Civilization Wiki
SpaceShip partial (Civ1)

A small spaceship

The spaceship is a game concept in the original Civilization.

The Space Race[]

The environmental pressures of growing populations in the modern world are forcing humans to look into space for resources and living room. The question is not whether humans are to travel to the stars, but when. The final act of stewardship you can perform for your civilization is to ensure that they lead this exodus.

As noted earlier, the history of your civilization ends when either you or one of your rivals reaches a nearby star system with colonists. If your spaceship is the first to arrive, you receive a bonus to your civilization score in recognition of this final accomplishment. Regardless of how many colonists your spaceship is carrying, or how fast it is, if a rival makes planetfall first, you receive no bonus. The construction of spaceships may not begin until one civilization has built the Apollo Program Wonder. Thereafter, the race is on. Any civilization that has the necessary technology may start building the parts of a spaceship.

Each civilization, including yours, may build only one spaceship at a time. Once it is launched, another one cannot be built and sent off. Ships that have been launched may not be recalled or turned around. Spaceships are destroyed if the owning civilization's capital is captured. In this case, a new ship may be constructed.


The purpose of your spaceship is to carry as many colonists as possible to another star system. To have any chance of success it must provide at least a minimum of the following: living space for colonists, food sources, energy sources, propulsion power, and fuel for the engines. The better prepared the spaceship, the higher the number of colonists that arrive safely and the faster the voyage.

Your goal is to build a spaceship that can hold as many colonists as possible, yet travel at a reasonable speed and with a reasonable probability of success. As construction of your ship proceeds, keep an eye on its characteristics, displayed to the right of the spaceship window. All spaceships have the same characteristics: population, food, energy, mass, fuel, flight time, and probability of success.

Once you have built a spaceship that meets the minimum requirements for carrying colonists, you may launch or proceed with further construction to increase the capacity of the ship.

Population: The number of people the spaceship is outfitted to carry. The more people it carries to the new planet, the higher your bonus.

Support: The percentage of the people that the ship is prepared to carry that can currently be supported. People that are not provided with life support cannot be expected to survive the voyage.

Energy: The percentage of the energy required by the habitation and life support modules that is currently being provided. If sufficient energy is not provided for life support and habitation, the probability of success will be very low.

Mass: All of the components, modules, and structures add to the mass of your spaceship. The greater the mass, the more power required from propulsion parts to move it.

Fuel: The percentage of the fuel your propulsion units require that is currently aboard. If insufficient fuel is provided, the propulsion components aboard cannot work to their maximum power and the best possible speed cannot be attained.

Flight Time: A calculation of the number of years required for your spaceship to reach the nearest star based on the ship's mass and engine power. Adding more engines and fuel reduces flight time.

Probability of Success: The approximate percentage of the people that can be carried that are expected to survive the voyage, based on the amount of food and energy provided, plus the flight time. The faster the flight, the higher the expected survival rate.

Space Ship Launching: To send your spaceship on its voyage, press the launch key (the L key on the IBM) or the Launch button, found at the bottom right of the display.


Your spaceship is constructed of parts. Each part is built like any other improvement, except that when a part is completed, it is automatically added to your ship. The parts of the spaceship come in three types: components, modules, and structures. Each type is available for construction when you have achieved a specific technology advance.

All modules and components must be connected to a sufficient structure. If a module or component is not connected, it is marked (outlined in red on the IBM) to signal the part is not working. Once sufficient structural parts have been added, the outline disappears.


To build spaceship components you must have achieved the technology of Plastics. You can then build components at a cost of 160 resources. There are two types of components, propulsion and fuel. When a component has been completed, you choose one of two types.

Propulsion Components: These are the engines that provide the power for space flight. The more engines you add, the faster the ship travels, the sooner it reaches its destination, and the higher the probability of success of the mission.

Fuel Components: These provide fuel for the propulsion units. In order for the propulsion units to perform their maximum, one fuel component must be provided for each propulsion component.


Spaceship modules require the technology of Robotics and cost 320 resources each to build. They exist in three types: habitation, life support, and solar panels. When a module is completed, you choose which type to add to your ship.

Habitation Module: Each habitation module provides living space, community services, and recreational activities for ten thousand colonists.

Life Support Module: Each life support module provides the food and other requirements for the ten thousand colonists carried in one habitation module. People carried in a habitation module that doesn't receive life support have a very low probability of surviving.

Solar Panel Module: Each solar panel module provides enough energy to power two of the other types of module. Modules that don't receive power cannot function properly.


Spaceship structures require the technology of Space Flight and cost 80 resources to build. You must build sufficient structure parts to connect the components and modules together. Parts that are not connected do not work and provide no benefit to the ship.

Spaceship Scoring Bonus[]

When your Spaceship arrives in Alpha Centauri and the final score is calculated, if your probability of success was higher than zero you'll receive a scoring bonus based on the number of colonists that arrive. The formula is:

spaceship population divided by 200, multiplied by success % (rounded down)

- or -

habitation modules multiplied by 50, multiplied by success % (rounded down)
  • 1 habitation module = max 50 points
  • 2 habitation modules = max 100 points
  • 3 habitation modules = max 150 points
  • 4 habitation modules = max 200 points


If your spaceship has 1 habitation, 1 life support and 1 solar panel, with 2 propulsion and 2 fuel, and 27 structural, you have a 95% success %. Your spaceship bonus would be 47 points (1 x 50 x 95%).


See also[]