What Is/Are Your General Strategy/Goals For The First Three Or So Cycles?


What do you tech for first? If you have a choice do you focus econ, industry or science first? Do you try to set up alliances right off the bat, talking to your neighbors? Or do you wait for them to contact you?

Share your early game tips/tricks/theory.


Buy as many carriers as it takes to reach the maximum number of stars as quickly as possible, then buy at most 1 science per day and put the rest of your money into economy.


Here’s my basic strategy, although I change it up and adapt it to each individual game.

I usually buy several carriers at start to land grab as fast as possible. After that I can reroute them to start looping supply lines right off the bat.

Generally I go 3 science at start and one more on cycle 2. That sets you up to get your first tech a little before cycle 3. Which moves us along to -

Tech. I usually go experimentation. Finishing exp means you’re getting a tech each cycle for a bit, all while you’re focusing on your next priority. For second tech it depends on if you have an ally, what your resources look like, and how soon you’ll fight.

Go range if you can’t reach lots of stars without it. Weaps if you are being attacked or are ready to attack soon. Weaps can be a good choice because if you have them early you’re pressuring nearby players to research weaps to keep up, while your exp keeps rolling in tech. Banking is a solid choice, just depends on how much economy you’re willing to buy. Manufacturing is a less played option, as it lets you start getting ahead in ship totals early, provided you keep current with industry levels. It also can keep you on par with ship totals even though you have less industry, allowing you to focus on extra economy.

I play offensively and it usually works for me. I’m probably going to be picking off weak or empty stars from my target by cycle 2, maybe 3. Most players don’t expect it, and have trouble countering early attacks. Make sure to look for targets that build all economy, they are the weakest.


I played a Dark galaxy game late last year
This reposts a section of that strategy for dark galaxies.
8 player , Scan trade $15/level.
random Hexagrid.
turn based - 8 tick jump / 24 hr wait. Standard Production / 24 ticks
start 6 stars / 10 ships each. 5-5-1 EIS capitol.

I started with standard Open:
1 hoard starting credits after buying 3-5 carriers.

2A explore out to stars of 35+ resource value within the 8 hr jump window.
2B then build Sci#2 (started w/ #1 on my capitol) on that newly claimed star, tick 8, keep exploring for stars to build Econ with the remaining credits before production on tick 24.

3 Tick 8, I viewed other empire stats to see who is reserving credits for favorable Econ builds before the production and introduced myself / offered alliance before Tick 16. If there are too many playing my same style, I will have to decide which ally to go with. General rule of thumb is that I need 1 ally for every 8 live players that started up to 3 total allies. I did not care where the ally was in this dark galaxy.

4 As I found borders with other players, I offered expiring non aggression pacts that had well stated terms of expiration. This allowed me to keep building and fortify my borders until the NAP(s) expire when I can decide to extend NAP expiration for another 2 production rounds on any particular border. Ultimately I do need to send my ships to combat in one single direction.

5 Whoever I border with initially also gets offers of tech trade. Tech trades continue until I can open up trade with an ally or two worth my trust for the remainder of the game.


In a light galaxy, the 2nd tick should show you where all of the neighbors are. You can shrink the map and use the range ruler to guess where the other capital stars are. Every star should start with the same number of ships your stars stars did.

Starting scan of available stars relative to neighboring empires is very important to figure out which way you want to expand, and how many carriers you want to buy and where you can buy them.

The early stage favors defense, where battles allow the defender ships to fight at weapons tech 2 vs attacker weapons tech 1. ( earliest reaching of weapons tech 2 is usually about tick 40 )
My standard is to play outer shell set up defense -
The main tenet is to keep the infrastructure that I build. Opportunistically take infrastructure away from my enemy.
A hoard starting credits,
B reach out as far as the early carriers can get you relative to the neighboring empires,
C build industry on the best (high natural resource) stars of that direction with the credits to set up your outer borders.

How far out that shell can go depends on the game. The standard game should allow that range to be about a LY past your starting scan.

Most games I start with 3 - 5 carriers. Do not buy any more carriers than the minimum needed. Carriers produce no research, ships, or money. Later on, buy carriers sparingly. Tough to do, because it takes about 24 hours for any carrier to deliver value from the purchase location to the ship drop off location. It could save one of your outer shell infrastructure colonies. The beginning game can be full of guesswork on an enemy front.

benchmark goals
Tick 0 5 Econ 5 Ind 1 Sci
tick 24 17 E 8 ind 3 Sci
Tick 48 22 E 11 Ind 4 Sci ~ tick 60 - Some trade-able tech, I like Experimentation.
Tick 72 28 E 14 ind 5 Sci Another trade-able tech from the Experimentation 2…

My typical set up usually allows the defense to transition towards offensive posture around tick 120-150.
Alliances, favorable and unfavorable, can impact each game decisively.


Not buying a ton of carriers has got to be the dumbest thing almost everybody does. I don’t understand it – especially later on.

On the contrary, they produce all 3. To expand you take stars, you take stars with ships, and you move ships with carriers. You need to get as many ships as possible where they need to be as fast as possible. You have to do that with carriers. They’re cheap to start the game, they never get more expensive, and they never get more powerful. The stars you take will produce your research, ships, and money.

Carriers are basically OP. There’s nothing funnier than beating the crap out of somebody with 2x your ship count just because they can’t get their ships where they need to be. A robust carrier network will have ships already on the way towards where they need to be in a constant stream.

IMO it’s not unreasonable to finish the game with 2-3x as many carriers as you have stars.


I agree that carriers are good in the middle to late game,

However, funding is tight in the initial 72 hrs.
I prefer to develop a strong outer infrastructure shell with the initial funds.

An unsupported neighbor, who bought too many early carriers, will be slower on the development curve, thus ripe for conquest after I gain weapons tech 3,

The top spot of the leaderboard also attracts negative attention.

I had to scrape my way to 4th place after an early lead once.
There is plenty of time to get there by the end of the game, but early (tick 72) leaders win less than 20%.


Loss of the infrastructure can hurt much more than the loss of a few empty stars.


It’s an investment risk. Almost nobody successfully goes to war that early. It can happen, but it’s so rare you might as well buy carriers, economy, and minimum industry/science. What you really want to do very early on is successfully risk buying as much economy on as many stars as possible, since it’s the only thing that makes itself and is required to buy the other two.

It’s also not a guaranteed win, by any means, but it’s going to put you in the best position all other things considered. You still have to have the right allies, a reasonable location on the map and play a good game, but if those things don’t screw you you’re going to “get there first with the most” and be able to do things other infrastructure won’t let you do for a long time.