This is how you make the best and optimal start in a new game of Galactic Civilizations IV Supernova by quickly discovering, colonizing and improving planets from local star systems. I will show you best research projects to pick, which ships to build, buildings to construct on planets and space stations in interstellar space.
Everything to do in the 1st turn
Making a good start in Galactic Civilizations IV: Supernova is largely the same no matter if you chose to play with a human or an alien civilization on any map size.
Here I will guide your progress for the first few dozen turns to help you build a prosperous galactic empire. Video version here, text below:
During the very first turn you have several important things to do, first of which is to locate other habitable planets in your home system and look at the map to see where it is in relation to all the other solar systems in your corner of the galaxy. This will let you plan future exploration.
Your flagship is one of the starting ships you get and you want to instantly send it to scan the closest anomaly for those nice bonuses, upgraders or resources you can discover.
The probe ship you send to the nearest next door solar system in search of other habitable planets with lots of capacity for population growth, meaning a high number of citizen slots.
You want the probe ships to scout far away because they have unlimited range while you will use other, new ships to scout the other, closer systems.
As for the already discovered habitable planets in your local solar system this is where you send your starting colony ship.
These worlds will provide your homeplanet with additional materials for production, science for research, wealth for income, food for population growth, and influence. All of these stats boost and benefit the homeworld and let you build more and faster on it. No manual management required.
As for the shipyard, ordering two additional probes is the way to go, but on smaller maps you could go with just one. While after those a supply ship is your optimal choice in order to boost the building construction on the next big planet you colonize.
As for the homeworld and its starting citizens you want to leave the researchers alone to boost new tech discovery but train everyone else as workers to boost the production output of the planet and thereby reduce the number of turns it takes you to construct buildings on the planet.
As for these you start with the Capital City improvement at a tile which has many others surrounding it as it will boost their output in the future.
After that you want the capital mainframe to boost research speed. Place it on a tile already containing a light bulb icon to give it an extra boost, while the industrial center similarly goes on a tile with extra manufacturing which is usually a cog icon but in this case and a unique tile called Cataract you get three more levels of manufacturing.
Tide pools is a unique structure to an oceanic based civilization and it gives an influence boost which isn’t important in the start of a game so I won’t go into that. But you can learn all about this and other mid and end game mechanics in my how to play guide for Galactic Civilizations IV Supernova linked here:
Population, Culture, Executive orders, Research, Tax, Policies
To boost the growth of a planet’s population we need to give it an extra buff by constructing an orbital station for recruiting.
It gives a +2 bonus to growth which is substantial at the building of a game, despite costing a 100 credits and taking up a slot. I will explain more why this is crucial as we continue.
In the Cultural progression window you can see which culture your civilization can most easily get unlocks for by looking at the ideology discount percentage.
For my civilization it is Collectivism and the first ideology is unification which doubles my homeworld’s influence. That will grow my zone of control around my planet faster.
Next thing we want to do is spend our control points on an executive order to gain a new, free colony ships and colonize the third planet in our home solar system.
Ahh… just one tile short. No matter, next turn it is. As for the last thing we need to do in this first turn, that is to choose a tech to research.
The ones at the top left are chosen out of the possible ones on the right and given a 50% research boost so that makes them faster to discover. Colonial policies is a must as it unlocks a new way to boost your civilization.
And it also gets research right at the start of the next turn unlocking policy assignments.
Now you might be tempted to go for the Universal Translator next to be able to talk to other alien civilizations but don’t do it. You can gain a nice boost to culture if you want for the game to give you a mission to research this tech.
Instead go for the armed shuttles tech to gain two free warships which you can use for exploration of local space. Now in the civilization tab you can adjust the tax rate to be high and reduce your citizens approval rating or set a low tax rate and be a very popular ruler.
This starting approval rating highly depends on the civilization you started with but a general rule is to reduce taxes as there are other ways to get credits and keep people happy to boost your planet’s growth.
As for the policies these too can differ a lot between civilizations but the general rule is to at first use the ones that give a boost to population growth as you need extra citizens to be able to send them to colonize new planets.
In a big map you could go for a fast exploration policy as you have more space to explore and more planets to discover.
Back on the homeworld another structure should be available now, the planetary Generator which again boosts manufacturing and military so add it to a tile close to your previous buildings for it to gain a boost and give a boost to its neighbors.
Leaders, Missions, Warships, Colonists, Space stations
Next important gameplay mechanic are the leaders. One you get at the start, others you have to recruit. I explained this also in more depth in my previous guide, but here it is important to look at the highest stats and match the colors to your first three ministers. Purple icon with a lighting bolt for exploration, blue icon with a lightbulb for research and a green icon with people for colonization.
Once you recruit two additional leaders with the highest stats you could find, match them to the ministries and gain the bonuses to approval, research and ship movement.
Now spend a few turns exploring while you wait for first contact.
At this point go for the option to assign scientists to the project of understanding aliens as that will start a mission called “A way to communicate”. You can see it in the top left corner and clicking on it will show you that after you fulfill the requirements you will gain 10 culture points.
As your flagship finishes analyzing the first anomaly get the best bonus you can, usually credits, resources, tech or ship upgrades. Keep sending the flag ships to discover and analyze more of these as you can gain really good starting bonuses to get ahead of the other civilizations.
After the armed shuttles tech is researched you want to get the starbase modules as this not only gives you two free constructors to construct starbases and start collecting important resources or bonus on the galaxy map but also even more ships to explore local space with.
As for the two new warships, which have a limited exploration range, send them to the nearest solar systems to try and find more planets for colonization. Your aim is to find planets like this, with high population caps, amazing prospects and possible extra deposits of resources.
Now since your draft colonists order is probably in cooldown you can opt to wait a few more turns or construct your own colony ship at the local shipyard. You can use credits to hurry the construction of ships and push out such a ship faster, but that will depend on how far the planet is.
If it is close to you, you can wait for the cooldown, if it is very far it is better to hurry the constructruction of extra colony ships at the shipyard.
Using your new construction ships to explore space around your home solar system is one use for them, but another is the construction of space stations to exploit those resources you can find. Some require a communication starbase others a mining one.
Once you have gained enough culture points make sure to spend them to unlock your first ideology and start benefiting from it.
Trade, Colony ships, Supply ships, Relics, Construction ships
You can refuse offers from alien races that are just outright bad for your population, despite angering them, but if they come at you with an actual trade offer, do accept it. The first ones won’t be very lucrative and might even feel bad for your side, but after a few the alien civilizations might just surprise you with some too good to be true offers like I got here with a huge monetary boost to my own civilization.
Using your constructed colony ships also means sending off a citizen from your home planet to be the first colonist on another. This is why you have to grow your planet’s population as colonizing new ones is a drain on your low citizen pool.
The reason why you want to construct supply ships at your first shipyard is to send them off to your new colonies, which after getting a governor to rule them, can construct new buildings.
But with a low population the construction is a slow process, and this is where supply ships help as when they land on the planet they hurry the production of new buildings on it.
When you locate space structures and relics which require a Xeno Archeology module to be worked for extra bonuses to your civilization that means you need to bring a constructor ship to that location and construct a communication starbase.
Add the appropriate module and start to benefit from a trickle of different kinds of bonuses which go a long way to getting you closer to victory.
Similarly, construction ships are used to construct mining starbases to mine resources used for building improvements on planets, ship upgrades and more powerful ships in the mid and end game.
At this point you should be well ahead of your galactic neighbors and I hope you will enjoy your whole playthrough.