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Basic Race Design

Author: Art Lathrop
Revised: 1st August 1999
Edited: 31st July 2006 by Altruist (only slightly to straighten the html-code and to correct some typos)

Please note this advice is for new players playing solo in medium universes. Some of it is less valid for smaller or larger universes and team games. This article is partially color coded. The things in red are particularly important. Other colors are just to make the article more legible.

General Types

Just as important (if not more important) than your primary racial trait (PRT) is your design philosophy.

Here are the major ones. You need to have one of these ideas in mind when you play.



In my opinion you can break up the PRT's into three groups - economic, war, and special. Economic PRT's have advantages that will give them higher resources than other races. War PRT's have no particular advantage for resources, but do have advantages that will help them fight their enemies. Special PRT's are just that. They don't fit into my other categories because their economies differ significantly from the other races. The economic and war PRT's are arrange below in order of the potential size/speed of their economies. Please note that the war PRT's all have the same basic economic advantages (well, PP does have a second planet), so the only thing I am paying attention to for them is the base cost of the race.

Economic PRT's

War PRT's

Special PRT's

Lesser Racial Traits

It is important to remember that you are penalized for taking five or more LRT's. The penalty is not too bad at five, but I would not recommend taking any more LRT's than that.


Depending on your design idea, the growth rate should generally be between 16% and 19%. -F races can consider 20% while HE should definitely pick much lower growth rates. Many AR races have lower growth settings than other races - sometimes as low as 13% to 14%.

HG races should pick habitats that are around 1 in 4 to 1 in 6. HP should look at 1 in 6 to 1 in 10. Races with TT of course should have the narrower habitats. Races with narrow habitats will usually need to also have a single immunity. A single immunity is expensive, but can help a lot. One immunity and having a 1 in 5 or a 1 in 6 habitat is probably every bit as good as having 1 in 4 and no immunity. Monsters with immunities are much easier to play than those without. Most people like taking gravity immunity since if you have IFE, then you do not need to research propulsion in the beginning stages of the game.

When you set up your habitat, remember that radiation is randomly determined. Because of that, you can slide the radiation habitat around and gain points without statistically costing yourself anything. Remember to keep it at least 15 clicks (30 if you have TT) from the edge, if possible. This will guarantee your use of the maximum number of planets. Sliding temperature and gravity is not as good a deal since gravity and temperature distributions are weighted towards the center.

Factories and such

If you are using an HP or hybrid, you can set the colonists/resource to 2500 or so. Otherwise, the general opinion from players seems to be you should probably leave this alone.

If you are using a -F race, set the factory settings to the worst possible level. You might consider slightly improving colonists per resource; however, that can be expensive.

Most races should automatically set factory cost at 9 or even 8 (this is more expensive though). In general increase the total number of factories more than the output of each factory. The germanium box should be checked in most cases (though obviously not for -F).

Typical factory settings for an HP are 15/9/25, while a typical HG will have something around 11-13/8-9/14-17.

Mines should cost three in almost all designs. This is critical to getting faster growth. Most players recommend this also for -F races. Personally, I lean towards a cost of 4 for -F since this will not slow down your economic growth; however, most people feel that 3 is a better choice (though perhaps only marginally). A common mistake beginners make is to reduce the quality of their mines. It is very important that you do not reduce the output per mine nor reduce the total number of mines. Efficient mines are very important for your early growth and late in the game, mineral production is actually more important than total factory output.


Don't think of the base research settings being everything normal. Instead, think of it as everything expensive, except for inexpensive weapons. Cheap weapons are critical in all but the slowest games. If you think about taking anything else as not expensive, ask yourself what level of technology you need to get in that field, how critical is that field to you, and what will you lose by doing so. For example, even with SS that has lots of electronic goodies, I do not take cheap electronics. This is because the highest tech item I NEED is the battle nexus (tech 19). That is not that high (and it is not even an SS item), so I don't feel that I should take cheap electronics (or even normal electronics). Construction on the other hand is a field that many will take as normal or cheap. While this does not help your habitability (like cheap weapons can), construction is usually the second field that needs to be researched to tech 26. Having this cheap or normal helps tremendously.

Please note that AR, definitely should take -50% for energy. -F races may need cheaper technology since their overall production will be lower than other races.

Art Lathrop

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