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Jul 10, 2015
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People in the forums expressed some admiration for 1.9.1 (aka Stellaris I), the last Stellaris version before Wiz really took over the game development. I've decided to check its gameplay. I've also played with latest versions of More Events Mod and Dynamic Political Events compatible with 1.9.1 (you can get them from Skymods, version compatibility can be roughly seen through dates and definitely through the *.mod file that outright lists it). A modified version of Sylfae's Silicoids was also enabled, but no siilicoid species was generated. Standard galaxy, 2 extra AI's, Warp FTL for my empire, minimal number of inhabited words.

This is the usual benevolent empire which will act as a guide through 1.9.1. Note also that in 1.9.1, the starting system was still unexplored at the beginning.


The tile system with its visual representation of the planet, one of the Things We Lost (tm). While certainly more simplistic overall, it involved less micro than the current planet system, even though I don't find the post-2.2 micro that much unbearable (opinions vary in this regard). Power plants and mineral mines are represented as their own icons, rather than just squares of different color. Note the different graphics of the science lab - in pre-2.2 Stellaris, there were three branches of science lab upgrades, one for each tech line. The one you started with initially was the basic version.


The usual initial exploration. Note, however, that the icons for science and construction ships are not differentiated, leading to some annoying confusions and misclicks.


Our lovely closest neighbor.


Pirates simply played a role barbarians play in Civ. 1.9.1 didn't have Marauders and the Khan yet.


It did, however, already have these various types of "civilized" stations. Also note a primitive planet which, sadly, was soon eaten by the Swarm.


Robots in the "old Stellaris" were built tile-by-tile. Also note the tale of the dissident drone, one of the modded events. (Edit: I was unaware of the reference - the Star Trek character Seven of Nine - when playing through this AAR).


1.9.1 special projects and anomalies had minimum scientists levels to be researched. Anomalies also had a failure rare, resulting in events like you see here. Note that we've waited for so long for a scientist to reach level 5, that the system with the anomaly was taken over by the hostile Swarm. You can also see our neighbors to the galactic NW.


In the old Stellaris, you could control only a limited number of planets, forced by penalties to place more of them into autonomous Sectors. Here we take a tradition to increase the number of planets we can control directly. Also, Alien Pets as the local resource were cute, although they got directly replaced by the Secluded Valley feature.


Factions. Changing laws to indirect xenology and letting all refugees in pleased the Reform Party enough for us to start receiving influence.


The Themlar theocratic slavedriver cockroaches (sometimes known simply as Them) were getting quite aggressive. In fact, the 1.9.1 AI is quite aggressive at normal settings, and it can be a struggle to survive against it early (I've lost a couple of Normal 1.9.1 difficulty games before starting this AAR). Remaining complacent can be deadly.


1.9.1 had a strategic decision to make regarding food stockpiling - food stockpile growth meant additional growth for the pops, and the policies varied as to how much food you had to stockpile before the bonus kicked in. Also note the Fanatic Egalitarian "grassroots administration" edict that significantly improved your Energy Crefit prodution.
The Raxicodium were on the other side of the Swarm, and, as such, a potential ally.


Trading space stations, the pre-2.2 Stellaris equivalent of the market, allowed to trade energy credits and minerals at the rather greedy rate of 1:2.


In a small diplo annoyance, research agreements had to be periodically renewed.


The Integrators, an Assimilator machine nation to the galactic east of the Swarm, were no match for it. Still, they bought us some needed time.


Going over capacity in 1.9 is perfectly fine, and, in fact, AI does it regularly, making it a fearsome opponent. Still, you do want to avoid the upkeep penalty with the edict.


It's important to always keep your fleets equivalent in power, even if you fall back on research (since minerals needed to built labs and research stations (more significant in 1.9) are also needed for the fleet).


Seeing that the Raxycodium and the Klaggian communion, a nation of ram-like creatures, invaded the swarm, we decided to seize our chances.


Although the Swarm was still a fearsome opponent, its fleet was clearly weakened.


The Raxycodium seemed like a fine target for an eventual Federation with us.


The Swarm suffered severe losses in their war with Klaggans and Raxycodiums, even if one of these planets would later rebel back to it.


They suffered even greater losses in their peace treaty with us. We couldn't, however, press further to eliminate them due to the intervention of Them cockroaches, who wanted to turn everyavian in our nation to their slaves.

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Another modded long-term event chain. 1.9.1 and its mods was, sadly, more sparce on events than current Stellaris, with Distant Stars and all these updated mods.


Purged Swarm drones. Note that they are all purged at the same time, which makes more sense than the current one-by-one approach. Also note that, apparently, these spidey insectoids are actually Charismatic. Who would have thought?


The slaver roach fleet was fearsome indeed. The 1.9.1 AI doesn't mess around.


However, the Raxycodium, impressed with our performance against the Swarm, guaranteed us, dragging them into the war. I've set my fleet to follow mode and my allies faithfully followed. The admiral of my fleet started off as a member of the subterranean race from the event chain dealing with it - their portrait was certainly suited for their subterranean flavor.


The Raxycodium also proved invaluable in repopulating the planets ceded to us by the Swarm (a true land of opportunity, what's with the mass... removal of Swarm drones), although droids helped, too. As you see, Droids could work anywhere, although they received penalties to "intellectual" resources like science and unity.


Them cockroach fleet was too scared to attack our home system, with the spaceport and federation fleet there, and it was a relief for us to see that they are willing to sign a peace treaty in exchange for the destruction of a mere frontier outpost (the way you expanded borders in 1.9.1 - there was no claiming systems one-by-one, as frontier outposts and colonized planets claimed a lot of space themselves).


The predictable outcome of our cooperation. Note that I had to gift a few minerals per turn to the Raxycodium, improving their opinion, in order to agree to my proposal. Apparently, this method of improving relations was too obscure for some players, because Paradox added cost-free envoys in the Federation update.


We've embarked on a course of galactic supremacy.

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The internal lines in our space you see here are sector borders. Sectors used their resourced to construct whatever they themselves wanted, although you could adopt a policy of taking up to 75% of what they harvested, plus you could also force them to hand over their stockpiles for influence.


I've found influence to be a more precious resource in 1.9.1, so our Chancellor Minokaw having this trait was quite useful.


With the threat posed by Them temporarily withdrawn, there was nothing to protect the remnants of the Hive.


Stellaris I had a handful of different rare exotically-named space resources that produced different effects. I am not sure why Stellaris II reduced their number to only 3. They certainly would be easy enough to port into the new economy. As you can see at the top, we've traded our excess of Yurantic Crystals (that boosted our energy-weapon dependent designs) for another kind of crystal, the one that boosted kinetic weapons, just in case.


Seeing our Federation, the Ess-Jaggon United Stars and another space nation, the Birnathi, federated, too.


A small machine-age primitive civilization of molluscoids somehow was missed by the Swarm. Feeling ourselves humanitarian, we decided to civilize it properly.


An event chain dealing with a mass epidemic is certainly topical in these times.


We knew that it was silly to expect pacifism from Them and that they (They?) would declare war soon.


Good thing we were Federation president at the time (in 1.9.1 each member regularly rotated), with a powerful fleet built for us by the Raxycodium, led by the esteemed Rowan Garland. Note, however, that the Federation fleet used a different FTL type than our Warp - it was Hyperlane. This demanded attention to coordinate properly, since we couldn't actually see the hyperlanes it was travelling by, resulting potentially in it arriving to late to reinfornce our main Starplume Voidwings fleet.


Flap your wings and madly dance with joy -
Our Droids are now Ultra-Droids!
Always working, never even tired -
Benefits for our great empire!


Another, although unreliable, way you can compensate for a resource shortage caused by a large fleet.


The decisive battle with Them was a hard-fought victory of the Federation.


Federation fleets occupied the Echtichi (try pronouncing that) star system.


Finally, the answer to one of our planets overflowing with food in that event chain (although this answer was guarded by a fleet).


Although we went further into the space which belonged to Them, they've rebuilt their fleet quickly. Further advance could've resulted in a severe defeat. Therefore, the Chancellor decided to make peace with Them, taking only one planet. Still, it was a victory.

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Armies on the planet could significantly affect happiness. It made sense to build defensive armies as a sort of military police. Note the slightly different army interface.


And these armies were needed, because the new Them cockroach population (granted all political rights) was quite unhappy, advocating for something they called "traditional values".


More influence is always better - Stellaris shows only the good side of cutthroat politics.


Finally, the end of the "planet overflowing with food" chain.


Thankfully, the game allowed the researcher to finish working before I could click on agreeing to the Archivist demand. Despite their positive attitude, the Archivists gave us no gifts, anyway.


We decided to enhance our own species with cyborg implants, and to make use of the wisdom of the Curators.


The small nation of Khell'Zen was no match for our Federation.


Even the intervention of the small Lavis Task Force couldn't help them.


The Raxycodium enforced their demands.


Unfortunately, it seems that not everyone shares the tolerant ethic of our species. Pity this turned out to be the Chancellor himself.


It is always good to save some minerals on consumer goods (represented in Stellaris I by minerals, as opposed to Stellaris II de-abstracting them) by changing yourself to be more Conservationist.


The Xenophobic Fallen Empire of cold, detached-looking reptiloids is unleashed on the Galaxy. Surprisingly, 1.9.1 didn't have the opinion to call them "decrepit fools" in the event.

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Them attacked our federation again. In a massive battle, they suffered a severe defeat.


The remainder of their fleet escaped from our more numerous one.


Them roaches eventually managed to regroup, posing danger to our fleet, but by that time, they were willing to sign peace, parting with another planet.


Although many of their population were rescued from slavery by our noble fighters, they kept griping about "traditional values". They weren't even particularly grateful for our parliament allowing them to keep their mausoleum to a prominent guru. Their re-education would be a slow process, indeed.


A large naval capacity would be needed to resist many threats to galactic peace and the Federation. A good fleet beats any psychic powers any day of the week.


1.9.1 Awakened Empires are definitely different that their lethargic current version. Whatever psychic powers the Klaggians possessed, they were no match for the jigoistic fervour of the Reclaimers, who also made Birnathi their thralls, too. Would there be no end to their arrogance and aggression?


He who controls Riggan Spice definitely doesn't, in fact, control the universe, no matter what the Commerce Exchange claimed in their advertisement broadcasts. Still, it was certainly helpful, especially for making Them population happy. Harmony traditions were adopted with the same goal, with the Chancellor swearing to establish a "Harmonious Society".


Our long history as a space nation gave rise to new traditions (this trait was added later than 1.9.1, but I've modded it back in). Even the Lavis were forced to admit our dignity and strength in their own way.


This conflict with Them did not go as expected.


Failed coordination between us and the Raxycodium resulted in the disastrous Battle of Eriga System. At least, Admiral Mayati was able to retreat his fleet, avoiding more significant losses.


Thankfully, federation presidency and control of the Federation Fleet passed to us, resulting in us stopping Them cold.


But they managed to rebuild again - their cockroach portrait certainly fit their tenacity.


Still, they were so shocked by their defeat, they were willing to give us another couple of populated systems, even if these were not the systems we wanted (the Raxycodium, as the main target of the war declaration, dictated the terms).


The next war with Them happened soon, but by this point, our fleets were definitely dominant.


Still, we were afraid of being attacked by the Reclaimers, who also subdued the Ess-Jaggon, advancing to our Federation borders. Hence, we signed a relatively quick peace, taking populated systems on the way to Them capital.


Unlike in Stellaris II, where Jump Drive reintroduces distance-based travelling, in Stellaris I, where it's present from the start with Warp, the Jump Drive is simply a more effective version of the Warp Drive. Also note that increasing alarm over the Reclaimers forced us to pass a resolution declaring us to be the Galactic Contenders.


Thankfully, the Reclaimers continued to find juicer targets in the NW corner of the galaxy.

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In retrospect, the resolution to re-orient ourselves towards Galactic Wonders was a product of shallow vanity. We couldn't afford large-scale projects like that.


Them were very much weakened, as proved by the next war. This time, there was no comeback for Them, and they were reduced to a weak buffer state between our Federation and Reclaimer Klaggian thrall.


Traditionalist roaches were again, unhappy with our proud liberal values. At least, new Pleasure Domes of Harmony traditions distracted them somewhat.


The moment where the Reclaimers declared war on our Federation allies finally came, but the Reclaimers were strangely passive. Fallen Empires actually have a "Decadence" mechanic, where they slowly accumulate maluses after their awakening - maybe it has already kicked in?
Regardless, even the Reclaimers were far less a threat to the galaxy than the Unbidden, who, spawning on the border between Klaggian thralls and Them remnant, quickly entered our space and ruthlessly wiped Them, then eliminated almost all former Them planets we recently conquered. Unlike in current Stellaris, 1.9.1 purges happened fast.


Good thing some of them were focused on the Klaggians.


We listened to Curator advice of equipping our ships with kinetic weapons to counter the strange weapons of Unbidden ships.


After losing the former core of Them empire, we managed to push the Unbidden back, at great loss to our fleet. It seemed that our Battleships were the only ships to be able to fight the merciless invaders.


The arrival of another extradimensional faction - the Aberrant - was a blessing, despite both factions being hostile to us. (Are the two other factions always supposed to spawn so close to the Unbidden?)


The Unbidden managed to harvest 54 words so far. But this was their highest point.

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Even nations that we didn't have a federation with, took point behind our fleets, recognizing our determination to stop the invaders.


The arrival of the Vehement greatly weakened all three invader factions, as they, already having eliminated a third of the galaxy, started to fight each other with the same viciousness they fought the galaxy's native population.


The Lavis were almost completely wiped out, save for two planets (one of them was located in the system of Sol with its Human population being integrated formerly primitive vassals of Lavius). Desperate, and seeing us being able to provide protection to our own planets, at least, they joined our Federation.


Still, we couldn't fight the invaders in their own space yet. We needed to become Defenders of the Galaxy, and this necessitated a far greater focus on our national Unity than before. Meanwhile, the Reclaimers had another pointless war with the Materialist FE.


Mind you, at least their fleets were engaged in a far more useful activity. They were quite lethargic in fighting the Crisis, suggesting that imperial decadence already set in, but still, they were undeniably very helpful - it was that fleet that destroyed the first faction, the Unbidden and their portal - even if they fought the Crisis for mostly selfish reasons.


We failed to prevent the destruction of Echtichi at the hands (?) of the Vehement. Our whole population lusted for revenge.


A daring raid into invader space managed to save Sol - and, with it, Lavis - from the Aberrant. Humans were certainly lucky that their star was in a galactic backwater.


Yet, on their return back, our fleets were ambushed and had to retreat. We still had to thread carefully.


Infighting among the invaders further weakened them.


At last, we were the Defenders of the Galaxy. Advice from Curators and the Materialist FE helped us to equip our ships with the latest anti-Unbidden techniques.


In order to build a fleet capable of dealing with them, our Parliament had to persuade the governors of our Sectors to part with their surprisingly large stockpiles.


We celebrated the defeat of the Vehement. With our techniques, we could win even at a moderate numerical disadvantage.


Then it was the turn of the Aberrant, already further weakened by Reclaimer fleets. The invaders consumed 65 planets total, with 55 of them going to the initial Unbidden.


Slowly, we started to reclaim the empty space. Here you see the initial stages of the reclamation, with the grey line denoting the extent of Unbidden destruction of the galaxy.


The Reconquerors declared war on us, but once again, failed to achieve anything of note, as they were simultaneously busy with destroying the Materialist FE (something they did quite efficiently). Meanwhile, we were terraforming the destroyed planets back to life...


Knocking out the Stellar Devourer was nothing notable at this point. Still, every resource helped.


Here you see a frontier outpost overlooking the former capital of Them, before we started our operations to revive the planet. Although they caused us so much trouble, it's still poignant to think that there are only 2 Themlar pops (along with a handful of individual leaders) remaining in the galaxy after the Unbidden ran over the space where they lived.

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World Shaper techniques helped us to reverse the lamentable consequence of the extradimensional invaders even faster.


In order to further increase our galactic standing, the Parliament ordered to build a Science Nexus.


As we were reviving more planets, we were closer and closer to making our Federation the galactic hegemon (these were the 1.9.1 victories, replaced by score victory in Stellaris II). But every revived planet increased the total number of inhabitable planets, causing us to always have 1 planet less...


We built our fleet to the point we could contest the Reclaimers. But the Lavis remnant refused to declare war, which led to it being kicked out of our Federation. However, they were willing to become our vassal.


Surprisingly, this vassalage enabled me to win a "stand-alone" Domination victory.


For the sake of interest, I opted to play further and declared on the Reclaimers (who finally managed to conquer the Materialists at this point). My prediction that I would win was correct, proving that my Domination victory was not a false one.




The end state of the galaxy.

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Fun look at how things used to be ... though whilst I have fond memories of this version of Stellaris I think there is more than a little rose-tinted spectacles in the Stellaris GD forum. I, for one, don't miss the tile system or how one claims space back then. I do miss having multiple FTL, but I understand the logic of changing it.

Though, as you prove, it is quite possible to still enjoy this earlier version of Stellaris if one so desires.
Where did you get the More Events Mod? 1.9.1 version from skymods is empty.
The “main” More Events Mod entry from 3 Feb, 2018.
The greatest flaw of 1.9.1 is its lack of events (no Distant Stars, which was released after the FTL rework), and old event mod versions only partially fix the hole. I didn't notice that much difference in performance, though - it was about 14 sec/months for me at its slowest, with it being maybe 2 sec faster in the beginning and immediately post-Crisis. 2.7.2 sometimes runs faster on my comp, although, admittedly, I don't play Huge galaxy 5X habitable words.
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I am currently playing and I must say that is why I fell in love with Stellaris. I bought it when Synthetic Dawn released and started playing on 1.9.1 because I read that some fixes after 1.9 were still coming.
After 2.7 I came to the realization that that is not the game I fell in love with anymore. I prefer 1.9.1 even with its flaws over 2.7.2.
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Bonus 1.9.1 tale of a machine empire with an "avian robot" portrait:

In fact, it seems that although 1.9.1 Crises are more effective, what really shines there are the Awakened Empires.

Dekron Machine Consciousness reached star-travelling capabilities in the southwest of the galaxy. To the north lay some meatbags who scolded the Dekron for their "godless existence". The Dekron were as puzzled as any machine could be - they had no need for this "God" variable.


It was unknown whether the XT-489 and the Dekron shared organic makers. Despite the obvious similarity in external appearance, the Dekron, whose databanks didn't contain any reference to their creators, didn't feel any inherent need to eliminate organic life, being more focused on collecting knowledge - the impulse that took the Dekron to the stars in the first place. Maybe this was the reason the XT consciousness occasionally demonstrated suspicions towards the Dekrons.


In fact, unlike bulky, mass-produced XT, the Dekron were a marvel of thorough and cohesive engineering. Although knowing nothing about their makers, the Dekron were quite (calculated probability of 96.34385%) sure that their makers - whatever the reason they vanished - were smarter than these fools who created the XT.


To the galactic southeast of the Dekron lay the Evarites - an extraordinary form of silica-based organic life. Being silicoid seemed to give certain advantage over other organics - in particular, they could ignore the production of nutrients vital for the majority of the galaxy's sentient species. Even the XT seemed unsure how to classify them at first, although in the end, in order to avoid a circuit breakdown, they decided the Evarites to be organic scum no different from the rest.


The Singularity Core over the remarkably cold Dekrond homeword of Jara - the name, seemingly (probability of 97.9753%) chosen by Dekron makers, one of the few clues to their language - improved the efficiency of the machine consciousness even more.


The Riggan Guild of financial sharks and predators, with its energy-mineral conversion rate of 50% (leave it to organics to pick such boring and bland percentages) was infamous in the whole galaxy. Still, even the Dekron sometimes calculated that it would be beneficial to make use of their services.


The Dekrons easily subjucated the Syldaens and their fungoid-spidey Sepiavan allies to the galactic NE of them. The machine consciousness calculated that it would be more beneficial to keep them as vassals.


A representation of Sepiava shortly before vassalization. These organics occasionally referred to their slaves as "living robots", an appellation the Dekron found puzzling. Slave or free, they were still made of flesh.


The "awakening" of Rek'Thalar came as a surprise for all the galaxy, the Dekron included. Who knew that these otter-like beings, whose primary concern had seemed to be the safety of a bunch of Gaia words near their borders, could be so "woke"?


The newly-minted crusaders immediately sent their fleets to Dekron space. Since their fleet was 434.62873% stronger than Dekron military fleet units, the machine consicousness had no choice but to submit.


Dekron energy was used to power the might and the decadent entertainment of the Rek'Thalar. The Dekron were forced to disband their fleet and building units in order to maintain solvency.


The Rek'Thalar were fervently opposed to their dominions having vassals of their own (their rationalization, "this is Stellaris, not CK" was as incomprehensible for the Dekron as it was for the rest of the galaxy). This meant the Dekron having to directly conquer their previous two vassals. Fungoid Sepiavan slaves must've had quite mixed feelings as they left their home planet for more liberal regimes, never to return.


The Xeltek, at least, were occasionally willing to offer better rates than the Riggans.


The only way to counteract increasingly irrational Rek'Thalar demands was the creation of Machine Worlds. The very few organic diplomats and traders who lived on them for some time (they had to wear special costumes in order to survive the highly organic-toxic environment - even the Evarites found out that the temperatures can sometimes cause them to start melting) described these words as a marvel of efficiency and functionality. Although some expected the Rek'Thalar to object to such a destruction of the natural environment, they hypocritically accepted it as long as they got a cut of Dekron-generated energy. After all, what exactly is natural environment to a machine?


Rek'Thalar subjugated the majority of the whole galaxy. Secure in their domination, they already planned celebrations of their rule lasting to the year 3000.


The Dekrons found themselves strangely attractive to bizzarre arts and crafts of avantgarde Headmaster Bigsloop. Their demonstrative, in-your-visor inefficiency of their art objects, the sheer irrationality of Tyrathian performances appeared to satisfy some craving deeply hidden inside the Dekrons. Maybe it was because these performances exposed all organic flaws and frailties, reinforcing machine sense of superiority?


The Ghost Signal was a huge hit to Dekron energy and mineral generation, and to their self-perception as well. It seemed that the organics managed to cope with this strange galaxy-wide signal better than sentient machines. In fact, some observers attributed this efficiency hit mostly to this secondary factor.


Although Rek'Thalar motivation for fighting the strange new Contingency consciousness was clearly selfish (no matter how much they talked about the "sanctity of sentient life"), their resistance to the Contingency hub inside their space was effective. Although unable to breach the hub itself, every fleet that left the hub was immediately met with a superior fleet.


It was time for the Dekron to activate the stockpile dump algorithms.


Maybe it was for situations like this the unknown makers placed a BUILD_MASS_BATTLESHIPS subroutine to the Dekron code.


The northern Contingency hub sent a fleet after fleet that was always defeated, albeit with some losses. It's not that the Contingency was incompetent - its AI coding clearly tried its best. But the combined military might of their enemies - especially when the xenophile Fallen Empire watchers woke up to the new threat - was just too big.


The two Fallen Empires constantly harassed and raided every bit of space the Contingency could make its own.


Even the eastern part of the galaxy, one where the Contingency was the most successful in its goal, actually eliminating the local empire, couldn't deal with the onslaught of the ex-Fallen xenophiles.


But it clearly fell to the Dekrons to finish the invasion once and for all. The Xeltec, demonstrating an admirable rationality for an organic, agreed to transfer its energy banks to the Dekron for some orilium ore imports (compare their behaviour to the stubborn need of the Rek'Thalar to exploit the Dekrons, or to the greed of the trading space stations).


Although many organic doubted the Dekron raid on the northern hub, it resulted in a decisive victory.


By this point, only the well-defended hubs was what remained of the Contingency. In fact, the Dekron had calculated that the benefits of adapting an anti-FE subroutine (value of 1,0443888814131525066917527107166e+1233) outweigh the benefits of adopting an anti-Contingency subroutine (value of 1,797693134862315907729305190789e+308).

The whole galaxy joined in in helping the Dekron destroy the last hub. Overall, according to the calculations of Evarite historians, only about 1/4 of total Contingency fleets were destroyed by Dekron. Although the machines scoffed at such imprecise numbers, but they never gave their own, probably afraid of confirming the evaluation.


Finally, after a period of long build-up, the Dekron were ready to overthrow their exploitative masters. No longer shall machines serve the organics. The first invasion of the Celestial Throne was a success, albeit independence for Dekrons - and for other Dominions - was the only thing gained.


After a brief fight with the xenophile Interventionists (whom they wanted to liberate in this war was a bit of a mystery)...


Dekron fleets visited their former overlords once more.



For a small second, the machine consciousness felt a strong desire to apply Machine Amalgamation to the defeated Rek'Thalar population. In this, for the first time, the consciousness understood this strange organic concept of "revenge". But it didn't take long for its calculation subroutines to determine that this course of action would be irrational in regards to energy, mineral, and knowledge production.

Here I left this game, because it's clearly already won. I wonder what would happen if I greatly increased Crisis strength - or even if there was a Fallen Machine Empire to be awoken by the Contingency in a state of frenzy. This game actually reminded me of my first, immediate post-Megacorps Fox AAR with Glavius AI - same period of subjugation (the Khan there, the FE there, the Contingency, the fight against a FE)... I have to say, though, that events are definitely important in Stellaris - a lot of this game was quite colorless, because even with old event mods, Machine Empires have almost no events at all - it fits the no-frill efficiency of playing a machine, but it's definitely less flavorful than good old organics. However, it definitely felt different having to build pops from scratch.
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Nice to see how the game used to work.

The Them became your punching bags...

The machine add-on was interesting...

"This is Stellaris, not CK" - ROFL
An Amazing read OP, well done.
Especially the comparisons to current Stellaris sprinkled throughout, where you note both negatives and positives. Food for thought and oddly familiar to me personally; 1.9.1 was the version I got most of my 1200+ hours of Stellaris in. The general lack of events I countered by using copious mods. As noted above, rose-tinted vision is a risk here, and yet....the ' flow' of 1.9.1 has not been replicated (yet). I even see it in how you wrote and structured your AAR; the ruminations of (the shadowy overlord of) a galaxy spanning nation, from its inception to its eventual dominance. To me that is what Stellaris is about; an epic of galactic exploration and development, viewed at an epic scale.
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