Sid Meier’s Starships Steam Achievement Guide

Welcome to another game by Sid Meier, one of the “Most Influential People of All Time in Computer Gaming” and 2nd on IGNs list of Top 100 Game Creators of All Time (2nd only to Shigeru Miyamoto, the creator of Donkey Kong, Super Mario Bros and several more Nintendo classics). In this Sid Meier’s Starships Steam Achievement Guide I will mention the easy achievements and point out some hints on the average difficulty achievements. The really challenging Steam achievements come last and I’ll go into more detail here. Thus I’ve sorted the achievements by the time I made them.

Sid Meier’s Starships Steam Achievement Guide

As achievement hunter new to this game I started on the easiest level of difficulty. In the end – even on higher levels of difficulty Starships is by far not as hard as any game of the Civilization series. So I made 20 / 31 Steam achievements in my first game of Starships. You won’t find many screenshots etc. The web is full of them anyways. Here’s the story of that game:

I, uh, I’ve been to another planet, Ma.

Unlocked 27 Mar @ 11:40pm

Travel to another planet

Easy – at the start of the game you can’t even do anything else than traveling to another planet.

Food for the masses

Unlocked 27 Mar @ 11:50pm

Upgrade the population on an earth-like planet

I kept the population of all my planets on an equal level, going from 2 to 4, and then focused on the planets with bonuses for what I needed the most.

Through the wormhole

Unlocked 28 Mar @ 12:04am

Use a jump gate during battle

In Starships your fleet fulfills missions for planets you encounter to increase your reputation and eventually integrate them into your alliance. On most of those hex-tile interstellar battlefields you’ll have jump gates, little wormholes which take you to a different area of the battlefield.

It’s just a flesh wound

Unlocked 28 Mar @ 12:15am

Repair a critical hit on a ship in your fleet

In every turn of the battle each ship in your fleet can move and perform one action. This can be an attack move like firing your laser or a torpedo or starting a fighter from your fighter-bay. Another option after you’ve been critically hit is to repair that hit. A critical hit is one that disables a vital component of your ship, like weapons, stealth module, engine or other. Do so and you’ll unlock this achievement.

Tell me of your homeworld

Unlocked 28 Mar @ 12:18am

Bring a planet fully into your empire

To integrate a planet into your empire, you’ll have to get 4 points of influence. You’ll become more influential by

  • meeting this planet as the first “civilization” (once per planet!)
  • fulfilling a mission (once per turn and per planet), so you can visit multiple planets each turn
  • ending your turn in that system (once per turn), so try to end your turn on a planet where you’re at 3/4 influence
  • buying influence for credit

We gotta get outta here

Unlocked 28 Mar @ 12:25am

Win a mission by bringing your flagship to a warp portal

With all the planets you’ll “conquer” (I mean convince) to join your empire you will also do a lot of missions. One of them will require you to escape an asteroid field through a warp portal. So if you want it or not – you will get this achievement.

Hit ’em where it hurts

Unlocked 28 Mar @ 12:28am

Score a critical hit on an enemy ship

Using energy you can upgrade all systems of your ships. Here’s a quick overview of those components:

  1. Engines – everything you add makes your ship slower. Engines are what brings back that mobility. Different components slow you down in different ways. Armor and Fighters are the heaviest things. Sensors and Stealth the lightest.
  2. Shields – well: Shields. They absorb hits on your starship.
  3. Armor – makes hits not absorbed by your shields less heavy.
  4. Lasers – long range weapons.
  5. Plasma Cannon – basically a short range laser.
  6. Torpedoes – cause a lot of damage, but it’s hard to hit the enemy, as one can see them coming. Together with the Stealth Torpedo Wonder this might be a thing, but I never tried…
  7. Sensors – help you detect enemy ships with Stealth.
  8. Stealth – makes you invisible to the enemy unless you’re in Sensor range. The better the enemy sensors the better your Stealth needs to be (and vice versa).
  9. Fighters – launch one fighter per round until you reach your ships “fighter level”. The more you research Artificial Intelligence the stronger your fighters will be. Fighters are great because not only do they fight, but they also draw enemy fire. Unless your main ships are really exposed, the enemy will always try to hit your fighters first!

I am the swarm

Unlocked 28 Mar @ 12:36am

Have 4 or more fighters on the map at once during a battle

Have 2 ships with Fighters level 2 and launch them in the first 2 rounds. K’CHING – you’ve got this achievement.

It’s dangerous to go alone! Take this.

Unlocked 28 Mar @ 12:40am

Upgrade the lasers on your ship

From the games I’ve played my favorite strategy when it came to upgrading my ships was:

Engines Shields Amor Lasers Plasma Cannon Torpedoes Sensors Stealth Fighters
7+ 5+ 3 5+ 2 1 1 1 4

The reason I stuck with this was that as mentioned above, the enemy goes for your fighters first. Depending on how strong they are they will survive several enemy shots. Meanwhile your main ships can fire long-range lasers at the enemy.

You can find your own style on building Starships, follow my recommendation or of course you can listen to Sid Meier himself:

…Wretched hive of scum and villainy

Unlocked 28 Mar @ 12:52am

Defeat the Pirate planet

The rewards for defeating the Pirate homeworld and the Marauder homeworld are usually worth the risk. If you go in with 4 well equipped ships and a well rested crew, you shouldn’t have much of a problem defeating them.

Light years ahead of the competition!

Unlocked 28 Mar @ 1:03am

Research a tech to level 4

Level 4 is not even very high. Given the fact that for a science victory you have to research 3 techs to level 6, this is really piece of cake.

They’ve gone to plaid!

Unlocked 28 Mar @ 1:09am

Have a ship in your fleet move 7 or more hexs in one turn during a battle

With my above starship configuration you should be able to keep every ships movement points above 7. Which is important, as you’ll want to be able to outmaneuver enemy ships. Once you use your full movement potential in one turn you’ll one more achievement.

Can you turn the tide of war?

Unlocked 28 Mar @ 1:17am

Take over an enemy’s home planet

Homeworld battles are the most difficult ones. So check out the enemy fleet and their weapons systems. Target the fighter carriers in the first rounds, before they started all their fighters. Then take out the rest. If you’re doing OK on the technology side, your fighters should be superior in every regard: Movement, armor, firepower.

…We don’t need roads

Unlocked 28 Mar @ 1:26am

Create a warp portal between two planets

For moving your fleet on the main map of the game you don’t have a limit in movement points. What limits you is the efficiency of your crews. Moving between planets is exhausting business, so your crew need some rest every now end then. That point is the hard end of your turn.

Warp portals are a way to mitigate this. Build them between 2 planets (not necessary planets in your federation) and you can travel this route with no cost in crew readiness. My strategy was to do so with ALL PLANETS as soon as possible. Even if you only have 1/4 reputation. It’ll be easier to visit that planet or pass by if others have more rewarding missions.

Dodge this

Unlocked 28 Mar @ 1:41am

Destroy a ship with a torpedo

A lucky hit during one of the missions. I find torpedoes hard to operate and easy to dodge, which is why I prefer honest LASERS.

Like rabbits

Unlocked 28 Mar @ 1:45am

Increase the population on a planet to 10

Not sure if this one worked with the home planet. As it starts with the highest population, this is the easiest way. Even if not: Saving some food and do this at a later stage of the game with any planet in your galactic realm is not a big deal.

Building a better today

Unlocked 28 Mar @ 1:46am

Raise a planetary improvement to level 5

Everything in Sid Meier’s Starships gets exponentially more expensive the higher the level. So level 5 planet improvements are costly. But again it’s only a matter of saving metals and focusing them on one planet and one improvement.

They can’t shoot what they can’t see

Unlocked 28 Mar @ 1:48am

Upgrade the stealth module to level 6

I never did this out of necessity – this is the first achievement I went for purely for the sake of the achievement. As my fighting style was mobility, fighters and and long-range lasers, stealth was never my thing. But buying it quickly and selling thereafter works.

That is the sound of inevitability…

Unlocked 28 Mar @ 2:10am

Win the game as Purity

Span the galaxy

Unlocked 28 Mar @ 2:10am

Win a Population Victory

So my first (easy) match on a medium or large map I won by population victory. This means your federation has 51% of the total population. Actually this victory is so easy to achieve, that in other games it will be hard NOT to win by population whilst striving for the other victories.

+++ End of Game #1 – 20 of 31 Steam Achievements unlocked +++

We choose our own path

Unlocked 3 Apr @ 5:17am

Win the game as Harmony

Played my second game as Harmony and won.

Perpetual peace is a futile dream

Unlocked 3 Apr @ 5:17am

Win a Domination Victory

In my 2nd match I played as Harmony and went for a quick and merciless Domination victory, meaning of course conquering all other federations. Since when you defeat an enemy home planet, all other planets join you, Domination is quite easy to achieve.

Sid Meier's Starships Steam Achievement Guide Wrath

A new order of intelligence

Unlocked 3 Apr @ 9:16pm

Win the game as Supremacy

Started the third game with the third faction.

A wondrous civilization

Unlocked 3 Apr @ 9:16pm

Win a Wonder Victory

With Supremacy I went for the Wonder victory. To get this I controlled (conquered or built) 9 Wonders. Unfortunately I’ve had victory condition set to “Wonder Victory” so the below achievements did not trigger in this game.

The technology of tomorrow

Unlocked 3 Apr @ 11:35pm

Research 5 techs to level 4

An easy bycatch on the way to Science victory.

Of all the wonders that I have heard…

Unlocked 3 Apr @ 11:35pm

Control 5 Galactic Wonders

Knowledge is the key to success

Unlocked 4 Apr @ 12:09am

Win a Science Victory

For achieving this, you’ll need to research 3 Technologies to level 6, which is incredibly costly. I did it in my fourth game and ended up selling every rounds entire income in Energy, Metals and Food for credits and buying Science to do so. This is more feasible if for shore leave (ending your turn) you chose a merchant plant. Those will freeze the prices on selling and buying allowing you to trade huge quantities.

Take to the skies

Unlocked 5 Apr @ 1:23am

Start a game using a save game from Beyond Earth

This one, my fifth game, required some setup effort:

  1. (buy and) install Civilization: Beyond Earth
  2. create a My2k account (
  3. login from Beyond Earth
  4. start a game of Beyond Earth and save the game (in the first turn if you want)
  5. login to your My2k account from Starships
  6. start game -> load settings from Beyond Earth savegame

You don’t even have to play that game.

The trouble with science…

Unlocked 12 Apr @ 11:24pm

Give away a tech through negotiating with an enemy

To get this Steam achievement two requirements must be fulfilled:

  1. You’re at war with another player and he attacks one of your planets
  2. You have at least 1 technology your enemy does not have

I did this one easily whilst actually aiming for the last and most difficult achievement (below). Declare war on your enemies early. When they come for you, which sometimes takes a while, try to negotiate – if you’re lucky they’ll demand a technology. Give in and you’ll have one more achievement.

It’s our time down here.

Unlocked 12 Apr @ 11:58pm

Defend your home planet

By now Starships had become a bit boring (more in the conclusion below). So I didn’t want to do more games than necessary and did some research. This thread in the Steam Community came up.

Here’s the basic (obvious) hints on setting up a game for this:

  • small map
  • 6 opponents
  • impossible difficulty

Keep your empire small, meaning 2-3 planets. But watch out for your opponents population share. They must only win a population victory AFTER you defended your homeworld. To do so, concentrate all resources on your fleet and your homeworld defenses.

  • at least 4 defense drones
  • well equipped ships
  • good shield technology and tech on your main weapons systems (one more reason to focus on 1 kind of weapon: You won’t manage to bring up all techs, so don’t diversify!)
  • don’t waste metal on wonders – your enemy will first conquer your planets before attacking your homeworld

Women and children first

Unlocked 13 Apr @ 1:21am

Win a mission by bringing the colony ship to a warp portal

Sid Meier's Starships Woman and Children First Steam Achievement

This one was a bit unlucky: I only got that mission during one of the other games. Seems like “Countdown to Disaster” is a rare sight. Unfortunately in that game the achievement did not trigger. So after my homeworld-defense game I played yet another game. In that game I took care to NOT take over planets, so they offered missions as long as I wanted.

Achievements not triggering?

Several times I had several techs researched to high levels. I made above mission and I owned more than 10 (!!!) wonders. Still some of the achievements did not trigger. The trick was: They’re only being granted whilst playing with all victory conditions.

Unlockables for Beyond Earth from playing Starships

I haven’t played Beyond Earth yet, but after I connected both Starships and Beyond Earth to My2k account, every now and then some benefits were unlocked. Researching I found this overview on, which I summarized below.

If you connect both games to your My2k accounts before starting on Starships, you will definitely have all BE unlockables without having to play certain setups all over again:

  1. Tiny Islands map – Win a Population victory
  2. Inland Sea map – Win a Domination victory
  3. Pioneers colonists – “Fleet Escape” mission
  4. Mercenaries colonists – “Dark Star” mission
  5. Cryotome cargo – “Fragile” mission
  6. Xeno Management cargo –  “Death Craft Alpha” mission
  7. Supply Module spacecraft – Liberate the Pirate homeworld (“Den of Thieves”)
  8. Electromagnetic Sensor spacecraft – Liberate the Marauder homeworld (“Final Justice”)


So my Steam statistics say I have 16 hours of playtime in Sid Meier’s Starships. From an achievement point of view this was much too easy, but also very rewarding. If you ask about the money/fun ratio: Well – I got Starships together with Ace Patrol and Ace Patrol: Pacific Skies in a Humble Bundle. Several old Civilization titles were also part of that. I did not pay much for Starships. But those 16 hours were fun. I didn’t end the game being mad or bored. It’s got the usual “one more turn” dynamic, which I love.

Several things which detract from enjoying the game 100%: The missions are highly repetitive. There’s too little of a story, and both these facts together lower the long-term motivation playing Starships. And (I never thought I’d ever say that): The game is much too easy. The missions are more challenging on “Impossible” difficulty: More enemy ships, smarter moves and more. But the AI doesn’t seem to be dealing with this very well. Hadn’t I stalled my expansion, I would have prevailed as the most powerful federation even on the highest level of difficulty.

Bottom line: If you can get this as part of a bundle or whatever deal – get it. I wouldn’t pay more than 15 bucks though.

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