Gaining and protecting colonies is one of the keys to success in stellaris. Colonies are the basis for expanding your economic and population base. Having an empire with well-established, profitable core colonies is the key to having a strong economy to fund the massive military machine you will eventually need to survive and flourish in a hostile galaxy.
Build a colony ship, choose the pops to place on it, select it, then right-click on the planet you want to colonize and choose colonize from the pop up menu to colonize a planet in Stellaris. Once the colony ship arrives the colonists will disembark, the colony ship will be dismantled for parts and the colonization process will begin.
Stellaris Expansion Planner
There is another path for colonization and it is a more effective method for colonization, especially later in the game when there are a lot of planets to choose from. If you open the Expansion Planner located in the menu on the left side of the screen a list of planets will appear that can be filtered to include only surveyed planets or planets that are only habitable.
It will list each planet and provide information about its habitability in percentages with 100% being the best, any features it has, its size, how much of each district type it can support and any modifiers it has. When you’ve made your choice click on the planet and choose colonize. The “build colony ship” screen will appear so you can select the type of colonists you want to start the colony with. Once selected a colony ship will be built at the closest planet and sent to the world to colonize it.
What Should Be Built First At A Stellaris Colony?
Experienced players generally follow a few paths. Some focus on increasing pop growth at first, some focus on research first while others focus more on the economy.
The first option is to build any type of building that increases pop growth, like a Gene Clinic or Machine Assembly plant. More pops means more income and more jobs filled on the planets, increasing production of materials needed for your empire. This would also include building a City District to provide the office space and housing needed for your pops. Unless it’s your capital world you can even designate the planet as an Urban world. This will give it a 10% reduction in building and district upkeep, City Districts will be built 25% faster and the colony’s trade value will increase by 20%.
Another approach, and the one I usually follow, is to build what you’re short of. If my empire is short of a resource, like food, then that’s what I like to focus on with my first colony. If I build an Agricultural District then I designate the world as an Agricultural World. This increases my Agricultural District build speed by 25% and increases worker production by 10%. If it’s available, I’ll typically build a Food Processing Facility to go along with that so I can get an additional food output per month. Very early in the game those specialized buildings are usually not available so I’ll build a Research Lab instead, provided I have the pops to staff it with, but there’s nothing wrong with having an empty building slot for a while.
The first ship I build at my initial colony (Empire Capital) is an automatic action on my part and that’s another Science Ship. This will allow you to find potential colonies and to find crucial chokepoints twice as fast. I’ve went as far to build a third Science Ship right away if there are a lot of paths available for me to explore.
Once you have a surplus of something, like Energy, you can trade it at the Market for whatever you need, like Minerals. Whatever goes into the red, or drops close to zero, is what I focus on next plus I fall back on trading at the Market when needed.
Colonizing Near Fallen Empires In Stellaris
The best approach is caution and don’t fight them unless you are strong enough to defeat them. If the Fallen Empire is some type of Militant Empire they will probably attack you if you build within one system of their borders. They like having that Neutral Zone (think Star Trek) around them.
For the most part Spiritualist Fallen Empires don’t care unless you colonize one of their Holy Worlds. If you do that they will demand you remove it. If you refuse because you don’t want to be bullied, they will declare war on you and not only will they remove it for you, they will also remove any other Colonies and Outposts you may have nearby. They will keep fighting you until you surrender and then probably humiliate you by executing your empire’s leader or do something else that’s equally humiliating.
The bottom line is to use caution and stay away from them as much as possible until you’re strong enough to take them on.
Colonizing As A Lithoid In Stellaris
The mechanics for colonizing a world as a Lithoid species are exactly the same, build a colony ship and send it to he world to be colonized unless you have the Calamitous Birth Origin. This origin gives you the ability to build Meteorite Colony ships as well as the standard colony ships that are available to everyone. Selecting this Origin also puts a massive crater on your homeworld which gives you more districts. Meteorite Colony ships travel much faster than a regular colony ship but inflict damage to the planet upon impact.
What are the pros and cons to Meteorite Colony Ships? some of the pros are that a regular colony ship costs 200 minerals, consumer goods and alloys and it takes 360 days to build. A Meteorite Colony Ship only costs 500 minerals and takes 150 days to build, so it’s much cheaper and faster to build, plus it travels to its destination much more quickly. The impact also buries some of the Lithoids as tile blockers and clearing that blocker gives you another pop at your colony. Fortunately, the ability to clear these blockers is immediately available. A great option if you want to colonize a world quickly.
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The main disadvantage is the effect a Meteorite Colony Ship has on the habitability of the planet. The large crater it leaves because of the impact reduces the planet’s habitability by 50%. This results in an increase in pop amenities usage (20%), pop upkeep increases by 20%, resource production is reduced by 10% and pop growth speed is reduced by 10%, so colonizing with a Meteorite Colony ship can have major drawbacks.