This is a compilation of postings that I made on the CompuServe gamers forum
to help with my understanding of beginning strategy for EFS. I've separated
different players replies by a space under each question and have added other
information that I've gathered below the questions.
1. Is any particular house better/more fun to play than another?
All the houses are more or less equal, though some are a little less equal
but have better neighboring planets. Li Halan is rich in trace and metals,
but poor in food. Next door are good food producers however. Hazat contains
only modest metal and trace, but is rich in food, and next door is Selik?
that is rich, rich, rich in gems, metal and trace. I find Decados to be the
toughest to play and Li Halan the easiest.
The starting planets are different. Otherwise you can reconfigure their
ёpicks¬ to make them resemble any of the other houses or something
different. Noble Scholars is useful to help growth. The Warrior attribute is
helpful as a second pick (get 2 on ёhard¬).
2. What should you concentrate on during the first 10 turns? What should you
build? Any suggestions for research lines?
Your primary objectives, in order of importance, should be: Mine more metal,
build engineers, capture rebel cities, especially farms and mines, and
establish a city (usually a mine) on a neighboring planet. Don't forget to
bring food along when you build that first city on a new planet. The most
important thing to remember is that it takes both food and metal to build
engineers, and it takes engineers to build more cities to get your tax
structure up and running. Don't be afraid to buy metal if you have a good
income from selling other commodities such as gems. Research is a matter of
strategy, though Tracker Legions seem to be a good target in the beginning
(Psychosocial Eng. - Meditation - Prana Bindu - Trackers).
Build farms and mines for metal and food to build more engineers, and start
getting the economy off the ground. I suggest military research paths
leading to Tracker Legions¬they cost no more metal than Militia but take a
lot longer to train (makes sense). They move fast, have great camo and spot
very well. Good garrison and scout units on your frontier worlds with enemy
on them. Arboretums are also very good for growth. One lab on each should
suffice for the early stages.
3. I really don't seem to understand cargo pods. I have stuff in them, how do
they get unloaded? Can you combine two cargo pods into one and then have an
empty pod? Do you have to build these or are they automatically created.
The ёpods¬ are icons or place holders to represent resources. They just
ёhappen¬. To combine pods, use your mouse to move one pod over another of
the same content and you will get a menu asking you how to proceed. As you
use or create resources, the pods are automatically unloaded or loaded.
You can split and combine pods by clicking/dragging. Pods do not empty, they
just disappear and appear as needed to store stuff, which otherwise would
spill on the ground (need to click around to figure out the nuances on
4. My warehouse shows food in the red. Does that mean that I'm short of food
and the people are starving or I just can't build anything that requires food?
Red numbers mean you have used more of that resource in the last year than
you produced. It might mean you are at a net production minus, or that you
simply used some of your inventory to build units. For instance, you have
500 food in the warehouse and use 100 to build an engineer. That year you
produce 100 food and eat 50. The next year your warehouse number will be red
to reflect the fact that you produced 100 food, but used 150 the year
before, for a total of 450 in current storage. People only starve when there
is 0 food available.
Means your food stock is going down from last turn. If they starve, you
won't be left in any doubt.
5. Also, I seem to have started with a almost empty warehouse. Any suggestions
as far as warehouse management? Should I early on start to build mines or
farms? All suggestions are appreciated.
Yup, you don't start with much . Again, metals seem to be the keystone
resource for the first 20 years or so. Eventually electronics and ceramsteel
become the bottlenecks, but that is decades down the road when your research
starts showing results.
Both, as indicated above.
If you move your Engineer to a variety of hexes around the resource icons
and look at the city selection screen each time it will show you what the
production of the mine or farm or whatever will be if it is built.
You must build your mine city no more than two hexagon's away from the Metal
icon. Once the mine is built you will receive full production as soon as the
mine is at 100% health and loyalty.
6. Does the Agora restock their warehouse or can you buy it out?
Good question . The League AI needs some help IMO. When I played Li
Halan, the Agora was useless as it never restocked after the first five
years. In fact, order number one was to attack and capture the Agora
warehouse and use the metal to build two extra engineers. With Hazat, the
opposite is true. The Agora faithfully restocks, and I count on it to
purchase large quantities of ceramsteel and sell gems to finance my
expansion. BTW, there are alternate Agoras on Byzantium II and Leagueheim
(sp) in case someone takes out your Agora, a very valid strategy in some
7. One of the suggestions that someone made in the EFS FAQ uploaded here was
to make Engineers more difficult to build. This slows down the Computer AI
from building too many cities, mines etc which helps avoid the late game
slowdown. Has anyone else modified the dat files? If so, what have you changed
I haven't touched the .dat files, but they do contain a lot of otherwise
unavailable information. In a PBEM game, tampering with the .dat files would
be tantamount to cheating.
The most interesting modification that I made was to change the build time
of engineers from 4 years to 20. Needless to say, this dramatically slows
down the rate of expansion in the galaxy. Tech, advanced materials, and
advanced units become very rare. The only way to get a lot of new growth is
to go out an conquer it on planets. Since tech development is much slower,
you really need to select the techs that you want to research. In general,
to balance out the game, I made the units that everything can produce (ATG,
militia, AA, Artillery) much weaker and the more advanced tech items
(Rangers, Pestulator, etc) stronger. I also raised the production costs of
some of the high-tech items to require a larger selection of rare material.
I also played with food required for all units. The church (with its large
starting army of high-tech equip) became much more formidable and
inquisitors were crushing. To balance this out, the benefits of black
technology were increased. A combined arms force of a high-tech nature could
crush the (weakened) standard units. But the high-tech stuff was so hard to
produce that it had to be carefully hoarded for a crushing blow. Losses to
any of this elite corps were especially hard to replace. Old relics also
became much more dangerous to explore (since standard defenders were much
weaker) but the advantages gained could be well worthwhile. A couple of
dreadnoughts? A group of Assault Infantry? 3 new techs? 100 wetware? These
all become incredibly valuable when resources are scarce and new building is
almost impossible. The game lasted until 2070 (without the slowdown caused
by massive overgrowth) and was generally much more offensive in nature. Due
to lack of strong forces to hold back the symbiotes (actually the forces
were diverted to use in an attack on my forces) the symbiotes broke out of
stigmata and came close to overrunning the galaxy. I was playing Hawkwood,
and had a lot of the borderworlds affected by the infestation. I haven't
finished tweaking the numbers (and probably won't) but I wondered if anyone
else has been changing things to alter game dynamics / fix problems
(specifically computer overbuild, bust-boom nature of the growth, strength
of defenses in overbuilt planets, and so on).
8. Combat. What is the best early strategy? Clear your home planet or explore?
Should you use your nobles to help increase combat effectiveness or hold them
back and protect them?
Clear you're home planet and NEVER use your nobles. They are everything in
this game, and will be hard enough to keep alive (especially in a PBEM game)
as it is. Whether you disperse your nobles and scepters or keep them in one
spot and guard the hell out of them depends on your style of play.
Capture most of the existing cities while scouting promising new worlds to
start colonies ASAP. Control of strategic star lanes and choke points will
be helpful later on, using fighters, bombers and starbases. The Houses
differ in starlane strategy, especially in Random games.
It takes a LONG time to fill up a planet. You're limited more at first by
food and metal production to make engineers. Whether they go on your first
planet or are spread across planets doesn't matter at all. What matters is
what they do, which should be to make food and metal to make more engineers.
When you run out of good sites to make mines, that's when you should start a
I like to spread to other worlds as quickly as possible. After I've mopped
up all rebel forces on my home planet, I usually send my elite core army to
crush the nearest enemy house. This is a wise move for many reasons
(slowdown being a major one), and effectively doubles my power.
It is better to take over other worlds ASAP, because the computer AI seems
to be hesitant when it comes to actually invade worlds which are wholly
mine. In fact, I've never seen it happen (if he did attack you mercilessly,
you would be dead long before slowdown got too bad).
Be aggressive! Set up palaces on as many worlds you can grab and then you
can build cities on the best spots in the galaxy instead of maxing out your
9. Is it advisable to sell your research to the other houses? During the first
couple of turns I've received offers from some of the other houses. Should I
accept or reject? Should I be making an offer to another house for their
Depends on how much you are hurting for money. If you have your finances
under control, I wouldn't sell or trade technologies unless the deal is
-very- favorable to you.
Never sell it for the ridiculously low prices they offer. It is better to
trade for something you want or even give it to them to foster goodwill.
Money is easier to come by than technology.
10. Taxes/Tithe. How far can you safely go? I notice that when I start I can
not afford to pay the troops that I have under my control without dipping into
reserves. Should I raise taxes/Tithe just enough to cover expenses, more than
that, or leave it alone and raise money in some other fashion (a suggestion
would be greatly appreciated).
The church has a big bark, but apparently misplaced it's dentures . It
has never come after me no matter how high I raise the tithe or research
forbidden technologies. This is one of the major aspects of the game that
screams for revision. If you piss off the church, especially in the first 50
years, it shouldn't be afraid to use that formidable fleet to punish you. As
it is, don't worry about the church. Taxes should never be raised, in fact,
you should start lowering the taxes as soon a possible. The loyalty of the
cities/units is directly proportional to your activity regarding the tax.
The lower the tax, the higher the loyalty, and thus the higher the
efficiency of the cities in the all-important production.
I use ёSupply Side Economics¬ and cut taxes to zero to get 100% morale and
greater output, with excess output (biochems and monopols in my case) sold
to the league for money to pay the bills.
11. Your cruiser can attack from orbit 3 times (3 movement points) each turn.
So I attack/bombarded three different rebel holdings to determine what it was
(one round didn't seem to hurt too much, but did reveal the strength and type
of city). So after about 3 turns I generally knew what all the rebel points
were on my planet and their strength, therefore I could attack what I needed
most early on. Any thoughts or comments about this tactic?
Bombarding cities from orbit--a good idea to find out what they are and
weaken them, but too much pounding and the city is destroyed totally. Also a
good way to find out where the planetary defenses are located (generally in
city clusters). Orbital bombardment is of course standard space
conquest tactics and in aid of ground forces a couple of BB and CA can have
a Desert Storm-like effect on opposing stacks.
12. How good is the computer AI in EFS (version 1.1)?
The AI for EFS is excellent on several scores. It doesn't defend its
scepters well, but it does defend itself generally against attack rather
nicely, counterattacking quickly when it has a decisive advantage in the
area of a battle. It's pretty good at harassing its enemies and at
exploration. It's great at diplomacy. It exploits certain tricks--like the
spy-equipped stack on Byzantium II--very nicely. But I don't think the
designers can defend the slow-downs in the manner that they have. I'd much
rather they simply shrug and say that they weren't able to optimize the game
to fullest extent that they might like.
I agree with Timothy that the AI is very good at quick expansion and tactics
in a small area but it's overall strategy is kind of weak(AI produces 85%
basic militia and garrison, 12%armor and the rest of their resources go into
space units, no advanced ground or armor units). First the scoring system
reflects bigger empires which can only be achieved with longer games. Second
why design units, program AI,s and do graphics, docs, and diplomacy for the
Vau, Sympiotes, the League, and the Church when you could never interact
with them in 70 turns? The game probably can be won in 70 turns (although I
can't) since the Ai makes no effort to garrison it's scepters. There has to
be some change to make the scepters harder to capture to force players to
actually fight it out(not only the other houses but keep the league from
revolting, deal with the Vau, exterminate the symbiots, and suppress the
church.) It is possible to invade a homeworld and win-just not very easy and
it takes a while(in real time, not just game turns). Who wants to go to the
trouble when you can win anytime you feel like it with a couple hit-and run
13. Any thoughts about the inquisition? When the Inquisition comes after you,
which labs does it target?
The Inquisition will target your labs in general, not just the naughty ones.
Their view is that you're probably sinning all over.
First of all, for those of you who haven't seen the inquisition at work, try
obtaining planetary maps of other players' homeworlds and then giving them
to the church. I did this once after being named Imperial Eye, and soon
afterwards the inquisition had burned down a number of the computer's labs
and the church was at war with all the computer players. Lot's of fun. ^_^ I
guess the computer likes to research forbidden techs, and is stupid enough
to do so on its home planets. Note that the inquisition can have multiple
task forces working at once, not just one as someone suggested. It appears
that the church may need to be "tipped off" as to a labs location before
they will act. It's too bad the church doesn't send bigger fleets, but if
you do this early enough, you can really slow down the computer players.
Unfortunately, as others have mentioned, houses at war with the church still
register a "heart" on the church's diplomacy screen, and being at war with
the church seems to have no effect on the loyalty of a house's
subjects--which is somewhat disappointing.
14. Of what use is the office of the Imperial Eye?
I'm curious to hear which imperial office people like having the best.
Though commanding the fleet can really change the balance of power of the
game in your favor (early in the game at least), I think I enjoy the
Imperial Eye the best. In addition to the unleashing of the inquisition as
mentioned above, you can also go around to all the ruins on your opponents'
homeworlds and release the rebels/symbiots hidden there. Doing this early
really seems to slow down the computer players' expansion since they have to
spend time and resources squashing bugs. Sometimes you can even steal the
contents of the ruins if the guardians move away, or right after they are
cleared by the computer player. Then, after you are done wreaking havoc on
your opponents, you can use all those extra assault landers and spies to
help you explore worlds you are trying to expand to. Three or four landers
and spies working in concert make planetary exploration much faster.
BTW... when I get the Eye, the first thing I do is dismantle the Eye base on
my homeworld and ship all the members of the Eye away. Anyone else do this?
I normally conquer the Eye fort prior to Regent elections. This gives me a
second fort with no consequences. It says you're at war with the Eye when
you attack, but since there isn't a minister yet you aren't really at war
15. I notice that after about turn 4 or 5 I start receiving messages that the
Symbiot have taken this city on this world and taken that city on another
world. After about 3 or 4 more turns it seems as if they have taken over 10+
cities. Is this something that I should worry about? Are the Symbiots going to
be a pain later?
I dunno. After a hundred turns or so, I still didn't seem to be much
affected by Symbiots (though I captured a few and made 'em work for me). I
did take some of the Stigmata garrison and whomp on them for a while once. I
suppose they might eventually spread, but so far haven't seen much trouble
from them. Could be pretty nasty I suppose.
16. What bugs have been reported (version 1.1)?
1. Major turn slow down after about turn 50-60 due to the computer AI building
massive numbers of cheap units.
2. Some players have reported bugs related to research. Not only were the
Archives showing that I was still researching technologies that the game had
totally eliminated, but any tech needing them as prereqs never showed up, and
if I looked in the archives to see what I would need to research to get those
techs it said, "Researching will get us closer to this technology." whereas it
will usually say "Researching [prerequisite technology capable of being
researched] will get us closer to this technology." Any trace of the prereq
technology had been removed from the game! This is bad, very bad.... But at
least I had about 25 labs researching nothing (despite only having 4 actual
labs in the game). I can confirm the "# of labs
researching nothing" bug someone else mentioned. The number doesn't go down
when I move a lab to research something. I've also had labs register negative
numbers for research points available and technologies register negative
numbers of research points remaining (without giving me the tech for another
turn or two). This negative research bug (both types) seems to happen to me
when I reassign labs that have finished their jobs to other projects during
the announcements phase. Pretty strange.
3. Possible bug: I also tried to make some money selling maps of planets that
I have, I tried different prices and even only 100 firebirds, but *nobody*
wants to buy them ! Tried several planets' maps with no luck.
4. Possible bug: Also, anyone seen the Vau do anything yet? As it is, there
doesn't seem to be any reason for the fleet commander to keep the Cadiz fleet
5. The despotism trait seems to be broken, IMHO. It's supposed to decrease
research yields, but I've found that it drastically lowers production in my
mines (I'm not sure about other buildings). Just as a test, I started a new
game as al-Malik with only despotism and immediately produced a mine on the
gem bonus to the east of the initial base (three spaces to the east of where
the road ends). After a turn or two to let the mine "heal" and with a loyalty
of 87%, my mine was supposed to be producing 20 metal, 5 trace, and 4 gems
(out of a possible 24M, 12T, and 5G I think); but in reality it was only
producing 9 metal a turn. Same thing at the mine al-Malik starts out with;
supposed to be producing 60 metal and 20 trace at 100% loyalty, but in reality
only 50 and 10. Can anyone confirm this and/or know what is going on? It's
kinda annoying since I had to start a game I was well into over because I
couldn't produce any gems at all (supposed to be producing 14, but actually
6. Here's a strange bug I encountered. After a battle with three rebel atmos
fighters on Kish, two ended up retreating onto a water hex. After capturing
them, I went to the stack screen to disband them. I got the expected metal and
electronics for disbanding them, but the fighters still registered on the
stack screen. So I kept trying to disband them and kept getting more and more
metal and electronics. Eventually I gave up (after gaining a lot of metal and
~180 electronics) and went back to the map screen at which point the fighters
disappeared, but I still had all the extra metal and electronics.
7. I don't know if this has happened to anyone else, since I haven't read
anyone mention it, but in a couple games I've played I've gotten really
hyperactive production. For example, in one game I had a cyclotron producing
201 singularities a turn when it's only supposed to produce one. Same for all
other types of refineries and also for gems. I've had hyperactive production
across the board (minus metal and food)in one game, and hyperactive production
of just gems in two others. Anyone else seen this? For reference, I have a
P133, 32 MB RAM, 512 cache, Win95, with patch 1.1 installed.
8. Another bug that seems to pop up for me is that after I use "b" to go to
the build screen and then click exit, I get dumped to the Byzantium screen
rather than the planet map as I normally do. Once this bug starts happening,
it happens every time. This gets pretty annoying if you are regent since you
get lots of superfluous "change of office" announcements the next turn.
Nothing short of reinstalling the game seems to make it go away. Again, has
anyone else experienced this?
9. The church diplomacy screen doesn't register wars, and being at war with
the church should have some sort of effect on the loyalty of a house's
subjects IMHO. It's also unclear (at least to me) how to produce units of a
particular sect. The computer players' choice of units to produce needs some
work. I've seen stacks with 9+ officer units, which seems sort of silly, and
invading a home planet that contains virtually nothing but basic garrison
units gets kinda old. If this lack of production variety is due to a lack of
proper technlogy (as I suspect it may be), then maybe computer's choice of
research to pursue should be tweaked. And the computer should definitely
protect it's palace better; as others have mentioned, it's too easy to waltz
in and steal the computer's sceptors and slaughter the nobles. I'd also like
to see the computer be more aggressive if possible. In one game, I had been at
war with several houses for years and years, routinely blowing up the
transports they kept sending to Criticorum (usually unescorted), and yet I was
never attacked even once until I landed on a home planet