For Star Dynasties players, this guide is about how to keep sustainable growth, follow this guide and you’ll know what you need in the long run requires planning and preparation.
This guide was written for the Early Access version. Some of it no longer applies, like the infrastructure related parts. I will go over it soon to rewrite them. Other parts are still relevant and are meant to help you avoid many of the less obvious pitfalls I experienced – like expanding rapidly and then losing it all on rebellion, or giving each of your relatives a planet and ending up alone on my your with an infant heir and no way or getting more people until they marry. All of this is aspirational, you will not be able to do all this all the time, but it is something that will give better results if achieved. I am playing on Normal so parts of this may not work on other difficullty levels.
I want to stress that the RNG can be brutal, and you will probably have to reload more than a few times. Sometimes several of your key adults just die, or all your vassals abandon you. Or your brother will ask you to choose between him and a Duke. Even when things are going well they can mess up fast, but when they are going badly they can really snowball out of control. Luckily, this happens to the other factions as well, and they can’t load a prior save. But overcoming difficulties creates a lot better stories than pure save scumming, so use it with caution.
I’ve separated the guide into several steps, which are more important in different stages of the game. The steps are not distinct – you should try to do all of them, but as time goes on the first ones decrease in importance, while the latter parts increase.
Step 1 – Survive
Your first task should be to ensure survival of your state. At the start you are the most vulnerable.
- It is vital to keep your direct vassals happy! Improve relations with them, and they are less likely to abandon you. Priorities should be for Barons of richer planets, and the ones at your borders – the ones you would be harder to defeat if they betray you.
- Stay as liked as possible – it helps stabilize your vassals. This often means punish wrongdoers. When you have to punish a vassal try to butter them before and after that, so they like you even while you fine them! Fine them over several turns, if possible. Aside from becoming more liked (among the ones who were not fined) this can bring a good cash boost.
- Avoid having colonies becomming abandoned – try to keep them at 3 Infrastructure or above. Rebuilding a colony is extremely expensive, even more at the start of the game when your income is low. Increasing a planet’s infrastructure also pleases the owner. Broke vassals are not useful (rich vassals are dangerous, but more on that – later).
- If you get offered planets, or entire factions – great. Try to keep them as happy as possible, but don’t expect to keep them for long.
- If you have free orders – repair your fleet or decrease your planet’s unrest (just note, this costs money). It helps, but for now it is just nice to have
Step 2 – Stabilize
Gradually improve your own system’s infrastructure.
- You get 10/20/30% of the income of your direct vassals’s planets, between 1%-9% of indirect vassals, but 100% of your own. Having a stable income that can’t betray you (easily) is great.
- In your home world 5 infrastructure gives 1 Vassal capacity, so I suggest you hit 10 when you feel a bit more secure, and push towards 15 whenever you have excess money
- Fleet capacity on a planet is 9+ infrastructure level.During peace you can stack up ships so you are ready for war, or rebellion.
Step 3 – Expand your family
The game is called Star *Dynasties* for a reason. History is full of great rulers who expanded greately and their empires fell apart almost immediately. When you can take a new planet, your first thought should be “do I have someone reliable to put in charge there” – in many cases this should be a relative. You will need a ton of them…. while keeping within the family size limit, of course.
This is by far the slowest and grindiest part of the game. It takes a long time for the new generation to arrive, and by late game every turn takes a long time.
- Marry people in childbearing age as soon as you find someone suitable.
– The one they marry should be of similar age, there is no point in your fresh 16 year old heir marrying a 60 year old grandmother. They need to have children, after all.
– Try to have matching traits, happy people get better stats, and divorces are dishonorable.
– If you are not hitting your family limit, try to have the significant other join your house.
– If possible, pick good traits, and good stats – but people with good stats are likely to already be in positions and Barons will not like parting with them
– People from powerful families are nice, but most likely those powerful families will not stay that powerful for long, the game is dynamic in the long run
– You are more likely to get a good candidate if you know more people. I’m not sure how you do this, but I think you meet them at feasts, so attend them more.
- Make more children
– Prioritize your own children, but if you are far below the family size limit allow everyone to have as many as they wish
– Medical attention to the wives usually means more children, and lower chances of death while giving birth – good to have in the first few years after marriage even when your wife is healty
You are most likely going to have too few relatives and not too many, but watch for the family size limit and DO NOT get over it. Don’t forget that children close to coming of age will need to marry and this will potentially increase the number further.
Step 4 – Improve your family
Try to grow your characters’ stats. It is best to have a primary stat user, and a younger one as a backup and when you need to use two at the same time. you can increase a character’s stats by having another character teach them. This uses the teacher’s science stat. I’m listing them in the order of importance (though that may change depending on your situation).
– Used for Teaching. Having several characters with high Science means you can teach more, so it is always great.
– Used for Monitor Vassals – if you get over the Vassal Limit it will hurt your finances very badly. Monitor Vassals gives you a few points up, which can save a ton of money.
– Used for Medical Attention. When characters are sich they are only half as effective. Medical Attention improves the odds of them returning to full stats, and having a child. Also, high Science reduces the chance for them to get sick in the first place.
– Increases Vassal Limit, but only with 1 per 75 Science
– Expedition Events happen more often… though they can be just as harmful as they can be useful
– Faster increase in Infrastructure
– Rebuild Fleet can be very helpful in wars of attrition.
– The easiest way to increase Vassal limit passively – you get 1 limit per 50 Administration, so having +2 with proper people and training is doable, 3 is nice
– Increases your income a bit
– Keep your important vassals happy! You won’t be able to cover them all using this ability, though
– Use Acquire Claim on planets you already have, or intend to take soon. This way you can take or retake it with less honor loss
– Check yourself before you wreck yourself… especially if you have people that would prefer you are dead. I’ve lost several rulers to assassinations.
– Also useful to keep Secrets harder or impossible to find out, but I found I do not use this often
– Quell Unrest – less pesky rebellions
– Good to use Plan Attack and increase your odds on places you know you’ll hit
– Rebuild Fleet is very helpful in long wars
Step 5 – Grow your borders
This is a game of patience and opportunities. Colonies get abandoned and rebuilt, factions grow and shrink, leagues form and fall apart. Waiting for the right moment to grow can be tedious, but growing right is important if you want your empire to last when others don’t.
- The easiest way to expand is to restore abandoned colonies. Tt is very expensive, but costs no honor and you pick the ruler. Increase their infrastructure at least to 4-5, so they can be self-sustainable.
- Diplomatic deals to get territory are nice, if relatively rare, but you don’t swap the rulers and you can’t hope to hold them in the long term.
– If they rebel, though, you get the opportunity to fight and retake them. You don’t have to do it right away, but check if you can prepare before the Crime runs out.
– If a Barron you don’t like needs to be punished, you can try and replace them instead of fining them. Just be prepared for him to rebel – so beef up your fleets before.
- Best fight wars when you have an excuse, when the enemy is small, or their fleets are depleted. Rebelled Barons and Dukes are usually better opportunities than healthy empires.
– If you can, use the Plan Attack to take well defended systems cheaper.
– Save up some money to buy mercenaries. If your army is bigger, you take far fewer losses
– If you destroy the fleets of several systems in the first battle and manage to keep most of yours, retaking the rest of the territory will be much easier.
– If, on the other hand they decide not to defend the planet – you get to keep its fleet and use it for further conquest!
– Direct Vassals are more likely to join your fights. It helps if they like you.
– Indirect vassals you need should be buttered up. Their relations should be very high if you want them to join your fights. They will also consider it a favor they will later want repayed.
Once you have a new system it’s time to choose its ruler. If you have more than enough family members – use them. They are more reliable, but more likely to be in short supply.
Important systems are best put under a close family member
- Important here means that it gives you access to other empires, or has high infrastructure, has special features like a shipyard
- If you replace a Duke – put a close family member. It is far easier to take care of rebelling systems, than a whole faction!
- !! Remember that a family member takes his spouse, and children. You can lose a lot more people than intended! Better give the children planets before sending the parents.
- !! This creates a new House on that system. With very few exceptions you will never get any relative that leaves for it.
- !! DO NOT make your wife a Barron. She will take all her kids, except for the heir. This means you have to backup until the heir starts making children, and will probably delay your plans a generation!
- !! DO NOT marry yourself, or your heir to a Barron. Best not to marry the first few people in the line of succession to a Barron, or anyone who will not join your house. (Edit: adding this because I did it without thinking ahead).
- Sometimes when children come of age they choose to go to their siblings/parents House rather than stay. If possible, start sending out bothers and sisters once all their siblings come of age.
It is ok to have a mix of family and non-family. The end goal is to be able to retake any single system held by a non-relative.
- Keeping the old ruler of a system after you take it by force does not work in the long run – they remain resentful.
- Choosing people with “honorable” and “loyal” helps, for them benig a relative is a plus.
Being over the vassals limit is extremely expensive. Rising the limit should be a priority, but remember that people die randomly. Losing a person with Administration can remove 2 from the limit, losing a people with Science can reduce it with 1 and will reduce the effect of “Monitor Vassals”, so have a backup person, if possible. The way to go is to give systems to Dukes, because all their systems count as 1 – the Duke is your only direct vassal. Factions you created, with a close relative as a Duke, can be given planets with little issues. You can invest there, build up infrastructure, etc. The systems you give to other Dukes you should be prepared to lose with little notice, and if you beef them up it will be harder to retake them later.
Sometimes Barons offer to leave their faction and join a Dukes or the Archon of the faction directly. This is usually because they are related to the Archon or Duke they offer to join, or were punished severely by their old lord. This can put the faction they enter over the Vassal limit, cut off access and so on, creates a crime that will have you spammed with punishment requests, and generally brings dishonor. Try not putting close relatives under one of your Dukes, and not to punish people you want to keep into disliking you.
Star Dynasties is very hard, unforgiving, and sometimes equally as frustrating as it is enjoyable. It is already very cool, has the potential to grow into something truly great with a bit more polish and tweaking. It definitely deserves more love.