Alright, let’s take a look again at my starting system, Lahat.
As you can see, the system has three planets, only one of which I can currently colonize, which already has three units of population (the blue head figures). Planets have two traits: environment and size. The environment determines how much of each resource (food, industry, dust, and science, collectively FIDS) the planet produces, while size determines how much total population the planet can hold (which acts as a multiplier on FIDS production). To reflect their hive-like society, the Cravers have the crowded planets trait, which grants them an additional max population for tiny, small and medium planets. Rougher environments, like the barren and desert seen here, require special technologies to colonize.
Endless space helps simplify colony management by keeping most decisions at the system level (see me talk more in-depth about system management here), but you do get to set one “exploitation” for each planet, which continually provides a boost of one of the FIDS. Because I want my population to grow quickly, I choose the exploitation that increases food production. Although there are only 4 exploitations, you can continually improve them through research throughout the game.
Speaking of which, let’s check out the research screen.
As you can see, research extends in four different directions. I call this the research flower, and each petal focuses on a different kind of technology—combat up top, advanced science to the right, colonization and exploration to the bottom, and diplomacy and logistics to the left. Each faction has some unique techs sprinkled throughout the tree, highlighted with an orange icon. Let’s zoom in a bit…
Here you can see three unique technologies in the left petal. These technologies help with food production and increasing the size of your fleets: with their unique technologies researched, the Cravers can field the largest fleets in the game.
I decide that I want faster fleets (to help with early game expansion),and queue up the technology and close the screen. It’s time to start eating the universe.
I start with a scout ship and a colony ship (represented by the small ship token near Lahat). If I had another colonizable planet in my home system, I might use my colony ship on it right now, to start with an early resource boost. But I do not, and so I must use my scout ship to find a new system to devour.
There are three ways to move in Endless Space. When a galaxy is generated, it creates a certain number of constellations, which are groups of stars that are all linked by pre-defined lanes ships can move along. Wormholes connect constellations to each other, and require a fairly early technology to navigate. Eventually, with a mid-game technology, your ships can travel through empty space.
Hoping to find a tasty planet nearby, I send my scout (a pre-built ship design called a “Forager”) to the lower left star…
Next: Colonization, heroes, and psychotropic mushrooms.