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Influence is a type of Planetary Output, generated by a world’s Culture (a Planetary Input) and used to expand the borders of a Civilization out into the galaxy. Influence not only delineates an area on the map that you control, but can also be used to push back the borders of your rivals, and peacefully take over enemy worlds as your superior culture replaces theirs, eventually causing their people to rebel and join your Civilization.

As with other Planetary Outputs, Influence starts out as a Planetary Input called Cultural Input. That value is then modified by Citizens, Culture producing Districts and Improvements, Culture modules on Starbases, Civilization Policies, Ideological Traits, the effects of certain Events and so on.

The value of the Planetary Output called Influence is then used to generate the borders that surround the world, causing them to radiate outwards. Your cultural borders will grow turn by turn as the total value of Influence increases.

Each hex has a percentage value attached to each Civilization’s Influence value that it borders. The strongest value will determine whose borders will bound that particular hex, and since these borders are fluid, they can shift turn by turn as each Civilization pushes out more and more Influence. The player can mouse over any empty hex on the map that lies within at least one Civilization’s cultural domain and see the Influence values. (Note: the automatic popup of this tooltip can be disabled in the Interface Option menu with “Disable Influence Tooltip”, which will then require the player to hit Ctrl to see the Influence levels on a hex.)

Colonies and Core Worlds that find themselves engulfed by the borders of a rival Civilization’s Influence will begin to rebel, although worlds with a higher Resistance will take longer to “culture flip” in this way than weaker worlds. Stationing Fleets at the world can also increase the time it will take for a world to culture flip too. Note that attempting to culture flip an enemy world, particularly a Core World, will anger that Civilization’s leader and is likely to illicit a violent response.