I played Stellaris a lot when it came out and played all the new expansions until the major changes in about 2.2 (I think), then stopped for quite a bit. I recently started playing again, got my head around the changes and tried the typical tall build, which worked pretty well. However, I decided to try something a bit new and went for a Hive Mind.
At first I totally messed up by not understanding how they worked. Read a few guides, watched a few videos, then set out to conquer the galaxy on my next game. Everything was going peachy, I had taken several neighbouring empires, was into repeatable techs and had several massive fleets. I'd even taken out the grey goo guys. Sadly, there was one aspect of the game which was infuriating me… planet management.
I had something like 200 systems and about 40-50 planets in my empire, and I was managing each one individually. Remembering what each one did and what buildings/sectors I was working on next was becoming increasingly difficult, to the point where I would pause the game for about 30 minutes just to sort out my planets, then 5 minutes later, had to pause the game for a further 30 minutes to manage my planets again. This is when I checked out the automated side of colony management.
More reading guides, more watching videos, and it became apparent that the current system is garbage and just does not work. I even started a new Hive Mind test playthrough and only relied on automatic colony management. It was awful and I was wiped out during the very first war. I then went back to my save and thought turning it on for 40-50 colonies might work a bit better as I already had such huge amounts of incoming resources that it couldn't mess up. Wrong! My economy collapsed in months and I couldn't recover from the damages as I ran out of energy and minerals. Also, half the colonies didn't even seem to try and upgrade/expand/build anything. Very frustrating.
The problem is, I really like the idea of playing a swarm race that eradicates the entire galaxy, and I had so much fun playing this aggressively, instead of my usual turtling, but micromanaging what would end up being hundreds of colonies makes me never want to start another Hive Mind game again. So how do you guys manage your colonies when you have above 50 of them? Do you let automatic management do it's thing and live with it? Or do you micromanage? If you micromanage, how do you arrange your colonies so you can get your head around what each one is doing? Is it really worth micromanaging them to the level of having individual planets/sectors for mining, researching, production, forges, etc? Or should I just give each one what it needs at that moment in time, throwing in the odd forge and refinery here and there?
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