LWE

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I always wanted to write a Stellaris AAR on a huge galaxy map, and since the new population mechanics of 3.0 are unintuitive and seem to be in considerable flux, I decided to do so in a personal mod of 1.9.1, which integrated some of the latter versions mechanics. Lowest difficulty level, since I find the default 1.9.1 AI to be quite hard - I often lose games where I don't focus myself well. Comments are welcome.

Here are the universe parameters:


Screen06617.png


And here is our nation. We have managed to investigate the wonders of the universe, create useful manual labor robots (we're Mechanist) and discover the hyperlane network without the help of any alien xenos (if they exist at all), thank you very much.

Screen06618.png


Engineering research is held in the highest esteem by the Gurites. It is the practical engineers that created our robots, after all, not the flakey humanitarian society researchers or droning physics theoreticians.

Screen06620.png


Just look at these theoreticians: they advance blatantly impractical speculations, such as "our universe being a game". What else they would come up with, this game itself being a virtual reality which is part of the greater one? Are there virtual realities all the way down?

Screen06621.png


Now, look at what these pragmatic Engineers do. They gave our robots power drills, managing to make them as efficient at operating energy installations as any sapient Gurite.

Screen06623.png


Look at all these stars, each brimming with energy, minerals and research opportunities. Minerals are the key to taking them in our grasp and revealing their secrets.

Screen06624.png


The Irassians were the first sapient species we've heard of. Thankfully, they were long extinct before we arrived at the galactic stage.

Screen06625.png


Another species committed nuclear suicide before we got the chance to encounter them. Well, this only left more cosmic plunder for us. In fact, so many species failing while ours thrived could be considered somewhat poetic.

Screen06627.png


Wuhglaam's suggestion was absolutely the right one. It's minerals that our engineers needed - in fact, the factories of Dabul were filled with robots producing more and more minerals for the Directorate.

Screen06628.png


The Directorate deftly avoided both tyranny and mob rule, guiding the Gurites in a reasonable and well thought-out direction. A pity some anti-social elements, some of them advocating some kind of "direct democracy", and others demanding a "return to monarchical traditions" didn't appreciate that.

Screen06629.png


Unfortunately, the period of our total dominance of known space was to end here, as we encountered another alien civilization, the so-called "Commonwealth of Mirati".

Screen06632.png

Screen06633.png


Regardless of the strange goings-on in space, we Gurites are a pragmatic people. The Directorate saw no point in searching for strange gods all over the space.

Screen06634.png


Instead, Chairman Shuldess focused on exploring the frontier of science.

Screen06637.png


Athanebian art was strange and degenerate. Thankfully, they were contained in a small space station, rather than spreading themselves all over the galaxy. We bought some of their art in order to demonstrate the superiority of Gurite mentality over the wasteful habits of the Anathebians.

Screen06638.png


These strange "Custodians" seemed to be both patronizing and delusionally bugged. They had huge spacefleets, though, so the Directoracte decided not to antagonize them..

Screen06639.png


To the galactic east to us lay the Quenti Commonwealth. They seemed like xenos we could do some business with.

Screen06642.png


Quenti humanitarians helped us to get our moral philosophy up to speed as our explorers stumbled upon the fearsome Elder Drake.

Screen06643.png


The Directorate had to endure watching images of naked xenos. Why couldn't they at least send pictures of themselves clothed properly? At least, the Directorate members could be pleasantly distracted by the news of rare mineral exploitation of the planet of Sheliak.

Screen06648.png
 
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Macavity116

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An @LWE AAR and a throwback to Old Stellaris? Yes please, sign me up!
 
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The appearance and the architecture of the Vivisandia was even more extravagant and wasteful than the "art" of the Athanebian troupe. The Directorate, on the other hand, knew that it is technology that leads to power, not fancy arts or crafts.

Screen06650.png


The known universe at the time.

Screen06651.png


The Directorate never saw financial prosperity as anything other than a way to technological and industrial domination. Still, as far as all possible ways go, it's definitely an important one.

Screen06653.png


An encounter with the robots of Zenak Kernel was a surprise for the Directorate, confronted for the first time with actually existing sentient machines. Would it be desirable to transform our own robots into such creatures? This topic would be a debate among the Gurites for many decades.

Governor Bufhgen, on the other hand, did not concern herself with such theoretical questions, as her concern was a practical one of maximizing energy output across all planets subject to the Directorate.

Screen06655.png


The Directorate, however, was not averse to learning more about these machines.

Screen06658.png


In particular, the machines were in some sort of rivalry with the Mirati. Could this be exploited?

Screen06659.png


The Council of Technocratic Reform, led by the Chairman himself, had no reason to be displeased with the state of the union.

Screen06660.png


The Betharian Stone was a sensational discovery. Industrial novels and placards all over the Directorate hailed it as the solution to all Gurite energy problems. While it failed to satisfy the most optimistic prognoses, it certainly was very useful.

Screen06661.png


Far in the galactic southwest lay the horrifying state of the Glost-Weheni Decimators. How could such disgusting and hateful xenos reach the stage of development which allowed them to colonize space remained a mystery.

Screen06663.png


Another meeting with sentient machines was far less sensational than the first one, but the Directorate still established fleet logistic corps, just to be sure.

Screen06668.png


Tulanga was selected as the next chairman, owning to the necessity of expanding the fleet in a galaxy that was full of xenos.

Screen06670.png
 

Nikolai

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This is so weird, seeing this flashback in modern times. :p
 
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LWE

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Some of the other xenos turned out to be annoying religious preachers. Pray tell us, what is your "higher spiritual truth", that we need to send you energy credits?

Screen06671.png


Newly updated galaxy:

Screen06674.png


In order to release the overwhelmed administration, the first Directorate Sector was created, with its capital at Vana. The new Subdirector-Governor decided to build a Gene Clinic first - the main DIrectorate typically ignored this line of buildings, but it may prove to be useful for development of new colonies.

Screen06676.png


The Silicoid Coalition of rock-eaters (what will these xenos eat next, sapient flesh?) has been a late entry on the galactic stage, still being in early space age when the Gurites discovered the hyperlane network. It got quickly vassalized by its neighbor, the Tak-Akkur spiritual seekers. Yes, I've ported the Lithoid graphics for my personal mod... I guess, according to PDX rules, if I ever post it, I will have to make sure that the downloader has the Lihtoid DLC, copying files from it.

Screen06677.png


The annoying sapphire crystals were destroyed by our capable admirals. If these crystals - no matter the degree of their sentience - thought they could just pierce our tender molluscoid flesh, they were gravely mistaken!

Screen06678.png


Some of our Directors wanted to send the xeno wanderers away, but eventually, the opinion prevailed that even xenos can be sometimes useful.

Screen06679.png


The Quenti, however, refused to be useful. They claimed to have undergone an "ethic shift" and become "Hegemonic Imperialists", which caused them to adopt a hostile posture towards us. The Directorate already gave orders to develop plans necessary to deal with this problem.

Screen06680.png


The strange proposal of the clearly mis-coded Caretakers - to colonize a bleak and unprofitable planet - took the Directorate by surprise. In the end, however, caution prevailed and the Directors decided not to antagonize the bizzarre machines.

Screen06684a.png


A scandal of our own making seized the nation, as Tulanga was found to be a softy beneath a hard exterior. Unfortunately, the Directors did not appreciate softies. Tulanga later immigrated to the space of Spiritual Seekers, writing soppy sentimental pamphlets on "protecting the weak".

Screen06687.png


At least, research into atmospheric filtering would make living on Rundore a bit less of a chore.

Screen06689.png


Our academics have long debated whether the Directorate qualifies as an Empire. The Directors gave a resounding "yes", clearly liking the ideological and propagandistic implications.

Screen06690.png


The fungoid Confederacy of Hulfassa at the other end of the galaxy was clearly on the warpath, as noted by the Directorate.

Screen06691.png


More worrying were the actions of the Mirati Commonwealth towards the Zernak machines. This could, in the opinion of cosmopolitical analysts employed by the Directorate, be a problem in the future.

Screen06692.png


Our ships were well-armored, ready to fight anything any potential enemy could throw at us.

Screen06698.png


The actions of the Decimators provoked disgust even among the pragmatic Directors. What kind of sentient species is so fanatical towards all other sentient life? Clearly, a larger space fleet was necessary in order to provide a proper response to all challenges of the galaxy.

Screen06699.png
 
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LWE

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The more curious members of our directorate insisted on going on a wild carcosa chase.

Screen06710.png


Far more important was the information about Quenti fleet our agents managed to obtain. Their main fleet was clearly inferior to ours, proving that the Directorate's fleet focus paid off.

Screen06715.png


At least some of these "spiritual seekers" were reasonable enough to sign mutually profitable deals.

Screen06720.png


The harsh planet of Rundore, settled because of Caretaker exhortations, was decided to be populated primarily by hardy robots, indifferent to its cold and cloudy climate.

Screen06721.png


Finally, the caracosa chase was at its end. While curious, it did not result in any significant profit for the Directorate.

Screen06728.png


Mistakes in planning led to a food deficit within the Directorate. Despite its unwelcoming nature, Rundore contained fertle land (the resource in the lower left tile), but it could not be exploited properly until the planetary administration and bureaucracy was expanded enough.

Screen06738.png


At least, other space nations, xenos through they are, were willing to trade food to the Directorate after some mineral gifts. Unappetizing as xeno food was, it was surely better than starvation.

Screen06739.png


Screen06742.png


No Gurite liked the sneering and superior manner of the Taclariot Chroniclers. But we had no other choice other than to pay appropriate respect.

Screen06740.png


The Caretakers were highly suspicious in their behavior, but as long as they introduced us to new technologies, the Directors were willing to act grateful. Note also that the food deficit had been dealt with, thanks to a massive hydroponic farm building program on Sigma Draconis.

Screen06743.png
 

LWE

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Since the Quenti refused to cooperate, there was only one way left to deal with them. They themselves seemed to have expected it, too - a pragmatic war between two imperialistic technocratic empires was certainly... liberating in its lack of pretentious moralizing.

Screen06746.png


Enemy empire and forces:

Screen06770.png


Our fleet, superior in numbers and equipped with shield-piercing weapons, did not have any trouble with the opposing forces.

Screen06773.png


Screen06774.png


Our state-of-the-art battleships made even the even-keeled Quenti fear our fleets.

Screen06778.png


Quenti attempts at regrouping were no more successful than their inital attempts at repelling us.

Screen06781.png


Admiral Shuldess was given the highest honors and distinctions.

Screen06784.png


The Purifiers now boasted that they were "psionics". This seemed nonsensical and irrelevant to the Directorate.

Screen06788.png


Quenti static defenses were more of a threat by this point than the remains of their fleet.

Screen06805.png


Unfortunately, even in the Directorate, there were subversive spiritualist elements, followers of various gurus who claimed to have revealed the secrets of "psionic communication".

Screen06809.png


The enemy's battlestations have destroyed enough of our initial invasion fleet for the Directorate to sign peace, capturing four planets.

Screen06811.png


We would have to be more careful in the future, for the Quenti have signed a protection pact with the Mirati to the galactic north of us. Xenos behaving as xenos do, we guess.

Screen06815.png


I was puzzled why the Quenti population is being forcefully expelled, despite not being purged. It later turned out that I disallowed their presence in my core (non-sector) words. Regardless, the Gurites were only happy to settle in the abandoned Quenti homes and infrastructure.

Screen06821.png
[/I]
 
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LWE

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Most directors viewed the Xeno Justice Lobby with annoyance, yet it was a powerful enough force to make some concessions to it. Factional sedition, after all, can be quite annoying...

Screen06839.png


Indeed, the annoying activists soon returned to their senses.

Screen06843.png


In a generally hostile galaxy, the Gurite directorate had to rely on the best friend it had - its battlefleet.

Screen06844.png


Governors that promised to prioritize mineral production were given additional favor by the Directorate.

Screen06857.png


All this competition for political favors led to a harsh, cutthroat atmosphere in the Directorate's upper circles.

Screen06860.png
 

LWE

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Some xenos were willing to offer much better rates for energy than the trading guild space stations.

Screen06867.png


This mattered, because our fleets needed energy to assault the Prime Awareness machines that were located to our galactic southwest. They were considered to be a softer targets than the Quenti with their defensive pact.

Screen06868.png


Our battleships were well-equipped. The Prime Awareness also used hyperlanes, so the Directorate could be confident that the enemy's movements would be predictable and foreseen.

Screen06874.png


The tide of our forces was seemingly unstoppable.

Screen06876.png


The gains from this war were organized into a sector to reduce the administrative overhead.

Screen06890.png


State of the galaxy. The Mirati proceeded to guarantee the Prime Awareness, too, in a clear expression of unfriendly intent.

Screen06898.png

____________________________

Even the Gurite Directorate was forced to admit that the curators are cute.

Screen06904.png


If the caretakers offer us help, we accept...

Screen06906.png


but we certainly don't trust their fluids.

Screen06913.png


Our successful wars left us one of the prime powers of the galaxy. Among non-Fallen empires, only Hulfir could still rival us.

Screen06917.png


The Mirati, however, were becoming a danger, continuing to bully the Zerak.

Screen06926.png


With Mega-Engineering approaching, news about our enemies' pathetic efforts at spreading internal instability are merely amusing.

Screen06931.png


Governor Daggluth was an excellent manager of the Vana sector, composed of planets conquered from the Prime Awareness.

Screen06936.png


With the help of the curators, the Elder Drake was vanquished.

Screen06940.png


It was strange for the Directorate to observe subversion coming from the conservative elements in society. Allowing for unrestricted native interference seemed to satisfy the Gurite Preservation Society for now.

Screen06941.png


The Dragonslayer Monument will always remind us of our pilots' heroism.

Screen06950.png


The Fanatic Purifiers were under increased pressure from the Hulfir.

Screen06957.png

_________________________________

The next war would be fought on two fronts. For the first time, our fleet was separated into two, one to engage with Quenti, and the other - with the Mirati. Only our conquest of Prime Awareness planets allowed us to build up such a large fleet.

Screen06962.png


Screen06963.png


The plan was conducted successfully.

Screen06964.png


While our pilots and soldiers were distinguishing themselves in space battles, our civilian industry was researching rare galactic resources.

Screen06969.png


The result of the war was never in doubt. The resulting peace treaty increased our space by about 50%.

Screen06993.png

___________________________________

With new conquests came social tensions.

Screen06999.png


As loath as the Directorate was to agree to such a measure, Quenti living standards were increased to deal with increased unhappiness of the Quenti, as a compensation for them lacking full citizenship.

Furthermore, propaganda all over Quenti planets emphasized the benefits of the Directorate rule.

Screen07011.png


But alarmingly, the Taclariot "awoke" and started vassalizing nations...

Screen07020.png
 
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LWE

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Faced with a far stronger empire demanding a relatively mild subjugation (that doesn't even restrict our diplomatic opinions), the Directorate decided to submit regardless of any perceived offense to national pride.

Screen07028.png


The ethnic tensions continued apace.

Screen07035.png


Something had to be done. Ruthless, but fair measures taken by the Directorate managed to calm things down somewhat.

Screen07043.png


In order to break out of the Taclariot dependency, a source of more resources was needed. The Directorate noted the productive planets of the Caretakers, as well as the fact that their army was merely "equivalent" to ours...

Screen07047.png


When the Taclariot directors vassalized the Blodborn, they were kind enough to transfer some of their planets to us. Note that the Bloodborn have their capital at Sol - they, predictably, butchered the original inhabitants of the place.

Screen07051.png


Although the Directors viewed other civilizations' tales about the past with disdain, they recognized them when they were useful.

Screen07070.png


Time for the Fallen Empires to witness the might and vigor of the new ones.

Screen07082.png


The battle of the Ring was bloody (at least, on our part - machines don't have blood flowing through their vens), but in the end, we prevailed. This battle proved to be decisive, and the Caretakers were annexed soon afterwards.

Screen07089.png


Screen07091.png


Some naive fools decided to protest the actions of the Directorate. Silly fellows. The author of this Dynamic Political Events event, apparently, gave a shout-out to British Stop The War Coalition in its illustration.

Screen07093.png


Many Gurites were settled on the newly-gained Ring.

Screen07105.png
 

LWE

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The massive resource boost gained by this war allowed us to make mincemeat of the Mirati, who clearly attempted to "play tall" by building numerous habitats.

Screen07110.png


Screen07111.png


Despite vague warnings from our Taclariot overlords, we researched the Jump Drive.

Screen07113.png


Resource trade with the Hulfir was useful.

Screen07114.png


The result of the war was never in doubt.

Screen07118.png


In fact, the Directorate was benevolent enough to grant the conquered subjects utopian abindance standards. So many Solitary species in this galaxy...

Screen07119.png


Our engineers were not content with merely using other civilizations' infrastructure. The greatest pride of the whole Directorate was the building of the Dyson Sphere in Aslund.

Screen07132.png


We continued to build up our fleet, putting ourselves to our limit (note our Mineral income). Slowly, our fleet became Equivalent to our overlords.

Screen07185.png


With surprise, we noticed that the original inhabitants of Sol III were not completely exterminated by the Bloodborn. A small number of their descendants were still alive in the galaxy - this species was nothing if not tenacious.

Screen07186.png
 
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LWE

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We needed more minerals and energy to have a chance against the Taclariot. This necessitated trade. The Hulfir, the strongest non-Fallen AI empire, was a valuable trade partner. Even Hegemonic Imperialists can provide diplomatic aid, if you play your cards right!

Screen07197.png


We prevailed in the hard-fought battle.

Screen07203.png


Although our invasion of the Taclariot home planet failed owning to the efficiency of their ground armies, they still agreed to grant us complete independence.

Screen07209.png


The Dyson Sphere continued to be built up, but the Directorate decided its current state to be satisfactory.

Screen07213.png
 
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LWE

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Strange extra-galactic murderous energy creatures, which the galaxy came to call "the Unbidden", spawned right in our space, just as we were subjugating the Zenak machines.

Screen07222.png


They managed to destroy nine of our planets until we hastily signed a peace with Zenak and their allies, taking only one planet.

Screen07226.png


However, once engaged using "Defender of the Galaxy" protocol, they proved to be weak to our weapon fire.

Screen07228.png


The Taclariot were graceful enough to attack some of their expansion Void Shaper ships.

Screen07249.png


The result was predictable. We destroyed 4/5 of total Unbidden ships.

Screen07262.png


This is the planet - a Taclariot outpost - where Humans found their refuge.

Screen07268.png


We then proceeded to vassalize the Shazarak Interface, which rebelled against the Mirati.

Screen07269.png


____________________________

By this point, my nation was clearly superior to everyone else in the galaxy, with no threat to my eventual military domination. So I just vassalized a bunch of Pathetic power nations via console, and called it a won game for the Gurite Directorate.

Screen07277.png
 
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By this point, my nation was clearly superior to everyone else in the galaxy, with no threat to my eventual military domination. So I just vassalized a bunch of Pathetic power nations via console, and called it a won game for the Gurite Directorate.
Short and sweet, and totally unstoppable. :D
 
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LWE

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Short and sweet, and totally unstoppable. :D
Yes, a post-2.2 style score victory would be appropriate here. I think a Civilization-type system that mixes the pre-2.2 and post-2.2 victory conditions would be fine.

I think the turning point of this game was my conquest of the Caretakers. This gave me a huge boost in resource income necessary to defeat the Taclariot.
 
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This was interesting. Surprised psionics didn't become relevant, and the Unbidden were barely given a mention.

The Directorate might still face many enemies in its future.
 
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LWE

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This was interesting. Surprised psionics didn't become relevant, and the Unbidden were barely given a mention.

The Directorate might still face many enemies in its future.
I actually missed the screenshot of the message of the Unbidden being destroyed, it's there now. They still killed off about 10% of galaxy planets (mostly mine, plus some to the north of me), but it's true that they were never a threat. Rival empires, psionic or not, simply couldn't compete with my resource income from Caretaker ring and the Dyson sphere.

The Directorate is the galactic hegemon for now, but it's true that you can't definitely know what further threats the galaxy will bring.