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    FAQ/Strategy Guide by scrye493

    Updated: 01/19/13 | Search Guide | Bookmark Guide

       ///  OPEN FAQ
      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
         •PURPLE - Strategic Resources like Titanium-70. Their unlocks are
           all in AS, and unlike Whites they unlock one topic at a time.
         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
      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,
      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
      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
      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
      /  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
      •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"
      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:
      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 
      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.
      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.
      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.
      This topic is moved three tiers earlier for the UE. It contains (an
      unmodified version of) the most powerful Armor module in the game.
      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.
      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.
      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.
      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.)
      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.
      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.
      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.
      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.
      An upgraded version of the tech of the same name, it unlocks an
      improved Invasion module.
      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.
      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.
      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.
      Replacing the tech of the same name, it gives you the Yellow Adaptive
      Tariffs, an improved Adaptive Taxation Systems.
      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.
      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.
      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.
      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.
      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.
      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.
      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.
      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. 
      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.
      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.
      Replacing a tech of the same name, it grants a unique Missile module
      to the Cravers.
      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 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.
      A moved version of the tech of the same name, it is available three
      tiers early. This means a larger Academy cap earlier.
      The sole Unique tech in the Horatio tree, this unlocks the Greenhouse
      Shields, a Green that simply adds +20 F on the Star System.
      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?
      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.
      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
      /  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.
      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.
      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).
      This technology is moved two tiers cheaper and unlocks Tundra
      transformation that much faster.
      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.
      Replacing "Improved Fleet Management," this tech unlocks a revised
      Hero tech that grants a +30% Bonus EXP on a bunch of different events.
      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.
      This tech has been moved down a whopping FOUR TIERS, making Hero
      leveling and Hero arrival that much faster.
      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.
      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 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
      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

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