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Monday, October 27, 2014

Civilization: Beyond Earth - Starting Recommendations

Well, according to Steam I've played 26 hours of Civilization: Beyond Earth (CivBE.) According to Raptr I've played 17 hours. The discrepancy is due to an incomplete shutdown of my first session of CivBE. Though the window closed, the executable hung in the background and continued to count as play time. However, since my brain is smarted than either Raptr or Steam, I can tell you unequivocally that I've put in a deep space voyage worth of hours playing CivBE. Okay, for the OCD inclined out there the actual count is 18 hours. ;)

What's important is that I've played two full games at the standard level (Mercury) and have learned a thing or three about the game. There are lots of "do this and you'll win" posts and videos out there now, so this will not be a "do this and you'll win" sort of post. What I mean is I won't say something puerile like Purity always wins so get to True LEV Tanks as fast as you can. This'll be an observational post, and if it informs you of some things you didn't know great! If it tells you things you already knew, then just count it as validation. That's great too. And just to prove that these observations are indeed validation, I present you with this statistic.

[caption id="attachment_3911" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Contact Victory Contact Victory[/caption]

On my second game of CivBE (out of two,) I managed to win as Hutama following the Purity affinity. The game lasted 378 turns. I chose an Atlantean world with a small map, and therein lies my first point: map selection. When you are just learning the game, do yourself a favor and pick an Atlantean world. This is a world with many large islands instead of a few large continents. It almost assures that you will get a large land mass all to yourself. In my second game playing Polystralia, I ended up on an island with enough room for five good cities, and an ocean separated me from my closest rival.

[caption id="attachment_3912" align="aligncenter" width="800"]A Good Island A Good Island[/caption]

Explore your island as soon as you can. It is paramount that you do this. The aliens will not attack you unless you stop right next to a nest. Then all bets are off. The reason you need to explore is two fold. First, any extra resources you can get from pods or an expedition can only help you this early in the game. If that expedition is on alien bones, then you will recruit an alien to assist you. If you have alien nests on your island, that is about the most helpful thing you can find. Those aliens will ignore your alien. You can saunter right up to the nest and destroy it. Only then will the other aliens turn hostile.

The second reason you need to explore your territory quickly is to learn what resources you have. There are certain technologies you will not be able to pursue without the proper resources. For instance, battlesuits require titanium. Without it you may as well forget the Purity affinity. What's a battlesuit? I'm glad you asked. :)

[caption id="attachment_3913" align="aligncenter" width="800"]True Battlesuits on Guard True Battlesuits on Guard[/caption]

These are my True Battlesuits guarding my Beacon. Those guys that look like giant Roman legionnaires. Aren't they awesome! I've also got a Lev Tank. That can't be built without Floatstone. If you've no Floatstone, don't bother. You'll know if you have Floatstone right off the bat. It's seen from the beginning. Without it you cannot build that unit. You'll not see titanium at the beginning of the game unless you select the Tectonic Scanner. However, all resources are seen by researching the Tier 1 sciences of the Technology Web and that leads me to my next observation.

When you start the game, the fist thing you should research is all the Tier 1 technologies. They are Ecology, Genetics, Computing, Engineering, Physics and Chemistry. It doesn't matter the order. That's a personal choice, but by researching them all you will be able to see all the resources at your disposal. Only then can you start planning for your eventual victory. If you start down the Purity affinity hoping for a Promised Land victory you are going to find it a hard row to hoe without titanium. However, if you have plentiful Xenomass you are all set for the Harmony affinity and a Transcendence victory.

There is one exception to researching all the Tier 1 technologies first. Before you do anything, unless you select the Laboratory as your cargo, you must research Pioneering before anything else. However, that is not for the reason you think. It isn't so you can quickly push out new outposts. I actually advise against that tactic in CivBE until you get your Health firmly under control. You will not win CivBE with prolonged negative Health, and pushing out new outposts too quickly is the easiest way to do that. How important can healthy be you ask? Take a look at my pictures above. My health was at +25 at victory. It had been as high as +30. At that level of health, here are the bonuses you get, and they're well worth it.

  • +10% Culture

  • +10% Science

  • +10% Production

  • +20% Outpost Growth

  • -50% City Intrigue

No, you want Pioneering for the Trade it can bring you. If there is one thing I want to stress most to new players is this: get your trade routes going early, keep them going and add new routes from new cities as fast as you can. Trade is critical to success in CivBE. Initially you can trade with yourself and increase your growth and production. Once you push out and discover the other civilizations, start trading with them. Those routes will bring you an abundance of energy and science for your effort. They as much as anything else will make your time on New Earth (or whatever you want to call it) much easier. Energy can buy almost anything. The more you have, the better off you are. There is no doubting that. On my second game, I saved up my energy so that when an Outpost became a city I could immediately purchase all the health related buildings. And science is the key to victory itself. Trade routes are extremely important to gain lots and lots of both.

I hope this helps firm up in your mind how to approach a game of CivBE. There are many paths to victory. Okay, technically there are only five, but there are many paths to get to those five. What I've tried to outline in this post is what serves all those paths best in my experience to this point. I'll be cure to keep you posted as I continue to explore the great new Civilization game by Firaxis. What's that Firaxis? You want me to start another game? Well, who am I to argue with that? Enjoy!

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