Starter Guide (CivBE)

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Civilization: Beyond Earth Starter Guide

Starting a new gameEdit

Main article: Starting a new game

Starting a new game in Civilization: Beyond Earth first involves what developers have named the seeded start.

The Seeded Start Edit

In traditional Civilization your first choice is between specifically defined civilizations with fixed traits. The aim for Civilization: Beyond Earth is instead for players to do their own 'seeding' of their civilization, rooted in the rationale that, if an expedition was to leave Earth, to Colonise an alien world, it would have to make certain decisions on what to 'pack' for such an interstellar endeavour. In Beyond Earth this 'seeded start' (build your own civ approach) involves making choices in 5 categories (note you can randomize all 5 if you want to):

Designate Sponsor Edit


Here you will choose between eight factions each with their own leader and benefits.

  1. The ARC or American Reclamation Corporation, with their leader CEO Suzanne Fielding.
  2. The Pan Asian Cooperative, with leader Daoming Sochua.
  3. Franco-Iberia, with leader Élodie.
  4. Slavic Federation, with leader Vadim Kozlov.
  5. Polystralia, with leader Hutama.
  6. Kavithan Protectorate, with leader Kavitha Thakur.
  7. Brasilia, with leader Rejinaldo Bolivar.
  8. People's African Union, with leader Samatar Jama Barre.

ARC has the associated benefits: "Covert Operations are 25 % faster and cause 25 % more intrigue" (Civ:BE). So this means you can steal units, techs, etc. (see Covert Operations) faster, and with increasing intrigue the enemy cities become that much more vulnerable to future Ops. If you like the sneaky aggressive James Bond approach, this faction is for you.

PAC (Pan Asian Cooperation) is what you could call 'Space Egypt' if you have played the Civ series, as they have a bonus to wonder-production and worker improvement speed: "10 % production towards Wonders and 25 % Worker speed" (Civ:BE). This means they will have greater chance of completing wonders, obviously, but also that workers will boost tile yield that much faster, and be able to move "out of the way" of for instance marauding aliens, in early gameplay.

Franco-Iberia is very much the culture faction, clearly Francofile descendants. They have a synergy with science though as they: "Gain a free Technology for every 10 Virtues developed" (Civ:BE). So a strategy here might be heavy investment in knowledge virtues. If you like playing a culture game pick them.

The Slavic Federation have the edge in space, which is reflected in that: "Orbital units stay in orbit 20% longer. The first orbital unit launched grants a free Technology". This is important if you are lucky enough, or rich enough, to find/buy a satellite and launch it early on, your civ will be boosted by that free tech. Further the extended orbit time, means that they are superior in controlling the Orbital Layer, which will be extremely powerful if used wisely.

The Trade system has the potential to boost all areas of a civ, and here Polystralia excels with: "+2 Trade Routes available for the Capital". This means they get more trade in than others, and have that freedom to do the best routes. As the knowledgeable Pete Murray stated: "...not quite Venice, but almost...". So if you are a commerce player try Hutama's Polystralia.

For an expansive player the Kavithan Protectorate might be the way to go. Their bonus is: "Cities and Outposts acquire new tiles twice as fast". In Civ:BE you gain new cities by first sending out a colonist to found an outpost, which then slowly grows into a city when it grabs a full circle of the innermost tiles (estimated 10-15turns). This means that outposts are fragile and need protection until they 'grow up'. With KP, this period is very short, and thus frees up your resources that much faster, making further expansion possible. Further Cities grab those far tiles much faster.

Brasilia's: "Units have a +10% Strength in melee combat", seems rather straightforward. They are good for a militant game. Guns work.

PAU (People's African Union) is the last sponsor choice. They have the: "+10% Food in growing cities when Healthy" bonus. This might seem to be a double-edge sword so to speak, as they will reach the "health-cap" much faster, thus nullifying the bonus. But it is also a highly resilient faction. In tough terrain like desert or tundra, they deal much better with scarce food sources, where others start to struggle. They grow fast so you often should push health-tech. So choosing PAU is a balancing game.

Choose Colonists Edit

Main article: Colonists (CivBE)
Colonists (CivBE) Colonists Ability
Scientists (CivBE) Scientists

+2 20xScienceBE Science in every city

Refugees (CivBE) Refugees

+2 20xFoodBE Food in every city

Aristocrats (CivBE) Aristocrats

+4 20xEnergyBE Energy in every city [1]

Engineers (CivBE) Engineers

+2 20xProductionBE Production in every city

Artists (CivBE) Artists

+2 20xCultureBE Culture in every city (3 in Base BE) [1]

Pioneers (CivBE) Pioneers

Build colonists and explorers twice as fast [2]

Mercenaries (CivBE) Mercenaries

All Cities have +25 Hit Points, and all units have +10% 20xStrengthBE Strength
and 20xRangedStrengthBE Ranged Strength in friendly territory [2]

Choose Spacecraft Edit

Main article: Spacecraft (CivBE)

The colonization of an alien world would necessarily require some sort of orbiter and an attached landing vessel (taken together a Spacecraft). This craft would obviously have been designed in pre-mission, and a decision on its functions and design would have been made. The 'Choose Spacecraft' screen reflects that choice. Our options here are:

Spacecraft (CivBE) Spacecraft Specialty
Continental Surveyor (CivBE) Continental Surveyor

Reveal coasts on map

Retrograde Thrusters (CivBE) Retrograde Thrusters

Wider area for choosing where to land first city

Tectonic Scanner (CivBE) Tectonic Scanner

No technology is needed to see 20xPetroleumBE Petroleum, 20xGeothermalBE Geothermal and 20xTitaniumBE Titanium resources

Fusion Reactor (CivBE) Fusion Reactor

Begin with 100 20xEnergyBE Energy

Lifeform Sensor (CivBE) Lifeform Sensor

Reveal alien nests on Map

Electromagnetic Sensor (CivBE) Electromagnetic Sensor

Reveal Artifacts on Map [3]

Supply Module (CivBE) Supply Module

Begin with 2 resource pods near the player's first city [3]

The first one, Continental Surveyor, reveals the entire coastline of the planet. This is hugely powerful, especially on an archipilegean map, as it allows you to see all the islands and landmasses, so you will know if you need to go for Planetary Survey for the ability embarkation fast, and you will have a good idea of where the juicy land is, so you can go straight there.

Secondly we can go with Retrograde Thrusters. If you have ever played Civ V you will know of the "do you move your settler?"-debate, this feature removes that issue as you get a much larger area to land in. Furthermore, it gives you 6 hexes visibility around your capital, so in this way your capital AND your first few outposts get the best resources possible.

The third option is handy because it immediately shows if you will have access to those important strategic resources, and can then prioritize researching the tech that lets you extract them. Otherwise you could waste Science on tech you can't use.

The Fusion Reactor option is just a straight-up Energy boost.

The last option lets you assess the alien-presence right off the bat, so you can prioritize defense if you need to, and maybe decide on an affinity to counter them when they show up.

Choose Cargo Edit

Main article: Cargo (CivBE)

An interstellar expedition such as 'The Seeding' would of course have been able to make a decision on what cargo to bring for this daring colonization-mission. That is reflected in our fourth screen:

Cargo (CivBE) Cargo Specialty
Hydroponics (CivBE) Hydroponics

Begin with extra 22xPopulationBE Population in your first city

Laboratory2 (CivBE)LaboratoryBegin with the Pioneering technology
Raw Materials (CivBE) Raw Materials

Begin with a Clinic building in your first city

Weapon Arsenal (CivBE) Weapon Arsenal

Begin with a Soldier unit

Machinery (CivBE) Machinery

Begin with a Worker unit

Cryotome (CivBE) Cryotome

Begin with a free virtue [4]

Xeno Management (CivBE) Xeno Management

Begin with an Ultrasonic Emitter unit [4]

The Hydroponics is nice because it lets you work that extra tile right away for that extra Production, growth or Energy.

In Civ:BE you start without the ability to build new cities. This requires the Pioneering tech, that the Laboratory choice grants, which also opens the trade system with the Trade Depot and the Trade Convoy. So this is an important, though cheap, tech, that you will need at some point.

The Raw Materials option grants you the safe choice of a building with a known benefit: +1 Science, +1 Health. A bonus you can always use.

The Weapon Arsenal: another safe choice that could help if you intend to combat the aliens. The planet may be dangerous, and guns work.

The last choice of a Worker unit can be a powerplay opening, but is also quite a gamble if he is grabbed by aliens. For this reason it is good to pair it with the Lifeform Sensor, so you will know to keep your Worker away from danger.

Choose Planet Edit

Main article: Planet (CivBE)

Lastly space-travel must have a clear, well-defined destination. Colonization of humans demands a certain list 'habitable' conditions to be met. Here we choose exactly what planet to aim our expedition at:

Planet Specialty
Terran World (CivBE) Terran World

A world with a few large landmasses separated by oceans and some smaller islands.

Protean World (CivBE) Protean World

A world of one ocean and one very large, continuous landmass with the possibility of small, coastal islands.

Atlantean World (CivBE) Atlantean World

A world of islands of varying sizes separated by narrow water passages.

Random World (CivBE) Random World

The game will randomly pick one of these planets for you to play.

(note that via the Advanced Setup in the upper right-hand corner, you have even more map types, the biom choice etc. etc.).

A fun fact about this screen is that the planets are named after the dev-team members.

(observe that we have the Advanced Worlds option in the bottom, that gives you the option of, for instance, a tilted axis world with asymmetric climate etc.)

Interface Edit

Here we will take you through those different screens that you will encounter at your first turn of the game. First you will of course have to do your seeded start, and you will then see the screens we describe here. The following gameplay images are from the Firaxis Twitch-channel on . In this game they have chosen this setup of a seeded start and decided to go for a Terran World:

Refugees (CivBE)Retrograde Thrusters (CivBE)Machinery (CivBE)
Refugees +2 20xFoodBE Food in every city
Retrograde Thrusters Wider area for choosing where to land first city
Machinery Begin with a Worker unit

Now that site for planetfall.

Landing screen Edit

This is what they saw:

Beyond Earth Starter Guide screenshot 1

The capital would now land in the hex pushed next. The larger visible area, and the bigger size red landing zone, comes from the Retrograde Thrusters. In the upper-righthand corner we have the mini-map. You can scroll in it by pushing or holding the left mouse-button. Push the "eye" for some filters.

The map screen Edit

This is the first view after planetfall, and the main game-screen.

Beyond Earth Starter Guide screenshot 2

If you look at the upper left corner you can see your current Affinity levels. Mouse over them to see the Affinity bonuses. Just beneath them you can see the Current Research.

In the upper right corner, by the mini-map, you have the strategic resources quantities, your 20xCultureBE Culture progress/yield, the current 20xHealthBE Health, your 20xEnergyBE Energy store/yield, the 20xScienceBE Science yield, the turn counter and the help button.

In the lower left we have the selected Unit with its attached action-buttons. In the lower right you'll see the small icons that browse all the screens. To their left there's a small plus sign (+) that gives you a menu for some more screens:

Economic Overview instructions (CivBE)

Next to the buttons for selecting screens is the Choose Production button, letting you shift the city's Production. Right above is the Choose Research button that, along with the Current Research button and the 20xScienceBE Science yield, zooms to the Tech Web.

The Tech Web Edit

This lets you see all techs in the game:

Beyond Earth Starter Guide screenshot 3

Those techs with a light-blue icon with a white flag are already researched, and you can start on the purple ones by clicking them. Mousing over the little icons you can see what each tech grants. Note that you must research the topmost tech before researching the leaf-tech/techs right beneath it.

The city screen Edit

The last screen we will look at is the city screen, which is accessed via the map screen by clicking on a city:

Beyond Earth Starter Guide screenshot 4

Now in the upper left corner you should see the citizen count (it is 2 here). Just below is the Citizen Management where you see all the city tile yields, and you can prioritize one yield if you like by clicking it. By clicking the circles around the city the yields can be set manually.

In the top center is the city name, and you can use the arrows to shuffle your cities. Above the city name there's a link that says "Edit", you can use that to rename the city:

Renaming a city (CivBE)

At the upper-righthand we can see current production, that is changed by clicking the Change Production button. Next to it (the Purchase button) you can purchase production for energy. In the bottom right you queue up the next production.

Finally, in the lower left, you can push to see all buildings you have already.

This concludes our Starter Guide, and you should have a good idea on how to play. Good luck with your first Extraterrestrial colony, have fun!


  1. 1.0 1.1 Note: In the December 2014 patch the +1 20xHealthBE Health bonuses from Artists and Aristocrats were removed, but their 20xEnergyBE Energy and 20xCultureBE Culture outputs were increased by one.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Pioneers and Mercenaries are only available as unlockables playing Sid Meier's Starships
  3. 3.0 3.1 Electromagnetic sensors and Supply modules are only available as unlockables playing Sid Meier's Starships
  4. 4.0 4.1 Cytotome and Xenomanagement are only available as an unlockable playing Sid Meier's Starships
Civilization: Beyond Earth [Edit]
Games: Base Beyond EarthRising TideStarships

Aliens • Artifacts (Alien, Old Earth, Progenitor)† • BiomesBuildingCargoColonistsOrbital UnitsPersonality Traits† • PlanetsQuestsResourcesSponsorsSpacecraftTech WebTerrainTile ImprovementsTrade Agreements† • UnitsVirtuesWondersYields


Harmony (CivBE) HarmonyPurity (CivBE) PuritySupremacy (CivBE) Supremacy

Alien gameplayAquatic gameplay† • Artifacts System† • BuildingCitiesCovert Operations • Diplomacy (Base BE, Rising Tide†) • ExpeditionsMarvel System† • MiasmaOrbital LayerStationsTech WebTradeUnitsVictory

20xCultureBE Culture20xDiplomaticCapitalBE Diplomatic Capital20xEnergyBE Energy20xFoodBE Food20xHealthBE Health20xProductionBE Production20xScienceBE Science

Starting a new gameStarter GuideStrategy GuidesSteam AchievementsModsUpdatesSoundtrackStarships UnlockablesExoplanets Map PackCivilopedia

† Introduced in Rising Tide‡ Spin off game based in the same fictional universe

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