In Lord of Rigel, population is power. The number of people in your empire directly ties to the strength of your economy, but even more importantly, population determines how much power you have in the galactic council. Colonists can be assigned to farming, industry, or research to increase output in those areas. Citizens of your empire are also taxed, adding to the imperial treasury billions of credits (BCs).
Each “population point” in Lord of Rigel represents 1 billion people. So if you move one population point around on a planet with 10 population to research that is setting 1 billion people to research.
The maximum amount of population that a planet can have is determined by planet size and climate type. The best type of naturally occurring world you’ll find in the game for maximum population is a Huge Gaia world. A Tiny Inferno planet is one of the worst. Terraforming can help improve the population cap of even the worst worlds by changing their climate. Eventually, even the best planets will run out of space for a burgeoning empire, which is why superstructures such as Orbitals and Dyson Spheres are key to the economies of end-game empires.
Since population is central to the game economy, how do you make it grow? For all species except the Synth and the Tulocks, agriculture is key. Having a shortfall in agricultural production will decrease population growth due to starvation. Morale is also important. Happy citizens have a higher reproduction rate, so it is in the best interest of the state to keep morale high. Low morale can lower population growth, or even worse result in strikes where citizens no longer work or even outright rebel! Pollution from industrial overwork can also reduce morale and population growth. Plagues and bioweapons also negatively impact population growth.
Overall, population growth is done with a formula that takes into account a planet’s maximum and current population. It’s difficult to set a planet up, but once a well fed planet hits a certain point the growth takes off exponentially. Since freighters can be used to move population between colonies, players can support a new colony by shipping excess citizens to new worlds. Creating new colonies “consume” a population point since those citizens are sent off to a new world. Building new colonies, and ensuring that they’re properly supported is central to having a successful empire in Lord of Rigel.
Join us next week as we discuss the fleet movement system!