Starships New Player FAQ


Hello, future leaders of the cosmos!

With the launch of Sid Meier's Starships, we've put together this post to act as a  guide for any new players who have questions about the game. 

Please feel free to reach out to us if your question hasn't been answered here. We'll be working to update this post as new updates and information are available.

How can I upgrade my ships? (both through upgrades and technology)

  • There are actually two different ways you can upgrade your ships. By clicking on the red logo below, you’ll be brought to the Fleet Overview screen. From there you make repairs, upgrade specific parts,  or build new ships. However: This is only part of the way to fully upgrade your ships. In order to max out your fleet’s stats, you’ll also need to take full advantage of researching technology.

  • The Research Technology Screen furthers your mastery of the cosmos via science. Researching a technology provides a  substantial bonus to specific parts of your ship. An example of this is the Ion Drive, which provides a 25% increase in ship speed for each level researched.

What do the different resources provide?

  • Resources, earned by establishing influence on planets (and eventually getting them to join your alliance), are used to purchase different types of upgrades in Starships. Here’s what you can spend them on:
    • Food is spent to build cities.
    • Energy buys upgrades and repairs to your ships.
    • Science can be used to purchase Research Technologies.
    • Metal has a number of uses: Not only can it be spent on planetary improvements (which increases your resource payout), but you also have to use metal to build Wonders (providing permanent bonuses to your fleet) and Warp Nexuses (these allow your fleet to travel between planets without suffering fatigue.
    • Credits are a used to buy and sell other resources in the Market. An example of this is selling excess Food and using the credits earned to buy some more Science. Additionally, credits can buy influence on a planet.

What are the differences between cities and improvements?

  • Basically, resource production on a planet is proportional to the number of cities it has. Improvements, meanwhile, increase the planet’s productivity at generating specific resources. An example of this is the Biofuel Plant, which increases energy production.

What are Wonders?

  • Wonders are unique constructs that grant special bonuses to your federation’s fleet. They usually require a lot of Metal to build, but the bonus they provide to you can’t be duplicated by any other federation and you can build multiple unique Wonders for multiple bonuses. An example of this in action is Damage Control, which means your ships will no longer take critical hits.

What are all the different ways I can win this game?

  • There are several different ways to obtain victory in Starships. Ultimately, though, you need to meet one of the following victory conditions:
    • Population Victory: You or an AI opponent must have 51% of the total population within a federation.
    • Domination Victory: You or an AI opponent must be the last surviving player in the game.
    • Science Victory: You or an AI opponent must have three technologies at Level 6.
    • Wonder Victory: You or an AI opponent must control seven wonders.

How do I rotate the playing field?

  • You can rotate the battlefield map on a PC and Mac by right clicking your mouse and dragging the camera around. When you let go of the mouse button, the camera will reset to its original position. Using two moving two fingers around the screen will do the same thing on iOS devices.

How do I gain influence on a planet?

  • There are several ways to gain influence on a planet:
    • Completing a mission on a planet results in influence (how much influence depends on the difficulty of the mission).
    • You can also buy influence on a planet with credits.
    • Shore Leave will increase your influence on the selected planet by one bar.

How do different items on the battlefield affect a mission?


  • Asteroids: Hexes with asteroids are completely impassible (although certain Wonders can change this effect).
  • Narrow Passage: These hexes are more difficult to move through or can be blocked. Their status changes from turn to turn.
  • Jump Gates: Jump Gates appear on maps sometimes. When a ship moves into one of these, it will be immediately moved to a random Jump Gate somewhere else on the map.
  • Warp Portal: Hexes with Warp Portals on them are open terrain in terms of gameplay, but often are the place a ship needs to move in order to successfully complete a mission.

Does “One More Turn” apply here (can I keep playing even after a victory condition is achieved by me or a second player)?

  • No, you can’t keep playing after victory is achieved by either you or an AI opponent. Once victory is achieved, the game is over.

How can I customize my starships’ appearance?

  • As you continue to upgrade your fleet’s ships, their appearances will change with each improvement. However, there isn’t an option to fully customize your ships with things like design or color.

What is the SpaceOPedia and why should I use it?

  • The SpaceOPedia is a handy in-game guide to just about every piece of information you could need.

Is there an online mode to the game?

  • No, Starships is a single-player game.

What are crew skills and how do they work?

  • As you continue through the game, your ship crews will receive experience from completing missions. This, in turn, will level up your ship; each level increase will improve your crew’s effectiveness.
  • That brings us to a related topic: Crew Efficiency. Crew efficiency measures the readiness of the people manning your ships. As their fatigue increases, they become less efficient at their jobs. An inefficient crew takes more damage from enemy attacks and aren’t able to fight well against your enemies.

What are battle cards and how do they work?

  • Battle cards are given at the start of each battle or earned from passing through Dark Matter. You can use them during combat to provide a temporary bonus to your fleet.

Will this game be cross-platform compatible? Will I be able to cross-save between mobile and PC?

  • While the game does offer cross-connectivity and unlockable bonuses, players will not be able to cross-save between devices and/or platforms.

What can I accomplish via diplomacy?

  • World Peace. Okay, okay: You can negotiate peace and declare war with other federations via diplomacy, but there is no victory condition associated with it.

Does Starships have any crossover content with Beyond Earth?

  • Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth fans who purchase Sid Meier’s Starships will uncover cross-connectivity and unlockable bonuses with the two games such as new planet types and missions.

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