Civilization: Beyond Earth Opening Choices

Your opening choices in Beyond Earth can make or break your colony. Make sure you're making the right choices.

A recent patch has balanced some of the opening choices you will have in Beyond Earth, but it hasn't gotten rid of some of the silly things you can do by combining them in just the right way. These choices let you tailor your starting colony to your play style. It's time to get the most of out it!

Sponsor

Your first choice is to choose a sponsor, a company or group of nations that has invested its resources into your success. This is probably your most significant choice and will determine how you should direct your civilization.

ARC

Beyond Earth has an improved covert ops engine and is well worth exploring. Many operations take close to 20 turns to complete. The 25% time savings alone will produce more results, but you also gain 25% more intrigue that will get you to the higher and more interesting operations sooner. If you want to try out the new power behind covert ops, this is the company for you.

Pan-Asian Cooperative

There aren't as many worker speed bonuses littered in this game as past games, so the 25% bonus here can really pay off in improvements, especially when you choose the cargo option to bring a worker unit with you.

Franco-Iberia

It can be hard to produce enough culture for virtues later in the game, Franco-Iberia can help you mitigate some of that weakness. If you want to truly take advantage of their benefit, take the Artists choice in colonists. You will produce 3 extra culture in each city when they are built. 

Slavic Federation

If you plan on playing a combative civilization, the Slavic Federation makes a good choice. Your weaponized sattelites will stay in orbit longer and you'll have extra oil to fuel some of your units. Choose the Tectonic Scanner as well and you'll know exactly where you need to build to take advantage of the Pertroleum bonus.

Polystralia

Trade routes are powerful in this game. The patch toned them down a little, but nothing improves your infrastructure faster than a few mutually supportive trade routes between your cities. There are only a few ways to get extra routes in the game and a Capital with four or five trade routes will generate plenty of extra production and food for your other cities. Once your cities have been improved, your trade convoys can go to other civs or trading posts to gain research and energy. 

If you take Polystralia, you should take a Laboratory in your cargo choice so that you will have the option to build trade depots early in the game. If you choose Continental Surveyor as your spacecraft, it will make it far easier to connect water based trade routes since you will be connected to your entire shoreline.

Kavithan Protectorate

The Protectorate is another growth sponsor. Your cities and outposts need far less culture to expand with the Protectorate. You can use this if you plan to run for a strong or weak culture build as you won't need to focus as much on culture to expand your cities or you can expect to expand twice as fast if you do focus on culture. This should also allow you to drop an outpost and potentially grab that important resource before your opponent.

The Protectorate combines well with Artists for the culture, Tectonic Scanners to know where to drop your outposts early and Machinery to get a worker on those tiles right away.

Brasilia

Brasilia is an obvious combat choice. The 10% combat will get overshadowed quickly by other unit improvements in the game, but the bonus healing should be noticeable right away. Brasilian units will be the only ones at the start of the game that can heal while sitting inside a Miasma cloud. Normally the healing and damage are equal.

African Union

The African Union can have a high culture output early in the game when you add Artists thanks to the free Relic. In addition, you can focus on building something else as soon as you land since the Relic is already done. It's already difficult to keep your civilization healthy, but as long as you do, the African Union will make sure your cities will grow quickly.

Colonists

When you choose your colonists, they will be a bonus that affects every city you build. The bonuses are a significant step in the direction you want to lead your colony.

Scientists

If any Civilization game has taught us anything, it's that you can never go wrong with more research capability. This option fits well with any Sponsor choice. If you want to get a boost on Science right away, choose Raw Materials as your Cargo for another quick Science bump.

Refugees

If you favor quick expansion, Refugees would be a great choice. The problem with bonus food is that if your civilization is unhealthy, the growth penalty will make this +2 Food almost worthless. On the other hand the +2 will allow cities to focus on production tiles more often and avoid starvation.

Aristocrats

Combine this with Fusion Reactor and you could quickly have enough energy to afford a small army or purchase the buildings you want without the need for high production. Choose Aristocrats with Polystralia to have an incredibly high earning potential.

Engineers

Engineers are perfect if you like to fill your cities with buildings and units quickly. You could combine these colonists with the Pan-Asian Cooperative to have a serious lead in Wonder construction.

Artists

Artists combine well with several of the sponsor choices or as a quick choice if you don't want to focus on Culture, but you will want to produce a reasonable amount. Franco-Iberia and the Kavithan Protectorate can both benefit from turbo-charged culture generation. The African Union can stack Artists with their free Old Earth Relic for some quick early culture generation.

Spacecraft

Your spacecraft choice is usually one of the weaker choices available to you. Only a few of them synergize with your other options and they still don't combine as well as the other options do.

Continental Surveyor

The Surveyor lets you connect with other coastal colonies quickly for trade and city connections. You won't have to go through the dangerous prospect of exploring the coastline with seafaring units. It also allows you to explore more quickly because you can see dead end peninsulas without having to travel all the way to their end.

Retrograde Thrusters

The Thrusters let you have more choices when landing your ship that builds your first city. This could mean the difference between having a coastal city and having a landlock. With canyons and mountains to frequently interfere, your choices of starting location can be pretty limited. It does also "explore" a larger area around your starting city and you might even find ruins or a resource pod to head straight towards with your explorer.

Tectonic Scanner

The Scanner can be best used if you know you will want these resources for building a strong army or infrastructure. You will still need the appropriate research to gain their resources, but you will know where to build any outposts early on to gain access sooner.

Fusion Reactor

This option is a solid choice if you can't find a "perfect" fit. With the extra energy, you can afford a new building or unit much sooner. If you combine it with Aristocrats, you will likely never have money woes.

Lifeform Sensor

This could be used offensively with a combative colony to weed out the Aliens and gain some experience before warring with other humans. You could use it to avoid the Alien Nests when exploring and expanding. It's also a great way to know where some Xenomass resources are if you favor the Harmony path.

Cargo

Cargo syngergizes well with several of the options and your between cargo and sponsor can really define your entire experience. Cargo determines the one item (building, unit, research) that you get to start the game with.

Hydroponics

If you don't know what to choose, you can't go wrong with an extra population. That's an additional square being worked at the start of the game. It's extra research, production and food right away.

Laboratory

Pioneering lets you build colonists, trade depots and units. This is an excellent choice to take with Sponsors that can expand quickly or with Brasilia in order to start trading as soon as possible.

Raw Materials

The clinic earns you an extra point of health and research in your city. It's great if you plan on slow expansion and don't need Pioneering right away.

Weapon Arsenal

If you're playing a warring style sponsor, you'll want to take the free soldier.It will allow you to go on the offensive against the aliens early and earn experience so your soldiers can be prepared for fighting the other humans.

Machinery

Just like Hydroponics, you can't go wrong here. It pairs well with the Pan-Asian Cooperative, but it is also strong on its own. Veterans of Civilization games in the past can tell you that a worker improving the nearby land can help a city expand quickly.

Planet

Choosing the planet is essentially choosing your map type for the game. If you choose the advanced worlds tab, you can choose maps that resemble planets that have actually been discovered in space.

How to put it together

There are plenty of choices above, but as soon as you know what type of play style you prefer, the choices usually fall right in line. These options have made the game far more interesting than several of the civilizations from older games. However, it does create an additional opportunity to over think. Is an extra population at the start of the game actually going to lead to a larger city 100 turns down the road? Who knows, but good luck finding your favorite combination. Right now, mine is taking Polystralia, Engineers, Continental Surveyor, and Laboratory for a colony that can start trading quickly.

Columnist

While I do play some of the greats like Civilization and X-com, consider me your Tabletop guru here at gameskinny. Want to know about a tabletop game? Just ask!

Published Jun. 18th 2020

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