Stellaris Tips – Opening Moves

For today’s Stellaris tips, I want to look back to my Starcraft experience. A person in the Starcraft realm of things who has always been my hero is Day9. I absolutely love his work and watching him makes me a smarter gamer. I look up to him.

A thought I learned from him that I’ve applied to all strategy games I play is to maximize resource gain. From Pylons and Probes (always building workers), to that damn Queen macro and keeping up with my injects (god that is all I feel like I can somewhat do with Zerg nowadays), Day9 has tought me that I need to have more stuff! The best way I can quickly become better in general is to have more stuff.

I’ve been trying to treat Stellaris the same way. I only have 49 hours into this game (3 more hours since my last post about the games resources) and this game is hard. For me at least. I’ve never been able to live up to the standards set by amazing gamers such as Day9 and the rest of the crazy talented gaming community.

Stellaris is gonna be damn different. I love this game so far. It’s story is so compelling, I feel like I’m literally living the story. Experiencing the game play. It’s captivating. As we speak (as I write?) I’m listening to the Alpha Centauri track from the games amazing soundtrack. The game is that captivating (I may also listen to the games soundtrack on my way to and from work… and coffee runs… don’t judge).

So, in my attempt to give this game my all, I’m going to describe my opening to most of my games. I won’t be including empire setup yet because that is a whole bag of knowledge that I still need to optimize. I will definitely be writing about that soon enough though.

I also want to note that these series of blogs are post Stellaris 2.0. I’ve never experienced the game before this intense update rocked its core. I kinda wished I had a chance though.

The First Moves

Alright. You’ve picked your empire, or created your own perfect machine in your designed image. You’re empire is ready to expand across the stars. It’s year 2200.

I’ve found that mostly all of my games I’ve played involve the following sequences of moves:

  • Order your first science ship to begin surveying nearby systems
  • Assign first researches
  • Build trading hub at starport
  • Build a mining station with your first construction ship. Prioritize Minerals.
The trading hub feels so efficient with its 100 mineral costing 4 energy credits/mo that I feel like its a must buy and a strong start to my economy. I choose to build a mining station and I focus on minerals because they are my bottleneck for empire growth. I’m always mineral starved. I’m going to try seeing what happens with my game if I slow down research growth to focus on mineral growth instead. It may be a great idea. I may also completely fall irreversably behind by sacrificing science growth. We will see…
Stellaris Sountrack Controls

Also gotta make sure my favorite tracks are playing before I unpause 😀

Unpausing the your empire

Now that we’ve unpaused, our commands are being carried out, and time is passing. One thing that I keep an eye on is my energy credit balance. I want to save up enough for 200. Ideally I’ll also want to have 100 minerals to spend and spent on a finished science ship right when I have 200 because I need that much for a scientist.

The reason for my focus on that scientist is because he is the botteneck preventing me from immediately outright getting a second science ship immediately. Getting a second one is top priority for me because I feel like their exploratory ablities is such a crucial part of this game. You get resources from anomolies sometimes you know (I think…).

Something else that will be on my mind is when my first system is fully surveyed. I want to expand my empire. To do so means I need to fully survey systems, followed by claiming them with a Starport Outpost. These cost 100 minerals and 75 influence.

I do want to keep my units working efficiently, meaning that they are never idle. I’m trying to ensure that construction ships are either always working, or en route to their next destination.

I’m playing a game as I write this and one thing that may not be super effiecient, but that I’m doing anyway is queueing up an Autchton Monument on my homeworld. Unity is something I do NOT want to skimp on. I need unity for Traditions and their bonuses are too powerful for me to stunt by omitting my unity growth. By plopping down this unity producing building, I’ll ensure that my starting Pop goes to work immediately after growth, increasing my unity gain.

Speaking of traditions…


There are 7 tradition trees that you can choose from to spend your hard earned unity on. Each tree grants you:

  • An adoption effect just for choosing that tree
  • Access to spending additional unity on buffs associated with that tree
  • A finisher effect for spending unity on every buff in the tree
  • An ascension perk

These bonuses are incredibly strong. Picking a tree is still such a hard choice for me. They all seem so good. These are usually my first gotos:

  • Discovery
  • Harmony
  • Prosperity
  • Expansion

In this game I’m playing, since I’m focusing on economic mineral growth with my construction ships, I’m going to try offsetting that with choosing the discovery. Here are it’s bonuses:

  • Adoption effect – +20% Anomoly Discovery Chance
  • Finisher effect – +10% Research Speed
  • To Boldy Go – +35% Survey Speed, +50% Science Ship Disengage Chance
  • Databank Uplinks – Assist Research ability for science ships is unlocked
  • Science Division – +20% Anomoly Discovery Chance
  • Polytechnic Education – +25% Leader Experience Gain
  • Faith in Science – +3 Months Unity for every research completed

I feel like these bonuses definitely offset my mineral focus. Speaking of mineral focus…

Choosing Minerals over Energy Credits

In the picture above, I’m choosing to fly my construction ship away from Alpha Centauri’s 10 Energy credits, towards Savassic. I have +8 energy income. I feel like that will be enough to focus specifically on mineral growth. I’ll come back when it’s time for me to gain more energy.

Also, at this point in my game (Starting year 2200, current year is 2204), my first construction ship is starting to lag behind my science ships. It isn’t building Starport Outposts and Mining Stations as fast as my 2 science ships are surveying new systems. Because of this, I choose to spend 100 minerals on a 2nd construction ship.

Pop growth

Eventually, your Pop will finish growing, and a new one will begin. As your Pop count increases, you’ll need more tiles to support them all. At this point, I’m choosing to clear the tile blockers on my homeworld with the energy credits that I’ve build up. I’m not going to clear them fast, but rather as I need to, to prevent stunting my pop growth. I may need the balance of energy credits in the future. No point in clearing tiles that I can’t immediately work.

Because Pops are yet another way to improve your economy, I want as many of them as possible. I can increase my Pop growth rate by maximizing my food. Knowing this, I usually try to have my second Pop work a farm. This way, the extra food can be put towards faster Pop growth, which means more Minerals, Energy Credits, and Research.

Conclusion – 6 Years In

This is the usualy way I’ve been openning my Stellaris games. I’m hoping that I’m not clouded by my greed for economic growth. I trully feel at my inexperienced level at this game that minerals are my true hinderance. By alleviating my mineral problems, I feel like I can really scale my empire like crazy.

Of course, being inexperienced as I am, I’m sure my gameplay will improve with time. I’m hopeful that I’ll craft a more optimal openning as my experience with this game goes.

If you have any thoughts or critics on these thoughts, please feel free to comment below. I would love to engage with anyone willing to talk to me about this game haha.

Thank you so much for your time reading this and take care 😀






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