Stellaris has endless replayability, but once you have beaten grand admiral difficulty where to go next for a challenge?
What follows is a nearly comprehensive list of the best and the craziest ideas for challenge runs in Stellaris.
The default game of Stellaris runs for 300 years, which is going take 18 hours or more of real time. With such an investment in time needed for one run, it is no wonder that many dedicated players have never finished the game. If this is you, challenge yourself to stick it out to the end, just for once.
If that is too easy, or you have done it already, how about a run with the victory year set to 3200, for 1000 years of play! In real life hours that will be at least 60 hours. Remember to set the tech / tradition cost up to x5, so you do not finish the tech tree too early. Lower the rate of pop growth too.
This is one is good practice for multiplayer. Play a game with no pausing allowed. Do not forget to disable auto-pause on events in the gameplay settings. This combines well with the previous challenge. The less you pause, the faster the game goes.
Steam users have all manner of digital trophies they may win for a great variety of in game conditions. Some are quite challenging to achieve too.
Take a look and see if there is one you could build a game around winning.
In this challenge we will restrict ourselves to only claiming or conquoring systems with planets.
In this challenge we restrict ourselves to having no more than two systems at a time. This challenge is not just an easier version of the one system challenge. Having a spare system can allow us to grow by spinning off the spare system as a vassal.
Make sure the spare has a colony on it too and is in its own sector or you can not spin it off as a vassal.
Here there is no restriction on the number of systems one can own, but only one system may be inhabited.
In this challenge we allow ourselves to only own our starting system. This is completely viable as a tall military build heavily using vassals, especially tributaries. See the Grand Fleet empire build.
This challenge is also viable as a peaceful diplomatic build especially on a high capacity planet (remnants or shattered ring origin). Use the migration magnet strategy to fill it up. It helps to be a megacorp also.
This one is as above but we also deny ourselves orbital habitats in our starting system.
The Doomsday origin is a challenge in its own right. Kick up the challenge a notch by combining with the One System challenge. Orbital habitats is how you survive, but can your research them in time?
At game start you sell resources for enough minerals to replace your research building with anything else. Then you never hire another researcher.
This is easier than it sounds, because we can get plenty of research points from vassals thanks to scholariums. Branch office buildings help here too.
This one is a more extreme version of the No Researcher Challenge. Here we aim to have all our pops employed in ruler tier jobs only.
For this a very specialised empire build is necessary. See the Cabal Aristos build for how to do it.
This is for the empire too cool for combat. Your starting fleet is stripped and disbanded. No more military fleets may be built. Starbase defenses are fine though. Once again vassals make this viable, but without a fleet of your vassals will all have to be created not subjugated.
Federations are another option. Maybe a parameter of this challenge can be no fleets, except federation fleets.
In this one every AI empire must be a xenocidal empire such as determined exterminators, ravening swarm, fanatical purifiers or terravores.
This can be done on the select empire screen before starting the game. Set your custom xenocidal empires to “forced empire spawning” and set all others to “empire spawning forbidden”. Make sure there are enough xenocidals for the number of AI empires you set.
This one is just as the Darkest Forest challenge above, except you must play as an inward perfectionist or other pacifist.
If you are going to be an inward perfectionist, why not try my build optmised for the rapid early expansion strategy.
If all of the above were too easy, then why not stack up on multiple challenges in one game? How about: no pausing, one system, no researchers and no fleets in a darkest forest?!
There we go a long list of fun challenges to try in Stellaris. What is the hardest challenge you have tried?