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

Like most Civilization games, the majority of units in Civilization: Beyond Earth are used for combat. There are even fewer non-combat units than usual in Beyond Earth, even, as Great People do not exist in this version of the game. Nevertheless, there are still several non-combat units in Beyond Earth that are worthy of special note.


Cost: 640 Energy or 186 Production
Prerequisite: Pioneering
Move: 2

The futuristic equivalent of Settlers from other Civilization instalments, Colonists are absolutely vital to the creation of a large, bustling colony. Their only role is to move onto unclaimed territory and set up outposts, which, with enough time (typically a matter of turns), will transform into full-fledged cities. Aside from conquest and annexation, there are no other ways to acquire cities in Beyond Earth. Note that new outposts can only be created if the Colonist is three or more hexagons away from any nearby cities, outposts, or stations.

Despite their important role in expanding a colony, Colonists are vulnerable to attack. They don’t move especially fast, they are immediately destroyed if touched by enemy units, and they have no means of defending themselves. That said, Colonists can occupy the same hexagon as military units, and so it’s not that difficult to send a defender along to protect the Colonist while it roams the countryside. Unless you’re absolutely positive that the area is clear of hostile units, a Colonist should never move on its own.


Cost: 200 Energy or 40 Production
Prerequisite: Habitation
Move: 2 (but ignores any terrain costs when moving)

Say hello to futuristic Scouts. Explorers are the wayfarers of Beyond Earth, and it’s their duty to roam unclaimed sections of new planets and see what they can find. Explorers are unique in that they are capable of creating expeditions on certain special resources - Progenitor Ruins, for example - and, after several turns, extracting bonuses for your colony that may not be found elsewhere in the game. Doing so will use up the Explorer’s expedition, though you can give the Explorer a new expedition by sending them to one of your cities. It is wise to deploy several Explorers early in a match of Beyond Earth to see what they can find.

Unlike the other units on this list, Explorers are capable of fighting unfriendly units and otherwise defending themselves against attack. That said, they only have a combat strength of three, and are possibly the weakest combat units in the game. It is wise to keep Explorers well away from combat zones, and, until you possess Level One of the Purity Affinity, away from large concentrations of Aliens as well. Level One will allow your Explorers to ramble unmolested by the indigenous population.

Trade Convoy / Vessel

Cost: 270 Energy or 60 production
Prerequisite: Pioneering
Move: n/a

Every colony needs lots of Energy to expand and function, and these two trade units help bring in extra energy through, you guessed it, trade. Trade Convoys and Trade Vessels can, assuming they’re stationed in a city with a Trade Depot and open Trade Routes, establish connections with domestic or foreign cities, or with stations. By doing so they will generate resources for their parent colony and the target colony (or upgrade a target station to another tier of bonuses) for as long as it takes to traverse the Trade Route between the two locations. The longer the Route, the more profitable the return, either in Energy and Science (foreign cities), Food and Production (domestic cities), or an array of bonuses (stations). If sent to a developing outpost, trade units will instead allow the outpost to develop into a city more quickly.

Trade Convoys travel by land; Trade Vessels travel by sea. Otherwise, they are functionally identical.

Stationed as they are in cities, trade units do not move regularly. Instead, they can jump immediately between cities if you want them simply relocated, and will only appear on the map when traversing a Trade Route. While moving along a Trade Route, trade units are subject to predation from unfriendly units and Aliens, and should be protected via military units and careful route planning. It is not necessary for two colonies to have Open Borders to trade between cities, but Trade Routes are instantly closed down the moment war is declared between trading partners. Military units can Plunder significant amounts of Energy from trade units during war, making them tempting targets.

A cluster of Workers, milling about near a newly-puppeted city.


Cost: 200 Energy or 60 Production
Prerequisite: Habitation
Move: 2

Every colony needs its workhorse, and that is the Worker in Beyond Earth. Workers tend to the maintenance and advancement of colonies, and are capable of constructing improvements, linking cities via roads or magrails, removing Miasma, or repairing damage inflicted to developed tiles during war. Workers are absolutely essential to the growth of a colony - though setting them on automatic is not always advisable, as they may construct improvements that do not jive with the long-term goals of your colony. Keep an eye on the actions of your free-ranging Workers, lest they get up to shenanigans.

Workers cannot defend themselves, but unless they are attacked by ranged units or Aliens they will not be destroyed. Instead, any Worker attacked by a melee unit from a foreign power will instantly be captured by that power and put to work for the other team. Since Workers can inhabit the same hexagon as military units it’s a good idea to keep them protected during times of war, or even when travelling outside your territory in general.