How to Win the No Fleet Challenge, a Strategy Deepthink

April 7, 2023 by Solar Cross

In this article we will brainstorm a killer strategy for taking on the No Fleet Challenge. See here for more Stellaris challenges.

No Fleet Challenge Rules

The exact rules of the No Fleet challenge are these:

A Sketch of a Strategy

Given the rules above, a strong diplomatic sub-strategy is indicated. Through diplomacy we can cultivate friends to fight for us and we may even gain temporary access of their fleet power through federation and galactic defence fleets.

Colony Rush

Besides diplomatic assets, our defensive capabilities must rest entirely on starbase defences. Starbase capacity wants to be maximised but will tend to be limited even so and starbases do not move. This means that we need an expansion strategy that limits us to acquiring, and defending, only the most valuable systems. This is since we are limited by starbase capacity in how many we can defend.

My thinking is to run a extreme colony rush strategy since systems with planets are generally the most valuable kind of system. Moreover starbases in planetary systems can also be reinforced by adding orbital rings to the planets.

Consequences of System Skipping

Planets are often separated from each other by non-planetary systems. If we only claim planetary systems then we will have two issues to deal with. The first issue is that if our colonies generate trade then we will attract pirates, and without a fleet we can not suppress them once they form.

The second is that the non-planetary systems we leave unclaimed will get settled by someone and if that someone is unfriendly they will probably close their borders and make our systems isolated from each other. This is not so terrible because if we are not running a fleet anyway then our isolated systems would be on their own anyway. Closed borders would affect our civilian ships though.

Gestalt Consciousness

One easy way to avoid the piracy problem is to be a gestalt consciousness which does not generate trade anyway. However gestalt consciousnesses are rather disadvantaged in diplomacy. The one exception being a hive mind with the empath civic. Even then only certain kinds of federations are a good fit for a hive mind. A research cooperative would be best, but a galactic union is alright too.

In order to focus hard on planet grabbing we will have to think about habitability. Machine intelligence empires can ignore habitability but they are bad at diplomacy. Hive minds with empath are the only gestalt consciousness with decent diplomacy, but hive minds have the same habitability limitations as individualist empires.

Lithoid Hiveminds

A nice compromise exists however in lithoid hiveminds. Lithoids have very decent, if not at robot level, tolerance for low relative habitability. Lithoids also come bundled with long lived leaders, slowish population growth. Population growth is a strength of hive minds, so the lithoid penalty to pop growth is of no consequence.

One aspect of an extreme colony rush and not building fleets is a great saving in alloys. Most of those alloys will want to be spent on defence platforms but we will have much to spare for science ships too.


Lithoids are well suited to a leader focused strategy, but we do not need admirals or generals just governors and science leaders. If we succeed in settling many planets, usually in separate sectors we will tend to need lots of governors.

To further leverage our strength in leaders we should run a heavy science ship fleet. This will help us to hunt anomalies, find planets and also early contacts to begin the diplomacy grind.

Anomaly Hunting

Some solved anomalies allow a choice of reward. The choice will often be between a one off big bonus or a more sustained return from extra system resources. Most of time we should take the big bonus because we will only be claiming the systems with planets in.

Empire Build – The Sacred Mountain

Finally we come to the perfect build for following the strategy above in pursuit of the no fleet challenge, The Sacred Mountain.

See here for the full details of the Sacred Mountain empire build.

There we go, my strategy for tackling the no fleet challenge. How would you do it differently? Let us know in the comments or…

Share this article to my twitter @SolarCrossGames or my reddit community r/SolarCrossGames and let’s chat about it.

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