A beginning is a very delicate time. Know then that the year is 3000AD and the Benevolent Emperor Runz I has ascended the Imperial Throne of the United Empire, a race of terrans who have evolved in the Arcturus System deep in the galactic south. At this time the most precious substance in the known universe is the Dust; self replicating nanite machines left over from a long dead alien race known as the Endless. Dust powers technology, dust can create and destroy with a thought, it can expand minds and it functions as an intergalactic currency as it is coveted by all who know of it in the universe. The Empire must flourish, the dust must flow!
3000AD OK So I'm playing as the United Empire in this playthrough, or the Great and Bountiful Runz Empire as I prefer to call it, and I'm sat down on some little mudball fairly far in the galactic south. The United Empire is something of a Corporate State which in theory is ruled over by an aristocracy but in reality is rather fractured and is largely run by the corporations. However, this business mindset gives them large economic bonuses to dust production and exploitation. They're also a fairly strong military force, although not as strong as some other races, and they gain bonuses on ship experience gains and on system defence from invasions. There's a good chance I will be using the Empire's economic prowess to fund rapid colonial expansion backed up by a small but elite military force. I've decided to play on a Huge Spiral Galaxy map with seven other empires, so all the races in the game are represented and it works out roughly one empire per spiral arm constellation and an empty constellation in the middle which will likely be the scene of early confrontations. My starting position isn't too bad honestly, Acturus is a decent White Star system with five planets on it; one Terran (or earth like) planet, one artic, one gas, one barren and one lava. I have an early supply of Titanium 70, which is a strategic resource used in later ship construction, and a luxury resource of Concrete Artifacts left behind from the Endless. The early prospects look pretty good at this stage, I have shipping routes to four other systems, three of which are yellow sun systems which typically have easily colonisable worlds. I may be able to very quickly establish some high population systems to give me an early start against the competition.
You start the game with one Scout ship and one Colony ship, the first order of business is to build a starting industrial base so that I can churn out more colony ships as quickly as possible. The United Empire is quite expansionist and if I'm fully going to exploit those dust bonuses I need to start occupying systems and getting a healthy population. Thankfully one of the Empire's starting technologies is the use of Heavy Isotope Factories which give a production bonus. The Empire must expand, I must seize those nearby colonies as fast as possible before I run into my galactic neighbours as then the pressure to settle worlds really increases. For my starting research I opt for Soil Xenobiology, which gives additional food for the systems its built in, again helping to give my early settlers the best possible start. My scout ship is sent rim-ward to the galactic south whilst my colony ship looks towards the nearest yellow sun system to occupy.
3002AD My first colony ship arrives in the Tekal System and immediately colonise a mid-sized ocean world, Tekal IV, for the glory of the Empire. Tekal is a smart looking system with five planets and abundant natural resources. There is little else to do at this stage is the Empire cannot take the strain on either its industry or population to launch another colony ship at this early stage, instead the glorious Emperor Runz I, also known as Runz the Wise, and Runz the Sizeably Lunchboxed, commands that scientists work heart on base levels technologies in all fields of research, and to expand this specifically into Exploration and Colonisation once initial technologies have been established.
The next few years are largely spent scouting out nearby systems and my earlier optimism that a nearby wealth of easily colonised systems quickly proves to be unfounded. None of the larger nearby systems have colonisable planets, meaning I'm going to have to dedicate early research time to learning how to exploit these worlds and fast, and any systems which can be colonised has too few planets and low population caps, meaning that at this early stage in the game they would cause more harm to my overall prosperity than good. However, my scout (who I have fondly named Maverick due to his fly by the seat of his pants nature) has found the systems of Rhea and Kuma deep in the galactic south close to the rim, both hold arid and tundra worlds which are usually goods sources of dust and are so far removed from the rest of the galaxy that I doubt I will have much trouble defending them during later stages of the game. Rhea in particular holds a wealth of Titanium 70 which is needed for early shipbuilding as some luxury resources which boosts empire happiness and gives other bonuses if you hold a monopoly on the resource. If I can just get colony research done and finish factory construction I can start producing more colony ships and really get things going.
Exploration of the core-ward worlds reveals the system known as Tercana; filled with a diverse number of planets including a quickly colonisable large ocean world, it presents the opportunity for a large industrial frontier colony for the empire. More importantly, the ocean world has a low field of gravity which makes children really really happy and the provides an ideal tourist destination (I'm not shitting you, low gravity grants +10 approval - low gravity is fun!).
3015AD 15 Years after man first head out into the stars, Maverick (our intrepid scout) has finally completed his survey of the local galactic arm. It reveals that I'm in a fairly strong position within an isolated star constellation. Entry to and from the local neighbourhood is restricted by three wormholes on the core-ward systems of Tercana, Tekal and Aeri. In time I will need to research how to exploit wormholes but for now the development of my industrial complex and further colonisation of worlds remains my clear focus.
3020AD Eighteen years have passed since our first colony was established outside the homeworld we finally settle another world, putting a total of three systems under imperial control. Tercana III, the ocean world with low gravity, is chosen and children everywhere celebrate with the nationally enforced and not at all contrived "We Love Emperor Runz Day"; attendance is mandatory, failure to comply will result in immediate termination. Growth is slow, much slower than I originally planned, but steady at least as the second planet in the Tekal System, a dust rich arid planet, is also colonised. By 3027AD a third system, Aeri, is also brought into the loving embrace of the empire meaning we now control all access points into our local constellation due to the establishment of these outposts on the frontier worlds. Within another year Arcturus II will also be settled, further increasing the industrial capability of the Imperial Capital and setting us up nicely for the coming years ahead.
This seems like a pretty good place to stop for now, we're largely secure with the early establishment of our outposts and we're gearing up for major expansion in the next few years to secure the resource rich worlds. Hopefully I'll see you again for Part two which will be out next Wednesday.