A shipyard is a type of improvement and entity on the galactic map that consumes from its sponsors to produce Ship Constructionships. With , a shipyard can send missions. Every civilization starts with a shipyard at its capital.
Shipyards obtain from one or more sponsoring colonies. Multiple planets can sponsor a single shipyard, but each planet can only sponsor one shipyard. Sponsorship can be changed freely and without penalty. Sponsorship of a shipyard by a colony is at full capacity when the distance between the shipyard and sponsor is six tiles or less, and beyond that the contribution decays by 2.5% per tile. The Ship ConstructionEngineers ability and Coordinated ideology each remove half the decay; having both eliminates decay entirely.
Click on a shipyard, then click "manage" in the box that appears in the lower left corner of the screen. You will see a list of ships to build and one displayed. At the bottom of the column on the left is a box labeled "Edit Sponsors". Click this to get a list of potential sponsors for the shipyard. In this display one sees two columns listing colonies. Colonies in the left hand column are not sponsoring the shipyard; those in the right hand column are sponsoring. Each box showing a colony will give information about the amount of manufacturing available. Hovering with the cursor over this number will show what percentage the shipyard will actually receive. Numbers highlighted in green mean that planet can contribute planet population to colony ships. One can click the various shipyards to change whether they are sponsoring or not.
Although a shipyard may not be placed ideally when created, it is possible to click on a shipyard, and then click in the box in the lower lefthand corner "Unanchor". Doing this will free the shipyard to move. It can then be directed to a better location. Note that it can only move one hex per turn and that it cannot build any ships while in transit. Once it reaches the desired location, clicking on it to get the shipyard box allow one to click "Anchor" so that the shipyard will begin producing once more. If you direct a shipyard to a new location, the game will alert you when the shipyard arrives at that location so you can decide whether to "Anchor" it.
In , unanchored shipyards can be accelerated by hyperlanes in the same way as regular ships, allowing them to move faster than one hex per turn (exact speed depending on the player’s hyperlane speed bonus).
Shipyards are critical because they represent the only method for constructing starships, whether for combat or for various other purposes, such as scouting, surveying, trading, and so forth. The loss of shipyards by enemy attack makes it impossible to build additional ships. Thus, in war shipyards are a very high priority target; ordinarily in war they should be the first targets in order to cripple the enemy's combat power. It is arguably more important to destroy a shipyard than an enemy fleet in many situations. Invasions of colonies can then proceed at will. Defense of shipyards is therefore also a major priority.
It is not required to build a shipyard for every colony; certain colonies dedicated to or Wealth may not find them useful. Research