Since we were just talking about Ship Management, we might as well talk about the sister function… Planet Management. Like the Ship Management Screen (F1 remember?), you can bring up the Planet Management Screen by hitting F2. When you have a large galaxy, this feature is worth its weight in gold. You could have 100 planets out in the area, and do you really want to click each one to find out which is best for colonization?

I’m going to setup a scenario, and we’ll follow it step by step.

I have a colony ship I rush built, and he’s just been out exploring for the last 15 turns. Between him, my survey ship, and my scout ship they’ve uncovered a lot of area.

It’s about time I find a place for my colony ship to colonize. But there are a crap-load of planets out there. Now there’s a few things I can do. I can click every single planet to see what they are (insane). or I can click each star individually – and that will tell me what’s in solar system. Look at both arrows in the screenshot below. I clicked the star and it shows me classes of planets in orbit around it.

That’s still way too much of a manual process and I’m liable to miss something. So I’m going to hit F2 and bring up my Planetary Management Screen. The two arrows you see at the top, show you can click to switch between the ship and planet screens (in addition to using F1 & F2). When you first bring it up, it will only show the planets you own

You can continue the steps below… but this is an example of how set a person can get in a pattern. On the Gal Civ forum I was told there’s a much better way to look for new colonizable planets. Just hit the unowned button. DUH! Simply amazing – that I could pass over it a thousand times and never slowed down enough to to think about what I’m looking at! OK, back to the slow way…

So you’ll want to click the All button and make sure the planets are sorted by class (size).

I’m looking for the largest planet that’s not occupied by anyone. Easiest way to do this is just look for that has no shipyard and no social projects (the space beneath the shipyard). The first planet we see is Shard IV. And it looks like a great! It’s a size 11!

Now if you click (or double-click) the planet graphic (see above), it should scroll the map right to that planet (sometimes it doesn’t, so you may have to zoom in and re-click).
Well, here it is. It’s a Class 11 planet, but there’s a problem for me. It has “Heavy Gravity”. So I’m going to have to research that before I can colonize the planet. Every game you’ll have to decide if it’s worth diverting your research to these planetary techs. For me in this game, it’s early, it’s a great planet (once you can colonize these difficult planets, they tend to become incredible assets of you research them all the way).

I don’t have the tech to colonize this “yet” but I’m going to research it. Before I do that, I’m sending my colony ship over there because it’s far away. I’m going to use a trick I just taught you on the previous page. Make sure I’m still looking at this new planet. Then hit F1. If you look at the next shot, you’ll see the button I click. Presto! Didn’t have to go scrolling all over my map for my Colony Ship, I just found it in the list, and now I’m gong to make it go to this sector by clicking the little “x”. Wow that was easy… and it only took me a year to figure that out!