How do you develop your colonies early on?

stellaris 8 - How do you develop your colonies early on?

I'm asking because I have absolutely no idea what to do with my colonies early on. I tested various combos and everytime it just ends in the same way: the ressource/stuff I had to neglect hinders me too much.

Right now I'm training my early games (play the first fifty years and then restart) because I just don't seem to ever have a good start. Like, ever. I'm always down on important resources and can't balance my economy until I finally do somehow (generally once I unlock more and more building slots and the technologies to improve buildings), but the first 50-100 years are a chore and that honestly makes the game super boring.

I need consumer goods ASAP, because I get a meager +4 when I start the game. If I build even one holotheatre or research lab (or if my pops grow), then I'm negative. So one of the first two free slots in my capital has to be a consumer goods. So building my capital is pretty straightforward: whatever I need the most, I build it. Colonies are much harder to manage though…

If I rush a robot factory (apparently that's the go-to strategy if I want to win on hardest difficulties / with AI mods / against stronger crises) then what is supposed to be my second building? A ressource one? Then I lack amenities and can't progress in the traditions fast enough while other empires rush the federation tradition and now I'm alone against alliances of three-four empires (which is impossible to beat early game). Holotheatre? Then I lack ressources badly until the 15th pop is born/made.


With amenities being a planet-only ressource, I just don't see when I'm supposed to build the robot factory. But if I don't then I lack popgrowth. I tried playing with geneclinic because it gives amenities + popgrowth, but it doesn't give unity, so I'm super late on traditions. So if I were to play with geneclinics, I'd need atleast 6 planets (one for tech, one for alloys, one for consumer goods, one for administrative buildings, one fortress world for naval capacity, one with the building that gives unity and societal research for the traditions) which is absolutely not guaranteed. And one world for each is absolutely not enough (I need atleast two or three planets full of consumer goods buildings, the upkeep is just way too high). And that's without temporary mineral/credits slots being used until I get megastructures. Spamming the luxury decision to give amenities isn't really possible considering I'm usually down on consumer goods and that's clearly the ressource I have to devote the most slots to.

I also tend to get short on credits after a few years. Early on it's okay, but 25-50 years in it's super hard to have a positive credit flow. Minerals are SUPER easy to manage early on, but once I have to update my buildings and build mines for rare crystals and exotic gases etc, then I have to build some mineral districts, which feels like a waste of slots… Any tips on that as well?

It just feels impossible to have a balanced economy. One ressource is always going to be super low.

So yeah, all this to say that I don't understand how I'm supposed to play during the early game. Is there any easy build in early game? Is there a combo that works better than the others? Thanks a lot for any tips!

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