Star Lords Manual - Tutorial
Star Lords Table of Content
Explore the Universe
Colonizing the Universe
Build Planetary Structures
Building More Ships
End the Turn
Managing a new Colony
Now that you have started the game, lets do series of turns to get you started. The first thing you will see when the game starts is the Communications Menu. This is the menu you will be taken too when you load a game, start a new game, or end a turn.
Centered in the star map will be a light blue dot with a darker blue rectangle surrounding it. This is your home world and also the position of your starting fleets. The game starts after your race has already built two scouts and two colonizers.
At the bottom of the screen, to the left of the Secondary Control Panel, you will see a brief summary of your empire's status. It displays basic data such as the number of worlds, star bases, and ships controlled. It also lists your empire's race and what turn the game has reached. At the beginning of the game you will see 1 colony, 1 star base, and 4 starships, 2 of which are the Colonizer ships.
In the top left you will see a message welcoming you to Star Lords. This message shows some of the details about how the game was set up, including the number of players, size and mineral wealth of the universe, and what empire and race you control. If you've reached this screen, you're ready to begin play.
Explore the Universe
At the beginning of any game, growth is a priority. Your empire begins the game confined to a single world, and though it has some room to grow into, you will soon run out of space. Your home world also has a set number of mineral resources that are unlikely to last you the entire game. The answer to these two problems is to use those two Colonizer ships to add worlds to your empire. The first thing you should do is send your scouts out to find suitable worlds, as they are more fuel-efficient than the colony ships. Click on the blue rectangle.
This will bring up a small pop-up window that lists all of the ships present at this point in space, along with the planet and star base. This window is called the Star Map Quick Menu. Each of the named units has an eye icon next to it that can be used to view information about the unit. Clicking on the name of the unit will allow you to issue orders to it.
Select the scout fleet to command by left clicking on the scout fleet button. This takes you to the Star Fleet Command screen. The message panel on the Communications screen will be replaced with an image of the ship you are issuing orders to (if it is a small ship, like a scout, more than one ship may be pictured even though only one ship is actually present). Below the image is an information panel displaying the fleet's current cargo (if any). Below that is another information panel that tells you the fleet's current location, its destination, fuel available, and current warp speed. Their warp speed is on a slide control that can be moved up or down to change the fleet's warp speed. Changing warp speed will update the Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA) at the destination and the amount of fuel that will be used. To the right of the information panel is a list of the star ships in the selected fleet. The list shows the name of each ship, its class, its maximum warp speed, and its current tactics. There should be only one star ship (a scout) on the list. Below the ship list is a small panel that shows the ship's current orders and whether or not it is damaged.
Now lets go scouting around. Locate the nearest planet to your home world that is gray (unexplored). Right click on the planet to tell your currently selected fleet to set the new world as a waypoint. A line will appear from the fleet to the planet. Your fleet will automatically select the slowest speed that will get it to the planet in one turn, if possible. If the world is far enough away that it will take more than one turn to reach it, the fleet will set a speed that will get it to the world in an even number of turns, with no wasted fuel. This speed can be adjusted faster if you're in a hurry, or slower if you want to save fuel.
You will probably want to send the other scout to either the next nearest planet or to a world in the opposite direction of the first. You can issue orders to the second scout by either clicking on the star map and selecting the scout, or by using the next and previous buttons located at the top of the fleet image (which will cycle you through all of the fleets your empire commands).
When each ship is constructed it is assigned a two-letter designation that tells its class followed by a number. It is also assigned to a fleet named for the type of vessel it contains. Since identical ships are assigned identical fleet names, you should probably re-name them so that they can be told apart. To change a fleet name, click on the fleet name shown above its image and enter a new name. The name of a fleet is limited to 15 characters to allow it to easily fit on the star map.
Colonizing the Universe
Even after the scouts have been sent out, you still have two Colony ships orbiting your home world. If you are lucky and there are planets near your home world, they might be close enough for your ships to have obtained a detailed scan of them before the game began. If a nearby world is green or brown rather than gray, it has already been scanned.
Green planets are those that can be colonized by your race. Having a nearby colony world early in the game can give your empire an early advantage over others, even if it's not a particularly mineral-rich or comfortable world. Usually you'll want to immediately send colony ships out to any green worlds nearby. Later in the game you'll want to check the world's statistics before deciding if it's the best choice for your limited supply of Colonizer ships.
A brown planet indicates a world with an environment that your race cannot survive in unprotected. These worlds may be useful later on in the game, when you may develop the technology to either mine or even colonize them. At the beginning of the game, however, they are next to useless.
To send a colony ship to colonize a new world, select a fleet with a Colony ship. Select the Command Fleet button from the command panel in the lower right, and choose the colonize command. Once that order is in place, set the planet you want to colonize as the fleet's destination by right-clicking on it. Once your colony ship is set to colonize, it will colonize the first world it reaches. Make sure you don't stop at a less-suitable world on the way.
If you don't see any green planets near your home world at the beginning of the game, send your scouts out and wait to see what they find. You may want to send a colony ship out along with a scout so that it can immediately colonize any suitable planet the scout discovers, but remember that colony ships are nearly defenseless and very valuable. If they encounter enemy starships things will probably go badly for them in combat. This can be more or less likely at the beginning of the game depending on how large the universe is and how many other players are in it.
Build Planetary Structures
Now that your fleets are out looking for new worlds, it is time to manage the planets you already own. You can issue orders to your home world either by clicking on it on the Star Map or by using the Planetary Command button on the main menu.
The first thing you should look at is your population status and how much food will be required to feed them. If you are playing Humans or Predatorians, you should produce at least one and a half times as much food as you need in order to keep them content. Having a good surplus of food will also boost their population growth, so although food production is less important to the other two races (since they never grow discontent), it can still increase their growth rate.
Your population status should be listed as "normal" and appear in light blue. This indicates that your population is growing happier on the home world. If the population status ever turns red, your population is growing angry. If you are playing Humans never let your population grow dissatisfied, as it is very hard to make them happy again and they don't work as hard when they're unhappy. The same advice applies when playing the Predatorians, but it's slightly less important to them. Humans also work much harder when they are happy.
Now lets take a look at what's on your planet. The actual structures present on your home world will vary slightly depending on what race you are playing. The most important piece of information on this panel is probably how many structures your planet is currently supporting and maximum number it can support. This information is shown at the bottom of the Planetary Structure list as "current number of structures/number of structures power plants can support/maximum structures the planet can support." The list gives a run-down of how many of each structure are present on the world. The number shown after the slash as a percentage represents the percentage level the structures are operating at. To begin with these numbers will all be at 100%. Orbital structures, such as a star base, do not take up space on a world and are not included in the total number of structures shown, although they do appear on the list.
If your food production looks fine, the next step is to build more mining factories. Mining factories are important on any world, but especially when the world is first colonized, as they provide the planet's ability to produce new structures. You will probably want to build as many mining factories as your power plants can support. To do this, click on the "build structure" button on the Secondary Control Panel. Clicking once on a factory will build one. If this is too slow for you, you can hold down Shift while clicking to build 5 structures, Ctrl to build 10 structures, or Alt to build 100 at a time.
Since you will be at your limit next turn once these factories are built, you should probably add some power planets to the build queue as well. Remember that one power plant can support up to ten other structures.
The build queue shows the order in which structures will be built during the turn. It also shows the current status of your workforce at the bottom of the queue. This workforce number is shown as "number working/number available." If you have enough workers and resources, you will be able to build everything in the queue in one turn. If you don't have enough resources, structures will be built in the order shown until there aren't enough resources left to complete a structure. Anything that could not be completed will stay on the building queue for the next turn.
With your workforce on its way to improving your infrastructure, let's turn to research. There are many separate areas that your scientists can concentrate on. The default research allocation is evenly spread out among all the fields of research except for warp technology, which will be set to a slightly higher level (warp technology being vital to traveling to other stars). Concentrating on one or more areas will quickly give you higher technology levels in those areas while letting yourself fall behind in others.
The three most important technologies early in the game are probably those that will allow you to build more efficient exploration ships: Power Generators, Construction, and Warp. Your research efforts should probably be concentrated on these three areas until they reach level 3. Power generators and warp technologies should be taken to level 5 as soon as possible as well, as they have an enormous effect on how effective your ships are in combat. Other areas of research can also be very useful, but usually take a back seat to the exploration/defense approach.
You may consider boosting your overall research budget as well. Because you begin the game with a large treasury (saved up for the day your race could venture out into the universe) this may be especially tempting. Remember that each structure and star ship will require upkeep, sometimes much more than the construction costs for the unit. It's easy to pool all of your ready cash into research and then realize after a few turns that you can no longer meet upkeep costs. If you do adjust the research budget, do so carefully. Cutting the research budget at the beginning of the game is usually a bad idea, as the other races will quickly jump ahead of you technologically. The Insectians, of course, don't have to worry about the budget at all. Their scientists are already putting as much effort into research as they can.
Building More Ships
Two scout ships will take a long time to explore the universe. Fortunately, you don't have to rely on only two. Star Bases are where new starships are constructed. You can get to the Star Base by either clicking on it on the Star Map Quick Menu or by using the Star Base button on the Main Command panel on the lower left of every screen.
Star Bases can build up to ten different ships at a time - each in a separate drydock. To maximize your exploration efforts, you could build 8 scouts and 2 colony ships, filling the Star Base's docks. On the Star Base command screen, you'll see choices for several types of ships on the Secondary Control panel (in the lower right corner). To construct a Scout ship you would first choose the "capital ship" button, then "support ships." Colony ships are under the "exploration ships" button. The Scout ships will probably be built within a single turn, but Colony ships take a few turns to build, during which those docks will not be available for new construction. How long it takes to build a ship is shown on the drydock panel. If you decide there are too many slow-building ships in the docks, you can delete a few to use for new construction. This may be necessary if you discover you are near a hostile empire and will need combat ships quickly.
End the Turn
Once you've given orders to all of your ships, planets, and star bases you are ready to end the turn. When you select "end turn," the game will ask for confirmation, as there is no going back to a prior turn. If you're sure all your orders are correct, select End Turn and the events of this turn will be processed (shown by a bar which travels across the screen from left to right). Once the turn is processed, you will be taken to the Communication Menu and the map will again center at your home world, ready to start the new turn.
Managing a new Colony
If you haven't colonized a new world yet, make it your top priority. Build more scouts or warships if you want, or you can save the alloys for later. In a crowded game, it's important to get to the best worlds first, and to have warships ready when another empire comes looking for you. In any game it's important to make new colonies productive fast. This is done by building structures quickly and shipping in more people from your more established worlds.
A good starting build for a new colony is to build three more farms, three more mining factory and two power plants. That will get the colonists going until more colonists arrive.
The quickest and most efficient way to move these new colonists in is by hiring some civilian freighters. Go to the Economy Command Menu by selecting it on the Main Control Panel. All of the worlds under your control will be shown in a list in the upper left corner. Select your home world (which will have the most population) on the list. Once your home world is selected, select one of the civilian transports with the buttons on the Secondary Control panel (exactly which one is not important - they are all identical). You can set whatever number of colonists you want up to the limit, but you can usually load the first few transports out with as many colonists as they can carry and have little effect on your home world. You can send more by sending the other two civilian transports. The number of colonist you want to place on a new colony world depends on your race and what type of colony you want it to be. With their amazing growth rate, the Insectians can move vast numbers of colonists off of their home world and have them replaced within a few turns. Draconian worlds have a slow growth rate, so you need to leave more on the home world to allow it to replenish the colonists your taking from there. Predatorian and Human worlds should strike a median somewhere between these two. If you plan on eventually building a star base on a world, you will need to move in massive amounts of people to the world in order to get the base built in an acceptable amount of time.
Resources other than people can be moved by civilian freight. As your empire develops and you discover what each world needs to be productive, you can establish trade routes between them to supply these needs. To begin with you will probably be moving only people, but this will change as the game develops.
The only sure way to win a battle is through superior force - either through numbers or superior firepower. When the capabilities and numbers of ships on each side are comparable, tactics and fleet composition is the key to victory. The best way to prepare for battle is to make use of the Battle Simulator. You can simulate any battle here, with any combination of ships or tactics. Go to the Battle Command menu by selecting it from the Main Command Panel. The Custom Battle option allows you to set up the battle by choosing what races, ships, and tactics are used.
The Battle Simulator can give you a general idea how the ships compare, what the best fleet compositions are, and what tactics are effective. Best of all, this knowledge will be gained with no loss in your own ships, something that you may not be able to say of real battles.
The basic strategy for warships is to set them to patrol near the areas your scouts and colony ships are currently exploring, or near the known border of an enemy empire. If a fleet is ordered to patrol, it will automatically intercept any neutral and warring ships and attack. It will intercept a fleet controlled by a race you are war with before it will attack a neutral fleet, but how close the opposing fleet(s) come to your patrol's route is important. A fleet's waypoint can be set to a planet, and the fleet will patrol the area around the planet, taking short trips out to incept intruding fleets and returning to the world when those fleets have been destroyed for repairs.
To turn a fleet into a patrolling fleet, change the fleet command from explore (the default command) to patrol. To do so, go to the Command Fleet panel, select a fleet at the location you've clicked on and select patrol as the fleet's orders.
These are basic tactics and suggestions, probably enough to get you started. Most of your tactics will depend on the situation before you - whether the universe is crowded, whether your opponents are willing to negotiate, and what worlds you find yourself near. The only way to find out which tactics will bring you victory are to try them.