Core Concepts New Concepts

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Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth Official Digital Strategy Guide
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Sample chapters


Starting a Game

Core Concepts



Wonders, National Wonders, & Projects

Terrain, Features, Resources, and Artifacts

Research and Technology




Trade Routes


Covert Operations

Single Player



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Core Concepts New Concepts

This chapter explains new game concepts, ones that are similar to older Civilization games, and then the few that are primarily unchanged. Some of these elements are large enough to warrant their own chapters, and you'll find out where to go to learn more about them. Others are vital but can be explained quickly enough that they're kept here for easy reference.


Orbitals are non-mobile units that are deployed from the cities that construct them. Each city has its own Orbital Coverage, and that determines how far away from that location you can deploy the satellite. The more coverage your nation has, the more capable it becomes in using orbitals for a variety of tasks.

Orbitals can remove or create miasma, enhance the various yields of tiles, grant defensive bonuses to your units, attack enemies, or give cities various direct benefits.

Most orbital technology isn't available in the early game. You must research somewhat deep into the Technology web to unlock these units. Many of them have strategic resource requirements, so heavy orbital users frequently battle over Petroleum and Titanium, both of which are major components of your orbital fleet.

Chapter 04: Units has an extended description for every type of orbital in the game, and it also has an explanation of orbital mechanics. You can also look through the Technology web to see where all of the orbital techs are hidden. However, for your convenience, the satellites are listed here, as well.

Orbitals and Their Technology

  • All-Seer: Dark Networks Protects a city from Intrigue
  • Deep Space Telescope Orbital Automation: 25% city Science bonus and discovers "The Signal"
  • Holomatrix Civil Support: +2 Culture for tiles under its skirt; provides cities within range 50% less intrigue from enemy Covert Agent activity.
  • Lasercom Satellite Orbital Networks: 15% city Science bonus
  • Miasmic Condenser Alien Ecology: Generates miasma
  • Miasmic Repulsor Ecology: Clears miasma
  • Orbital Fabricator Geoscaping: +1 Production for tiles under its skirt, adds strategic resources over time
  • Orbital Laser Cybernetics: Ranged attacker: 70 ranged Combat Strength
  • Phasal Transporter Cybernetics: Teleports units from friendly cities to areas under its skirt
  • Planet Carver Astrodynamics: Ranged attacker: 120 ranged Combat Strength
  • Solar Collector Photosystems: +1 Energy for tiles under its skirt, +20% Energy creation in cities
  • Tacnet Hub Communications: +20% Combat Strength to friendly units and +5 HP Healing per turn
  • Weather Controller Climate Control: +1 Food for tiles under its skirt, adds basic resources over time


Miasma is the greenish cloud of spores that covers a game tile. Miasma can appear on any tile except those with water, ice, mountains, or settlements.

Non-alien units take 10 HP of damage per turn if they stop their movement inside Miamasa. This is reduced or eventually negated by technologies that improve your understanding of the world. Harmony players even begin to benefit strongly from the presence of Miamasa.

In the early game, do everything that you can to avoid prolonged actions inside miasma. Have workers rest after improving tiles inside the spores, and look for techs like Alien Biology (which lets workers clear miasma and work inside of it without taking damage).

Be warned: large areas of miasma often have increased numbers of aliens and alien nests inside of them. Do not approach these areas with non-military units or small groups of your troops. Make sure that you send tough upgraded units into such areas. Otherwise, you're going in at your own risk!


Quests let you develop the specific bonuses for your buildings and grant free resources for your Colony. Many of these are triggered by your own actions (such as exploring or finding expedition sites, uncovering stations, or constructing new types of buildings). Others are given beforehand by timed/random events or are always a part of the game.

Use the Quests and Victories screen to see what's available currently, and read Chapter 09: The Quest System to find out everything that you can accomplish with quests. The system is immensely powerful once you get used to it, allowing for a large advantage over rivals who haven't mastered it.


The Affinity system gives you much more power than before to determine the types of units that your civilization fields. Additionally, there are several passive bonuses that you get from earning Experience in each of the three Affinities that the game tracks.

This is one of the most important subjects to master while learning how to play Civilization: Beyond Earth. This guide has devoted a chapter toward explaining the three Affinities and the bonuses that they provide. See Chapter 10 to find out more.

If you're feeling bold, you can also read through the chapter on units. Though the chapter is lengthy, it explains every unit that is given to each Affinity. By the end of that, you're going to have a very comprehensive idea of what each group is capable of doing.