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The cost of each facility is given in "rows". The number of minerals for a human player with 0 industry is 10, so an Aquafarm, with its 8-row cost, is usually 80 minerals.

Aerospace Complex[edit]

Adds +2 morale to air units built at this base, increases base air defense by 100%, repairs air units fully in one turn, allows base to construct and receive the full benefits of satellites.

If you think you'll be able to win the Cloudbase Academy secret project sometime in the future, then be judicious about how many of these you build. They are most useful in your main production centers (increasing the morale of the air units you build) and at your forward war bases (so that your planes can be repaired quickly and your bases have better defense against airstrikes).

The situation in which you'd want to build these more widely is if you aren't able to get the Cloudbase Academy, and you want to put up satellites.

After the development of aircraft most wars tend to be settled aerially so without AAA troops and an Aerospace Complex your cities will be vulnerable. In the medium term satellites are the key to winning Alpha Centauri since their bonuses apply to all your cities and the A.I often doesn't use them. Cities without aerospace complexes can't launch satellites and only get half the benefits.


  • Prerequisite: Progenitor Psych
  • Mineral rows: 8
  • Maintenance cost: 1
  • Alien Crossfire only

The Aquafarm increases the nutrient output of every kelp farm at that base by one.

This facility is most useful when a tightly packed sea-base spacing is used, and if you really need to maximize production from worked tiles it can help keep a small base eating well, even when mostly specialists. The main negatives are that despite coming early in the tech tree, you won't be able to reap the benefits until after Gene Splicing lifts the nutrient restrictions, and the large mineral cost, combined with a per-turn upkeep, mean that this facility may be a waste of precious minerals to build, and even more precious cash to maintain until at least after Tree Farms — by which point you probably will not be short of nutrients anyway. The case for building them in sea bases is even worse, as sea bases normally are so rich in nutrients, that any more is purely a waste.

Having said that, if building an Aquafarm allows you to increase the base size, then it may pay for itself in the long term, although if it allows one specialist (producing +2 of something) it will require 160 turns to cover its costs, or with 2 extra specialists 53 turns. If the Aquafarm allow you to use two extra second-tier specialists (that is, if you are working four tiles with kelp), the construction costs can be regained in only 18-25 turns, and then anything after that is profit.

This is bad practice in terms of turn advantage, though; sea bases are notoriously short of minerals, and an 8-row facility is going to block up your build queues for a few years. A single trawler on a kelp tile will offer just about the same benefits, for half the mineral cost and no upkeep.

Bioenhancement Center[edit]

Adds +2 morale to conventional units and +1 lifecycle to psi units. This is most useful to build in addition to one of the other enhancement facilities: command center, aerospace complex, brood pit, etc. Such a combination will produce units that start at veteran status, or even commando or elite depending upon your social choices!

Biology Lab[edit]

+1 Lifecycle for Native Life, +2 Labs/turn

There's only one reason to build a Biology Lab, and that is for the +1 Lifecycle Native Life gets when built here. Without a decent level of Lifecycle, your worms and locusts will just get mashed. If you are planning on pursuing an all-worm strategy, these facilities are your Command Centers. The comments about Command Centers apply equally here, but more so, as Morale/Lifecycle is much more important in psi-combat.

The +2 Labs per turn is insignificant unless you're planning on building them everywhere, but I don't recommend the investment in these for the purpose of boosting your research. Paying 1 ec/turn for 2 Labs/Turn may sound like a good deal, but with your six rows of minerals (worth about 120 ec) you could have built two crawlers, which I guarantee will be able to crawl you more energy than the +1 you gain from just the Biolab (which will make a profit in the 123rd turn after its built)

Note that the plus 2 labs is affected by research hospitals/network nodes etc, despite no written indication anywhere.

Brood Pit[edit]

  • Prerequisite: Centauri Genetics
  • Mineral rows: 8
  • Maintenance cost: 2
  • Alien Crossfire only

The base gets a +1 lifecycle bonus for aliens and decrease cost of breeding aliens by -25%. Negative lifecycle effects are canceled inside this base. Also the base gets +2 police rating. A no-brainer for mindworms users.

Centauri Preserve[edit]

Decreases Eco damage and adds +1 lifecycle bonus. You should build these mainly to cancel out the eco-damage caused by your biggest production bases.

Children's Crèche[edit]

This facility provides +2 Growth and +1 Efficiency. Any units defending the base ignore negative Morale penalties and take +1 Morale instead. Units that already have +1 Morale or better do not benefit.

Everyone knows the importance of looking after the children. For a mere 50 minerals (Roughly = 100 ec) plus 1 ec/turn (Which the +1 Effic often gives back to you from reduced inefficiency losses) you have given yourself (with most factions) the ability to pop-boom. Even without the other bonuses, the +2 Growth is easily worth twice the current cost of the facility. Say, for example, that we build the Crèche in one of our little size 4-5 bases in turn 30, expecting to end the game around turn 130 (conservative estimates indeed) so we have to pay the equivalent of 200ec all together over those 100 turns, which is about 2 ec/turn. Here comes the good news. Even without pop-booming, the extra +2 Growth will (assuming there's always enough food) make the base grow so much faster, that often in the long run the extra income from a getting a larger base x turns earlier than otherwise more than pays for the production and maintenance with the profit gained over a base growing without a Crèche.

Assume the Crèche makes the base grow to each size 1 turn faster. Assume also that each extra poppoint is worth a 2-2-2 tile (nothing special) which has an estimated ec-value of 6. Now with a 50/50 Labs/Economy split, that's 3 extra ecs each time the base grows one turn earlier (ignoring the other benefits). So, the first growth comes 1 turn earlier, the second comes 2 turns earlier... until the tenth comes 10 turns earlier. That's a total of (1+2+3+4+5+6+7+8+9+10) x 3 = 165 extra ecs gained in the growth of the base compared to one without a crèche. OK, then we have to pay for the crèche, and that costs an estimated 200ecs over our 100 turns or so, so we only make a loss of 35 ecs. However... what if the base grows more than only one turn faster? Depending on the base set-up, its possible to rake huge profits here by growing 2 turns faster each time (130 ec/base = 1.3 per turn) or 3 turns faster to the next size (295 ec/base = 2.95 ec/turn)

And that's without figuring in the other advantages of more population, namely council votes and score.

Not to mention how much you can gain by going from size 5 to size 14 in only 9-10 turns, in which case you are Popbooming, and the maths becomes irrelevant. If you're going to pop-boom, time your construction so that all your bases are finishing the Crèches about the same time, then flick over to Democratic/Planned and enjoy the glory of +6 Growth.

Command Center[edit]

This facility provides +2 Morale to land units produced. Land units end their turn here are automatically restored to full strength the next turn. All units within the base gain a 100% defense bonus against land units.

For a small cost you can make your units 25% better in combat. You can see how that might be useful in a prolonged war. There's a big "but..." implied here though, and that is whether or not the time and minerals needed to build Command Centers in every base are well spent.

Consider you intend to start an early war using Laser or Impact Rovers. The aim of an early war is to rush a nearby opponent before he or she can get their defenses ready. If you delay your war long enough to build Command Centers (say 4 turns in a size 3 base with Recycling Tanks working 3 forest tiles) your intended target has time to prepare. There's nothing more embarrassing than a failed rover rush.

So, what else could you do with 4 rows of minerals instead of building a Command Center?

You could build four 1-1-1 infantry units or two 1-1-2 rover units to upgrade into real attack troops. In this case, you'd better be playing a high-support faction. For a high-cash faction, it's much better to have smaller numbers of better troops.

Don't automatically build the Command Centers before building the troops. If you're planning on attacking Morgan or Zakharov, it's usually unnecessary to pump up your Morale. It's far better to attack these Builders early before they can get ahead in tech, and your 4-1-2 rovers find themselves attacking 1-3-1 ECM units behind Perimeter Defenses. If you want to take on Cha'Dawn or Deirdre, then that extra Morale may just save you while you fight the inevitable Mind Worms.

The catch: Command Centers will cost you 1 energy per turn each. If you're playing as Yang, with his -2 Economy, then this may be a bridge too far. Of course, Yang can run Wealth to counter his -1 energy per base, but this is not an option because it reverses the effect of the Command Centers. You gain 1 Energy, pay it to the Command Center, which gives you +2 Morale, which in turn is taken away by the Wealth. Sure, you get +1 Industry, but that will save 4 minerals from the cost of your rather expensive and pretty useless Command Centers.

But, and here's the rub, against the AI you can be pretty sure of snagging The Command Nexus, and getting one free in every base. Of course, this is only a good deal if you have 5 or more bases.

[1] The upkeep of your Command Centers starts at 1 and increases according to the best Reactor strength you have. For example, upon discovery of Fusion Power, Command Centers will cost 2 energy per turn to maintain.

Covert Ops Center[edit]

Probe Teams get 2 morale upgrades and gets a +2 probe rating.

Energy Bank[edit]

The Energy Bank adds +50% Economy at the base.

As long as you're making good money anyway, it can't hurt to make a bit more. Energy Banks are always worth having, especially if you can get one in every base for free with The Planetary Energy Grid (Alien Crossfire only). However, there are two questions to ask yourself before building an Energy Bank: "Will it give me a profit?" and "What else could I be building?"

Firstly the profit question. An Energy Bank gives you +50% Economy, at a cost of 1ec/turn. So if you're producing 2 Economy (not total energy, just Economy) at that base, you will gain 1 energy/turn at a cost of 1 energy/turn — not such a great deal. With 4 Economy at that base you gain 2 energy/turn which means it will only take 160 turns to cover the value of the minerals involved in building the Energy Bank. Of course, the base will grow, and the returns will improve over time, so the sooner you build one, the quicker you'll make the money back. Energy Banks are like a stock exchange: you put some cash in now, and hope the company goes up, and stays up long enough for you to profit from it. So, as with all facilities that improve the base's mineral or Economy production, the sooner you build an Energy Bank, the more you will gain from it.

However, building too many facilities early on is going to kill your horizontal growth in favor of vertical growth. Which is better, 5 bases with Energy Banks now, or 15 bases with Energy Banks later? Instead of increasing the Economy of your bases by 50%, why not increase the number of your bases by 50%?

What else could we have built in the same time with those 8 rows? A Colony Pod, 2 Formers to develop the new base, and a 1-1(t)-1 unit to protect it? Recycling Tanks and a Crawler? Two Colony Pods and 1-1(t)-1 units to protect them? If every base did that instead of building an Energy Bank, you'd increase the number of bases by 200%.

So, we must decide between building early to get more cash for rush buying to speed a later but faster expansion, or building later, to expand faster in the first instance, but to get less efficient use from our Energy Banks. There really are a lot of factors to consider here, such as which faction, Social Engineering settings and map you are using, but with the exception of Morgan, it may be wiser to use those 8 rows in the early game to get more stuff on the map instead of more credits in your pockets. Morgan on the other hand has poor Support and high energy in the base square (easily gets 8+) so he can build Energy Banks as soon as he is running Free Market/Wealth and really rake in the cash. Morgan can easily get 16 energy at a size 3 base, which with the default 50/50 Economy/Labs split allows an Energy Bank to make a net profit of 3 energy/turn - only 53 turns at that rate to earn the value of the Bank back, and most probably less, and help to fuel a rush-buying frenzy that only Morgan can get away with.

Flechette Defense System[edit]

There is a 50% chance that a normal missile will be shot down if it comes near the base. It also can shoot down more powerful missiles like Planetbusters 50% of the time. The more you have, the more chance you have. (50% to shoot down, if he lives, another 50% to be shot down by the second). Unfortunately, this comes so late in the tech tree that it probably won't appear in most of the games you play.

Fusion Lab[edit]

  • Prerequisite: Fusion Power
  • Mineral rows: 12
  • Maintenance cost: 3

Labs and Economy is increased by 50%. A good investment for bases that you are positioning as "knowledge factories". Makes a good complement to a research hospital.

Genejack Factory[edit]

You gain an extra 50% minerals at this base, but you get 1 more drone at the base and you’re more vulnerable to mind control. The earliest mineral boosting facility.

Geosynchronous Survey Pod[edit]

Sight Radius of the base is now 3. They also count as sensory array so you get +25% defense. They can be destroyed by Orbital Defense Pods and Probe Teams.

Hab Complex[edit]

The Hab Complex increases the population limit of the base by seven.

What is there to say? Every base needs one to grow above size 7 except those of Lal (size 9) and Morgan (size 4). If you're at all interested in vertical growth, then you'll have to build some eventually. Having said that, Jamski has won a game on Transcend using the Gaians without building any, and won Diplomatic Victory in 2180. Lots of smaller bases with crawlers and specialists can perform very well in the early and middle game, and aggressive play in this period can ensure that your "swarm techniques" end up saving you the trouble of building the 8 rows and paying the 2 energy/turn needed for the Hab Complex.

The most important consideration when building Hab Complexes is timing. You don't want one sitting around in a size 5 base for turns and turns costing you money for no reason. In an ideal world you'd look to see how many turns until you grow to size 8, and time the Hab Complex to be either finished then, or at least in a position for you to rush it then.

Also, it's hardly worth the cost for bases that will only grow to size 8 and then stop. If you're really packing them close together and concentrating on boreholes and mines, this happens pretty often. You'll be paying 2 energy/turn for an extra worker, who as number 8 will be born a Drone, even on Citizen level. Consider it, and don't stick them everywhere, even in size 4 bases that were not growing because "I might get enough satellites up there eventually".

Habitation Dome[edit]

Allows your base to grow beyond 14. Note: You need Hab Complex first.


  • Mineral rows: 5
  • Maintenance cost: 0

This facility can be moved, you can only have 1. You get +1 energy at the base and you have ZERO inefficiency. And enemy Probe Teams cannot try to Mind Control.

Hologram Theatre[edit]

A Hologram Theatre adds +50% to Psych, and quells 2 Drones.

If you didn't get the Virtual World, you're going to need deep pockets here. Unless you're playing on one of the easier levels, you will need to suppress your Drones somehow. You may think the Virtual World is expensive for a Secret Project you can build very early, but those 300 Minerals = only 5 Hologram Theatres, and you don't have to pay the upkeep (although you will have to build some Network Nodes, which you were planning on doing anyway, right?

Hologram Theatres are expensive, and before you blindly build them, its always worth considering if there's another way of dealing with your Drones. First alternative are Recreation Commons - they cost less to build, they only cost 1 energy/turn but they don't give extra Psych. Second alternative is to use more Police, either more units, or a different Social Engineering setting. Third alternative is to increase Psych spending on the Social Engineering screen, and the fourth easy option for those early game Drones is to use specialists.

There's a fifth option, which is to play as Lal and pinch the Human Genome Project, in which case Drones will be a non-issue even on Transcend level. In this case Hologram Theatres are a waste of time and money.

In most situations you might be better advised to crawl 2 extra nutrients and make someone a doctor than to spend 6 rows of minerals up front (roughly = 120 ec) and then another 3 energy/turn. There's only a short window in which Holo Theaters are worth it, but when Tree Farms (also +50% Psych) and Research Hospitals (+25% Psych and -1 Drone) come along then I'd build them instead. You'll end up having to shove some energy into Psych at some point in most games anyway, there's no need to be ashamed of it.

Anyway this is about facilities, not Drone control, and of all the facilities in this category, Hologram Theatres are the worst value. They do a good job, but not at those prices, and not in my early game build queues. There's plenty of reasons to get them free with the Virtual World, though.

Hybrid Forest[edit]

You get +1 Energy and Nutrient from forests. You get an extra 50% psych and economy. It removes eco damage from terraforming 100% (You need Tree Farm first before you can build this).

Very useful for big bases, since you can get 3/2/2 resources from forests! It's expensive, though, so you need a pretty big production capacity first.


Psych goes up 25%, labs go up 50% and the amount of drones goes down by 1. Helps prevent population loss by disease or genetic warfare.


Mineral output goes up by 50%. Also, mineral effect on ecodamage is reduced, as per centauri preserve and temple of planet. Note that the extra minerals tend to outstrip the reduced effect of mineral production if the other two facilities are already built (each building that lowers effects of mineral production on planet does less than the one before, due to the set-up of the eco-damage equation).

Naval Yard[edit]

This facility provides +2 Morale to naval units produced. Naval units that end their turn here are automatically restored to full strength the next turn. Increases naval defense at this base by 100%.

I'm not convinced of the economics of Command Centers, unless you can get them free with the Command Nexus, and Naval Yards not only have a more limited application (Everyone except the Pirates will build many less naval units than land and air units) but they also require twice the upkeep costs. Unless you get The Maritime Control Center and get them for free, or you feel you really must take on the Pirates before Doctrine: Airpower, you are simply foolish to build these. Actually, if you want to make a big enough navy to take on the Pirates at surface level, you're pretty foolish too. They get these Naval Yards for free, and can capture the ships you so expensively trained up. If the Pirates are not in the game, then who exactly did you want to use all these +2 Morale foils and cruisers against anyway? By the time there's enough sea bases in the game that its worth training your navy to attack them, its also late enough that you have noodles and choppers, which do a much better job.

Use those 8 rows to build a couple of Foil Probes if you really have to muck about in the water, and then spend the cash you saved on causing a few problems for some other fool.

Nessus Mining Station[edit]

Each of your bases produces +1 additional minerals per turn for each satellite built. This bonus is halved for bases without Aerospace Complexes and cannot exceed the size of the base in any case. You can build any number of satellites, for a cumulative bonus at every base. This makes them much more useful for larger factions than for smaller ones, as the cost is the same no matter how many bases you have to benefit from them.

This type of satellite does not become available until later in the game, and can easily tip the strategic balance once it appears. If you want to use the satellite strategy, get the Cloudbase Academy if at all possible because it will almost double the effect of your entire satellite constellation. If you can't do this, then you will need to build aerospace complexes at as many bases as you reasonably can. Of course, the more satellites you have up, the bigger the payoff for each aerospace complex you build. Don't bother building one or two satellites and then stopping. Instead, if you're going to put up satellites at all then plan to keep going until you have 4-6 of each type. A large faction with a large constellation of satellites is well positioned for world dominance.

Building nessus mining stations will increase the production capacity of every base, including both your core production facilities and your remote and newly established outposts. This makes it much quicker to get new bases up and running, since you will have an initial production capacity for making the base facilities and supply crawlers that the base will need as it grows. If you have the Cloudbase Academy, each base gets this bonus as soon as it is established. If not, you can hurry the production of an aerospace complex as your first base facility which will then give you the minerals bonus (plus the energy bonus and nutrients bonus, if any, from your other satellites).

Network Node[edit]

They're not cheap, and despite what the Datalinks say, they cost 1 energy/turn, not zero, which is a shame. If you play as the University, you get one in every base for free. They are also the prerequisite for some of the later and greater tech boosting facilities, and they link up with two different Secret Projects (The Virtual World and The Network Backbone) to become even more useful.

If you're playing as the University you can skip this, but the other factions are almost forced to build them in order to try and match the Uni's tech speed. They get a basic +2 Research on the Social Engineering table and the free Nodes make them reach that lower target 50% quicker. They get you coming and going, so the other factions are obliged to try to do something about it.

Like their sister facility, the Energy Bank, they need to be built at the right moment. They'll cost you 1 energy/turn so unless they'll give you at least 2 extra labs/turn you're not making a profit. That means bases that are producing a basic 4 labs/turn or more will start to feel the benefit, or even at 2 labs/turn its worth considering for factions with low Efficiency ratings if they have lots of cash, but slow tech. Build your Nodes too early, and you are throwing away expansion for little or no return. Build them too late, and someone else will out-tech you. Either build them in core bases just after getting Industrial Automation and getting the basic Crawler infrastructure out and building whatever early game Secret Projects you might want, or to try and get them built quickly before Industrial Automation so they don't stop you from filling your build queues with crawlers.

Network Nodes have some other nice effects. They prevent the bad random event from happening when you lose all accumulated labs, and instead give you a chance of getting the random event where "A Network Node reports a technological breakthrough" and you get the tech currently being researched.

They also allow you to 'cash in' alien artifacts for an extra tech. Only one artifact can be linked with a node, after then the node will not accept additional artifacts. You may skip the discussion of cost effectiveness of nodes if you stumble upon some artifacts early in the game, as getting Gene Splicing, Industrial Automation or Centauri Empathy is all that matters.

Orbital Defense Pod[edit]

50% of all missiles will get destroyed if they try to attack ANY base. To stop a Planet Buster, an Orbital Defense must be sacrificed. It's too bad that these become available so late in the game; many games are over by the time they appear.

Orbital Power Transmitter[edit]

Each of your bases produces +1 additional energy per turn for each satellite built. This bonus is halved for bases without Aerospace Complexes and cannot exceed the size of the base in any case. You can build any number of satellites, for a cumulative bonus at every base. This makes them much more useful for larger factions than for smaller ones, as the cost is the same no matter how many bases you have to benefit from them.

These are the second of the satellite types to become available, in the middle phase of the game. If you want to use the satellite strategy, get the Cloudbase Academy if at all possible because it will almost double the effect of your entire satellite constellation. If you can't do this, then you will need to build aerospace complexes at as many bases as you reasonably can. O f course, the more satellites you have up, the bigger the payoff for each aerospace complex you build. Don't bother building one or two satellites and then stopping. Instead, if you're going to put up satellites at all then plan to keep going until you have 4-6 of each type. A large faction with a large constellation of satellites is well positioned for world dominance.

Building orbital power transmitters will dramatically increase the energy available to your faction. For example, if you have 50 bases and the Cloudbase Academy, and you put up 5 power satellites, you will get an extra 250 energy per turn over and above what you get from terrain and commerce!

Paradise Garden[edit]

Two extra talents at the base. Sited wisely, you can use these to trigger a golden age at your best bases.

Perimeter Defense[edit]

  • Prerequisite: Doctrine: Loyalty
  • Mineral rows: 5
  • Maintenance cost: 0
  • Adds +100% to base defense.

The Hive get free Perimeter Defenses, which is a strong argument for playing them. In the early game they have immense value. Before Synthetic Fossil Fuels, the common early wars will be Impact (4) weapons against Synthmetal Armor (2) or Plasma (3) armour. Plasma armour behind a Perimeter Defense is not going to be pushed out by Impact Rovers so easily. In fact, with just the first Impact Rover destroyed attacking your Perimeters, the minerals/ecs lost by your opponent are already nearly equal to what the Perimeter cost you, not to mention the fact that you just saved your base. This tends to dissuade human opponents from even attacking. You're threatening them with losing before they even attack you.

Of course its not that simple, because the threat of one Impact Rover probably will cause the defender to build more than just one Perimeter Defense, since if the attacker sees one base is protected and another is not, which is he likely to go for? And if you have to build 5 or 6 Perimeters to scare off a couple of rovers, the attacker has won a material victory. He's made you spend 250-300 minerals and the build queues of half a dozen bases for his cost of 50-60 minerals and two build queues. So turn this on its head, and you have another use for Perimeter Defenses - making your opponents build them. The game is so balanced that the attacker will almost always have the advantage without Perimeters, and the defender the advantage with Perimeters.

If you have the minerals to spare, The Citizens' Defense Force is one of the more expensive Secret Projects. Most "put a facility in every base" SPs cost the same as (5 x facility), but the CDF at 350 minerals costs (7 x facility) It does have the advantage of putting a free Perimeter Defense in every base though, helping when expanding into dangerous areas and may save you cash compared to the usual cat & mouse game between the attacker and the defender. Compared to the other SPs up for grabs at this level. I'd rather take the Empath Guild, PTS or Virtual World though.

Generally, Perimeter Defenses are nice things to have. They're cheap, cost no upkeep and can save your bases. The one warning I would give is that they should only be built in the bases that will need them, as they do still take up the 5 rows that could otherwise be used to build facilities or units that will then return nutrients, population, energy and minerals back to you and make you more powerful in the long run. Remember, the sooner you build these facilities and units, the better, while a Perimeter Defense is just as good if it was built the turn before the attack or 100 turns before.

Perimeter defenses don't offer the bonus against PSI or air units though.

Pressure Dome[edit]

Prevents base from submerging when the terrain changes (base will turn into a naval base.) Also counts as a Recycling Tanks.

Psi Gate[edit]

Allows one unit to teleport to -or- from another base with a psi gate per turn.

Punishment Sphere[edit]

Quells all drones at this base with the penalty of -50% labs and no talents.

Might be useful in a recently conquered base, if you manage to rush it before the drones start rioting. If a base is production oriented and not producing significant amounts of research(although unlikely due to Thermal Boreholes), then it can be used for circumventing the production and maintenance cost of drone appeasing structures, especially the maintenance intensive Hologram Theatres and Research Hospitals.

The facility can also be useful when using Free Market during war. Select cities with the sphere can produce offensive units free from the crippling drone penalties while the main economic bases provide energy and research.

Quantum Converter[edit]

Adds +50% minerals production at this base. Cumulative with similar facilities.

Quantum Lab[edit]

Adds +50% labs and energy production at this base. Requires fusion lab. Cumulative with similar facilities.

Recreation Commons[edit]

Quells 2 Drones.

Unless you're playing on one of the "baby" levels, or you are using at least +2 Police per base, you're going to have to find some way of dealing with Drones in the early game. Of all the facilities available, Recreation Commons give the best cost:effect ratio, and are available with one simple starting-level technology, Social Psych. A 1-1-1(police) unit is actually a lot quicker/cheaper to build, and with decent Support on the SE table won't cost you anything in upkeep, but not everyone has the ability to use Police.

Now let's look at the numbers. Recreation Commons are actually one of the biggest production-boosting facilities. They enable 2 more tiles to be worked or two more useful (i.e. non-Doctor) specialists to be made in the base. Before restriction lifting that's a possible extra 4-4-4 against the initial cost of 40 minerals ( = 80 ec ) + 1ec/turn. Assuming maximum energy and mineral production from the two workers (and the food is a bonus) then it will take only 7 turns before the facility is making a mineral/energy profit for you. And a big one too, with a possible converted ec value of 11 ec/turn - all before restriction lifting. After lifting you can double that value. Very few facilities offer such huge gains from such moderate outlays.

All factions benefit from the use of Rec Commons. Police-based Drone quelling is limited in the numbers it will subdue, and Psych spending cuts into your Econ and Labs at 4 times the cost of a Rec Commons (although other facilities will make Psych spending more efficient in the long run) The trick, as always, is in the timing. Ideally a base should build the Rec Commons exactly one turn before it will grow to a size where Drones would riot, or exactly one turn before building a new base that will push you over another Bureaucracy Limit and give you a B-Drone in that base. Always try and stop Drone Riots before they happen. Losing a whole turn of production is no way to win a game, especially against human opponents. There's ALWAYS time to check your bases before pressing "End Turn".

Recycling Tanks[edit]

  • Prerequisite: Biogenetics
  • Mineral rows: 4
  • Maintenance cost: 0

The Recycling Tanks provides +1 nutrient, mineral, and energy per turn in the base square of the base in which it is built. The Pressure Dome can serve the same function as a Recycling Tanks but also protects the base in case it gets submerged in the sea...but it costs twice as much to build. Sea bases are automatically equipped with a Pressure Dome (so Svensgaard will rarely have to worry about Recycling Tanks).

These are generally a waste of resources to build, except at the very beginning of the game or for a base in a particularly resource-poor area. Make a former, and use it to build a farm, a mine, and a solar panel. This will produce a much greater payoff in a much shorter time.

Recycling Tanks are not an alternative to Formers, but complement them. At the beginning of the game unless you have nutrient resources no square can produce more than two food so your food grows at a maximum of two per turn. Recycling Tanks add an extra food boosting by 50% your city growth rate. For a city producing five resources and five energy per turn a the recycling tanks represent a 20% boost in productivity, 25% if you lose a mineral to an extra unit. At the beginning of the game they should be your first facility, or second after rec commons if you are playing at high level and have a big empire. Since city growth is per city, not global, they are even worthwhile later in the game.

Research Hospital[edit]

Adds +50% Labs, +25% Psych, quells 1 Drone.

This facility is always a problem. It comes with Gene Splicing and heralds the end or the true "Early Game" with the lifting of the restriction on nutrient production. Those size 3-4 bases start growing a bit, you have a decent infrastructure and now you're faced with the choices offered by the first of the "second tier" facilities1. Here is the moment when you really have to decide what direction you want to build in. Do you want to go upwards, or outwards?

If you want to go outwards, then leave the Research Hospitals for now, apart from those bases you may have identified as science bases. Crawling farms/condensers now that the restrictions are lifted can really give you the nutrients needed for a very rapid expansion horizontally. Research Hospitals are expensive to build and maintain, and you want to preserve outward momentum at this point, not shut up shop and enter "turtle mode" The 12 rows of minerals needed means you can't simply rush one at every base and then continue expanding, as you can with Nodes and Energy Banks. You'll have to sit and build for 4-5 turns even with a great cash supply. If you want to build vertically though, this is generally a good time to take your foot off the "colony pod/former/scout patrol" pedal and start to really develop your bases.

This bears repeating: They're not cheap. And they keep costing you 3 ec/turn too, so don't build them unless you can afford them. They do boost production in 3 different ways though, so in a large enough base (never build in a small base) they more than pay for themselves.

Firstly the +50% Labs. Let's assume a nice size 4 base with the basic facilities already in place, with 2 energy from each population, and say 4 from the base (a moderate estimate) for 12 base energy. Then let's take again the default 50/50 Econ/Labs distribution. In this case, the Research Hospital is going to give you 3 Labs/turn at a cost of 3 ec/turn. No loss, no gain either.

However, when that size 4 base grows to size 5, let's imagine that it develops another Drone, which is then quelled by the Research Hospital. We now have to include the added productivity of an extra worker (let's put him on a forest for 1-2-2) which (ignoring the nutrients) is worth 6 ec/turn. This defrays the upkeep cost of the Hospital, returns 3 ec/turn to our pockets, and gives us an extra 0.5 Labs/turn (a whole +1 Labs/turn, with the Node that the base should already have) As the base grows past size 5, you may have to spend on Psych to keep them happy in there, so the 3rd bonus comes into play, of +25% Psych.

So, the timing of Research Hospitals is pretty simple. You should aim to have them built the turn before reaching size 5 if running an FM using faction, and any time between sizes 5 and 7 if using Police under Planned or Green and planning on "turtling" for a bit, or if you are planning on spreading like xenofungus before simply crushing everyone, its best not to build them at all. Do one thing, and do it well, its better than messing them both up.

One final thing to note - A Research Hospital stops outbreaks of Prometheus Viruses and Planet Blight at that base.

[1]Assuming a normal tech progression to Industrial Automation, then restriction lifting, then Doctrine: Air Power

Robotic Assembly Plant[edit]

Adds +50% minerals production at this base. Cumulative with similar facilities.


Building prototype units at this base does not cost extra minerals. Undocumented: removes 50% switching penalty from unit to unit or facility to facility.

It may be useful to build a Skunkworks in a base with a morale-boosting facility, if you can afford to set aside a major base for building prototypes, instead of building secret projects.

Sky Hydroponics Lab[edit]

Each of your bases produces +1 additional nutrient per turn for each satellite built. This bonus is halved for bases without Aerospace Complexes and cannot exceed the size of the base in any case. You can build any number of satellites, for a cumulative bonus at every base. This makes them much more useful for larger factions than for smaller ones, as the cost is the same no matter how many bases you have to benefit from them.

These are the first of the satellite types to become available, in the middle phase of the game. If you want to use the satellite strategy, get the Cloudbase Academy if at all possible because it will almost double the effect of your entire satellite constellation. If you can't do this, then you will need to build aerospace complexes at as many bases as you reasonably can. Of course, the more satellites you have up, the bigger the payoff for each aerospace complex you build. Don't bother building one or two satellites and then stopping. Instead, if you're going to put up satellites at all then plan to keep going until you have 4-6 of each type. A large faction with a large constellation of satellites is well positioned for world dominance.

The primary effect of the sky hydroponics labs will be to increase the growth rate of your bases by increasing their nutrient production. They will also cushion your bases against adverse events such as planet blight. Finally, whenever you capture an enemy base it will immediately start getting this nutrient bonus, allowing it to more quickly recover from the population loss inherent in warfare (especially if you use aerial bombing campaigns against enemy farms as part of your war strategy).

Stockpile Energy[edit]

  • Mineral rows: 0
  • Maintenance cost: 0

Convert minerals to energy. This is rarely a good idea in the beginning of the game, because your production capacity is far too valuable for building vitally necessary base facilities and units. But by the latter half of the game, many of your bases will have built all of the facilities that they need. Those bases whose production capacity is too low to produce units quickly may well do better stockpiling energy.

Subsea Trunkline[edit]

Increases minerals by 1 on every square (in the sea). Not terribly useful except maybe for sea bases or coastal bases in extremely mineral-poor areas. And you are probably better off organizing those bases for population and energy rather than construction anyway.

Subspace Generator[edit]

Only aliens can build these. If you build 6 generators each in a base with a population of 10 or more, you win the game.

Tachyon Field[edit]

Like perimeter defense, but more powerful & higher maintenance cost. Unlike Perimeter Defense's bonus, this applies to air and naval attacks as well.

Temple of Planet[edit]

Thermocline Transducer[edit]

+1 Energy from Tidal Harnesses

First thing to note is that before you lift the restriction on Energy Production, this is completely useless to you. Don't build it. Don't even think about the idea of building one. You can't get more than 2 energy per tile1 until Environmental Economics even if you are Morgan running FM and Wealth with the Merchant Exchange.

After Environmental Economics, however, a facility that gives +1 energy per square with no upkeep costs sounds too good to be true. It's not. Rush one in any base that is working 2 or more Tidal Harnesses. It will take a while until you are actually in profit from it, but it can also be used as a way to convert minerals to energy cheaply if you let it build naturally. If you are working 5 tiles with Tidal Harnesses, it will only take 32 turns until the mineral cost of the facility is returned to you as energy to do with as you wish. (Much less time if you have decent Industry and didn't pay so much in the first place)

Any base that is sea energy based would be stupid not to build one of these. Coastal bases with only 1-3 Tidal Harnesses would probably not always recover the cost of building the facility between the lifting of restrictions and the end of the game. Better to build those Treefarms, I'd say.

Tree Farm[edit]

Adds +50% Economy, +50% Psych, +1 Nutrient in Forest tiles.

Coming two techs after Gene Splicing and the Research Hospital comes the Tree Farm, and the lifting of the energy restrictions. Just one tech before, your mineral restriction was removed, and all your 2-mineral crawlers moved off the forests and onto the mine/road/rocky tiles you cunningly had just prepared with this tech in mind, and doubled their production to 4 mins/turn. As a result you suddenly hear*pop* and you know its time to start with the Tree Farms. For my mind, this marks the end of the true "Early Game" and the beginning of the "Mid Game", where all tiles can now be used to their full effects, and all terraforming enhancements are possible except magtubes and soil enrichment.

OK, first of all the main reason to build these facilities is not for the extra Econ or Psych. What we are after is the extra nutrient from our forests, (they should be everywhere by now) which will give us the +2 nuts/turn we need for a popboom. If we're playing a faction that needs a Golden Age to popboom, then view the +50% Psych as the game telling you to get into the SE screen and push that central slider to the right.

Like Research Hospitals, they boost income by 50%, in this case for Psych and Econ, the other two of the three energy categories, and in the same way they cover their own costs, as long as the base is producing a base 12 energy after inefficiency, with anything else being profit. Tree Farms, however, are the one facility where I'm inclined to ignore the maths. The extra nutrients translate into extra growth, which is always good - see my comments on Children's Crèches. If you want to count every last ec though, then I'd say that the only bases that are really too small to build a Tree Farm are any bases under size 4 which are not directly working either at least 2 forested rivers, or at least two forests under FM.

The "hidden" effects of Tree Farms are also worth considering. Each Tree Farm built increases the number of "clean minerals" for all your bases by one, as long as it was built after the first fungal *pop* and also reduces the Ecodamage at that base caused by terraforming within the base radius.

There's only two instances where I would consider not building Tree Farms as soon as they became available. Either if I was still pumping units for an expansion or a war, or if I was running towards a future "All Specialists" strategy, which was using only advanced terraforming instead of any forests.