Civilization: Beyond Earth Walkthrough: Energy

Civilization: Beyond Earth created by Firaxis Games.
Images used for educational purposes only.
Civilization: Beyond Earth Walkthrough Listing

Energy is the Beyond Earth equivalent of Gold from earlier Civilization titles. It is, in essence, your spending money, and without sufficient Energy you will be unable to purchase new buildings and units, let alone maintain your current holdings. A colony that’s lacking in Energy is pretty much dead in the water, and will be easy pickings for hostile colonies.

Unlike Science, Production, and Culture, Energy is not necessarily accumulated every turn, and it’s entirely possible (indeed, at times it’s probable) to lose Energy each turn. Similar to Health, your colony can have positive Energy and negative Energy, and in order to grow you want your colony to be in the positives as much as possible. The more positive Energy you accumulate per turn, the wealthier your colony. It’s important, therefore, to create a stable, balanced colony that develops quickly enough that you have a decent Energy flow… but not so quickly that maintenance costs sap your Energy every turn.

A list of buildings constructed in a city. Cities are a major source of Energy, but they can also drain Energy if not properly maintained.
A list of buildings constructed in a city.
Cities are a major source of Energy, but they can also
drain Energy if not properly maintained.
Sources of positive Energy include:
  • Terrain bonuses on hexagons you own - click on one of your cities to see if the surrounding land provides you with boosts
  • Buildings purchased for your cities, such as Thorium Reactors, Gene Gardens, and Trade Depots
  • Wonders purchased for your cities, such as Headquarters
  • The Industrial Development production option, available in each city you own
  • Bonuses applied to buildings via Quests
  • Certain improvements, such as Generators and Manufactories - this also applies to seizing and developing specific resources, such as Floatstones
  • City connections between outlying settlements and your capital - you can connect your cities with roads, and, later, magrails
  • Trade routes with foreign cities or stations - note that these bonuses are temporary, and will disappear after a Trade Caravan or Trade Vessel completes the route between the two cities twice
  • Beginning-of-game bonuses, such as choosing Aristocrats as your colonists
  • Bonuses from maintaining a high Health score
  • Bonuses from purchasing specific Virtues, such as Gift Economy (Prosperity), Hands Never Idle (Prosperity), Applied Aesthetics (Knowledge), and Central Planning (Industry)
  • Trade or peace agreements with other players
Energy can also be earned by completing certain tasks. For example, you’ll often earn Energy for completing Quests, and you can Plunder Energy from hexagons owned and improved by a hostile nation in times of war. Taking a city will also earn you some Energy, the amount depending on the strength of the city (and, seemingly, how long it has been since it was last captured).

Energy is not infinite, of course, and you don’t get to use it willy-nilly without repercussions. There are plenty of sources of negative Energy as well, and though they’re not as numerous as the sources of positive Energy, they typically hit you a bit harder. Sources of negative Energy include:
  • Unit maintenance - each unit has a maintenance cost, and purchasing too many can send you spiralling into the negatives
  • Building maintenance - not every building suffers from this, but most have some sort of maintenance cost which can make abundant purchases undesirable
  • Tile improvement maintenance - let your Workers ramble too freely and they might bankrupt you by building too many improvements
  • Road and magrail maintenance - the more connections you build between your cities, the more Energy you have to expend to keep them maintained
  • A low Health score, namely whenever you get into the negatives
  • Trade or peace agreements with other players
A Trade Vessel, about to return to home port. Trade units bring in massive amounts of Energy each turn.
A Trade Vessel, about to return to home port.
Trade units bring in massive amounts of Energy each turn.
Energy Maintenance

Though it’s inevitable that you’ll dip into negative Energy now and then - there are times that doing so is beneficial in the long run, such as putting up with a hit to Energy in the midst of a war - by and large you’ll want to maintain a healthy amount of Energy income each turn. Here are some tips for doing so:
  • Choose your starting terrain wisely. Look at the terrain bonuses available in the surrounding land and try to pick a spot with at least a few bonuses for Energy. These will help you in the long run, even if they seem less consequential than that clump of Firaxite ten hexagons to your left.
  • Build at a steady pace. Don’t try to construct your colony too rapidly. Maintenance costs seem negligible at first, but with each new Worker, road, and improvement, you have to pay for a little more. These costs add up, and can cripple you if you fail to improve your sources of Energy.
  • Get Energy-producing buildings set up in your cities as quickly as possible. This will allow you to balance out the costs of later buildings and improvements that surround the city.
  • Keep your cities close together when possible, and connect them with roads early. Road and magrail maintenance is expensive, true, but the costs are far outweighed by profits from setting up city connections. Cities that are built close together are also less vulnerable to attack.
  • Don’t maintain a massive army unless you plan to go to war constantly. Combat units get very expensive as they become more advanced, and an overly-ambitious army that’s not at war can’t sustain itself through conquest and Plundering. That said, don’t tempt fate by having no army at all, as more militaristic countries will take advantage of your weakness.
  • Don't purchase buildings you don't think you'll need. Most buildings have a maintenance cost, listed in the description, and it's dumb to pay that cost if the building is useless to your city. For example, it doesn't make much sense to build an Ultrasonic Fence in a city that's on a small island, as you probably won't run into any Aliens. If all of the production options in a city seem so-so, allocate the city's resources to Development for a few turns instead.
  • Pay close attention to your Workers if you have them set on automatic. Workers like to replace improvements if left to their own devices, and they may gobble up your economy if you let them run rampant. When possible, direct your Workers manually, and make sure you set up improvements that boost your Energy output.
  • Set up Trade Depots as early as possible. Trade routes are incredible sources of Energy, and they only get better with time. Stations are okay for this for the first hundred turns or so, but eventually you’ll want to trade with foreign colonies.
  • Don’t offer a trade of Energy per turn too often when dealing with opponents. Five Energy per turn for twenty turns doesn’t sound too bad, but it gets expensive if your Energy income suddenly dips - and you’re plugged into the deal for the rest of those turns with no way out.

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