The colony is initially formed by placing a ship with a colony section in the system and requesting that the section be deployed. Depending on the technology of the colony section, the initial population of the colony will be 50+. Colonies cannot be renamed, but you can leave notes on each colony.
A colony will appear in any combat that takes place in the system.
All colonies in SotS are single-planet systems, for gameplay purposes. There are no multiple–planet systems in SotS, either on the strategy map or represented in Tactical Combat. Also, there are no binary star systems.
Larger resource poor worlds are still capable of producing a large amount of money for an Empire if colonized. Smaller planets are less defensible as they do not have the population to survive as long in combat, and are incapable of building the more powerful defense satellites.
The Size class of a planet ranges from 1 to 10, and the maximum population of a planet is equal to 100 Million for each size class. The size of a planet does not affect the Industrial Output produced Infrastructure and Resources — a size–10 planet with 50 million people will produce exactly as much as a size–1 planet with 50 million people. Of course, a size–10 planet with 1 billion people will produce considerably more.
Unlike games that have metal or other things to be harvested and then depleted, SotS abstracts the resource level of a planet in terms of renewable resources. All things being equal, and with a high tech eye to recycling and replanting, a planet's resource base remains the same and feeds the infrastructure at a steady pace.
Thus the higher the resource rating the more attractive the planet will be to everyone in the game.
However, sometimes there is no time to be green and if a player needs a serious boost in construction points, industry can be put into overharvest mode. The planetary resource base can be consumed in a non-renewable way for a significant bonus. Each resource point overharvested will produce 10 points of industrial output, modified by industrial technologies. Overharvest ignores Infrastructure, making it a quick but dirty way to develop a new colony. With starting tech, it is possible to Overharvest 2% of a planet's total resources every turn. The random tech Mega-Strip Mining allows you to overharvest 10% of a planet's resources in one turn. Despite what you'd think about "mega strip mining", Overharvest does not cause any climate hazard.
There is a news event warning you every 5 turns of overharvest (and when you double click a news event the map centers on where it happens). On the colony summary list (and on the main sidebar when you have a planet selected) when you overharvest the resource total turns red and in brackets you see how many points are going to be destroyed when the turn cycles.
The resources of a colony can be increased by using mining ships equipped with the proper section to bring in resources from another system. The system supplying the resources permanently loses a certain amount, and the receiving colony gains a quarter of that amount as a permanent increase to the resources of the planet. The other three quarters act as an overharvest bonus on the turn the resources are delivered. E.g. If you harvest 600 resources from the other system, 450 will be overharvest while the other 150 are added to the planet's resource base permanently.
Infrastructure represents the industrial development of a colony. The more infrastructure a colony has, the better it is able to utilize the local planetary resource base to produce ships and/or taxable goods.
The second expansion, A Murder of Crows, introduced Civilian Populations as well as the Imperial Populations previously present.
The population limit is 100 million X size of planet per Population type ( Imperial / Civilian /Slave ). A size 7 planet is larger than average and has a maximum population of 700 million of each of Imperials and Civilians or Slaves.
A planet is initially populated by deploying a colony section in the system. Population can be further added to a colony by any ship with a colony section.
Planet population growth is based on the planetary environment, racial bonuses and any technologies that apply. Depending on these conditions it can take anywhere from 15 to 30 turns to fill a size 7 world.
Imperial Population is restricted to your own race.
Imperial Populations are required for Production and Research
Imperial Population growth is maxed at 50 million per turn.
Civilian Population can be from any race you have the technology to support. Initially that will only be your own race.
Civilian Populations provide an Income base ( taxes, trade et al ).
Standard colonizer sections do not contain Civilian Population so result in a new colony having no Civilian Population. The more technologically advanced Biome Colonizer Section does contain Civilian Population that is added to a colony when deployed.
Civilian Population will spread throughout your empire as the game progresses through the use of the Proliferate technologies provided you have set the per colony maximum above 0 for each race. You start with Proliferate for your own race but must research it for any other race.
Civilian Population growth is maxed at 20 million per turn across the entire Civilian Population. If you have Civilians from 4 races on a single colony, population growth will be some combination of numbers across all 4 races to a total of 20 million, not 20 million per race.
Civilian Populations above 100 million have their own morale, with Civilians of each race on a colony having separate morale values.
With low morale, Civilian Population on a colony can rebel against the Imperial Population, resulting in internecine warfare until one of the population types is victorious.
While other species start with Civilian Populations on each colony initially, the Zuul do not have Civilian Populations and rely solely on their Imperial Population for Income and Production until they collect Slaves.
The Zuul can capture Slaves by the use of either ship technologies — such as the Wraith Abductor or the Scavenger Section — or by the use of xeno technologies such as the third level language technologies or the Subjugate technologies.
Zuul Slave Population can be from any non–Zuul race. Slaves captured from another Zuul empire or independant will become Imperial Population when returned to a Zuul colony.
A non–Zuul race can obtain Slave Population by researching Dominate Zuul and Subjugate Zuul and obtaining either a Colony or Empire surrender from a Zuul empire. In the case of a Zuul surrender to a non–Zuul, the Slave Population will be the remaining Zuul Imperial Population of the surrendering colony / empire.
Slave Population growth is negative, with Slaves dying every turn as determined by the amount of hardship you apply to them.
The number of production units a colony produces in a turn. Both a world's industrial output and its financial return depend on the combination of population and infrastructure. Industrial output depends more on infrastructure (multiplied by resources) than on population.
Industrial output is used to build infrastructure, terraform the planet or build ships. Output that is not used to build may be used to increase colony income through trade.
Amount of funds a colony generates in a turn. Both a world's financial return and its industrial output depend on the combination of population and infrastructure. Cash flow depends more on population then infrastructure. Any industrial output not used to build ships, infrastructure or for terraforming may be used to increase cash flow.
For all species, the Hazard Rating of a system limits the maximum population, and population above that maximum will die off until that maximum is reached (unless Accommodate has been researched).
Environmental hazard will define how much money & production needs to be invested in terraforming the planet to your species' ideal climate. As a result, the initial production available from a planet with a high hazard rating will be very low compared to one closer to your ideal. Of note is that each species in the game rates planets differently, so what is not so healthy for a Liir might suit a Tarka just fine and vice versa. Thus a high hazard planet in your space may actually be a good bargaining chip when dealing with another Empire.
Because of the financial commitment required to maintain a colony when the planetary environment is less than optimal it is possible to become financially overextended by large hazardous worlds.
Optimal environments (i.e. relative 0 on the hazard rating scale) are set randomly for each race (though players of the same race will have the same zero point) at the start of the game. For most races, a hazard rating above 600 makes a world cost prohibitive to colonize. The hazard rating bar itself is a band spanning a couple thousand points.
Terraforming is reversible and any time another species takes over a planet they will shift it towards their particular tastes. Certain weapons can also damage the ecosphere and terraforming may be required to fix things even if you win the battle.
Terraforming of planets will be visible from both the strategy map and in tactical combat. When a planet is terraformed, it will slowly change (based on the speed of the terraforming) to the preferred climate of the species terraforming it. For example: Liir planets will gain more and more water while Humans would strike a balance similar to Earth.
You can boost colony development quickly by repeatedly colonizing it using new colony ships. Each will add their cargo of population and add a infrastructure bonus as the ship is broken up on the surface.
You can choose to overharvest the planetary resource base to get a head start on infrastructure production.
You can scrap ships and the extra resources act like an overharvest bonus for that turn.
Mining ships can bring resources from another system and dump them in colony you wish to boost.
Both the colony's production output and its financial return depend on the combination of population and infrastructure. So a large, poor world will contribute a lot of money to the Empire but will only build ships rather slowly. Whereas a small, rich world is more of an industrial powerhouse that can pump out ships but isn't a trough of money every turn. Small worlds are also very militarily vulnerable while large worlds can take a lot of pounding.
Population can also be increased faster by expenditure on the planetary environment to improve it towards optimal. Infrastructure can also be increased faster by diverting production from building ships or trade goods.
Abandoning a Colony
You can choose to abandon a planet by selecting that colony in the Strategic Interface and choosing the "Abandon planet" button. This is usually done for treaty arrangements with other players or to withdraw from contact with another Empire.
Abandoning a planet will not heal or improve the planet resource base.
Any infrastructure left behind on a planet will slowly decay as the turns go by. Anyone colonizing a planet with infrastructure remaining on it gets that remaining infrastructure as a head start on building their own.
"Abandoned population is...ummmm...recycled"
Is that world Desirable?
A fairly simple equation has been generated by Bakhtosh for determining how desirable a system is:
- Size*10 + Resources/100 + Infrastructure - Hazard Rating Difference/10
|–90 to 30||Rocks||Not a good investment|
|30 to 60||Unfavored Worlds||Hold off until your economy is booming|
|60 to 80||Secondary Targets||Use these to keep your colony expenses close to the 50% mark or when you are low on Favored Worlds — you will want all of these eventually|
|80 to 110||Favored Worlds||These will end up being the cornerstones of your empire — grab them and get them built up ASAP|
|110+||Peach||These will be few in number and should be colonized at all costs|
Bakhtosh notes the following:
In the early game, flag any worlds that have a Hazard Difference of 300+ and hold off on colonizing them unless they're already a Peach or you are low on Favored Worlds.
A Peach will generally have 2 very good statistics — it will either be large and wealthy, large and habitable or wealthy and habitable. It is possible to have 3 moderate stats:
- Size 7
- 5500 resources
- 130 hazard difference
- score = 112, but that is still a world that will be putting out a lot of income and production for you.
This formula places a huge bonus on pre–existing Infrastructure. If a world already has 50 Infrastructure, it only needs fair statistics to make it a Peach.
I have played games where you do not have any Peaches and Favored Worlds are hard to come by. You may need to adjust those ranges to fit your game. Of course, you may need to colonize a secondary or unfavorable world for its strategic value, and there are exceptions to the formula: a size 9 world that was strip–mined by another race, would still be valuable if it is in your habitable band ( of course, even with 0 resources, it starts at a 90 and only becomes unfavorable if the Hazard Difference is 300+ ). The population will make enough production to build your defenses, and it will be an economic powerhouse. On the other end of the spectrum are size 1 worlds. Even with a 0 Hazard Difference, a undeveloped size 1 world would need more than 5000 resources to have a score above 60.