Apollo Difficulty Guide for Hutama (Rising Tides)

Aug 16, 2022
DISCLAIMER: I have a new and updated guide that is a more generalist approach to the Meta. Please feel free to continue using this guide, but do note it is out dated and specifically tailored towards the flavor of playing as Hutama with out dated strategies. It may be missing things that I have since discovered. You can find the new guide here: https://forums.civfanatics.com/thre...y-rt-potentially-multiplayer-friendly.685025/

Hey all, first off I will start by saying I will likely keep updating this post as I go along and think of more things so feel free to check back for anything new, I will leave a note saying what was edited. I am the kind of person who loves to read guides about any game I play, and I have fond memories of reading a 20 year old guide on Sid Meirs Alpha Centauri for many hours, so here is me thinking that maybe in another 10 years someone is going to look and find this one :lol:

So, this is my understanding of how best to win in Apollo difficulty, whilst playing as you normally would a strategy game and so this won't be a how to on getting the Steam achievement in the fastest time possible.

Please note I am still identifying exactly what the late game meta is, and will continue to add notes at the bottom of this thread as I find it. For the most part, if you follow this guide correctly for the early-mid game, it won't matter what you do in the late game as you will be able to kill anyone and everyone. What I am trying to figure out is how to make that happen faster.

I will start off by saying a few things that I notice set Apollo out from any other difficulty, and that is:
- AI obviously gets a huge bonus to science and production, but with the right set up, you can quickly out grow any AI because the AI is terrible at picking the right techs, the right buildings, and using the right tile improvements.
- For whatever reason, the AI is so good at taking out cities on the coast/in the sea, so for that reason I just avoid doing this all together. There is a DLC map that has no oceans, or you can just never build a city on a coast and rely on hovers from Purity if you plan on war. On the flip side, the AI seems to forget that it can send land units through the ocean, and so all of a sudden the ocean is actually a defense layer.
- Because the AI gets so many buffs, weirdly enough they actually seem to be really bad at taking each other out. I have seen Africa with 1 last city build a massive army and take back the 2 they lost, so chances are most factions will still be in the game towards the end.
- How comfortable you are with playing on, despite the game crashing a lot, will guide you on what kind of victory you do. On Domination only, expect the game to crash a lot around turn 200, at least this was my experience anyway. You can limit this by turning off yield icons, queuing techs, and zooming in whenever you do something, but always make sure the game auto saves on every turn if you crash a lot.
- In the Wonder victory conditions, every single turn matters, and for this reason alone it is very important that you get comfortable with constantly checking every resource you have.
- At some point, if you are playing with Domination as the only victory type, the game will start to become really slow and long. There are a few things you can do to deal with this, which I will explain later.

Okay so now onto what I think is the Meta:

The first things you want to pick are the following (I haven't bothered trying any other way because this is too good imo):
- Your faction is Hutama. IMO no other faction comes even close in power in single player.
- Artists for culture, or expeditions are revealed if you have the DLC but this feels like cheating so I disabled the DLC
- Tectonic Scanner for seeing Titanium super early. Also nice for seeing if Geothermal is near, don't want to waste time researching a tech we can't use.
- Pick up Pioneering for free, no other option saves turns as much as this does, and remember, every turn matters.
- Map size I usually go with is Massive, I don't really like being cramped and I feel on a smaller map you will have to make some adjustments to this strategy, but for the most part it would still apply depending how small you go.
- Game pace actually doesn't matter, I usually do Standard but recently tried Quick. Either works, Quick just means you get upgrades sooner but remember your units still take just as long to move and if the AI gets a huge boost it can make the end game feel like forever because everything is so strong so soon, despite taking 10 turns to move a new unit to the front line.

So to set up your well founded colony, the strategy is as follows:
- Don't attack aliens!! They will kill you and mess up your scouting!! We can kill them later.
- Use your scout to search 4 tiles away from your Capital in all directions, then send it off to meet the nearest faction. Keep an eye on its health in case it dies to miasma, but you can just reload the game if it does (this might mean you lose quest rewards and have to wait for them again though)
- First city builds Trade Depot, Trade Convoy, worker, then alternates between Colonist/Trade Convoy until you have a total of 5 cities to start with. Send these convoys, for a total of 5, only to your cities. If you can't reach one because of miasma, it is up to you whether you send it to a Outpost or not, but remember to buy a trade convoy in the other city asap to get the production+ food buff. I think having all 5 going from your capital is really good, because not only do your outposts get excellent food and production, but your capital benefits the most and this is the city that sets the foundation for everything else.
- Research order is as follows: Chemistry -> Ultrasonic fence tech -> Pharmalab tech -> Alien Preserve Tech -> Academy tech -> Thorium Reactor Tech -> Tacjet tech -> Gene Smelter tech -> Institute tech -> Observatory tech (if you have firaxite). I just call the techs what they give rather than their names because I won't remember all their names, just use the search function to find it.
- Virtue order is as follows: ( The X represents Virtues that are situational, and should be prioritized over other virtues when the situation calls for it.)
vitrue tree civ be.png

- As soon as you have the Energy to build an Old Earth Relic, immediately buy it in any city that doesn't have one.
- Quest rewards are decided by what you are going for. In a Wonder victory, pick everything that gives science. Otherwise, I like to go for health and culture if the option allows. Also, if the quest is something like "do you want this building that gives energy to give more energy or something else", I go with the option that gives more of what the building gives because that was the buildings purpose in the first place. There are some caveats where you will decide for your self what's better, such as the Trade depot giving production or energy. If you have not much energy around, and you can't send trade routes out without them getting destroyed, then you need energy, otherwise production is king.
- Pick up the Free Colonist virtue in Prosperity, and send your colonist 4 tiles away from your capital, and immediately send a Trade convoy to it. Send the soldier off to meet other factions.
- Basically, you will be using your free explorer and free soldier to meet every faction in the game, and try to do this in such a way that allows your trade convoys to avoid potential war zones.
- Use your worker to start improving all basic resources around your capital. If there are none left to improve, build roads but don't automate the roads cos AI is bad with this.
- Second city immediately builds 5 workers, but aim for 10. If you get an early war you might have to settle for 5. Aim is for 1-2 for every city. Send each worker to a city that doesn't have a worker, so it improves that city, and again, if no basic resources at that city, build a road to your capital.
- By now you will have a third colonist, move this to another spot that's 4 tiles away. Don't build over the top of resources, just settle for 5 tiles away if you must. By now you might get where this is going, every city is 4 tiles apart from each other because this provides a huge defensive boost when you need to mobilize an army against the enemy. The further your cities are, the harder they are to defend. Overlap doesn't matter, you won't care about it by the time your city has 20 pop. Ideally your colony looks like a star shape, but a box is fine too. Just try to not settle too close to AI, and if you have coast nearby, settle with at least 1 tile between your city and the coast.
- Third city will immediately build soldiers, 1-2 for every city, aim for 2
- Fourth City will build Trade Depot, then max out trade convoys and send these off to other factions. It is around this time that you will have Level 2 in Harmony, meaning Trade Convoys can go through Miasma. This is why we get Alien Preserve tech asap. Unless you are playing with coastal cities, in which case your fourth city needs to be producing a large amount of patrol boats, then your fifth city will do the trade convoys. You end out getting a bit behind in science/energy than you otherwise would, but it makes up for it later when the AI sees your navy and leaves you alone, or they just die to you.
- Once city number 5 is up, immediately build Ultrasonic Fence to trigger the Reverse the Polarity quest reward. I just build mine in the capital, but you could build it in a city surrounded by aliens.
- Fifth City, and every other city from here on out will build (once it has finished building the above) is in the following order: Trade Depot -> Recycler -> Laboratory -> Vivarium -> Clinic -> Pharmalab ->Trade convoys till full trade routes -> Alien Preserve -> Thorium Reactor -> Autoplant -> Gene Smelter. If you are doing wonder only, it could be worth buying buildings as soon as you have the energy, but you really need to make sure you have the energy to not only do this but also maintain them as well as future growth. If you played your trade convoys well, you should be able to sustain just from International Routes alone, but sometimes this can turn bad. Unfortunately, on Wonder, it is a gamble whether you win or not so if you find that you are unable to trade with anyone then just restart the game. In domination though, I wouldn't really bother buying buildings as it is actually a bad thing in the long run due to how you gain energy long term.
- Whenever a city doesn't have a building to make (and only the buildings mentioned, no need for others), what you do now depends on whether you have disabled the Wonder victories or not. If going for Wonder victory, you put the building on converting production to growth until Population reaches 10, then Science after. If you are doing Domination only, make a soldier whenever there is down time and aim for 2-3 every city. Then the next thing is Tacjets, aiming for 3 in every city. Remember, if any of the buildings become available for building, finish making the unit then immediately start making the building. Don't cue up a big army yet. If you are doing Wonder only, this is a huge gamble because on the one hand the AI might never attack you until you have enough tacjets and production to defend, on the other hand they might rush you and you have no army because you were focused on growth. Unfortunately, with Wonder only, there is no choice because the aim is to bee line as fast as possible to 15 affinity and so time spent making an army is time that could be spent building science/growth.
- At some point you will unlock the tech for the Academy tile improvement. By now you should have hopefully improved every basic resource and built roads to your capital city, maybe even roads between the out side cities. Finish whatever the worker is doing, and then start building 2 Academies in each city, ideally not on forest tiles as they take longer. Prior to this, if you don't have any basic resource or roads to build, just have them clear miasma on tiles without a forest. I have tried where I build farms instead, but this seems to take up needed space. I think there might be a case for building farms instead, but in my opinion a farm could be an Academy and so that's a potential tile wasted. I haven't played around with this enough to know whether building farms is even needed in the Wonder victory, but they definitely aren't needed in Domination only.
- At some point, make the Institute in your capital city to grab the free tech.

Personality traits are really important, agreements are kind of useful but not necessary. Trait order is as follows (and do your best to buy these the exact turn you have the capital):
- Max out the trade routes in cities trait, then go for international trade route yields from the political side. There is a case for instead going with the science per agreement trait, but if you get in a bad situation where no one will make agreements that you can sustain capital for, this back fires real fast especially if everyone declares war. I think the international routes is much more reliable and it gives energy too, something you will need a lot of in the mid/late game.
- Max out city science yield in domestic
- Then the last trait is really up to you and how you want to play. You could go for military production, or if you would prefer to not build a big army but use every bit of energy you can get to rush buildings then go military maintenance cost. Another good option is the Spy ones, because you can steal more science.

Good agreements are:
- Worker units are free to build. Build the workers you need, then cancel the agreement. This goes really nicely with the Wonder for free worker maintenance. Not really needed in Wonder only victory though, and you won't want to spend turns building a wonder when it could be spent building science. Been quite a few games where the AI doesn't have this to offer, or when it does it is of no use, but if you get lucky and find this in the early game it is such a huge boost as that first city you had making 10 workers will now be able to get online much faster too.
- Colonists cost 200% production, but found instantly. Grab this when you plan to expand, but buy the colonists first instead of making them, then make the agreement. Of course, cancel once you have finished your colonies. Stacks real nicely with worker units are free to build.
- The rest don't really matter and the game is playable without, but try to grab whatever is most applicable to your goals. You can still win if they are being stubborn though.

So now you've finished the early game, so we transition to the middle game. There isn't really a set build order for this, rather it is more of a broader strategy so I will do my best to explain. Where you go from here is really up to you and the kind of scenario you are in. Things change a little if you are doing Domination as your only victory type, or whether you are doing Wonders. Here goes...:
- Regardless of your victory conditions, you will at some point have a well founded starting set up for your colony. I have won the game with only 5 cities, but I have since learnt that things get even faster if you rapidly build approximately 5 new cities as well. So, to do this, you try and snag the agreement mentioned above. You don't have to stop at an additional 5 cities, in fact you can just keep making more until you have covered all the empty space on the map, but this can back fire fast if you get too close to other factions and some just flat out don't like you getting too big and strong and will declare war. So I would prefer to stop at a total of 10, build up a bit, then transition into the late game where I spam cities.
- If you focused on making a military in the early game as described above, there is a good chance the AI has left you alone or you've been able to defend your self well enough and made it to this point. From here on out, the game is almost guaranteed to be a victory in the Domination only scenario. Good chance to win on the Wonder only one too, but that takes a little bit of luck and strategic diplomacy.
- Now is also a good time to take out any aliens that were messing up our plans, I usually do this when I have the tech for my strategic resource of choice and only do it to take out nests. I try to annoy the aliens as little as possible, because they get really annoying when they are angry.
- As we just mentioned before, it is a great time to set up new cities. The order in which you make buildings for them changes depending on your situation. You always grab trade depot then recycler, but if you have no energy, you would then build thorium reactors. If you have no health, maybe go a clinic, pharma lab, and gene smelter first. Just figure out which of the buildings you need most at the time. As long as you have enough energy that you can keep losing energy for 20 turns or so without hitting zero, you can still follow the building order above, but it isn't ideal. It really depends on the kind of map you got, and whether you are able to send trade routes off or they are cut off by neighbors who are at war with you. How you handle that situation is by using the Personality Trait for cheaper military cost, grabbing the Industry virtue for gain % income, and trying to find anyone with agreements that help with energy. Worst case scenario none of these things work out and you convert production to energy until you find a way out.
- The difference between domination and science victory is really straight forward. For domination, your workers will build 1-2 Manufactories for each city, then Nodes everywhere else until you can see that you maintain a positive income of energy without a single trade route to another faction. This becomes really important in the late game, and you will understand why later when everyone goes to war with you. Of course, always build a basic/strategic resource first, and then the regular tile improvements. For the science victory though, you should be focusing on diplomatic relations as best you can so to keep peace within trade route areas, and so instead your workers just keep making more academies, every tile that they can.
- I find that as long as your health is above zero, it can be very worthwhile making trade convoys in the new cities before making health related, or even science and energy related buildings. Remember, a single trade convoy to another faction gives more energy and science than any building in the game. Having 3-5 per city of these is well, just amazing.
- I briefly mentioned the Diplomacy thing earlier, and in my opinion this is really important when trying to go for the wonder victory. There is still a really high chance the AI says screw you and declares war anyway, and there is not much you can do about it, but you can increase your chances by not making agreements with the enemy of your neighbors, making friends/agreements with their friends, and even declaring war on someones enemy just to make another faction like you. Basically you have to do anything to win because even a 10 turn set back can cost you the entire game if you are going for the Wonder victory. However, in Domination, you can safely assume everyone is an enemy, and just pick and choose what you agree too. To be honest, it doesn't even matter if you agree to everything because you will still be able to beat the AI even if you agreed to let them build a military. Sometimes I like to let weaker factions get the buffs, and stronger ones not, this way there isn't any 1 faction that grows too big. But really, it doesn't matter because with enough army you can kill any faction no matter how big.
- Tech choices are really up to you, there isn't really any other necessary tech to grab from here especially if you are just going for the Wonder victory. Regardless of the scenario, you are aiming to focus on level 15 in any one affinity. It doesn't matter toooo much if you get hybrid, but for domination unit buffs can be kind of a big deal. In a research victory, prioritize leaf techs for your chosen affinity that help with science then growth then production then energy then health, in that order. Don't be afraid to pick up branch techs too, but leaf techs give more affinity XP. Techs change a bit for Domination though, and so we will now get into the late game explanation...
- One tech that I would grab is Workers are immune to Miasma, this is some nice quality of life.
- By now you will have your Spy Agency. You need to use this wisely. If you don't want to be attacked by someone, don't spy on them. Otherwise, if you don't care, grab all the bonus Spies from the quests, and put them all in the highest Intrigue cities you can see. It could even be worth keeping one spy in each Capital city out there, to get the intrigue up ready for a Coup De'etat!
- It can be worth adding Observatory, Institute, and Cloning Plant to your build order. Observatory gives science from Firaxite resources, and Institute gives Science specialists which is good for cities without many acadamies. Cloning plant gives food, and health if you took that quest option, but it can also give science instead of health I think?
- I am a fan of the Augmentary building, but I am not completely sold on whether it is needed. Those rewards do be looking amazing though!

I will quickly say that the late game is very different for Domination to the Wonder victory, so before I get into the proper end game explanation for Domination, I will quickly summarise the Wonder victory:
- I already explained tech choices above and the same goes for the endgame.
- Harmony is the easiest victory condition, but Supremecy is pretty good too. My first win was with Supremecy.
- When deciding whether to make a building that gives science, first see if converting production gives more science.
- When you get around 13+ in affinity, send all your workers to the capital and build manufactories everywhere. It is safe to wait till half way between 13 and 14, or even till 14 then do this. Bring all your trade routes to your capital if you haven't already. When you are ready to build the wonder, put every citizen you have onto working manufactories.
- By now most of your cities should be converting production to science, even if they are only 8-9 in population. You will have to make your own judgement on this, but a good way to know is look at how much science yield you make and compare this to how much science a technology takes. Sometimes it doesn't make it go any faster due to diminishing returns, but other times it can shave even just 1 turn off which is a big deal.
- It can be useful to build a few more cities, but stay the heck away from any other factions because they won't like you doing it.
- From here it is just pressing "next turn" until you win.

Okay so now that's out of the way, let's talk about Domination and what you need to know. There is kind of a lot so I will just make a list of points like before...:
- Your later cities don't need to be building science, because you will already be flying through the tech tree. Still grab the clinic though, that health boost is nice. Spam cities everywhere you can, and spam units to go and protect the new cities. By doing this, you speed up the end game a lot, even if it puts you at war with someone else. At this point in the game you will be able to defend against any attacker, and maybe even start killing them too.
- Remember, you only need to take each Capital City to actually win. That being said, feel free to crush anything and everything!
- I don't really notice any overwhelming difference in power between the three Affinities. They all have their own styles, and you can get the win with any of them.That being said, Supremecy and Purity seem to have more quality of life for conquest. Regardless, we end out picking up all of the useful techs from all 3 affinities anyway so it doesn't matter too much. After looking at the numbers, I would say that Purity seems to deal the most damage over all though, but as I said before, they are all very strong in their own way if played correctly. The choice you make will revolve around 3 main things...
- If you are okay with using Miasmic Condensors, then Harmony is so insanely tanky and juiced that this is Affinity is just as good a competitor in Domination as its rivals. Some well placed Miasma, combined with the beefed up Xenocavalry and you will very quickly take over the map. However, like I said you need Miasmic Condensors to get the most out of this faction. It makes for a cool play style though, and it is extremely good at defending it self if need be.
- If you like to send a massive army in, then Supremecy gets some nice "squad" buffs with all the damage coming from adjacent units. Be prepared to spend a lot of time commanding massive hoards of units though, and this snowballs out of control in the late game when you need such a big army to win.
- If you like your units to be strong regardless of the situation, then Purity seems to be the way to go. Personally I think there are a couple things that make Purity the easiest way to win, but that isn't to say that the other 2 aren't just as good if played well. Why I think Purity is really good is because of the Tacjets getting the upgrade "50% more damage when attacking cities". This speeds up the late game quite significantly, and means you spend less time commanding massive hoards of units. Also Purity gets the LEV tank which IMO, is a really good all purpose unit when it comes to conquest.
- No matter which Affinity you prioritise, you are going to want the tech for Magrails and Phasal Teleporters. I would go out of my way to have magrails as one of my first techs after the initial build order, and automate every worker in existence once the initial set up is done (making sure to have the Game Settings put to where workers don't build over existing tile improvements). A big army of workers will automatically build mag rails to any new city you make or take, and from what I notice the AI prioritizes this over most things. Phasal Teleporters help you get your powerful but slow units around the game, or even big armies across the continent.
- Think of land as not just about resources, but as a way to control the game. A city next to a mountain is very hard to attack as it limits the tiles that it can be attacked from. A peninsula or chasm is fantastic to defend. Control the land, and you control the enemy. Same goes for when you are on the attack, surrounding your enemy with well defended cities aka unit producers can quickly overwhelm any foe.
- Have I mentioned Tacjets enough times? These are sooooo good for defending, but also attacking. Any good warmonger will have a big army of tacjets ready to defend their home land, and another big army ready to attack on the frontline and re base when the front-line changes. If you went Purity, your Tacjets are now one of the strongest unit in the game because they can take out cities making it easier for your melee units. Supremecy Tacjets are fantastic for clearing out packs of units or even would be attackers, as they get the buff "30% more against wounded units) and well 1 Tacjet will wound the unit, the next 10 Tacjets will kill that unit and everything else around it. Harmony Tacjets are amazing for defending against any potential threats, as they have such a big range of attack and are quite beefy, plus they can deal damage to units adjacent to the target.
- I am fairly confident in saying that the +3 movement of rovers (aka the Armour) is enough to make it singlehandedly the best unit in the game. Unfortunately it gets a bit tedious using them as they produce so quickly and are not very tanky, so you end out building huge amounts of them and have to control them all. That being said, being able to get from your homeland all the way to the enemy very fast and very often is kind of over powered I feel.
- If you don't want to deal with the tediousness of rover spam, add some LEV tanks and some SABR to your arsenal. LEV tanks have 2 movement, but deal a good chunk of ranged damage and are somewhat beefy enough to tank, hence the name. They don't get quite as much reach as the SABR though. Interestingly enough, the LEV tanks get an advantage just because they are ranged units. The AI seems to focus on attacking melee units first, and so with a large army of cheap and quick rovers can soak up all the hits whilst your LEV tanks punch holes wherever they can.
- SABR spam is so powerful it's kind of broken, but they come with a massive downside. They can only move 1 tile per turn. However, combined with magrails and phasal teleports, you could very comfortably transport them into the battlefield then out again then in again and so on. These require a certain kind of playstyle to make work, but when used well, they will blow holes in not only the enemies entire army, but also all of their cities. The +4 range is incredible. Just be prepared to fight off any melee units that come after them. I haven't tried a primarily SABR army since before playing on Apollo, but I do add them to my arsenal. In my recent game, I set them up near the front of the enemy before I was about to go to war and they very quickly killed everything around and their cities, allowing for a very swift take over. I think if you were to make these your primary unit, you would need to not automate your workers in the mid game, and instead use an army of workers to set up mag rails to the front line leading to cities where they can once again phasal teleport.
- I mentioned Phasal Teleporters a couple of times, but there is something you need to know about these. Regardless of your ascendancy choice, you will want the Affinity bonus of Supremecy where Firaxite gives orbital coverage to make these work, or the other route is to increase your own orbital coverage. Regardless, unfortunately they don't allow you to consistently bring your army into the middle of an enemy as they just shoot the teleporter down. However, if you had say a large number of units ready to go and multiple teleporters, you could do your attack in 1 turn. The downside of this is all your units won't be able to do anything until the next turn, leaving them open to being attacked. It is something to keep in mind though, as I've used this strategy when I really needed an extra punch to hold a strategic point, where it turned things into my favour as the AI couldn't handle a big army turning up on their door when they were busy with the frontline. Anyway, the teleporters are fantastic when using SABR.
- From what I have seen, Xenocavalry is just about the most broken unit in the game when given the right upgrades and on miasma. These little buggers have ripped up my units so many times, and when they are on miasma, they are so tanky. They are even stronger than rovers without miasma, and are just as quick to build. The downside is you need xenomass, and they become weak if you all of a sudden lose all your xenomass for whatever reason, so be careful with them.
- Supremecy Destroyer boats with their ability to carry an aircraft are incredible, but unfortunately they require coastal cities and well that means you are now open to a very fast and deadly attack from a very strong AI. If you can figure out how to defend a coastal city, these are amazing. Same thing goes for Aircraft carriers if you went a different affinity, but unfortunately these move quite slowly. They tend to arrive when a bit later in the fight whilst your frontline is doing work, but when they do arrive, well we mentioned why Tacjets are good already...
- I have tried a lot of different units, and most of them are garbage for a variety of different reasons. Unfortunately, I have never found a good reason to build Xenotitans, ANGELS, or LEV Destroyers. Out of the three, LEV Destroyers are probably the best option, but they cost more floatstone and production to build than an LEV Tank. I like to think that in this game, quantity is better than quality at this difficulty. As for ANGELS, these are so bad. Sure, they have a huge damage boost, but they can only attack in a 1 tile radius which leaves them open to attack, and on top of that, they can only move 1 tile at a time, so they really are just bad. I think they could be useful in holding a choke point though? As for Xenotitans, I have made these for fun a few times but they always out being underwhelming. I don't know why, they just seem kinda meh but maybe I haven't played them right so I would love to know if I am wrong.
- Other notable mentions are the Geliopod, and the Golem. I haven't used them my self, but when I have seen the AI using these correctly I am very impressed. The Geliopod can be set up to be tanky, plus it is invisible, and can deal a lot of damage. Speaks for it self. The Golem, is also very very tanky and I saw the AI using them as a melee unit to take back their cities. Because of how tanky they are, it was quite difficult to stop them and they ended out taking the city back. I think their downside is that they die instantly when the city gets taken again whilst it is in that city, but used right these things definitely have potential. Now I am thinking it could be fun to use Golems and LEV Tanks!
- IMO the default units are quite strong in their own right. The Rocket Launcher, when upgraded to Harmony, is so beefy and will delete units that approach, so it is fantastic for defending. The Submarine, whilst slow, is also a fantastic unit. Has a decent health and damage stat, and can be invisible. I use them mainly to defend, but I actually think they aren't that good at defending a large colony due to being outpaced by regular cutters/destroyers. Instead, I think these are much better placed in the offence, but unfortunately they move quite slowly. If you can build an army of these and slowly get them to the enemy though, damn these things are good. I should mention that the Soldier is a fantastic defensive unit in terms of how cheap and tanky they can be. Sadly I have never needed used one in combat because the AI never reaches my homeland where they all reside, but the numbers look great. The gunner also has some neat upgrades, but like the solider, they seem better off defending your homeland. Then there is the melee boat, these things are quite spammy which is nice, the downside is as said earlier the AI targets melee units first and so they are by default weak.
- There are some Wonders that are pretty good for Domination. I will have to come back to this when I remember their names, but I will describe them for now. There is a fantastic Wonder that gives your units 2 additional levels of Veterency. Who can say no to free damage? Also, there is a wonder that makes your units fight at full strength when damaged. More damage!! Also researching Nodes gives a good Wonder that makes your workers free to maintain with a bonus of +1 movement for them.
- A couple of other good techs to get are the +10 healing for all units, Production/Energy/MORE FOOD from farms techs, culture from Acadamies, science from Manufactories, and science from Nodes.
- I should mention that if you play a map with oceans, your enemy will have cities that you take which are also on the coast. I have beaten a Domination victory in such a setting, and for this I used Purity to hover over water whilst my mainland was never coastal. I think what got me this win was not going out on the attack without a big enough force that I could capture the entire section, with enough production to bring units in to defend the new bases whilst my existing army is pushing further into the AI. The downside is you never quite get the momentum of a nice army of boats because by the time your freshly captured cities can build boats effectively, the game has already been won with rovers.

Well everyone, that is all for now. If you made it this far, good on you and I wish you all the best in your conquest captain!
I would like to leave an honorable mention to GAGA Extrem for this wonderful guide which taught me a lot of things, and a large component of this guide is based on his guide which you can check out here: https://forums.civfanatics.com/threads/for-science-5-city-academy-spam-guide.542124/
GAGA Extrem's guide is for the Vanilla client and the Wonder victory, and as such my guide is my adaptation to Rising Tides, with the option of going into Domination if you wanted to.

- I have since discovered how to comfortably play on maps with water. Your fourth city should be on the coast, and building ships from the get go. I would say start with 5 patrol boats, then make the buildings, then keep building destroyers and tacjets to that region. For some reason, the AI doesn't like to attack with a full scale army when you have a decent amount of units, even if they declare war, and so for this reason we prioritize building combat units right from the start even if those cities would be slow at it due to low production. New sea bases can focus on buildings straight away, just as long as you know you have an army nearby. Even if they do attack, you should be able to hold them off anyway.
- I have since messed around with a few units to see what is good. A notable mention is the Aquillion. This bad boy can carry 2 planes, and acts as a land unit. Same as an aircraft carrier, but mobile so can be taken into the battle field where you might otherwise not have airplanes. Same goes for the aircraft carrier. I have also tried the Golem, but these are really slow so tend to arrive to a new city well after you've taken it with rovers. Rovers are just too good when combined with magrails and phasal teleporters.
- Tacnet hubs seem to help, it won't save you if you were going to lose anyway, but I have noticed I keep a few more units than I otherwise would without. I think in the mid/late game you have enough production to build these in 1-2 turns, or enough energy to buy them. In quick pace they are 250 energy, and so they are worth it.
- I think in the end game, Manufactories are so good for getting new cities up and producing units, so don't over look these.
- After some testing, I am now satisfied that it is very important that you spam the Node tile improvement in all of your new cities (after the initial 5), otherwise you end out with significantly less energy and science in the late game.
- Some people talk about how level 12 Supremecy destroyers with their ability to carry 1 aircraft are the most OP unit in the game. After some testing, I am not satisfied that rushing level 12 and avoiding any techs that give more than level 6 in any given affinity is a good thing. It leaves you unable to steal tech with spies, but also unable to pick up any of the good techs for a long time. I ended out missing quite a few important techs and was way behind, more than I usually otherwise would be. I will soon update this guide with what those techs are when I am satisfied that it is the truth. A good alternative is the Aquilon, and the aircraft carrier, both of which can be phasal teleported to counteract the poor movement speed.
- In the recent game I just did, I learnt the hard way that you really do need to be building quite a reasonable army of soldiers in the early game, otherwise you will get harassed by an enemy and they will disturb your growth leaving you further behind than other AI. With enough production and tacjets, I was able to kill them off but it delayed my growth by quite a lot.
- I am noticing that I am having millitary support issues quite often, and so I think it is a good idea to be constantly checking how many citizens you can support, and pre-emptively building new cities to combat this before you get hit with the production deficit. This isn't always possible, but it seems to be fairly important. That being said, by the mid game my production is fine enough to handle this issue, but it seems to snowball quite badly if you don't address this before the late game.
- I recently discovered that Orbital Coverage is a big deal if you want to swiftly take out any far away enemies. By using phasal teleporters, I set up new cities waiting for such a situation, and noticed that with 4 different orbital coverage facilities, I would be able to bring in as many units as I like right infront of their cities. This leads me to believe that the perfect attack could be something like this: 1 phasal teleporter lets you bring in 7 units, so 1 saber, 5 cars, 1 aquilon with 2 planes on deck. Bring in enough of these, and you can probably do a massive hit to the AI within a few turns. This might even be a good strategy for multiplayer, and you definitely need to watch out for it. The downside is this can take a fair few turns to set up, and so is best reserved for someone that isn't at all close to you in the late game as you will naturally pick up Supremecies ability to teleport to firaxite. You will also need to be able to bring trade units to them to get them to settle fast, so hopefully you will have enough economy to keep buying these every turn if the convoys get killed, or you are able to get them through a safe zone. Anyway, bit of an involved strategy and it can take a few turns, but regardless, you can use this strategy for any land based cities even without building new cities, if you build Field Reactor, Launch Complex, Neoplanetarium, Repair Facility, Observatory. Take quest options for orbital coverage for all of these.
- I think the wonder for Workers being free maintenence and getting +1 movement speed is kind of a big deal. I wasn't able to beat the AI to this in a recent game, and seemed to really notice the impact.
- Tacjets are god awful until they get the 11 affinity upgrade, just build destroyers/cars instead
- When you can sustain energy without international trade routes, start sending them to cities with the highest production yield with at least 1 food.
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