Alpha Centauri – Tips and Tricks for Getting Started

Before you play the Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri game, you will definitely want to know these simple but useful tips and tricks. If you have any tips feel free to share with us!

Things to Know Before Playing

  • Research, research, research.
  • Garrison your bases with one unit with basic weapons and the best armor you have, and one Mind Worm. If you are at war or think you will be soon, add more beef to your outlying bases, but this is enough for most cases.
  • Trade pacts are generally a good thing. The $$$ isn’t huge, but they make the other factions friendlier.
  • Air power. Once you get planes (then choppers) outfitted with a decent weapon, you pretty much can’t lose. Gravships are funky, but not really needed.
  • Don’t use Planet Busters unless you are willing to go to war with everyone.
  • Don’t try to corner the global energy market. It costs a fortune, and by the time you can, grinding the other factions into paste should be a trivial matter anyway.
  • If it is rocky, or has a Minerals Bonus, mine it. If it’s Rainy or Moist, Farm It. If Anything Else, Forest It. This will serve you the best for terraforming.
  • Forests provide 1 Nutrient, 2 Minerals, 1 Energy(Stacking on top of natural bonuses like Jungle, Rivers, or Landmarks like Uranium). Early game(Before techs that break those restrictions), you’re limited to a maximum production of 2 Nutrients, 2 Minerals, 2 Energy per square unless the square has a Bonus Symbol on it(The bonus symbols aren’t limited by tech). Thus, they are very powerful, though Farming may be better for raw growth given every population point needs 2 Nutrients to live.
  • Later improvements improve the yield of Forests for bases drawing on them significantly, from 1/2/1 to 2/2/1, then 3/2/2, as well as improving your economy in various ways. In addition to all this, they don’t harm the environment like your standard improvements(Mines, Farms, etc), thus evading Fungal Blooms(Which destroy terrforming) and Mindworm assaults caused by such. Also, Forests spread on their own and can even puch away Fungus for you.
  • Why Mine Rocky/Mineral Squares? Because they provide the most minerals. The problem with Mines is the square will also produce 1 less Nutrient inherently. This isn’t usually a problem, but it’s something to be aware of, especially with sea squares. Is +1 Mineral to the square worth -1 Food?

Sea Bases and sea squares in generals tend to be very profitable in terms of Food and Energy-Kelp Farms produce 3 food, Tidal Harnesses produce 3 Energy, where the Mine is only +1 mineral(Killing the Nutrient that the square produces naturally and leading to 2/2/0 when fully terraformed, 3/3/0 with base improvements). This is part of what makes the Pirates so ridiculous-with their extra mineral from Ocean Shelf, they’re 2/1/2 or 3/1/3 after restrictions for every shelf square, improving to 4/1/4 with certain base enhancements. Even their Deep Ocean squares are 3/0/3(4/0/4) since they can(With tech) improve those squares where others cannot.

The Gaians are a new player’s best friend. Getting +1 Nutrients from Fungus gives you a heck of a lot of leeway in base placement, given they already start with the means to draw resources from Fungus, so they can feed people off the Fungus with no issue right from the start.