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Strategy guide by Dream Focus. If you have your own strategy guide please make a new file for it and link to it at List of strategy guides for Alpha Centauri.

Different factions have different strategies they follow. What works for one, may not work as well for others.

Social engineering[]

Before making changes in your social engineering menu, you should be aware of which changes will cause which factions to attack you. That should always be weighed in during your decision to change something, since even if you win your conflict with them, you still had to occupy a lot of resources that could've been used for base building and teching up. If it is someone already in vendetta against you, or too weak to matter, or someone you want to attack, you can fight them without taking a hit to your integrity rating, so there is no reason not to do it then.

Also note that an enemy can not attack you if they are busy fighting someone else at the moment. Example: Morgan won't break off a pact with you when you switch to Green economics if he is needing your help to fight his ongoing war with the Hive.

Some factions are more likely to attack you than others if you use a setting that is against what they stand for, depending on their characteristic being aggressive, erratic, or pacifist.

Capturing water bases[]

Even after killing all the defensive units inside a water base with your aircraft, you still can not capture it without a unit that has amphibious ability or a warship. A transport ship can not capture it, nor can the units you attempt to unload in it, unless one of them is amphibious. Even when a water base is built against the land, units on the land can not capture it, without the amphibious ability. They can however enter it after it has been captured by yourself or an ally. Units you can send by airdrop, can not land on water, or a water base. Isle of the deep are able to capture an enemy base.

Faction surrendering[]

When the war is going badly against them, some faction leaders will try to make peace with you. Sometimes they ask for something in return, and at other times they freely agree to a truce. If you reject this, and they are desperate enough, they will offer you energy credits(money) or tech. If you then reject that offer as well, they may admit abject loss and surrender to you. This allows you to control their vote, force them to hand over any technology they research, and you can even force them to give you bases at times. Having another faction under your control means they can send out probe teams to steal tech from other factions, and if they get caught it doesn't affect you any, and you still get any technology they steal.

Environmental impact[]

You shouldn't try to keep your environmental impact to a minimum in the early stages of the game. Instead get it as high as possible, as quickly as possible. The first time the planet tries something, it'll just make fungus appear, and destroy a mine or a road. Your environmental damage score is now half what it was. After the second fungus bloom attack, its now at zero, even when you rebuild and do everything you were doing before. The planet has become used to you at that amount. It is therefor much better to have your rating as high as possible before the first bloom. The more bore holes, the better.

You should be aware that if you heat up the planet too much, the world will flood. Once the required technology has been researched, you can put it to a planetary vote to raise a solar shield and cool the planet off again. You can also use terraformers to raise the elevation of the land around your bases. Bases with pressure domes built can become sea bases if the water level rises, while those without it will be lost to the sea. This can be used as a way to attack your enemy.

Building various base facilities will lower your environmental impact. This isn't based on a set number, but instead is relevant to how much damage you are currently doing. So building all of them when your base is doing no harm at all, totally wastes them. Try to at least switch to doing as much harm as possible, before the final turn when one of these things is completed.

Supply crawlers[]

Once you have researched Industrial Automation, you can start to produce supply crawlers. They do not require any minerals to support them. They can be placed anywhere not already being worked by another crawler or base personal, and send back either nutrients, minerals, or energy(choose whichever one you want). They can do this from anywhere on the map. You can also send them to another base, and have them ferry over one nutrient, mineral, or energy from that base each turn, or you can sacrifice them to help with a secret project being done at the destination base. The amount of minerals used to build them, is the exact amount given to the secret project. So in essence, you have multiple bases working on the same secret project at once, just be sending crawlers to them. If you have mag tubes connecting bases, then this speeds up the building of secret projects even more, as crawlers can get there as soon as they are constructed.

When building a new base, you can send supply crawlers along with the colony pod, and after the base is established, right click on them from the base screen and have them supported from there. You can also have them choose to transfer resources from the base they are currently assigned to.

Even after they've moved, you can still select a supply crawler and set what resource you want it to send back to base. If multiple units are on that same tile though, you have to select the base, and then click the supply crawler you want listed in the bottom right corner with the other units assigned to that base, then choose activate unit, and you can then set it to what you want.

Gaining technology[]

Gaining technology is how you stay ahead of your competition, and dominate them. You can gain it through three methods.

  1. Trade technology you have with another faction for what they have. Early on you can get a huge boost by speaking to all factions, and doing some trading, you ending up with far more than any of them. Some will trade for energy credits, or a copy of your world map instead of just for research.
  2. Stealing it from other groups by use of either probe teams, the secret project Planetary Datalinks which allows you to know any technology that at least three others know already, from conquering a base and seizing one technology from them, or from threatening to attack them if they don't hand it over to you. Some are more easily intimidated than others. If you have already defeated them in a war, and forced them to submit to you, you get all the technology they discover freely of course. If you get caught stealing from a much weaker faction you have a pact with, they will cancel the pact. You can then contact them back again, and ask to have a pact with them, and they will agree, so no harm done.
  3. Researching it. The energy you get from each base, or from trade pacts, can be used for research. In the social engineering section you can determine how much of the energy to use for labs, it usually best to just use 100% of it. You can also change between what type of government you use, and that will affect your research rating. Your research rating is also determined by what faction you are playing. You can also build various base facilities to give a bonus to your labs. After the necessary technology is researched, you can turn workers into Librarians and later Thinkers which also gives a bonus to the labs at that base. Various secret projects help also such as the supercollider. A good thing to do is to hit F2, see how long it takes to complete the next technology, then see just how much faster it goes if you turn a citizen into a Librarian or Thinker.
Note: When choosing what technology to research next, it limits you by a secret formula. You might want to research Doctrine Air Power, knowing you have Synthetic Fossil Fuels and Doctrine: Flexibility, the two requirements for it, but when it comes time to choose a new research goal, that isn't listed there at all. I had this happen before, then trade something with an AI player for Optical Computers, and then I clicked F2 and changed my research goal, and Air Power was now listed there as an option. Whether any specific technology is needed, or it just the number of technologies you have total, or the number of each type, no one knows.

New bases[]

Building new bases is important. The secret project Planetary Transit System will allow any new base to start with three workers in it. If you don't have enough food about to feed them, some will abandon you. Having another unit move along with your colony pod works well for protecting it as well as being there to act as a police unit, thus allowing you to use all three workers to harvest resources, instead of having to have one act as a doctor or empath to prevent a drone riot.

Sometimes the extra time it takes to make a drop pod ability for a colony pod you are building, is far less than the time it would take to move it somewhere on its own. If you do a drop outside of a base, you take 20% health damage, and you can drop a maximum of 8 tiles away. Losing health doesn't matter as long as the pod isn't destroyed.


Focus on producing more food(nutrients) to increase your base population, more minerals for unit and base facilities production, and energy for research or saved as energy credits to speed up the construction of something during an emergency. Energy can also be used to buy technology from other factions. You can use supply crawlers to send resources from one base to another.

There is a terraforming command to drill down and make a river appear at that spot. This gives a one-point energy bonus to that spot. You can even do this where you have boreholes at, getting 7 energy instead of 6 from them.

Probe teams[]

Enemy probe teams can prevent you from getting ahead of everyone else in the tech race, as well as causing other problems. There are places where you can stop them from sneaking in, just by having units set out to block their path. You can place bases in strategic choke areas, to block in a faction that sends its probe teams up through that route to get at you.

Probe teams are an effective way of getting your strongest opponents to attack each other, thus weakening one another, while you have time to get ahead. Simply do something, and have them make it look like someone else did it instead. If detected, the one you attacked will go to war with you, so either save your game before hand and reset and try again, or just do this for someone you want to war with. This is better than attacking them first, since you can remain noble. Your nobility rating helps make certain other factions trust you. Using probe teams to spy, sabotage, assassinate, and steal technology is a perfectly acceptable act, while attacking someone with other units is an act of war.

If ever another faction suddenly seems angry and declares vendetta upon you, its usually because of this reason. Sometimes you will receive word that one faction was caught trying to frame you by hacking into another's network and blaming you, and you will be given the option to declare vendetta or ignore the incident. Surprisingly, perhaps because of a bug/oversight in the program, the faction they initially attacked with the probe team will not become angry or declare vendetta upon the attacker, and will even maintain a pact with them.

Ending and starting conflict painlessly[]


There are times when at the start of a conflict, you can take over any enemy base whatsoever, and they will contact you asking for peace. They will usually demand you join them in war against an enemy of theirs, then after rejecting that, they demand money or technology first, then when you reject that offer, they finally offer a blood truce.


You can sometimes demand they withdraw military units from your territory, even when they have none anywhere near you, and they'll get ticked off and declare vendetta against you. You thereby keep your noble rating since they declared vendetta upon you, not the other way around. You can then take your prepared military units, and attack one of their bases, capturing one of their techs in the process, and then asking for peace if the they are much stronger than you, or you just don't want to bother with war for whatever reason. You can also keep on fighting, destroying units and infrastructure, and capturing bases, and ask for peace later on.

Avoiding warfare[]

Avoiding unnecessary warfare early on is important, unless you can eliminate your enemy quick and effortlessly of course. If you are constantly producing military units to fight your enemy, who is doing much the same, then that's resources you could be using to do other things such as:

  1. Producing base facilities that give you a lab bonus, allowing you to tech up faster, get air power before anyone else, and then dominate them in warfare.
  2. Focusing on building new colony pods, and base facilities to prevent drone rioting.
  3. Working on secret projects.

Also, while you are at war wasting resources on unit production, the other factions will be zooming past you producing these other things and advancing their society.

Trading bases[]

If you capture a base you know you don't have the units to hold, you can contact another faction and trade it for a base in a different area. You can also give it to them if you must. This also allows you to have another faction next to your enemy, to invite conflict between them, and also allow them a chance for their probe teams to steal each other's technology.

Stockpiling energy[]

If you put 100% of you energy production into Labs, then you might be using more energy than you have coming in. If your reserves are ever too low to pay this amount, then a base facility from one of your bases is destroyed automatically to produce the energy necessary to pay it. Having one base research the Secret Projects Merchant Exchange(plus one energy for each square being worked) and Longevity Vaccine (+50% energy for base stockpiling energy) helps greatly. So does using supply crawlers to grab energy. You can even build bore holes outside of your base's range of control, and have supply crawlers tap energy from each, getting 6 if you researched the proper technology, 7 if you use your terraformers to drill to aquafier, and more so if you build on an energy bonus.

Having more energy stockpiled is useful for speeding up production of things during an emergency, buying technology from others(the more you have, the more they try to charge you) and for use in mind control against your enemy.

Tree farms, and hybrid forests[]

Tree farms and hybrid forests only eliminate Ecological Damage done by terraforming. But almost all the ecological damage you are doing is from harvesting minerals so it won't make any large difference. If you have several bore holes about your base, it'll help slightly.


If you right click on the names of all the other faction leaders, you can see what mood they are in. If they are belligerent then the next turn they will break a pact they have with you, or even declare war upon you. Talking to someone you have in a pact, downgrades them from belligerent to seething. You may have to do this each turn with that person, to keep them in a pact with you.

Sometimes an enemy will demand a tech, and declare vendetta against you if you refuse. Once again, check their mood. If they are belligerent, its something to worry about, otherwise you can just blow them off, they not ready to actually do anything. Sometimes you can offer to trade a tech with them, or sell it to them for some credits. This is sometimes better than having to fight a costly war, or worse yet hand over the tech free of charge to avoid said war.

Gaians and Cult of Planet factions[]

The Gaians and Cultist both start with a higher planet rating than anyone else, and have a good chance of capturing mind worms they encounter right away. The Gaians also can get two nutrients from each fungus square right from the start.

Reasons why mind worms make good soldiers[]

  • Mind worms only require a 1/3 of a turn to move through a fungus tile, thus allowing them to get around faster than any other units at the start. They start with one turn, but can level up to three.
  • Unlike other military units, they do not require any minerals from any of your bases(provided they are captured, and not just produced in the base). This is important since the more minerals you have to use to support units, the longer it takes to build new units, base facilities, and finish secret projects.
  • They can be quite devastating against enemy units, since their psi blast are not affected by any enemy armor.
  • The more you move your units through fungus squares, the more frequently mind worms appear. And since mind worms can move three times for each movement point if in fungus squares, you can easily move them back and forth and cause more mind worms to appear. Each contact results in either an instant capture thus adding to your army, or if capture fails will result in a fight. By winning the fight, you will gain energy credits from killing it, and your unit will level up to a stronger unit as well. Your mind worm will almost always win if of equal size as the one it attacks, and as you level up after each battle, your mind worm units will soon be stronger and thus no chance of failure.
  • They can retreat through fungus squares if injured or otherwise outmatched by enemy forces in that area. Their enemy will only be able to move one space per turn, thus they can get out of reach of their continual attack quite easily.
  • Even if they move 2/3rd of their movement point, they can still attack at full strength. Other units take a severe loss in attacking power if they try that.
  • They receive a bonus if fighting while they are in a fungus square.


The Morgans are good at producing energy, allowing them to research things faster, and have energy credits to use for emergency rush purchases.

Lucky start[]

Lucky unfair start with monoliths all around (SMAC)

So the AI Morganite faction started with a much better island than me.

Sometimes you have an opponent who starts with monoliths nearby, and thus has an enormous advantage. They can instantly heal any unit by touching them, promote their unit one level the first time they touch it, and use it to get 2 nutrients, 2 minerals, and 2 energy. You might also have someone start with multiple mineral deposits in range of one base, or other advantages, meanwhile you end up stuck with nothing but fungus everywhere. All random luck. The first faction you meet might want to be friends and trade technology and form a pact with you, or they might attack you straight away.

Additional information[]

  • Speeders have two movements. They can also fight two enemies with those points. Sometimes if you move to a rocky area next to your current tile, it'll use both of your move points.
  • Finding monoliths and building bases near them is very important. Not only do you get 2 nutrient, 2 mineral, and 2 energy from any of them you have a base worker set to work, you also get a level up for your units when you move them there for the first time, and you can use it to heal your units as often as you wish. The upgrade happens no matter what your current level is. Instead of a random map, if you are using the map of planet, you should know where the monoliths are at, and send a colony pod to them as soon as possible. You can move around fungus squares to make mind worms appear, then fight them to level up your units as well as to gain energy credits and also have a chance of capturing the mind worms to add to your army. Being right next to a monolith allows you to heal from your battle, and keep on going.
  • In your social settings, you can determine how much energy you use for research. Even if you are using more energy than you have coming in, if you have a high enough energy reserve, you can do this to speed up technological advances. You need to check your energy reserve levels, since if you ever use more than you have reserves for, one of your base facilities will be destroyed by an "overload" and you'll get energy credits from that. You can also get energy credits by choosing to destroy/recycle a base facility. You can only recycle one base facility per turn. If you were going to loose the base anyway, might as well get some cash from it and deny something to your enemy. Use that energy/money to speed up construction of military units to fight back with.
  • Some factions (especially the Hive and the Believers) expand their territory very quickly, more so than the other factions, so they soon have bases all over the place.
  • If you start as the only faction on a single land mass, you can spread out without fear of war or someone else taking all the available land.
  • After conquering an enemy base you know you won't be able to hold, it's best to recycle the base facilities for energy credits, and then gift it to another faction. They will think favorably of you for this generous gift. They are more likely to go to war against your enemy, who will either try to take their base back since it's in the general area of their other bases, or the new base owners will see this is a new area to expand into and as more bases of theirs are made and placed about, the chances of conflict between them increases.
  • When facing a large stack of hostile native lifeforms in a single tile, you can attack them with a ground unit and after defeating the first one, all will simply die. This can earn you hundreds of energy credits after a single battle. If you use an air unit to attack the stack, you will only kill one of them, not the entire group.
  • Sometimes, it's very profitable to inflict as much ecological damage as possible at one base and kill off the native lifeforms that spring up and attack as a result. Once you gain the ability to connect bases with mag tubes, you can safely pollute Planet as much as you want, and can instantly moving your troops anywhere they are needed. You can also instantly move your formers to any place fungus blooms, and rebuild any damage done by spreading xenofungus in a single turn, so that Planet has achieved absolutely nothing at all.
  • During prolonged drone riots, unhappy workers will sometimes destroy base facilities, including the recreational commons (which makes them happier), thereby becoming even angrier by not having enough entertainment facilities. The fact that they decide to destroy their main center of entertainment is ironic really.
  • Checking on all of your bases to make sure there are no drones(red citizens), then checking to see if there will be a population growth on the turn, and calculating whether a drone riot will occur, is a rather tedious. It is far simpler to save your game at the end of each turn, and then if a drone riot happens, simply reload and change what you need to in order to prevent it. The same goes for failed probe team missions.
  • After your airplane attacks something, the next turn is done returning to a friendly base. If you move it to a base square manually, you can still use it to attack any enemy unit next to the base, without it crashing.
  • Air transports do exist, but have a ridiculously short range making them pointless.
  • Giving your submissive pact mate, or other trusted ally, ships to move their probe teams to other factions, or even handing over probe teams to them after moving those teams in position near an enemy base to make certain they use it there, allows you to let them take all the risk, and no one declaring war on you if discovered. Especially if they are the Data Angels faction, which receive probe team bonuses, or they have a secret project built that improves probe team success rates.
  • Sometimes, it's faster to nerve gas a base into oblivion than to waste time making units to go over there and capture it.
  • If the only way your enemy has to get to you to attack is by the sea, you should focus on taking out any of their sea bases able to produce boats(Check if they have mineral deposits near them, and check their population also) and those on the coast first. One you have made certain they can't produce or send anything at you, you can focus entirely on attacking them, instead of worrying about possible defense.
  • Angering Planet and getting it to send fungus eruptions and native lifeforms to attack one base, raises the ecological damage tolerance level for all of your bases.
  • Sometimes you need to hold back on the nerve gas so you can take a base with as high of a population as possible. This is not the case if you are an alien fighting humans, or a human fighting aliens, since any population above one is lost anyway, plus if their population is above one, they'll send out supply pods you'll have to waste time destroying instead of moving towards other targets.
  • Human allies are outraged if you use nerve gas on other human bases. They have no problems at all with using gas on aliens though. And if you are an alien faction, it is not an atrocity to use nerve gas, nor does Planet produce negative ecological consequences.
  • Planet becomes upset if you commit too many atrocities, whatever they might be. Once you vote to eliminate the UN ban on atrocities, then Planet also no longer cares.
  • A bug exist in the game where sometimes your jets won't refuel in a base. Even if they are at 100% health, they'll still stay at 10/20 fuel for each turn. To solve this problem, move them to another base.
  • Irritating the planet on purpose to bring out more mind worms to kill for energy, is a good way to get a lot of energy. Fungus growth does not affect boreholes. And nothing agitates the planet more than boreholes.
  • Getting the secret project the Weather Paradigm early on, will allow you to build boreholes, but they'll be limited to 2 minerals and 2 energy until you get the proper technologies to surpass those limits. So don't get excited, and produce hordes of terraformers, to rapidly toss up boreholes everywhere just yet. It is still a secret project worth getting though. If all terraforming actions, other than removing fungus, are done twice as fast, its like doubling how many terraformers you have now. Totally worth the cost.
  • Sometimes the planet sends mind worms to attack a base that has no environmental damage ever, instead of the neighboring base that has quite a lot of it.
  • At the start you have a limit to how many nutrients, minerals, and energy you can get from a tile, this not limiting the bonus resources found on some tiles though. Environmental Economics eliminates limits on energy. Ecological Engineering releases limits on minerals. Gene Splicing eliminates limits on nutrients.
  • Pacifists are violent (SMAC)
    By choosing Free Market, you will not be able to move a single military unit too far from its base, without every citizen turning into a rioting drone. Even with Recreational Commons and Holographic Theater built, each able to reduce drones by two, and two citizens turned to doctors which should've reduced it more, I still had the last citizen drone red and the base listed as ready to riot. Only by having the entire base's population switched to doctors could I prevent a riot. Once the unit was at a newly established base, I transferred it to that base, "support from here", and the problems at the old base ended. You can't send their people away without them rioting, unless you also give up to another base entirely, then its suddenly fine.
  • A copter is also called a chopper sometimes in the design workshop. Anyway, it can take on multiple needlejets that are inside their base, and totally destroy them.
  • Orbital drop is a wonderful ability to have for a unit used to drop on enemy bases after your aircraft take out all enemy military units inside it, and thus capture it that way. Does not work for sea bases. If there are no friendly bases to hop between in order to get there, you can just hit the ground and take some damage during some of the hops. The unit that captures an enemy base is healed instantly, so as long as you can make it there, no problems at all.
  • When a ground unit attacks a pile of mind worms on the same tile, it only has to kill one, then they all die, giving you a lot of energy. If an air unit attacks a pile, then it only kills one.

Things I find amusing[]

  • You can have Lal of the UN faction surrender to you, and swear to serve you. You can then have a planetary election where he gets elected, he now the elected ruler of the planet but he is still listed as being "submissive" to you. Even if you have an election for something immediately after forcing him into a submissive pact, he still won't vote for who or what you tell him to, asking for bribes as usual.
  • When angry citizens have riots for long enough, they destroy Recreational Commons, the one thing that is designed to keep them happy so they don't riot.
  • Citizens will riot if they are being made to work, even if their only jobs are bringing in enough food to feed themselves. Switch some to other tasks besides worker, and they'll calm down, not upset enough to riot if there are food shortages. They don't mind starving to death, but you better remember to build recreational commons and holographic theaters for them to be entertained by.
  • When the planet is angry you are causing environmental damage, it'll sometimes create a volcanic island rich with resources you'd want, plus more land mass to build on. More of a reward than a punishment.
  • An angry planet sends mindworms and other native lifeforms, which you can then kill for some easy energy. You also have a chance of capturing them and adding to the strength of your military.
  • The planet erupts fungus over thermal boreholes, but it can't stop you from accessing them of course. It can destroy regular mines.
  • When the planet is upset, it usually destroys a forest, the one tile improvement it actually likes, instead of hitting something else.
  • Even if you make a pact brother out of Morgan, and you have a vastly superior military, he'll still send over probe teams to steal technology from you.
  • The game calculates what military technology you have, to determine if your enemy will be less likely to demand you hand over something to them or attack them outright. This means that even if you haven't built any military units yet, but you have a level 4 weapon researched, you can get aggressive enemies to leave you alone.
  • The Gaians will charge more for technology they sell you than the Morgans do. Lady Deidre asked me for 350 energy credits for Planetary Economics, while Morgan only wanted 200 for it. You'd think the guy who is only interested in money would be the one to ask more. Also, she should want me to have a technology that allows me to build hybrid forests and make the planet happy, since that is what her faction is all about.

See also[]

External links[]