How to triple your pop growth in the first 10 years

stellaris 7 - How to triple your pop growth in the first 10 years

So, just colonize two planets right? Why is this even a post?

Somewhat counter-intuitively, colonizing two planets does not triple your pop growth. Until the Planetary Administration is built, pops grow at 50% speed. Unlike most modifiers, this is multiplicative. So any bonuses you have to pop growth are also 50% effective during this phase. This guide describes how to get Planetary Administrations set up on your first two colonies in the first 10 years. So a bit more ambitious than just colonizing them.

TLDR: Find planets, survey, build colony ships, build stations, resettle 8 pops, build Planetary Administration on first planet, move pops to second planet, build Planetary Administration, resettle the pops evenly between the two planets.

You can figure the rest out from there, but I took some screenshots so lets just get on with it.

The Demo have no special advantages to help with this mission

I created a custom race called the 'Demo' to assist with this. They have no traits, military focused civics, and their ethics don't help with early game resources or colonization either. This is to show that this is a general strategy that doesn't require any specific species setup. I left the origin defaulted to Prosperous Unification. Default galaxy settings.

First things first, lets redesign our corvettes to not have any weapons, armor, or hyperdrive!

This trick is pretty well known, but go ahead and queue up a science ship, then upgrade your fleet to this superior design to get some bonus alloys. Next, go to the policies tab an ensure these are active: Resettlement: Allowed, Trade Policy: Marketplace of Ideas. Honestly, resettlement is the only one you need, but the extra unity helps get through Expansion faster.

Next step: the market! Tapping the low quantity trades and waiting for the price to reset is just as good as monthly trades. I prefer using the monthly trades for finer grain control. We're going to be making two colony ships, so sync up the consumer goods and food production. Selling food is quite good early game, but we want to make sure not to get into a position where we have to buy food. Pops are way better at making food than energy. We're good to unpause now.

First colony located

Explore the nearby systems with your science ship. Do not Survey yet. The goal is to locate the colonies first, then plan the outposts.

Once you start approaching 400 minerals it's time to go back to the market. Set up a monthly trade (for 1 month) that provides enough minerals to take yo up to 401. Sometimes the UI displays a value that is rounded up, so always go 1 over when doing this sort of resource micro. Having to buy 100 minerals when you are only .2 short is the worst.

Second Colony Located

I'll let the suspense build over what that 400 minerals is for. It's so important that we skipped building any orbitals to get to 400 minerals faster. Anyway, we now know where both colonies are going to be. Only three stations needed. Surveying starts now. Survey the path the construction ship is going to take to the farthest planet first, then survey the nearby system.

The reveal!

We need Alloy Foundries as our first (and only) building that will be built in the first decade of the game. It's quite inefficient to buy alloys on the market, and we're going to be a little tight even with this. It's only tight at a couple points as well, afterwards the alloys *can* be sold to alleviate energy/mineral shortages. That's not ideal either, but it gives us a nice cushion. From here, minerals can be spent hooking up mineral mining stations if your construction ship can spare the time.

Market Time #1

Another short duration monthly trade deal. This ensures we can start a colony ship two months from now. I could have gotten it down to one month here, but I wanted to colonize the further of the two planets first to be more efficient with travel time. So I felt like I could use the extra month building outposts.

So we start constructing the first colony ship 14 months into the game. I want to emphasis that we are building the colony ship before constructing any outposts.

Market Time #2

Now we need to rejigger the monthly trades so that we have 200 consumer goods and food 12 months from now to start the second colony ship. This adjustment will give us +9 food and +17 consumer goods per month.

Around now is the time to open Expansion. We want that second pop from new colonies before the first colony is finished.

At some point during the colony ship construction clear out that sprawling slums. That extra pop is going to be a Clerk, so no rush. I'll spare you another market screenshot and just say to adjust the trades once more the month before the colony ship is done to reduce overflow.

Second colony ship

Second colony ship started 26 months into the game. Also before the first outpost has been built. Look at how tight the resources are by the way, we definitely needed the Alloy Foundries. This time I really will spare you the market screen. Just set it up so we're not buying any more consumer goods or alloys and selling off our monthly food surplus.

First colony started

Colony ships move pretty slow. It only arrived just before the second outpost was completed. And the second one is now racing the construction ship and science ship to the nearby planet.


Extra pop for the new colonies

We interrupt the race to pick a new tradition. That extra pop on the new colonies is critical. Though we do have about a year to spare, which is why I said Marketplace of Ideas is not essential.

Both colonies started

The colony ship won the race by about 1 month. Anyway, both colonies are now started within the first 4 years. Now we transition into resource hording mode.

We require more minerals

Give those lazy clerks proper jobs in the mines. We want to be careful now about what we spend minerals on because Planetary Administrations don't come cheap. Only buy this mining district, and orbital stations that produce significant amounts of minerals. Basically we want our investments to pay themselves back around when the colonies finish.

Also, now that our alloys aren't in high demand, it's time to crap out a couple more science ships to start getting some anomalies. At this point we can also secure the choke points.


Around this time, I noticed that my leader had a helpful trait. I'll keep my enforcers employed as penance for this gross oversight. Though to be fair, there's plenty of room for actual decent trait/civic/ethic selections to make up the difference here.

Plenty of time

As you can see there was no unity rush, but still getting the extra pop growth earlier is better. This concludes all the important stuff from Expansion. I like to blitz discovery next for anomalies and +20% research speed, but from here take whatever you like.

First Planetary Administration

Our first colony is done. Time to make the colonists lives a living hell. Immediately plunk 8 pops onto the fresh colony. This is why we only built one building on the capital and have been staring at two open building slots longingly for a bit now.

And there go our resources. We'll have that first administration done right at the beginning of year 8 it looks like. We need to keep these people miserable for the full year and a half though. If you resettle anyone off the planet, the administration will cancel with no money back.

Market Time #3

As you might imagine, unemploying nearly 25% of our population is not great for the economy. On top of that we need to bank 800 energy in the next year and a half. Luckily we've got plenty of alloys to sell. I'll note that if I had accepted rewards from my anomalies, I wouldn't need to sell alloys here.

All normal on the capital.

A side benefit of ruining our colonists lives is that no one from the capital wants to migrate there. Normally pop growth on the capital basically halts until the administrations are built.

Second colony finished

Second colony is up, and after doing some math, there is just barely time to squeak in a mining district before the first Planetary Administration is complete. However, I need to designate the planet as a mining world to get it done in time.

Growth penalty

Here is what the growth penalty looks like. So instead of 3 growth on two planets, we're getting 0 on one and 4.5 on the other. Now that there is a colony with non-miserable people no one wants to live on the capital anymore.

Second Planetary Administration started

The first Planetary Administration is done, time to ruin the lives of everyone living on Tunobo Prime! The population of our first colony is going to be quite top-heavy for the next year and half.

Things aren't quite as bad here because we had time to crap out a mining district. As you can see resources aren't as tight as they were when building the colony ships. Still not exactly a lot of slack, and selling off our alloys was a regrettable sacrifice. At this point all you have to do is wait for a year and a half and the opening is complete.

Second Planetary Administration complete

2209.03.01 and we've got both Planetary Administrations complete. Pop growth has now officially tripled from what it was at the beginning of the game.

I'll close out by mentioning some traits/civics/ethics that synergize nicely with this opening.

  • Trait: Rapid Breeder – the pop growth bonus from rapid breeder is basically multiplied by the number of planets (with administrations) owned, so this opening helps maximize its effectiveness.
  • Civic: Merchant Guilds – Gain 3 merchants over the first 10 years of the game. The extra energy credits that the capital merchant produces also help out with the economy. Which means we'll have to sell less alloys.
  • Ethic: Xenophobe – Same as rapid breeder.

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