Wow, okay, so trying to understand what went wrong here

Content of the article: "Wow, okay, so trying to understand what went wrong here"

So I've been playing Stellaris for a few months now, and I feel like I'm getting better and better at it, understanding the game concepts/rules better, making fewer mistakes, correcting mistakes that I do make a little faster.

This game I'm playing Admiral difficulty, scaled. Largest galaxy size, top number of AIs, 2x tech development rate. I'll say that 2x tech is probably too slow. I like things slowed down a bit, but I'll do 1.5x for my next game, and it seems my next game is gonna be sooner rather than later.

Generally, I was doing pretty well in this game. As of the mid 2300's, most AIs were equivalent with me, and with 367 pops, I'm one of the larger empires in the galaxy. The Great Khan has just emerged but hasn't done anything apart from the initial contact.

I have a strong economy, not a strong military, but up until now it was only moderately underpowered. I have two fleets each with around an 1800 fleet strength. I have some starholds with around 3k fleet strength. Last war I was in, about 10-20 years ago, my opponent was one of the stronger militaries in the game, and was invading me with four fleets rated in the 1500 range. My opponent won that war, but got some not-great systems as an outcome, so I wasn't bothered. As of now, that same opponent just declared war on me again about a year ago and I was taking his territory with one of my two 1800 strength fleets.

Then a driven assimilator empire declared war on me. It has multiple fleets in the 13k strength range. It has 628 pops, so almost twice my size. It doesn't need to make claims on my systems to take them. When it beats one of my systems, its borders immediately expand. Apparently it can just plain conquer me without stopping.

Read:  Its a shame Stellaris still heavily discourages playing tall

So…are there any options for me at this point? And what went wrong to get to this point? I went through all the empires, and apart from my enemy, there is one other empire in that same range of power, a machine intelligence empire with 612 pops. It's relative power ratings aren't as bad as my current enemy though. But it's curious to me, two gestalt machine empires are far and away at the top of the population chart, and the one I'm facing has a military beyond compare.


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