Stellaris

Playing Tall – Not sure if I am doing it right

stellaris 4 - Playing Tall - Not sure if I am doing it right
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So I decided to try to use life seeded and play a tall empire. I started on a small map and it happened that I blocked a devouring swarm to 10 systems and between the middle of the galaxy and a fallen empire, I also blocked out most others to leave me with a huge space of what turned out to be 70 systems. I planned to do one-planet challenge but when I got the event chain that gives me a 25 size gaia world, I couldn't resist and settled it.

With two planets, 70 systems, I was able to barely make even with energy and mineral income with a fleet size of 361 at year 2397. I managed to acquire a tributary so I can get some more income, but rest of my subjects are vassals, which I realized don't give me income. As it turns out, I produce 865.45 energy, where 553.45 are from stations, and 740 mineral, where 639 are from stations. This tells me that even though vassals give me the fleet cap, if I give up most of my systems and go "tall" in the traditional sense, I would definitely not have enough income to support a large fleet, and I would never trust AI to build good fleets anyway.

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So my question at end-game is: How do you make tall empires work? I could have probably waited on conquering the neighbors to turn them all into tributaries, but when I searched online, the general opinion is to make them vassals. So how do tall empires get the income to support a large enough fleet for the crsis?

I also noticed that I have just started to research some repeat techs (with some other ones skipped such as colony settlement speeds etc.) at around 2370 while in my normal wide playthroughs, I would be researching repeat techs at as early as 2350. I acknowledge that a wide empire gets more production but the cost also goes up, but the time mark shows that wide empire still get further ahead if planets are specialized properly. Not to mention my wide playthroughs had always achieved about 1k per month income in energy, mineral, and unity at 2350.

I attached a screenshot of my current game at 2397 in the comments. Please advise on my chances of surviving crisis strength of 1 (it is actually my first playthrough that I didn't get bored enough in the mid-game to quit and may finally get to see what unbidden looks like). The game is scaled at grand admiral difficulty.

Thanks!

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