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Your colonies are critical. They produce the wealth that powers your empire through tax revenue. However they take time to grow, so be careful to concentrate your defenses (troops and ships) on your well-established colonies. This is key to your initial growth.
Colonizing New Worlds
To create new colonies you must build colony ships and send them to habitable planets. When the ship arrives at a colonizable world, it will create a new colony and join your empire. When a new colony is established, the colony ship is dismantled and removed from the game. Note that you can only build colony ships at colonies with populations of 500 million or more.
Colonies can only be established on worlds that are not located within another empire's territory.
Each alien race has a native planet type that they can colonize at the start of the game. Researching new colonization technology is required to colonize other types of worlds. As your technology levels increase through research you will progressively be able to colonize the following types of planets:
In addition, you can always attempt to colonize a planet in neutral space that has a pre-existing population. These are known as independent colonies and by sending your colonists to settle on the world, depending upon the two races' instinctive regard for one another, they may persuade the independent colony to join your empire. This has the advantage of bringing a fully thriving colony into your empire by peaceful means. Furthermore you may also receive a bonus gift from these new citizens upon their entry to your empire. However, if the native population reject your colonization attempt, then not only will the colony ship be dismantled and wasted, your colonists will also die.
Colony ships allow you to colonize other planets, founding new worlds for your empire.
Colony ships are consumed when a new colony is established. The resources from the ship are used to give the colony a kickstart.
Colony ships can only be built at other colonies with a population of at least 500 million. When the colony ship is built, it takes 30, 60, or 100 million colonists from the colony. The amount of colonists depends upon the colony module used. Only one colony module per ship can be used to carry colonists to a new colony. Multiple colony modules serve no purpose and will not increase the initial population of your new colony. The type of colonists transported depends on the dominant species of the planet building the ship. A colony ship will never transport mixed alien species, no matter how diversified the colony was that built it.
Colony ships are massive. Since they are built at colonies, they do not have the same size restriction as other ships. As a result, they take significantly more time to build. Colonies with high population and development will build the colony ship faster. In addition, colony ships require a great deal of resources. If your empire has a shortfall of necessary resources, your colony ship construction may stall.
You can cycle through colony ships and exploration ships using the "X" key in-game.
Take note that colony ships are particularly vulnerable to attack, so make sure the target system is secure from pirates, space monsters, and enemy warships before you send them on their mission.
Each planet and moon has a quality rating that indicates how habitable it is. The highest quality planets have a rating of 100%. These should be prime targets for colonization.
However, any planet or moon with a quality rating below 50% should be avoided. These planets, even when fully populated, will cost more to support than they generate in revenue. This will drain your empire's overall economy. Despite this, there may be situations where you will want to colonize a poor quality planet, for example, it may have valuable resources or serve to expand your max colonization range. Just beware the negative effects.
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