So I just got this game (and the crusader expac) and tried the tutorial last night.
I Spent the entire game will my population hating me (the one time I was able to make a ideology choice I choose benevolent).
I started the game with a 35% approval rating, and I spent most of the game not able to change it. No building available really altered it. For background, I took alot of turns and didn't race to a military victory.
Also, I ran into population issues. Since I didn't go straight to unlocking farms and cities, I had food and population issues the entire game. Once I was able to build them, it seemed that unless I devoted 1/3 to half the planet to farms and cities, I wouldn't be able to stay ahead of me needs.
How should I have handled these situations?
Happiness is striking a balance between current population and maximum population. In the early game, Colony ships will take some of your population which will increase happiness. This will also lower raw production a little bit. This can be offset by building factories.
Later in the game, you can build improvements that will increase happiness. Although there are benefits to having 100% happiness, it is a difficult goal to maintain. I generally aim for 60% or better on each planet. Some will disagree with me on this. I just think there are more important things to worry about.
Cities and farms can come a little later. Find a planet that is well-suited to farming and devote it to farming only. Farms generate food for your entire civilization, not just the planet they are built on. Don't waste valuable tiles on your planets for farming.
I only build cities on high quality planets where population matters. These would include large planets devoted to Research or Production.
Money is rarely an issue in GC3 and in most situations I tend to ignore it. With a couple Survey ships and the occasional Treasure Hunt, you'll get all the cash you will need, and it gets easier as time goes by.
I am by no means an expert GC3 player, but I think the above tips should at least get you started in the right direction.
Hope this helps,
Glad to hear about the money part. I Was choked for money the whole game
Also, as long as your happiness is above 50% you are not losing anything.
Happiness of less than 100% does affect production. Select a planet. Place cursor over approval item in bottom readouts. The popup tooltip will state the high approval bonuses for that planet.
This is not entirely accurate. You *do* gain bonuses by having 100% approval. Anything less than that and you do suffer small penalties.
See the following comment by ops2048.
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