Not sure I remember how to play this game

stellaris 5 - Not sure I remember how to play this game

I thought, "Let's take over the Galaxy with Clerks." I wanted to focus on Trade Value, so I went Spiritualist Megacorp with Free Traders and Gospel of the Masses.

Empires near me:

  1. Criminal Megacorp pacifists (61 pop, buddies), already my defensive-pact-allies now
  2. Normal Megacorp (70 pop, hostile), already at war with me now (yr 45)
  3. Hive Mind (massive already)

1+ empire away:

  1. Normal empire but honorbound warriors so fuck me, also they allied with the neighboring at-war normal megacorp so double-fuck-me.
  2. Normal empire (63 pop, friendly-ish)
  3. Criminal Megacorp (74 pop, friendly-ish)
  4. Normal empire (42 pop, friendly-ish)
  5. Normal empire (53 pop, neutral)

So, I start off with a complete inability to use Branch Offices or Commercial Pacts. Great. Fuck you map.

Anyways, I'm trucking along expanding fast as I can handle while still tossing piddling metal into ships every now and then. Looks like I'm expanding as fast as my neighbors, except that hive mind to the North that's going 2x as fast as everyone else.

45 years in: Five colonies, 89 population, 26/32 fleet (w/ only 20-per-fleet), corvettes only w/ light upgrades. I'm fielding a single 1k fleet.

I got declared on for sharing a cluster with another megacorp. I haven't spent money on fortifications because I've always been thinking "walls are dumb" (meaning: 'Fixed fortifications are monuments to man's stupidity'). But now I'm thinking walls don't take fleet cap, don't take as much maintenance, and are stronger per unit alloy. Unfortunately, that'd be a lot of border to fortify.


My defensive pact ally rolled up with 2 1k-fleets to help defend, and is now flying back home, having done nothing. My own fleet is 1k, and the enemy is fielding a pair of 800 fleets *so far* without their Honorbound Warrior buddy having shown up yet.

This seems too early-game to be declaring war. I've been on par, fleet-strength-wise, for years. I can't spare the metal, either, because the hive mind is expanding so fast to the north that I *barely* won the race to the rest of the free systems in the remaining unoccupied parts of the galaxy.

I'm 5/7 on starbase cap. Only just got research labs setup on most my colonies. Falling behind on Alloy production due to ship maintenance, out of consumer goods (b/c of those labs). I think I need to spam out a few more starbases to place Anchorages in to up my fleet-cap.

On the bright side, I've finished Expansion and Prosperity traditions and am 3/5 on Harmony, but not for Defensive Wars yet. My people are united in One Mind and I have a free Ascension slot that's unused. I don't see a good enough use for it yet, and I intend to wait until I can get genetics going.

Am I supposed to be filling my planets with strongholds, my star bases with anchorages, and just pumping out ships nonstop? What's going on here?

Should I have build up enough influence to swap my government around to full-fledged klingons and gone after my neighbors since they were mega-corps?

I feel like rolling with the RNG, instead of sticking to a defunct plan, would've been important.

Current options:

  1. swap away from Exchange of Ideas, probably towards the one that makes consumer-goods
  2. wait at the next bottleneck system to benefit from the small starbase outpost there and hope my allies return

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