Slipways – Happiness Basics

Happiness in Slipways can be a somewhat confusing mechanic. This guide aims to help people understand the basics of how happiness works.


  • Difficulty: Challenging

Happiness is a core mechanic to attaining a high score in Slipways, and while it is explained if you look at the tooltips it may be helpful for some people to see a simplified example to really understand how it works. I’m going to try and do that here. Feel free to follow along in the seed mentioned above if you would like to test it out for yourself. I’m not going to talk about technology specifics in this guide, just the basics of happiness.

I’m using this chunk of planets within the seed for this guide:

Types of Unhappiness

There are four types of unhappiness in Slipways:

  • Resource shortages – This is when a planet isn’t getting what it needs (input) to become stable (so any struggling planet with a red flag):

  • Past shortages – This is a penalty associated with resource shortages that have gone unfulfilled for too long:

  • No trade (also referred to as No export in the happiness UI at the top of the screen) – This is when a planet is not sending goods somewhere (output):

  • Unemployment – This is when a planet has idle workers, it’s -1% for each idle worker:

Unhappiness Consequences and Recovery

Understanding “Unemployment” and “No trade/Export” is relatively simple, and more importantly, it’s easy to fix. No trade/export? Find a planet to export goods to. Unemployment? Find a planet to send workers to or a technology to alleviate it.

Both “No trade/export” and “Unemployment” are problems that have no long-term side effects. Once you solve those problems the negative happiness modifier is removed and added back to your total happiness.

Before establishing imports:

After fulfilling the needs of the planet (the total unemployment modifier of -2% didn’t change to -3% because the population increased by 1 when I did the 2 way trade with a mineral planet for ore that needs workers):

After reducing unemployment via exporting workers (the total unemployment modifier of -2% didn’t change because the population increased by 1 again as the planet became more prosperous):

Resource shortages however do not operate like this and are very important to focus on avoiding:

Note: If a planet is missing the resources it needs, it’s going to be unhappy. This problem gets worse by 1% every turn (aka a year), until a maximum of -8%”. The thing this tooltip doesn’t mention is what happens after those 8 years.

This planet is currently at -1% happiness, for each year (turn) where a resource shortage exists it will increase by 1%:

-2% in the second year:

-3% in the third year and so on:

This will continue until a maximum of -8% in the 8th year:

If you don’t fix this and let it continue the -8% will not increase but even if you fix the resource shortage you’ll receive a permanent -3% happiness modifier:

Note: Once a planet reaches maximum unhappiness due to shortages, there is a lingering -3% effect even after you fix the root cause.

This means that barring technology use on this planet will permanently reduce happiness by -3%.

Understanding this mechanic is very important to avoid negative happiness modifiers. Unless you get technology to alleviate the unhappiness you don’t want to leave planets hanging in a struggling state for more than 8 years. As long as you fix it before that 8th-year ticks over, and at any point before you’re fine.

Even with something like -7%:

You can easily recover and get that 7% back by fulfilling the needs of the planet:

Hopefully this small guide helps you understand the basics of how happiness operates in Slipways and how to recover from and avoid basic pitfalls. It doesn’t cover technologies or planet types that manipulate or provide happiness but it should help you get started in managing your happiness.


And that's all for this Slipways guide. Do you have any suggestions or tips to improve this guide for Slipways? If yes, then make sure to leave a comment down below. This guide has been made possible by Gravy. You can check him out by simply clicking his name.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *