It’s Like Christmas – Part II

In the first article of this two-part series, I introduced the concept of “Christmas planets” – those newly-scanned worlds which make you cry out, “Yus!” and unabashedly pump your fists. There’s lots of resources on a map, but these beautiful gifts bring joy to both new and experienced players. They supply every production facility within 2-3 turns and boost entire economies up to 2-3 clusters away. Most planets provide resources for 10-30 turns, but these anti-misers keep giving long into the end game. This article highlights several top-priority Christmas planets.

Bovinoids

Every 10,000 Bovinoids will produce 1 supply unit per turn. The planet owner must have 100 colonists (one clan) for every supply that they collect each turn.*

The best example of a Christmas planet is one harbouring Bovinoid natives. Finding a world of the cow people is always a boon for your empire, so prioritize these planets for development! They provide stacks of supplies for alchemy ships, speed up expansion, extend your reach, give free money, help repair ships, and restock warships. You cannot afford to pass over such a prize because any amount of Bovinoids is helpful.

On the other hand, while you should never ignore a Bov planet, not all of them stir “like Christmas” feelings. You can celebrate when you discover a world with a moderate temperature and a large indigenous community, because this combination translates into immediate gains and quick population growth. It’s Christmas morning when you discover these healthy, happy Bovinoids, so raise your arms in triumph if you find more than 4,000,000 cows dancing about a 40-60 degree planet.


Insectoids

Insectoids pay twice the normal taxes at a certain tax rate, without increasing the colonists required to collect the taxes.*

The next must-have planet is one which shelters a large quantity of Insectoid natives. These lovely little critters obviously have no idea of the value and purpose of taxes and Mega Credits; they pretty much throw money at you. But, similar to the Bovinoids, not every Insectoid planet is a Christmas gift.

Keep your eyes open for rich and cooperative Insectoids. You want the ones with very large populations and a high government level. Indigenous insects with a tribal government, for example, are only periodically helpful. Because they overflow with riches, the governments you need are Participatory and Unity. Also similar to the Bovs, you need a great number of insect people to really pump out the monies. A couple million of Unity Insectoids is ok, but over four or five million is a dream come true.


Botanicals

A planet with Botanicals increases the maximum Colonist population by 50% and doubles the Colonist growth rate.*

Botanicals are a new native race to the Echo Cluster. Reports indicate the rate of appearance of the tree people is very low. This rarity has two even-rarer abilities: They allow a 50° colony to hold 15 million citizens (compared to 10 million), and they spray the planet with aphrodisiacs to double colonist growth.

If you find a planet with Botanicals, cry out “Hallelujah!” to the Lords of Kobol and do not underestimate the value of these hard-to-find natives. Discovering such a planet in the early game provides you with an excellent tool for expansion. Dump clans on it, watch them grow, and spread into the universe. This is also a huge benefit later in the game; if you find such a planet hundreds of light years from your core, you can quickly establish a second homeworld.

Further benefits of Botanicals are larger amounts of taxes and supplies, greater mining potential, and stronger defenses. If you manage to maximize this population, you can boost defense outposts to 437 (according to the VGA Planets Calculator). — How many Heavy Phasers is that?

It’s arguable that finding a Botanical population is better than a Bovinoid planet; regardless, you can be certain this is a Christmas planet.


Ghipsoldals

Ghipsoldals will grant Tech 10 engine technology to a newly built starbase orbiting their planet for free.*

Ghipsoldals are a secondary priority, but finding one in a perfect position brings kid-like glee that’ll keep you giggling while you stomp on your fellow commanders. The most wonderful thing about Ghipsoldals is not their coma-inducing race image (Let’s hope Nu has plans to redraw that one!); their defining feature is their ability to give free Tech 10 engines to newly-constructed starbases.

Keep your eyes open for conveniently-situated Ghipsoldals. The best time to find one is Turn 2. If your Medium Deep Space Freighter finds these natives on the first planet you explore, you need to jump up, run around your computer, and touch the ceiling. There’s very few gifts sweeter than a Turn-2 planet with horn people. (yeah…that sounded better in my head)

All eleven races highly benefit from a Turn-2 Ghip world. On Turn 4, you pop up a Transwarp-Drive-Medium-Deep-Space-Freighter factory, and that, my friend, is a beautiful sight. This construction yard allows you to create many useful ships, including small scouts and minelayers, mobile terraformers, carrier tugs, and lightweight and fast fuel tankers. Primarily, you’ll want those speedy MDSFs because they will immensely enhance your early game production.


Reptilians

If there are 100 or more Reptilians living on a planet then your mining rate will be doubled. They will gladly help your colonists mine and move large boulders.*

Every sector has planets with plenty of minerals to support shipbuilding. If your economy isn’t disrupted, you should find it a straightforward task to put out a decent fleet. However, you know you’re blessed when you find Reptilian natives AND lots of minerals. Finding this type of Christmas planet can be a bit frustrating because you frequently find ‘the Reptile people with no minerals’ or ‘lots of minerals and no natives’. If you’re lucky enough to receive The Right combination, make sure you send Santa a “Thank you” note.

On most planets, the concentration of the minerals makes the difference between a flourishing mining facility and a lousy rock. It’s Christmas when you find over 5000 minerals with a concentration of 80% or higher. Combine that with Reptilians and Christmas comes twice! Be aware that the resources will flow generously and you’ll need to have your freighters working overtime to keep up with production.


Most races do best on planets with a temperature of 50°W.

Click here for more climate info.

One note concerning temperature: 40-60 degrees is the sweet spot for colony growth, but do not dismiss planets that fall outside that range. With a steady supply of clans, you can still benefit from any of the previously-listed Christmas planets – although it may not feel like a holiday as much as the others.


In practice, first look for planets with productive temperatures. A moderate temperature is often more important than the type of natives or the tax percentage. Second, pray for native governments at the level of Participatory or Unity. And finally, prioritize natives in this order: Botanicals – Bovinoids – Insectoids – Ghipsoldals – Reptilians.


*Note: The texts for images were copied from the Documentation at the Nu website.


It’s 2022: Take care of those who love you, and especially those who don’t.

Thanks for reading. – TS

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