A Stellaris Strategy

Influence is required to claim systems, either through building outposts or through conquest. It’s an interesting mechanic as it acts as a sort of absolute limit for empire growth, as it is a fairly passive resource which cannot be improved substantially. Because of this, I felt that the nature of influence would give insight into the optimal strategy.

My initial thoughts were that since influence was a slow-growing resource, I would need a way to reserve systems away from my opponents, so that eventually I would have the largest empire. At first, I used to create 3 science ships, which would survey and seek out natural hyperlane chokepoints. This allowed me to quickly secure large amounts of systems by closing my borders to disable other empires from coming through. This then gave me the opportunity to claim them over time without fear of them being stolen away. Though this is only successful to a certain extent. For example, it does nothing to stop an invading fleet from simply forcing their way through any claimed chokepoints.

But then I had a realisation. Why even fixate on the number of systems in the first place? What practical value do they provide? If we instead imagine influence as a sort of currency, then we should seek to maximise the resources found in the systems we claim. In other words, only claim systems which are worthwhile. Colonies would then be the largest factor on an individual system’s resource. An entire planet’s resource output would easily trump the average system.

The strategy then evolved once more. Avoid claiming systems at all costs. Explore with your science ships to seek out viable worlds, and only survey when really necessary. But could we go even further? By default, empires start with 2 habitable planets in close proximity to their capital, which by the early-mid game means that each empire has at least 3 well-developed worlds ripe for the taking. After all, growing a colony takes time, and building a fleet can be much faster. Conquering your neighbour can effectively double your resource output with minimal time.

Okay so where does that put us? Avoid claiming systems at all costs. Explore with your science ships to seek out viable worlds or conquerable neighbours, and only survey when really necessary. At this time you’ll want to adopt the Prosperity tradition, which will provide an early boost to your economy which will later support your military fleets. Then, after settling the worlds available to you, build outposts towards your chosen neighbour while building up your fleet. At this time, you should be finishing the Prosperity tree and then grabbing Supremacy, which boosts your fleet capabilities. You also want to be sure that while you are attacking your opponent, your other neighbours are not attacking you. Aim to create friendly relations with your neighbours so you can propose non-aggression pacts, which ensure that you won’t be needing to fight a war on 2 fronts. After this you will want to adopt Harmony, which is necessary to keep your newly occupied worlds from revolting, as well as Discovery, which will set you up for the late game by ensuring you do not fall behind on technology. 

Following this strategy will then give a snowball effect. Absorbing your enemies will give more resources, fueling a larger military fleet, which will then be used to absorb more empires… and so on.






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