Strategic direction is given to your empire during the turn based portion of the game.
It is in this part of the game that you control the research efforts of your Empire, build your Empire's facilities to further your goals, communicate with foe and friend & send fleets off on expeditions to explore or exterminate.
When you are satisfied, you tell the game you have completed your turn.
Events that occurred as a result of the preceding turn are highlighted by two methods.
- Scrolling text summary along the bottom of the strategic interface.
- Graphical event indicators at the top right of the strategic interface.
You can set your colonies to do some or all of the following:
- build infrastructure
- terraform the planet
- research new technologies
- generate taxable revenue
- produce ships
You design the various ships that will be required during the game. Once you have designed the ship and named the design, that design will be available for your colonies to produce.
You decide which colonies will build which ships and how many. Each colony can produce multiple ships per turn with enough production units and money. Extra production carries over to the next Turn.
You can then assign destinations to ships or fleets, and choose whether to send them via available FTL means or via STL travel if available or required.
While there are no waypoint settings, fleets can change direction during any turn and other Empires will not "see" it until the turn updates.
This does not apply to Humans in nodespace as they are committed to that nodeline until exit at a star system.
Fuel is an abstract and there is only one "type" of it which represents a variety of starship support materials. Engine technologies represent better usage of "fuel" by longer ranges for ships using the higher tech engine sections. Each class of ship burns x number of fuel points per light year traveled. Obviously the larger the ship class the bigger the number X is. Tankers have Y amount of fuel points carried in their tanks for use by themselves or any other ship in range. Refueling can be done by "hand" where you go into the fueling interface and decide who gets how much, or you can set your fleet to auto refuel and it will fill up as necessary. Tankers refill their main tanks at any friendly world or refinery ship. Refinery ships are Cruiser sized tankers that can refine their own fuel from the resource points of systems.
The only really built in fuel warning is for Human ships as they cannot do FTL leaps that exceed their fuel range. Then the warning is "do you want to attempt this by STL?". You will be able to set warnings on for other races. There is a big visual clue to over range travel orders as your path line changes color past your maximum range.
While you can intercept other fleets using STL, the chances of intercepting an FTL fleet in this manner is considered remote.
Within the research interface you can:
- choose which technologies to research
- track your efforts at obtaining that technology
- decide whether to risk adverse effects by boosting your research efforts
If you control the site of a recent battle (from the combat round just completed) and have a ship with a salvage section there, the salvager can work on obtaining information from any wrecked ships or planetary infrastructure. This may allow you to obtain information leading to research branches from another Empire's technology tree, though the possibility is very small.
You can communicate with other Empires you have made contact with to (provided you have researched their language):
Once all Empires have completed their turns, the game then compiles all of the turns.
The length of the strategic turn may be time limited depending on the game settings. Once time runs out it is the same effect as all players have ended their turns.
While waiting for other players to finish their turn or during the tactical segment while other battles are being played out, you have full view capabilities for your Empire, so you can plan your next turn. You are also allowed to design ships, set formations and set opening positions for a fleet, even though you cannot move ships from one fleet to another or merge the fleets themselves. And, with a research option, you can view battles within your sensor range that you're not even participating in! You will be able to see what your enemy's ship configs and tactics are like without the risk of losing ships!
You will get kicked out of the design screen when a battle you are involved in starts or the turn changes. You can return to the design screen after the battle and it will be exactly at the point where you left it.
This creates an inter-turn phase where you get a list of combats that involve you, showing what ships are involved and where they are located. You can then set any or all of these combats to manual control or tell the AI to auto-resolve the combat for you. For example: a single scout has stumbled into overwhelming trouble, and you'd rather pay attention to a much bigger fight.