Apart from blitzes, MOO II games are usually won by the most technologically advanced race, because a few advanced ships will usually slaughter a much larger but less advanced fleet. But building up your technology requires: increasingly advanced research buildings, which cost more to build and to maintain; usually more scientists, which requires that you grow your population. So you need to increase your construction capacity, cash income, and food supply (even Lithovores need to think about food once they start conquering, as some of their opponents will not be Lithovores).
This section of the guide covers building an economy that's capable of researching and using high technology. Planning and managing research is such a big topic that it gets its own major section, following this one.
It's natural to think that "building an economy " should start with the first major step, which is usually colonization. But it turns out that, in order to make good decisions about where and when to colonize, one first has to know a lot about how an economy works and grows.
There are 2 ways to create new colonies:
- If there's an unoccupied planet in a system where you already have a colony, your colony in that system can build a Colony Base (200 construction points; think of it as a very short-range spaceship).
- Otherwise you have to build a much more expensive Colony Ship (500 construction points).
In the early game even a Colony Base is a significant construction project, so you need to decide what you hope to gain from each colony, and whether the gain justifies the cost.
Almost any planet can be made to contribute to your empire given enough time, research and, in many cases money. But there are other empires that will not give you unlimited time and will punish any serious mistakes you make. So you have to be able to decide which planets will make a positive contribution in a reasonable time, and that means you first have to know how a typical economy works and grows.
As you read this section you'll notice many hints on using the Colony List to manage you economy. Experienced players spend most of their time using the Colony List because:
- You can sort it in in several ways, depending on what aspect of your economy you want to manage.
- It allows you to give several types of orders to individual colonies. The only order you can't give from the Colony List is to scrap an unwanted building.
Before going into the details, it's time to introduce some common abbreviations that are used in most MOO IIguides and discussions:
- RP = research points, the measure of research activity and of what is required to complete research projects.
- PP = production points (known as construction points in some games). MOO II discussions use the term "PP" because ... (next item)
- CP = command points, which determines how big a fleet you can run without having to spend large sums of money on fleet management.
- BC = Billion Credits, the unit of cash (looks like they've had hyper-inflation)