatic system. This is the one next to
    "Careful Sweeping", and you can see why I think it's a good idea.

  At this point, it's a good idea to start thinking at this time about
  what kind of victory you'd like to achieve. Endless Space is not like
  Civ5: the AI players WILL start moving towards their victory
  conditions, instead of just sitting around stockpiling nukes, and can
  achieve them within about 200 turns. Your victory decision depends
  partially on which race you've decided to play, since each one is
  better or worse at certain things, but it also depends on your early
  game and how well you've positioned yourself. If you followed my
  advice and have the largest or close-to-largest empire, the whole
  galaxy is open to you; if you're significantly behind, your only
  option is the Diplomatic Victory. Take that as you will.

  The races, to recap, are:
  •UNITED EMPIRE: this is a pretty good all-purpose empire, having +1
    Dust per Pop, +40% HP on their ships, and no real weaknesses. They
    are best at reaching the Economic Victory--###,000 Dust cumulative;
    it seems to change--Expansion Victory (own 75% of the galaxy) or
    Supremacy Victory (own all original homeworlds).
  •SOPHONS: For my money, the Sophons are the second-best race in the
    game because of their massive Science bonuses: +30% at all times,
    and an additional up-to-50% for every tick the tax rate is set
    below 50%.  As for their actual specialties, a Science victory
    requires the Pan-Galactic Society topic. Researching it can take a
    while, but each of the other trees has a tech that hacks 30% off
    that total, and even one of those enablers can make a really big
    difference. A Wonder victory is somewhat easier: at the top of E&E
    is "Endless Empire," which unlocks the Invulnerable Empire structure
    and which you then need to build five of. Just be sure none of your
    neighbors catch wind of it, or they might declare war on you.  And
    Sophons are not very good at war.
  •HISSHO: they're kind of the polar opposite of the Sophons in that
    they have a flat -20% science at all times. However, they get attack
    bonuses AND FIDS bonuses for each victory, and attack & defense
    bonuses if they lose a planet. These bonuses stack and can more than
    compensate for their Science deficiency: I've seen Hissho win Wonder
    victories. My friend who got me into Endless Space likes how they
    are capable of presenting a credible military threat even during the
    early game; she won't play any other race.
  •AMOEBA: they start with the entire map revealed. They are an
    intereseting compromise race: they get bonuses in Approval and
    Trade Routes--which provide Science in this game as well as Dust-
    for every empire they're allied with. They also get COMBAT bonuses 
    for every empire they're allied with. This is a race you could
    probably achieve just about any kind of victory with, IF you know
    what you're doing.
  •AUTOMATONS: another versatile race, they are quite well-rounded:
    their only real disabilities are a +50% Dust cost for Hero
    abilities, and their fleets being 2 CP smaller than everyone
    else's. They're geared towards Diplomatic victory, which I will go
    into more detail on later.
  •CRAVERS: Cravers are unable to declare Peace with other factions.
    Plus, they have to go on colonizing because of their "Locust Point"
    mechanic.  Each planet they control gains 1 LP a turn. Planets with
    40 or less LP have +25% FIDS, because they're consuming the planet,
    but 41 and up gives you -25%. To help them war, they get +2 CP on
    fleets, -20% ship costs and 40 Research points for every CP worth of
    ship they destroy. In my opinion they are strictly worse than the
    Hissho, because the LP mechanic limits their ability to pursue any
    passive victories, but with proper terraforming you could probably
    get around it.
  •HORATIO: For my money, the Horatio are the best race in the game
    because they specialize in population, and having high Pop just
    makes everything else easier. They can also clone Heroes, which is
    an added bonus considering how hard it can be to get good ones.
    Like the Sophons, the one thing they're bad at is war, because all
    their ships cost +20% higher than everyone else's--evidently those
    crouton things that stick out of their hulls are really expensive.
  •SOWERS: This is a race that epitomizes "slow and steady". Their Food
    is hampered, their Science has a permanent -20% penalty, and their
    ships have a Move-1 penalty. This results in an INCREDIBLY slow
    early game, which is the opposite of what you want. Of course, they
    expand well because they can colonize any planet whatsoever, whether
    or not you have the tech necessary, though at -25% FIDS until you
    discover the approriate tech. Additionally, because of the other
    half of their Affinity--"50% of your Ind total is added to your
    Food"--you can eschew Green improvements and Exploitations and just
    focus solely on Oranges. According to the game, they're styled for
    Wonder and Military victories, the latter of which is probably
    easier in practice.
  •PILGRIMS: Pilgrims are strong when they're at war: they don't lose
    their Trade Routes to blockades, their Heroes start at Lv.3 and
    cost -4 Upkeep, they conquer planets twice as fast and have planets
    conquered FROM them at 20% normal speed.  They also have the
    ability to "Evacuate a Star System", which I think is the "Fleet
    Errant" thing already discussed.
  •CUSTOM: Custom races are custom. I have no idea what you did with
    yours, so I won't bother advising you how to play it.

  Finally, this is also a good time to start doing Anomaly Reduction,
  Moon Surveys and Planet Transformations.  In addition to coming in
  classes, planets also come in temperatures: Hot, Dry and Wet.  Hot
  planets--Jungle, Desert, Lava--provide extra Industry; Dry planets--
  Terran, Arid, Barren--provide extra Dust; Wet planets--Ocean, Tundra,
  Arctic--provide extra Science.  You can transform any Class-I through
  -IV planet INTO any Class-I through -IV, including downward if you so
  desire; Asteroids and Gas Giants are unchangeable. Terraforming makes
  victory easier, since you can customize your planets to the kind of
  victory you're trying to achieve: Hot planets for Military, Wet
  planets for Science or Wonder, Dry for Economic. Additionally, moving
  up to Class Is will raise your Approval scores--not by much, but some.
  Having said that, you might want to consider leaving some Class IVs
  around for their higher Ind and Dust bounties. But terraform your IIs
  and IIIs at the very least.


   /-----------------------------
  /  MILITARY VICTORIES  [3=41]

  There are two kinds of military victories. One is to own 75% of the
  galaxy; the other is to own every homeworld in the game. The former is
  quite a bit easier to accomplish--even if you TRY for the Supremacy
  Victory of owning every homeworld, you'll probably snag Domination "on
  accident" as you wreak havoc across the galaxy. As I see it, Supremacy 
  is kind of a "shortcut" victory: as you move on with your goal of
  conquering all the everything, you MIGHT find yourself in a position
  to snipe homeworlds. Since this takes less effort than Domination,
  it's obviously an easier goal, but it's also dependent on luck of the
  draw. Don't try for it, is what I'm saying; let it come to you, and
  if it doesn't, just settle for the 75%.

  The main thing about Milvics is the fleets, and I've discussed those
  already. The other point to mention is that Milvics are probably the
  most resource-intensive: you need high Industry and Dust (and thus
  high Pop) to churn out ships and pay for their upkeep. You'll also
  want high Science so that your ships can have cutting-edge modules--
  EXP gain on Heroes is REALLY high when it comes to space battles, so
  doing a Zerg rush of weak ships might actually be counter-productive:
  you end up "feeding" the enemy Hero and making him so strong that you
  can't actually defeat him anymore. (Don't do this in Defense of the
  Ancients either.) Fortunately, they can also be taken one step at a
  time: where the other conditions are mostly yes/no binary things that
  you either have or don't, you can creep up on a Milvic by going to war
  with one enemy at a time and keeping the others happy.


   /-----------------------------
  /  PEACEFUL VICTORIES  [3=42]

  In these victories, you don't necessarily go out and do things, you
  sit and wait for numbers to get high enough. You earn the Economic
  Victory, for instance, by having owned a cumulative total of #Many
  Dust throughout your empire's lifespan--not all at once, but
  cumulative. (The exact number seems to vary: endlessspace.wikia.com
  claims it's 300K, but when I did it it took 580K.)  The best way to do
  this is obviously to focus on Dust, sell your Purples and Whites to
  other empires for money, and then just keep hitting the "Next Turn"
  button.

  The question, of course, is what you concentrate on while you sit
  around waiting for victory to fall into your lap.

  Since we started with the EconVic, let's keep talking about it. In my
  opinion, it's the easiest victory to earn because you can start on it
  basically from your first turn; every other win condition requires
  specialized research, sometimes a lot of it. Besides terraforming all
  your planets into Terran or Barren, the ones with the biggest Dust
  bonuses, you should also go through and Scrap any Improvements you
  aren't using. Once you max your Pop, for instance, your food-oriented
  Greens can go, especially if you have the Rainbow improvements. DO NOT
  DITCH THE POP-EXTENSION GREENS. Also, once you feel like you've
  researched everything you need to, you can ditch your Blues. I would
  NOT ditch my Oranges, in case something goes wrong (IE war). Max out
  on Pinks for high Approval and a high tax rate; don't hesitate to use
  your bank. To win EconVic, a certain amount of money must ENTER your
  treasury, not still be in it; you can and should spend it again,
  particularly on Pinks. Oh, and flip your Exploitations to Yellow.

  If you're going for the Science or Wonder victories, Terraform into
  Ocean and Arctic planets for maximum Science. Make sure you get to
  Personal Shielding in GW: this unlocks Mundane Artifacts, which gives
  you a +2% Science bonus. If you've got killer fleets, consider a bit
  of war to arrange a Monopoly: the +2%s stack, and if you own four or
  more you get an additional +20%. Also make sure you nab the AS topic
  Adaptive Societies: it gives a Blue Improvement that adds +20% Science
  to Ecstatic Systems and a further +2 to Fervent empires. And turn all
  your Exploitations Blue.

  When going for Wonders, pick your five systems with the highest Ind,
  flip their Exploitations Orange, and then start building. If the AI
  notices the completion of your first Wonder, they may declare war on
  you, and for obvious reasons it's best if that phase is as short as
  possible. (Thankfully, since you have other systems besides the five,
  it shouldn't be too hard to whip up a fleet.)

  The consensus on Diplomatic Victory, as created using a Google search,
  seems to be that it's impossible or useless. The goals are nebulous:
  "Survive long enough while being at war the least amount of time."
  You get a certain amount of Peace Points per turn, depending on
  several factors, like how many Alliances you are in, whether you are
  at war right now, and--get this--HOW BIG YOUR EMPIRE IS. The other
  spacefaring races of the galaxy are just like humans in one very basic
  way: they get jealous whenever somebody has a larger... territory than
  them. And, if you've followed my advice, yours will be the largest in
  the locker room. And no matter how good it feels to be able to say
  that, it makes it hard to win diplomatically.

  A contributor at Amplitude Games' forums, "Smokey_MkII," has already
  written a very excellent how-to on the Diplovic, and so instead of
  plagiarizing I am just going to link him here:

http://forums.amplitude-studios.com/showthread.php?7737-Diplomatic-
Victory-My-Experience-as-a-How-to

  The one thing I am going to add is that Diplovic can be skewed by
  issues of existence. If certain races don't like you, KILL THEM and
  your "Peace Points" will, alarmingly, go up faster. The one time I've
  achieved Diplovic so far (as the Amoeba) was when the Horatio and I
  banded together to squash the Sowers and the Sophons. Once only the
  two of us were left, the Horatio liked me so much that I was able to
  just Next-Turn myself to political landslide.

  Finally, there's the Score Victory. I find this to be useless, because
  the AI is too aggressive about pursuing their own victory conditions;
  unlike the Civilization games, I've never REACHED the turn limit in
  Endless Space, only won or lost (mostly lost) outright. The only way
  you could win a Score Victory, it seems to me, is if you deliberately
  conquer only 74% of the galaxy and then just sit around with the AI
  bottlenecked and unable to pursue their own conditions. This leaves
  you at risk for a Diplomatic loss, since the one thing I can guarantee
  is that the other AIs will hate you; and if you're already one planet
  short of an Expanvic, why not just go the last mile?

  ||  close PLAYING THE GAME
   \\==========================



   //====================
  ||  FACTIONS  [4=00]

  While I gave a rundown of the races earlier, this is going to be a
  more in-depth look. Amongst other things, I didn't take any
  examination of each race's unique Improvements and Technologies--yes,
  each of them have individualized entries on the tech trees,
  conveniently highlighted in bright orange--and so this will be a good
  chance to really home in on the nitty-gritty details and get a good
  look at what each faction does.

  (Note: there are some techs in E&E that are always orange, even when
  they're not being special, so don't get confused.)

  Please note that there are three reasons a technology or System
  Improvement might be orange:
  •It's completely unique, and no other faction has it.
  •It's improved: other factions have it, but this faction's version is
    better. It may or may not be renamed.
  •It's been moved: other factions have it, but this faction gets it
    SOONER. It may or may not be renamed.

  I will denote which kind of "unique" each technology is, since that's
  not always apparent when you first start playing the game. Or writing
  a FAQ. None of this is spelled out in-game, and because this ENTIRE
  following section consists of NOTHING BUT ORIGINAL RESEARCH, there is
  a non-zero probability that some or all of it is wrong.  You should
  feel free to e-mail me with improvements or discoveries if you come
  across them.


  We're going to start with the customization menu, though, because each
  existing faction can essentially be re-created using it, and it'll
  give us a good overview of things.


   /-----------------------------
  /  CUSTOM RACES  [4=01]

  Custom races are given 65 points to spend in any way they want. This
  is annoying because non-customs start with more like 75. Race
  composition is similar to the Advantage/Disadvantage system used in
  the White Wolf tabletop RPGs: certain Traits take away points and
  others give them back. In this way you can create a jack-of-all-trades
  race that's only somewhat good at something, or a race that's REALLY
  good at something and explicitly bad at something else.

  If you go into the Custom Race menu and try to create one, you'll see
  that the menu is fairly straightforward. There are only two wrinkles I
  want to draw your attention to.

  One is that there are a number of Disadvantages you can sneak in which
  are actually worth using for their own sake. For instance, Anomaly:
  Hellgourds gives you 5 points back AND provides 3 Food on your home
  planet, at the relatively low cost of -25 Approval. One level of
  Fleet: Anarchists can also be useful. Your CP limit is often an odd
  number, requiring you to build a single Corvette or Destroyer to pad
  out the fleet. This Trait removes that last CP, which--yes--makes your
  fleets that much weaker, but also that much easier to organize for the
  larger majority of the game. System-Defense disadvantages like
  Defense: Deep Roots and Defense: Feeble Warriors can be overcome by
  simply never letting anyone besiege your Systems, and you can load up
  on Hero disadvantages and then just not hire Heroes; it's totally
  possible to win a match without them. Economy: Dust Starved goes
  hand-in-hand with the Hero disadvantages--it makes it take you one or
  two turns longer to hire your first Hero, which you won't care about
  if you don't plan to hire any--but only gives you back one point. And
  all the Technology traits can be skipped: they just give you that tech
  already researched. Boy, four whole turns while you're sitting around
  waiting for your planets to build up Pop anyway. I wasted 10 points on
  this? (If you ARE going to go for a tech, I recommend N-Way Fusion
  Plants. It gives you your first Orange, which has a palpable effect on
  the speed at which you can build your first Colonizers.)

  The other wrinkle is this concept of "Affinity". At the top of the
  race-composition screen you will see two dropdowns that let you alter
  the race's appearance (I love Sophon and Pilgrim ships, personally),
  but also their Affinity, which is the race's distinctive trait. This
  trait is costless, but you can only have one at a time. F'ex, the
  Sophon Affinity is the whole "Up-to-50%-extra-Science if Tax Rate is
  below 50%" thing, and the United Empire's is their "Up-to-60% Industry
  bonus if Tax Rate is ABOVE 25%" thing. It would be pretty awesome to
  have both, but you can't: only one Affinity per race. Affinity also
  controls which unique Tech-tree and Improvement options you get...
  which, conveniently, is the topic of the following sections. Now you
  see why I wanted to cover this topic first?


   /-----------------------------
  /  UNITED EMPIRE  [4=02]

  The UE is focused on trade and military might. It has few overt
  weaknesses--just the increased Dust cost on Hero spells, and that's
  negligible because you can play five or ten matches without even
  unlocking a Hero spell. Of their five custom techs, three are found in 
  GW.

  DIPLOMACY & TRADING - CONSUMPTION PSYCHOLOGY
  This topic is a moved version of "Advanced Biologics" and is available
  to the UE three tiers earlier. This helps the empire expand faster,
  via a potent Green and a less-potent Yellow.

  APPLIED SCIENCES - EXPLOITIVE ALGORITHMS
  This unique topic unlocks the UE's only unique improvement, and the
  only Purple IMPROVEMENT in the game: Military Industrial Complex. It
  doubles your bonuses from Purples AND adds +1 Purple to every source
  you own.

  GALACTIC WARFARE - ACTIVE DEFENSES
  This is a modified tech. In addition to unlocking the standard Red
  Uniform Shielding, this also unlocks a unique Support Module,
  Reflective Armor, which adds +84 HP as well as +2% HP.

  GALACTIC WARFARE - NUCLEAL MATERIALS
  This topic is moved three tiers earlier for the UE. It contains (an
  unmodified version of) the most powerful Armor module in the game.

  GALACTIC WARFARE - QUANTUM STABLE MATERIALS
  Replacing "High Quantum Stability" on the standard tree, it is the
  "top" of the GW tree and unlocks the typical "-30% SciVic research
  cost" thing. It also unlocks a unique Invasion module called Quantum
  Stable Hulls.



   /-----------------------------
  /  SOPHONS  [4=03]

  As a very science-oriented faction, the Sophons start with three techs
  already unlocked--the most of any faction--all of which are in AS.
  Predictably, it has NO GW uniques.

  DIPLOMACY & TRADING - SELF-ORGANIZING DATA
  This tech is a moved version of the standard "Neural Net Society",
  available an astounding FOUR TIERS early. Unfortunately, its unlocks,
  a Silver diplomacy buff and the Silver improvement "Signal Lenser
  Array", are nothing special. So, long story short, you'll see further
  than anyone else, faster. Yippee.

  DIPLOMACY & TRADING - IMAGINARY GAME THEORY
  This tech replaces Futuristic Game Theory. In addition to a Hero
  Academy boost, this tech gives you Predictive Sensor Array, a unique
  Improvement replacing the Entangled Sensor Array. The Sophon variant
  gives increased Detection Radius.

  APPLIED SCIENCES - DARK MATTER CONDENSING
  This unique Sophon tech unlocks the Purple resource Siderite. Other
  factions have to wait until they get to "Inorganic Biology," two tiers
  up, to unlock it. (Incidentally, Siderite is required for the Signal
  Lenser Array, so, convenient.)

  APPLIED SCIENCES - WAVE FUNCTION CONTROL
  This tech is named the same and positioned the same as its equivalent
  on non-Sophon tech trees. However, it unlocks an upgraded version of
  the Optics Research Lab, the "Advanced Optics Lab", which gives extra
  Science output on gas giants compared to its vanilla cousin.

  APPLIED SCIENCES - ADOPTIVE SOCIETY
  This tech replaces Inorganic Biology. It discards the Battle Card
  "Adaptive Glue", which evidently the Sophons just flat-out don't get,
  and replaces it with the unique Blue "Redundant Infrastructures". This
  potent Improvement adds a bunch of Science depending on your Approval:
  an empire at 100% Approval will get a +27% Science bonus.


   /-----------------------------
  /  HISSHO  [4=04]

  Even more war-oriented than the UE, the Hissho have NO unique techs
  outside the GW tree.

  GALACTIC WARFARE - LMI SYSTEMS
  This unique topic unlocks a unique Hissho red, the "Wargame Center."
  It adds 1 EXP per turn to any ship idling in system, and makes ships
  build faster if the system in question has a Bushido bonus on it.

  GALACTIC WARFARE - SPACE ABLATIVES
  An upgraded version of the tech of the same name, it unlocks a unique
  Kinetic module, "Talon Slugs," that has improved accuracy and a double
  crit-hit multiplier.

  GALACTIC WARFARE - ENTANGLED SYSTEMS
  An upgraded version of the tech of the same name, it unlocks an
  improved Invasion module.

  GALACTIC WARFARE - DARK ENERGY SHIELD
  This is a moved version of the tech of the same name, now available
  two tiers earlier. This gives the Hissho rushed access to the second-
  best Armor and Missile modules in the game.

  GALACTIC WARFARE - ULTRADENSE EXTRUSION
  This is a moved version of the tech of the same name, now available
  one tier earlier. This gives the Hissho rushed access to a Power and
  Shield module, each the third-best in the game.



   /-----------------------------
  /  AMOEBA  [4=05]

  Oriented towards diplomacy, the Amoeba have NO unique techs outside of 
  D&T. Their Affinity also gives them sight of the entire galaxy right
  at the start of the game. This DOES include monitoring expansion.
  However, their Affinity also comes with a penalty: races using the
  Amoeba Affinity only get 60 points to assign.

  DIPLOMACY & TRADING - GALACTIC BROTHERHOOD
  This unique tech gives you a unique Improvement called "Diversity
  Systems." It adds Approval and Trade-Route Dust for every Cooperation
  Treaty you have in effect.

  DIPLOMACY & TRADING - ADVANCED SCHOLASTICS
  Replacing the tech of the same name, it gives you the Yellow Adaptive
  Tariffs, an improved Adaptive Taxation Systems.

  DIPLOMACY & TRADING - AUTOMATED WEALTH
  This is a moved version of the tech of the same name, available two
  tiers early. As the name of the tech itself suggests, this unlocks two
  Yellow improvements.

  DIPLOMACY & TRADING - PERFECT NEGOTIATIONS
  This tech unlocks a unique Diplomatic option that gives increased
  Approval over its standard cousin. It is also a moved tech, being
  available to the Amoeba earlier than it is to others.

  DIPLOMACY & TRADING - NEURAL NET SOCIETY
  This unlocks a unique Diplomatic option that gives a Trade Route Bonus
  in addition to Territory Defense bonuses.



   /-----------------------------
  /  AUTOMATONS  [4=06]

  For some reason, the Automaton unique techs are not supertitled as
  such, the way they are for other races. (This may be because every 
  dark-green colonization unlock is, technically, a Unique. I'm not
  going to cover them because there is abolutely no difference between
  them and the standard ones.) However, you can still catch them by
  looking out for the orange icons. They also do not have unique ship
  models, due to being submitted by a player during an official contest.
  They were released for play in the "Rise of the Automatons" expansion.
  Their creator, Panzer, describes them as being able to remain
  competitive without requiring a frenzy of expansion.

  DIPLOMACY AND TRADING - SYMBIOTIC SATELLITES
  The only fully unique tech for this faction, it unlocks the Orbital
  Platforms improvement, a Rainbow structure that gives you +1% FIDS for
  every ship orbiting the system. This has very interesting implications
  for wartime: by building them at important choke points or rally
  points, you can partially recoup the FIS losses being sacrificed to
  upkeep / Tax Rate.

  APPLIED SCIENCES - INFINITE VARIABLE COMPUTING
  Replacing the technolgy of the same name, it unlocks the "Predictive
  Logistics" improvement. This Orange, instead of giving you +2 Ind per
  Pop, gives you "+10% Interests for Stacked Industry on Star System".
  This relates to the Automaton Affinity, but I'm not sure how that
  Affinity works. It has to do with the yellow / green bar you'll
  sometimes see stretching across a system's nameplate, though.

  GALACTIC WARFARE - PRECISION CONVERTER
  Replacing Plasmic Ablatives, it unlocks a unique Red, "Shield
  Generator," which claims "Stacked Industry will be added to the system
  defense". Again, I have no idea what Stacked Industry means, but being
  able to add anything to system defense sounds like a good idea.

  EXPLORATION & EXPANSION
  Replacing the technoogy of the same name, it unlocks an improved
  version of the Rainbow improvement Hydrosequencing. The Automaton
  version has double effect on Terran planets, increasing your incentive
  to terraform. Oddly, their home planet type is Jungle.



   /-----------------------------
  /  CRAVERS  [4=07]

  Their philosophy being what it is, you probably won't be surprised to
  learn that most of their techs revolve around either D&T, for
  structure unlocks, or GW, for, you know, death-making.

  DIPLOMACY & TRADING - ACCELERATED YIELDS
  Replacing Planetary Landscaping, this tech opens up a Green called
  Intensive Cultivation Logistics, which (just to be confusing) shares
  the same name as the original. To me, the non-Cravers version of this
  improvement is kind of useless, since it gives +3 Food/Pop on planets
  WITH AN EXPLORED MOON, which isn't most planets even under the best of
  circumstances, much less during the early game when you've already
  unlocked it. But the Cravers' version also gives "-50% Locust Points
  on planet quality", essentially DOUBLING the longevity of your empire. 

  DIPLOMACY & TRADING - QUANTUM SWARMING
  Replacing "Quantum Communications," it unlocks a new CP upgrade. In
  addition to the traditional +2 CP per ship class unlocked, it gives an
  additional +2 CP if all six classes are unlocked. This results in the
  famed total of 24 CP, allowing Cravers fleets to accomodate six
  Dreadnoughts and outnumber everyone else in the game.

  DIPLOMACY & TRADING - DISTRIBUTED HIVES
  This is a moved version of "Galactic Trade Center", available an
  astonishing FOUR TIERS earlier than it is to other factions. It
  unlocks a useful Yellow as well as the final CP upgrade, allowing the
  Cravers to rush to maxed-out fleet sizes.

  GALACTIC WARFARE - EVOLVED CONSTRUCTION
  Replacing a tech of the same name, it grants a unique Missile module
  to the Cravers.

  GALACTIC WARFARE - NEUTRINO LENSING
  A moved AND upgraded tech, it replaces Advanced Lensing and is
  available, along with its Power module, three tiers early.


   /-----------------------------
  /  HORATIO  [4=08]

  Oh, the Horatio. Being who they are, I feel like they always ought to
  be talking in what TVTropes calls "Pokémon Speak," where the only word
  in their vocabulary is "Horatio". To demonstrate, this entire section
  of the FAQ will be written in that style.

  HORATIO HORATIO - HORATIO HOR HORATIO
  Horatio hor horatio ratio tio-tio horatio hora horatio horatio, hor
  horatio tio horatio hor hor.

  ...Ermm, on second thought, I don't think I will. It's just hard
  talking in a foreign language. I don't think I'm articulating myself
  correctly. And god, the conjugations!! And here I thought Italian was
  hard! Anyway, back to English.

  DIPLOMACY & TRADING - FUTURISTIC GAME THEORY
  A moved version of the tech of the same name, it is available three
  tiers early. This means a larger Academy cap earlier.

  APPLIED SCIENCES - ARTIFICIAL ATMOSPHERE
  The sole Unique tech in the Horatio tree, this unlocks the Greenhouse
  Shields, a Green that simply adds +20 F on the Star System.

  DIPLOMACY & TRADING - ADVANCED BIOLOGICS
  This is a moved version of the tech of the same name, available two
  tiers early. It also shows that Horatio is plagiarizing the United
  Empire: they have the exact same tech, with the exact same Green and
  Yellow improvements unlocked, in the exact same position.  The only
  difference is that Horatio DIDN'T rename the tech. I guess that's
  enough to get the Intergalactic Copyright Bureau off your back?

  EXPLORATION & EXPANSION - SHARED FIELDS
  Upgrading the "Personal Fields" tech, it unlocks "Stable Habitats," an
  improved form of the Living Habitats Population-Extension structure.
  Where the original only adds 1 Pop Slot to Class-V planets (gas giants
  & asteroids), Horatio's version does it for Class Is and IIs as well.

  DIPLOMACY & TRADING - PERFECT FORECASTING
  Replacing "Permanent Advantage," it unlocks a unique Hero Academy
  upgrade that, in addition to all the usual stuff, lets you own three
  more Clones of Heroes. (Then, seriously: Why is "Advanced Biologics"
  under its own name?? If Horatio is involved in unauthorized
  duplication of LIFE-FORMS, shouldn't he be extra-suspicious of
  copyvio?)



   /-----------------------------
  /  SOWERS  [4=09]

  The Sowers have an interesting time of it because all their unique
  technology is fifth-tier or lower. They can be well on their way to a
  flourishing empire that much faster. And a lot of their unique tech
  and improvements are Industry-oriented, increasing the emphasis on
  skipping Greens and letting Food come straight from Oranges.

  DIPLOMACY & TRADING - PLANETARY LANDSCAPING
  Replacing the tech of the same name, this unlocks a variant on the
  Green "Intensive Cultivation Logistics" we already saw the Cravers
  play with. The Sowers' version, in addition to giving the standard +3
  Food/Pop on any planet with an explored moon, provides an additional
  +3 IND/Pop on any planet with a Temple. I personally would still not
  bother with this, since you'd only get the full bonus from at MOST one
  planet per system, but it's only 5 D per turn, so don't take my
  opinion as canon law.

  APPLIED SCIENCES - PERSISTENT BODIES
  This is a moved AND upgraded technology that normally takes place
  three tiers later. Its upgrade is in the unlock of a unique Sower
  Orange improvement: "Extreme Infrastructure", which adds a LOT of Ind
  to planets that aren't already in the Hot temperature zone (IE those
  not already focused on Ind).

  EXPLORATION & EXPANSION - EXOTIC THERMODYNAMICS
  This technology is moved two tiers cheaper and unlocks Tundra
  transformation that much faster.

  DIPLOMACY & TRADING - CONCURRENT LOGISTICS
  This tech replaces "Optimized Logistics" and provides an upgraded
  version of the Pink Colonial Rights: "Elegant Networks" offers an
  additional +15% Ind to Ecstatic planets.



   /-----------------------------
  /  PILGRIMS  [4=10]

  The travel-happy Pilgrims focus mostly on D&T and E&E, which makes
  sense considering their focus on Heroes and (plot-provided) interest
  in hunting down the Endless homeworld of Tor.

  DIPLOMACY & TRADING - CONSENSUS SYSTEMS
  Replacing "Improved Fleet Management," this tech unlocks a revised
  Hero tech that grants a +30% Bonus EXP on a bunch of different events.

  EXPLORATION & EXPANSION - ATMOSPHERIC FILTRATION
  This tech, which allows colonization of gas giants and unlocks Warp
  Drive, is moved up two tiers for the Pilgrims. This would have more
  implications on their mobility if it weren't for the fact that your
  computer sets the courses based on what would be fastest or most
  efficient, not what's safest or allows you to avoid hostile territory.
  Just because your ships CAN Warp to a particular spot doesn't mean
  they WILL.

  DIPLOMACY & TRADING - MAXIMIZED EXPLOITATION
  This tech has been moved down a whopping FOUR TIERS, making Hero
  leveling and Hero arrival that much faster.

  EXPLORATION & EXPANSION - FACTORY MISSIONS
  This totally unique tech unlocks the totally-unique Pilgrim structure,
  "Factories of the Faithful." Besides adding 30 Ind to the system, it
  also gives the "ability to hide from opponent inspection on system".
  I'm not sure what that means.

  DIPLOMACY & TRADING - INTER-SPECIES HR
  Replacing the tech of the same name, it offers an upgraded "Alien
  Proselytization" unlock. In addition to providing the standard stuff
  (Cooperation Agreements and Alliances), it also gives +30% Trade Route
  Bonuses for every Ally you have.

  ||  close FACTIONS
   \\=================



   //=================
  ||  TRIVIA  [5=00]

  When you start an AI game, you cannot change the colors of your
  opponents. If you're OCD like me, this is irritating. If you want to
  assign colors to the AI, you can take advantage of the fact that
  colors are always traded.  Pick, for yourself, first the color you
  WANT the AI to be, and then the color the AI currently IS.  This will
  trade your extant color with the AI's. As an example, say you want AI
  #2 to be the forest green. Assign that color to yourself, and then
  pick the color AI #2 already is (typically blue). You will trade: you
  will now be blue and AI #2 will now be green, which was the point of
  the exercise. Repeat until you're done micromanaging colors.


   /-----------------------------
  /  ACHIEVEMENTS  [5=1]

  On 19 December 2012, Amplitude added a number of Achievements to
  Steam. I'm not going to go over all of them, because if you have Steam
  you can look them up yourself, and if you don't you can't earn them
  anyway. I AM, however, going to make notes on the various notes and
  nuances I've discovered in the process of earning them.

  Some of them are just matter-of-time or matter-of-luck things. For
  instance, there is an achievement, "Marco Polo with Tentacles," that
  you get by having a Trade Route with every other system in the galaxy.
  This just happened to me randomly, and I don't know how to make it
  more likely to happen, besides the obvious solutions of maxing out
  your trade-route caps and being at peace with everyone. Likewise,
  "Galactic Sardines": as Horatio, own 10 Tiny planets with at least 10
  Pop. This just happened. The description implies that you need 10 Tiny
  planets with 10 Pop EACH, but it doesn't, because I got it long before
  I had that. (I'm not sure you can get 10 Pop on a Tiny planet even
  with all the Pop-Extension Greens installed.) What it ACTUALLY
  requires is that you own 10 Tiny planets with a CUMULATIVE total of at
  least 10 Pop. Since the average Tiny has at least 1 Pop, and often
  more, you basically get the achievement simply by owning 10 Tinies.
  Silly, huh?

  "Checking out the Neighborhood", "The Truth is Way Out There" and "To
  Boldly Go" are definitely luck-based. It can be done--I've done it,
  mostly because I got a TON of Exploration-Event scouts. Likewise, the
  ones involving the Endless hero... yeah, total luck. I've played the
  game for close to 160 hours (as of this writing on New Year's Eve,
  2012--shout-out to Husky, Dodger, Ro, Frodo and Crendor!, who are
  live-streaming behind this document window), and I haven't even SEEN
  the Endless hero, much less recruited him. --Her. --It.  Them?

  "One Big Happy Family", "Filling in the Blank Spaces", "Do You Feel
  Lucky Today?" and "Indistinguishable from Magic", which require you to
  complete the D&T, E&E, GW and AS trees (respectively) in a single
  game, do not require you to do this BEFORE somebody wins. So the best
  way to do these is just to play Sophons and not care what happens, at
  least as long as you aren't losing systems.

  "Spreading the Word" - "As Pilgrims, colonize a system with a Fleet
  Errant containing Factories of the Faithful" - requires some planning.
  The best way to do it is to use a Fleet-Errant to colonize one of the
  Class-IV / Class-V systems (Lava, Barren, Asteroid, Gas Giant). The
  real problem is that "Factories of the Faithful" is a mid-tier
  unlock, so you have to leave a system deliberately un-colonized, but
  protected from enemy access, in order to unlock it. There'll probably
  be an eligible system somewhere in the heart of your territory.

  "Too Busy to Eat": "As Sowers, win a game without building any Food
  improvements." I just got this earlier today. The good news is, this
  achievement does NOT require you to forego Pop-Expansion buildings.
  I don't know why they're colored the same light-green that Food
  improvements are, but fortunately the game doesn't realize it. I am
  not sure if you are allowed to build Green exploitations, though, as I
  didn't bother trying to have those anyhow.

  "Hammer of Fate", "Galactic Grindstone", "Scourge of the Galaxy":
  these achievements require you to destroy 5, 10 and ??? fleets in a
  single turn. The hardest part about these is the fact that fleets can
  only fight once a turn. So to get the second one, for instance, you
  need: 1) to have at least 10 fleets; 2) an OPPONENT with at least 10
  fleets; and 3) all 20 of those fleets in a place where they can have
  1-on-1 duels. (Oh, and 4) you need to win all the fights, but if
  you're like me and like to maintain a massive edge in MP, that won't
  be a problem.) Honestly, my feeling is that if you want to get these
  achievements, you're best served by setting up a multiplayer game with
  a friend and farming them. Be polite and give him a chance to earn
  them off you as well: choose two systems for battlegrounds. Bring 10
  Scouts to one and 10 combat fleets to the other; have him do the same,
  but in reverse. He beats up on your Scouts and vice versa. DON'T USE
  THE RETREAT COMMAND ON YOUR SCOUTS.

  The hardest achievements are "Down but not Out", "Against All Odds"
  and "Endless Pwnage" - Create a Custom Faction with 0 / -100 / -195
  points OR LESS and win a game with it." If you load and max out all
  the disadvantages available, the "highest" you can end up with is -234
  (there are four negative Anomaly traits but you can only have one at a
  time; I chose the most expensive) and, even worse, a larger majority
  of advantage traits will be unavailable.

  Exactly what you choose is up to you, but one particular combination
  is almost impossible to play through: "Pessimistic", any negative
  Anomaly and "Dust-Starved", which removes your 10-Dust treasury at
  gamestart. Starting Approval is so low that you can't jack up your tax 
  rate... but starting Approval is so low that you're in negative income
  to start with and HAVE to jack up your tax rate. At that point, your
  low Approval results in negative Food, causing your starting planet to
  lose Pop. And yes, all this is on Newbie difficulty. So don't do that
  combination. In fact, you might want to think about replacing
  "Pessimistic" with "Optimistic" instead. 25 points is a lot, but so is
  +25 Approval, and you have the point allowance for it.

  And there are some locked achievements: I don't know what they're for
  and how to unlock them. If you (personally) want to go for them and
  try to unlock them, you could do some serious groundbreaking. And
  there's plenty of room. The most popular achievement is "Ad Astra" -
  "Play for 10 turns." Less than 20% of game owners on Steam have
  achieved it. All this means is that, by the time the achievements were
  implemented, 80% of owners had moved on, but again, that means you
  have room to make your mark on the metagame. Please note, though, that
  just because an achievement says "0%", that doesn't actually mean no
  one owns it. As far as I'm aware, if the achievement has a description
  next to it of how to get it, that means SOMEone owns it.

  ||  close TRIVIA
   \\===============



   //===========================
  ||  ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS  [6=00]

  First off, thanks to Amplitude Studios for a great game.  We would
  none of us be here if not for them.

  Secondly, thanks to the Wikia on the game, which helped me orient
  around the game and simplified a lot of the research.

  To my friend Fox Astron of Hunter's Claw Productions, who has helped
  nurture my love of gaming, game design & analysis, and general
  adventurousness.

  And finally, to my friend Dana, who recommended the game in the first
  place. She has proofread this document more than once as it evolved,
  helped with recommendatons, and kept me from getting discouraged in
  my early stages of gameplay, when I couldn't figure out how to, you
  know, not lose.

  ||  close ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
   \\==========================

  |||
   \\\  CLOSE FAQ
    \\\=============