Star Ruler 2

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  • Each racial type plays differently to a greater or lesser degree. For example Mechanoids don't breed, they build more of themselves. Stick with Terrakin at first to familiarize yourself with the game, they've got nothing fancy going on.
  • Similarly, there are multiple types of FTL in the game, and you do need to familiarize yourself with those, because even if you're only using one, other races will be using others. Also be aware that 'FTL' exists and is a global resource, so you'll need to manage that. Briefly;
  • Hyperdrive involves sticking a jump drive onto your ships and boosting them at very high, but not instant, speeds across space. This allows for great maneuverability because it doesn't depend on any external infrastructure other than your FTL resource.
  • Slipstream lets you rip open temporary wormholes through which ships can move instantly. Powerful for moving fleets long distances, but it takes time to charge up, and the far end can be seen before it opens, allowing enemies to react and ambush you. Also slipstream holes can be used by anyone. For attacking, fire the far end at interstellar space near your target system, but not inside it.
  • Fling Beacons are basically gigantic cannons that fire ships away from them. No matter what you send, or how far, it will arrive 10 seconds after being fired, and I believe cost only depends on the mass of what you're firing, not distance, so they tend to be FTL-cheap. These are great for attackers because you can just fire your fleets at the enemy system and unlike Slipstream they won't see you coming. However, you'll have to either build another one at the other end or slowboat home.
  • Gates are, well, gates. They are permanent stable connections, and a ship entering any gate of yours can jump to any other gate instantly. Gates can only be used by the empire that built them; they can't be subverted, stolen, or otherwise used by anyone else (including allies I believe). The Gate stations themselves can be destroyed or boarded as usual, but if boarded, the gate is no longer connected to your network. Gate can be packed up and (slowly) moved as well, so you don't have to build them all in their final destination systems. Finally, they have an FTL cost when you unpack one, and a small static FTL cost per open gate. Overall I find these the most powerful and useful, but I'm a turtle player.
  • Several global resources might not have income of any kind at game start, most notably Influence and Research. You do want to secure those in a timely manner, but it is typically not critical on normal play if you can't get it going right away, especially as you can often substitute one resource for another, such as buying a tech with cash.
  • Planets depend on resources to level up. Leveling planets up is absolutely vital to success because more people means more income and more potential for resources like energy, research, and influence. A Level 0 planet (i.e. newly colonized) can only house 1 billion people and is a drain on your economy. Hitting level 1 requires a source of food and water. Often it's not worth leveling a food or water exporting planet; focus on the Tier I, II, and III resource worlds, your homeworld, and anything special you might come across that benefits from as higher planet level. FTL Crystals are a good example there, the higher the level, the higher your FTL income. Basically you will be constructing big hierarchical pyramids of worlds, where you export food and water to Tier I planets, Tier I resources, food, and water to Tier II planets, and basically all levels of resources to a couple of high-level worlds. (Make sure to build a Taxation Center on a couple of high-pop worlds, makes a huge difference to income.)
  • That's a bit overwhelming at first and forms probably the most important thing you need to wrap your head around. If you're having trouble I would recommend setting up a game with plenty of systems and not many enemies, just so you've got some time to sandbox around and get the hang of it all.
  • Finally, a note about money and income. It operates on three-minute cycles, per the bar at the top left. You do not just get your Income - Costs each cycle, as you might expect, so you can't save up for big expenses. Rather, the amount that comes in is the whole amount you have that cycle, and it will all be wiped away clean when the next cycle ticks, at which point you will have the new amount. (Which you can preview just above the time controls). This is a little complicated but I'll try to give an example to clarify things:
Suppose you have income of $500 and no expenses. Your first cycle will see you have $500 to spend.
Spend $100 on something that has no maintenance cost. You now have $400.
Now the budget cycle ticks, and you are back up to $500 to spend. That is because the amount of you have to spend is dictated per cycle by Income minus your Costs.
Second cycle, you spend $200 on something that also has $400 Maintenance costs. You now have $300 to spend in the rest of this cycle.
Now the budget cycle ticks. You now have $100 to spend. Where did that $200 go? It vanished into the ether. This is a lot less obnoxious than you might expect once you get used to it, but it will take some getting used to.
  • This also means you will frequently go into and come out of debt, especially in the early game, when you do things which have an immediate cost but not an immediate benefit. Colonization is the obvious example. Don't worry about debt too much unless it becomes persistent, and remember the best way to fix it is, 90% of the time, to grow your population.