Social Engineering

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In Alpha Centauri, you have a lot of leeway in how you set up and manage your Faction. Social Engineering is a powerful way to do so. The Social Engineering screen is reached by default with the "E" key from the main game window. From here you can match different #Society Models to get the #Social Effects you desire. You can have one active Model in each of the four different categories (#Politics, #Economics, #Values, and #Future Society).

Each faction has #Social Effects independent of which models they use and. Factions also have a #Society Model that they advocate (and most have one they are prohibited from using). When they advocate a particular model, a computer run faction will be much friendlier to any faction that runs the same model and be even more antagonistic against any faction running a competing non-default model. A list of these can be found here.

Different things like Secret Projects can change the #Social Effects for a particular faction, base, or unit. A list of these is #here.


Society Models

Each category has four models, one of which is the default models with no effects, and you can only run one model for each category. You can switch from any allowed model to any different model at any time but on Difficulty Specialist and above, it costs energy to switch models. The number of changes you make in one turn effect the cost so you can change one category one turn and another the very next turn for paying the cost to change one model twice. Some factions (Hive and Angles) have the ability to chose a non-default model from the start of the game.

You unlock different Society Models through Research but you start out with a default model in each of the four categories. Each of the other models has positive and negative effects but the positive effects generally outweigh the negative. It may still be preferable to chose the default model when you find yourself in particular situations and want to avoid the negative effects (for example: when waging and offensive war, each of the #economic models have negatives that might want to be avoided).

Cost to Change Models
Difficulty Number of Changes
1 2 3 4
Citizen 0 0 0 0
Specialist 8 27 64 125
Talent 16 54 128 250
Librarian 24 81 192 375
Thinker 32 108 256 500
Transcend 40 135 320 625

costs are in Energy Credits


These models determine how your faction governs itself.

  • Frontier: This model is the system of informal and ad-hoc governing arrangements before a faction requires a more deliberate system. Alternatively it could be a degradation of a more established government system to when society needs to meet particular challenges and doesn't spend the effort to maintain an established system.
    • Prerequisite: None
    • Effects: None
  • Police State: (Wikipedia article) represents a society in which governing decisions are made by a select group of people and others have no choice but to go along with it.


These models determine how much a faction's economy is regulated and to what purpose.

  • Simple: This model is the system of informal and ad-hoc economic arrangements before a faction requires established norms and rules. Alternatively it could be a degradation of a more established economic system to when society needs to meet particular challenges and doesn't spend the effort to maintain an established system.
    • Prerequisite: None
    • Effects: None
  • Planned: (Wikipedia article) represents an economy in which economic decisions are made entirely by or in large part by those governing society.
  • Green: (Wikipedia article) represents an economy that is regulated heavily to minimize the faction's impact on Planet and to promote social welfare.


These models determine what social values a faction's culture holds in high regard.

  • Survival: This faction places its survival over all other goals.
    • Prerequisite: None
    • Effects: None

Future Society

These models determine what type of society exists.

  • None: This faction does not apply any of the other models for this catagory.
    • Prerequisite: None
    • Effects: None
  • Cybernetic: (Wikipedia article) represents a society in which a faction has turned over much of its governance and management to expert systems while still maintaining high level control respective to the other models it uses.
    • Pre-requisite: Digital Sentience
    • Effects: +2 Efficiency, +2 Planet, +2 Research, -3 Police
  • Thought Control: (Wikipedia article) represents a society in which individuals share a group consciousness that is structured according to what other models are being used.
    • Pre-requisite: The Will to Power
    • Effects: +2 Morale, +2 Police, +2 Probe, -3 Support

Social Effects

Each section here affects a different part of your Faction. The total of everything affecting an effect is added together and the result is a particular number for that effect. The impact is shown in these tables under the number for that effect. Mostly this number is determined by #Society Models and by Faction characteristics although other things like Secret Projects can #Modify these numbers for the whole faction or in specific circumstances.

If a number is less than the lowest listed, it uses that impact and if a number is greater than the highest listed, it uses that impact. This means that if you're already maxed out on an effect, raising that effect's value does nothing and similarly if you are bottomed out on an effect, lowering that effect's value does nothing. Generally the more explanation marks listed in an impact, the more extreme the impact is.


This represents your societies ability to create and accumulate wealth.

Value -3 -2 -1 0 +1 +2! +3!! +4!!! +5!!!
Impact -2 Energy Each Base -1 Energy Each Base -1 Energy at HQ Base No Effect +1 Energy Each Base +1 Energy Each Square! +1 Energy/Sq, +2 Energy/Base, +1 Commerce rating!! +1 Energy/Sq, +4 Energy/Base, +2 Commerce Rating!!! +1 Energy/SQ, +4 Energy/Base, +3 Commerce Rating!!!


This represents your faction's ability to direct wealth towards its desired goals. The impacts here are nebulous and are explained with the Faction Economy.

Value -4!! -3! -2 -1 0 +1 +2 +3! +4!!
Impact Economic Paralysis!! Murderous Inefficiency! Appalling Inefficiency Gross Inefficiency High Inefficiency Reasonable Efficiency Commendable Efficiency Exemplary Efficiency! Paradigm Economy!!


This represents how expensive it is to maintain your military units. Each unit without the Clean Reactor a Base supports above the number of free units it can support given here, uses one mineral each turn. Also at values less than -1, new bases do not get the usual 10 free minerals at founding.

Value -4!! -3 -2 -1 0 +1 +2! +3!!
Impact Each Unit Costs 2 Minerals to Support!! No Free Units Per Base 1 Free Unit Per Base 1 Free Unit Per Base 2 Free Units Per Base 3 Free Units Per Base 4 Free Units Per Base! Free Units Per Base up to 4 OR its Population!!!


A unit's morale impacts how well it fights and the higher the morale, the higher the bonus to combat. Morale is extremely important when fighting against native life forms. The number in the impact is added to the other numbers determining morale. Important: when these values change the morale of all your units will change (they might not if already at the maximum or minimum morale).

Value -4!! -3! -2 -1 0 +1 +2 +3! +4!!
Impact -3 Morale, + Modifiers Halved!! -2 Morale, + Modifiers Halved! -1 Morale, + Modifiers Halved -1 Morale No Change +1 Morale +1 Morale (+2 When Defending a Base) +2 Morale (+3 When Defending a Base)! +3 Morale!!


This represents how accepting and responsive your society is to authority. The military units referenced here refers to combat units supported by the base in question (for example with a Police rating of -3, each base can have one if its supported combat units in enemy territory without penalty). Policing is covered here. A police unit need not be supported by the base that it's policing.

Value -5!!! -4!! -3 -2 -1 0 +1 +2! +3!!
Impact 2 Extra Drones for Each Military Unit Outside of Faction's Territory!!! 1 Extra Drone for Each Military Unit Outside of Faction's Territory!! Extra Drone if More Than 1 Military Unit is Outside of Faction's Territory Basses are Not Allowed Police, No Nerve Stapling Basses are Allowed 1 Police Unit, No Nerve Stapling Basses are Allowed 1 Police Unit Basses are Allowed 2 Police Units Basses are Allowed 3 Police Units! Basses are Allowed 3 Police Units, Police effect doubled!!


This represents how amenable your society is to population growth.

Value -3!!! -2 -1 0 +1 +2 +3 +4 +5! +6!!
Impact Zero Population Growth!!! -20% Growth Rate -10% Growth Rate Normal Growth Rate +10% Growth Rate +20% Growth Rate +30% Growth Rate +40% Growth Rate +50% Growth Rate! Population Boom!!


This represents your factions impact on the environment and your willingness to accept and make use of native life. To attempt a mind-worm capture, attack a Planet controlled mind-worm and you might be able to capture it. Depending on your game rules, if a capture attempt fails then you then have the option of attacking it or you will automatically attack.

Value -3!! -2! -1 0 +1 +2! +3!!
Impact Wanton Ecological Disruption. -3 Fungus Production!! Rampant Ecological Disruption. -2 Fungus Production! Increased Ecological Disruption. -1 Fungus Production Normal Ecological Disruption Ecological Safeguards, 25% Chance of Capturing Native Life Ecological Harmony, 50% Chance of Capturing Native Life! Ecological Wisdom, 75% Chance of Capturing Native Life!!


This represents how good your faction is at espionage and counter espionage.

Value -2! -1 0 +1 +2! +3!!
Impact -50% Cost of Enemy Probe Actions With Increases Chance of Success! -25% Cost of Enemy Probe Actions With Increases Chance of Success Normal Impact +1 Probe Team Morale, +50% Cost of Enemy Probe Actions +2 Probe Team Morale, +100% Cost of Enemy Probe Actions! +3 Probe Team Morale, Basses and Units Cannot Be Subverted!!


This represents your faction's ability to make use of raw materials.

Value -3! -2 -1 0 +1 +2 +3! +4!! +5!!!
Impact -30% Production Rate! -20% Production Rate -10% Production Rate Normal Production Rate +10% Production Rate +20% Production Rate +30% Production Rate! +40% Production Rate!! +50% Production Rate!!!


This represents how good your society is a academic research.

Value -5!!!! -4!!! -3!! -2! -1 0 +1 +2! +3!! +4!!! +5!!!!
Impact -50% Research Accumulation!!!! -40% Research Accumulation!!! -30% Research Accumulation!! -20% Research Accumulation! -10% Research Accumulation Normal Research Accumulation +10% Research Accumulation +20% Research Accumulation! +30% Research Accumulation!! +40% Research Accumulation!!! +50% Research Accumulation!!!!

Faction Budget

At the bottom of the social engineering screen there are options for setting your faction's energy budget. These sliders are economy, psych, and research. Economy and research effect faction economy and psych effects base management. Each turn the energy collected by your workers at each base, income from Orbital Power Transmitters, and bonuses is lowered by inefficiency, and is spread amongst these areas according to these percentages. It is then further altered by other base facilities.

The total amongst all basses being diverted to labs adds up towards your progress on the technology that you are working on. The total amongst all basses being diverted to economy increases your energy reserves after base facility maintenance is deducted. If the economy slider and the labs slider is more than 10% different from each other, these totals are reduced by a percentage that is determined by the difference between the sliders, the amount on the slider, and your factions efficiency rating. Energy diverted to psych stays at the base that diverts it there where every two energy changes a worker to a talent or a drone to a worker if there are no workers. If there are no workers or drones then any additional psych spending is wasted (from a game mechanics standpoint).

These sliders don't only represent government spending but your societies overall spending habits both public and private. In a Free Market, the more the society focuses on accumulating wealth the more in taxes the government can collect, for example. In general, psych spending is spending on social services, entertainment, relaxation and the like, labs spending is spending on research, research and development, and education, and economics spending is spending on financial and economic infrastructure and wealth accumulation.


Some of the secret projects, base facilities, and unit abilities change or otherwise interact with a faction's #society effects on a faction wide level, base level, or unit level. Below is a list.

Secret Projects

Generally when secret projects effect social engineering, they usually change the #society effects for the entire faction to the positive. Sometimes they remove the negative effects of certain #society models. When either happens, the change is reflected implicitly on the social engineering screen (the negative effects of a model no longer appear on the screen or the change is added in to the faction total for an effect without otherwise indicating the change is present).

Base Facilities

Generally when base facilities effect social engineering, they change the society effects that impact the base with the facility and at no others.

Unit Abilities

There are a few unit abilities which interact with the #Social Effect for that unit. There are also abilities that operate similarly, like High Morale, which don't actually change the value. In that example the unit's built with an increase in 1 morale upon completion but doesn't change how it deals with "+" modifiers or if it treats defending a base differently.