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

There are, currently, five (or six, if you count points) ways to achieve Victory in Civilization: Beyond Earth. Four of these paths entail achieving some very specific milestones, in a specific order, before someone else does the same. The fifth path, though, is pretty simple in its goal: be the last man standing. Do you have what it takes to Dominate your new homeworld?


Domination’s overall goal is so simple that it bears repeating: you need to be the only player on the map, not counting Aliens. This means conquering and annexing or razing every city on the map. The only way you get out of destroying a player is if they’re on your team, and that has to be established at the beginning of the game. Close allies, Affinity-friendly neighbours, and good trading partners, regardless of your relationship with any other players, they all need to kneel to your rule.

Setting Up

As far as Victories go, Domination gets proportionately more difficult as you add more players, and your end game progress will probably take longer to set up. Nevertheless, you’ll probably proceed the same whether you’re facing one opponent or eight. Here are some tips for getting started:
  • Focus on building a strong army early, and have them fight Aliens. This will earn you some extra Energy (and potentially Research), as well as rack up experience for Veterancies. Your soldiers need to be very tough.
  • Your Affinity of choice doesn’t matter, but it is important to pursue it vigorously. Keep on top of quests and techs that will earn you experience towards Affinity levels. The higher your Affinity, the more unit upgrades you’ll receive. Upgrades are extremely important for militarily-active colonies.
  • Assuming you’re on a watery map, make sure at least two or three cities are built on the coast. This will expose them to attacks from sea, granted, but you’ll gain the ability to construct water units. These are very useful for aquatic sieges.
  • Invest at least some Virtues in Might. The other Virtue branches are important, too, but Might takes precedence, as it will give your units a fighting edge - and, eventually, cut down on maintenance costs. You’ll need a big army for Domination, and until you hit the final tier of Might the maintenance may threaten to drown your Energy reserves. Prosperity is also important, as it will allow to maintain a high Health score when you start taking cities.
  • Get Pioneering as early as you can. This will allow you to embark your units on the water. On some maps this is useless, but most have at least some water, and Pioneering will allow you to send your troops down alternate routes to reach their foes.
  • Enlist Covert Operatives. Not only will a nice spy network allow you to protect your cities from Intrigue buildup, you can use them to sap the coffers of your enemies by stealing Energy constantly. It’s so fun to steal Energy, and quite easy to boot.
Good start? Let’s look at some more specific aspects of waging war against the world.

A coastal city, recently taken from the enemy in a war. Coastal cities are especially vulnerable to attack.
A coastal city, recently taken from the enemy in a war.
Coastal cities are especially vulnerable to attack.
Going to War

To conquer your opponents you’ll have to go to war against them. Doing so is easy enough; surviving said war relatively intact, however, is quite another. Here are some tips for minimizing casualties.
  • Get a look at what your opponent has on hand before jumping into a war. If you can manage Open Borders, send an Explorer in to peek at their troop numbers. If you can’t get Open Borders, at least wander around the edges a little.
  • Try to enter wars with at least one ally. You’ll have to shoulder less of the burden with a companion, and when you emerge frazzled on the other side you’ll be less likely to get hit by a war from someone else. You’ll also have more units available if that does happen. More on this below.
  • When possible, focus on keeping your units together. Don’t split them up unless you have a massive number at your disposal, and literally cannot move them all in a single clump. Form spearheads that you can use to thrust into enemy territory all at once. Keep melee units up front and ranged units in the back unless absolutely necessary.
  • Along the same lines, focus on one city at a time. Only try for two or three if you’re absolutely confident that you can take them down without serious repercussions. More on this below.
  • Prioritize your targets. Killing a Worker is not nearly as important as killing a combat unit.
  • Plunder. Plunder the crap out of enemy improvements. Plundering restores unit health, provides you with some extra resources, and puts a dent in the enemy’s war machine. That said, don’t Plunder unless your unit needs the health, as you can’t repair their buildings and use them for another health boost.
  • Use Phasal Transporters. Good lord, these things are awesome. Phasal Transporters are Orbital Units which essentially create a landing pad for your units. When a Phasal Transporter is in play you can send your units to a friendly city and teleport them right to the affected hexagons on the map. By doing this you can swiftly transport massive armies across entire continents in the span of a turn or two, rather than several dozen if travelling by water.
A completed Mind Flower, about to be destroyed by an enemy (My!) unit.
Always watch for impending enemy Victories, and do your best to shut 'em down.
Managing Other Colonies

Unless you’re playing on a team, you’ll have to achieve a neat balance in relations with other leaders. This is true whether you’re playing with AI opponents or humans. Try the following as your pursue your path of world domination:
  • Don’t go on the warpath immediately. This will out you as a warmonger, and pit everyone else against you from the start. Wait until there are tensions between two other nations, then jump in on the side of one or the other when asked. This will earn you a friend and give you a chance to battle.
  • Mind the Affinities of AI players. Your relations will take a hit if they’re of a different Affinity, making stable relationships tricky to manage. Try to ally with opponents who share your Affinity, especially on higher difficulty levels.
  • Keep an eye on the Victory menu. You should always have a rough idea how close your opponents are to achieving Victory. Domination can take a long time to set up, longer than most other Victories, and you don’t want some jerk with a Mind Flower to ruin your chances. If somebody’s closing in on Victory, take ‘em down. (Hopefully it’s not your ally.)
  • When the time inevitably comes to betray your best buddy, try to do it while they’re in the middle of a war with someone else. Their attention will be on enemy territory rather than their own, and you can sneak up and shank ‘em in the side while their units are getting pounded elsewhere. Not the nicest tactics, but Domination isn’t a pretty game.
  • Don't automatically dismiss requests for peace once you're embroiled in a war, especially if it's not going in your favour. Ten-round peace treaties will give you time to heal your survivors, create new units, and prepare a renewed offensive.
An invasion of a cluster of enemy cities from a shoreline.
When possible, don't send land units over water in a water.
(This was an island, yo.)
Initiating Combat

When starting a war, it’s a good idea to have your units prepped and ready to fight. That way you can invade your enemy’s territory immediately after war has been declared. Some tips along these lines:
  • If you’re facing humans, try not to be too obvious about this. Spread your units out a little, and move them into position slowly. AI opponents won’t care much about the distinction.
  • Unless you absolutely must, try not to send land-based units in from sea. Their defences and movement scores drop to near-zero when they’re on the sea, and they can’t fight back. (And along those same lines, always target land-based units when they’re on the sea if you’re the defender. They die real quick.)
  • Bring in a healthy mix of units. Each unit type has its own specialties and weaknesses, and you’ll want to cover as many bases as you can. Melee units are front-line attackers that form a defensive wall for your ranged units, but suck against cities; ranged units soften up defenders for your melee units to take down, and are invaluable against cities, but can’t take many hits on their own; ‘speedy’ units aren’t that great at attacking, but act ably as distractions, scouts, and predators against enemy ranged units. Stick with one type of unit at your own peril.
  • Keep your units in a clump. There are no AOE attacks in Beyond Earth, and tight ranks will allow you to control and conquer your enemies. Don’t attempt to split your army unless the enemy is verifiably on the run and you need to chase ‘em down before they escape.
A pair of Destroyers, about to launch an attack on a coastal city. Ranged units are invaluable for bringing down cities.
A pair of Destroyers, about to launch an attack on a coastal city.
Ranged units are invaluable for bringing down cities.
Taking Cities

The most important goal of the Domination Victory is taking enemy cities. It’s also the most difficult part of Domination, as cities are well-defended and strong, particularly those cities that have been around for a while. Some tips for taking on a city:
  • Don’t approach the city until it is clear of defenders. You should have four or five units approaching the city at once so it has multiple targets.
  • Send your strongest defenders in first. Ranged units remain in the back lines. Heal up for a round or two before going in, as a city will easily pick off weakened units.
  • Don’t approach a city without a plan to attack on the next turn. Lingering near a city is very stupid. Cities typically have a range of two hexagons; remain outside that range until your units are lined up and ready to move in.
  • Don’t attack a city with your melee units until it’s time to conquer. You need to whittle down the city’s health with your ranged units first, as the city won’t hit them back until the enemy’s turn. Using melee units to take down a city is near-suicidal, unless there’s a huge difference in your tech levels. Only send in a melee unit if a) You’re assured annexation of the city, or b) The melee unit will tip the city’s health just enough that another unit can move in for the kill. 
  • Don’t bother attacking a city with a single unit unless that unit is really damned strong. Cities regain a big chunk of health each turn, and your unit will probably be exposing themselves to fire for no good reason.
  • Approach cities one-at-a-time. This bears repeating, because you can accidentally get too close to one city while attacking another and take the brunt of two powerful attacks rather than one. Always position your troops so they only have to suffer the attacks of a single city.
  • Don't take too many cities at once. There's a certain satisfaction in rapidly expanding your empire, but your Health will plummet if you capture a ton of cities in a row. Make sure your Health is at a reasonable level (preferably five or above) before you go after a city with the intent to capture.
Once you’ve successfully conquered a city you’ll have three options:
  • Annex the city. The city will, for all intents and purposes, become yours. You’ll take a hit to your Health for annexing cities, and if your Health goes too low you may gain Resistance status, lowering the city’s resource output substantially and potentially spawning resistance movements against your regime.
  • Puppet the city. The city is still yours, but you’ll have no control over what it builds or how it allocates its resources / specialists. On the flip side, you take less of a Health hit when Puppeting a city, and you retain the option to Annex it at any time.
  • Raze the city. Burn it down. The city will be torched for a number of turns until it’s destroyed. You’ll take a massive Health hit for this, though the Health loss will lower by one each turn.
Annexing eats up Health and Razing destroys valuable resources at a great cost, so I recommend Puppeting your cities while sweeping through enemy territory. This will allow you to minimize the effects on your colony’s Health while reaping the benefits of your plunder. As your new cities become adapted to their new life you can then slowly Annex them and suffer the hits to Health at a more gradual pace.

Final Thoughts

Domination is not a wise choice for newcomers to Beyond Earth. It's difficult to achieve even on the lowest difficulties, and can take forever depending on how well-entrenched your opponents are. I recommend pursuing it gradually: take on one opponent in a normal match, then two, then three, and so on. Each time you’ll find your concerns compounded, but the basic process of achieving Domination doesn’t change that much with a change in the number of opponents. If you can take down two enemies, you can conceivably take down seven… though you’ll have to move more quickly, and suffer a whole lot more, before the entire map is dominated by the colour of your colony alone.

Civilization: Beyond Earth Walkthrough Listing