[Top 5] Stellaris Best Galaxy Shapes That Are Excellent

The top 5 best Stellaris galaxy shapes.
The galaxy is yours to befriend.

Hopeful New Beginnings

Why is Galaxy shape important in a playthrough? Stellaris is very much a game that you can make as easy or as hard as you like.

The settings you use determine the overall difficulty of a game, if you understand the different options available you can set up the game just the way you like.

New players will want vastly different settings than grizzled veterans, if you’re wondering what the best galaxy shape is for new players, or seeking the hardest challenge Stellaris has to offer, here are the top 5 galaxy shapes for you to conquer.

Starting with…


5. New Player Spiral (Four Arms)

This guide by Cedar Games offers a good setup for any galactic ruler in training. A good balance in size and difficulty offers the perfect middle ground, you should try the 4-arm spiral galaxy as it offers a good balance between variety and strategy.

Why the New Player 4 Arm Spiral is great:

  • The 4 arm spiral galaxy offers great variety in the galactic “geography” mainly more chokepoints and blocked off sections
  • Generally speaking, you’re less likely to start surrounded by several hostile empires, instead of having only 1 or 2 main rivals early on
  • Medium Galaxy size offers the best balance between fun and scale
  • As a new player, it’s a good idea not to overwhelm yourself with a huge galaxy as this can be a pain to manage if you’re not familiar with the game

New Player 4 Arm Spiral details:

  • Medium Galaxy size 
  • 4 Arm Galaxy shape
  • Default advanced starts
  • Select Ensign difficulty - this gives no bonuses to you or the AI
  • Keep the rest of the settings the same as the default


4. Huge Spiral Galaxy (Two Arms)

Video by General

For a more challenging experience, a larger galaxy with more potential late-game threats can be just the thing for an advanced player. This guide by General goes into great detail about the galaxy settings, if you want to dive into the game mechanics.

Why the Huge Spiral Galaxy is great:

  • A larger galaxy is needed for more experienced players, else wise you might steamroll the galaxy before the crisis can even get going
  • Two arm spiral galaxies can provide a challenging start, expanding the wrong way can pause the growth of your empire quickly
  • You can tailor the advanced settings to your goals, creating a fair challenge or a punishing match

Huge Spiral Galaxy details: 

  • Huge Galaxy size
  • 2 Arm Galaxy shape
  • Default AI empires (default settings seem to be optimal) 
  • Advanced AI starts off if you’re playing harder difficulties 
  • Setting Fallen Empires to the max can lead to some interesting late-game interactions
  • Difficulty - Captain and above is best
  • Depending upon how much micro you want to do or how beefy your computer is, you might want to set growth scaling between 0 and 0.25

3. Huge Elliptical Galaxy

Video by CraftyDWB

For a balanced galaxy, good for beginners or experienced players, give the elliptical galaxy a spin. This youtube guide from Crafty DWB explains in detail why these galaxy settings make for a fun playthrough that the majority will enjoy.

Why the Huge Elliptical Galaxy is great:

  • Elliptical galaxies generally have fewer choke points (no spiral arms limiting expansion) which leads to more dynamic playthroughs 
  • Easier to access systems means either more enemies or more space to expand, if you want to paint the map, this might be the shape for you

Huge Elliptical Galaxy details: 

  • Large-Huge galaxy size, depending on how powerful your PC is
  • 8-16 AI empires, having more can be better if you want lots of territory conquest
  • 1-2 advanced AI for a stronger midgame threat (it’s important to note that running into an advanced AI early on when you’re not experienced at the game can completely ruin your playthrough)
  • 1-2 Fallen empires can spice up the late game (War In Heaven)
  • Random crisis (further spices up the late game) 
  • Cadet for beginners, captain onwards for intermediate players
  • Growth scaling off or 0.1 
  • Keep the rest of the settings at default


2. The Ring Galaxy (Mod)

Video by Ep3o

This mod adds a huge layer of difficulty compared to a normal Stellaris playthrough, making it so you can only expand in one direction - a single line circumventing the entire galaxy. This means you’ll have fewer planets and resources, the only way to expand is to advance from choke point to choke point, making for a much more challenging playthrough.

Why the Ring Galaxy Mod is great: 

  • If you like to challenge yourself, this mod completely transforms the galaxy into a single line circling the galactic core
  • This is an incredibly difficult challenge, not something for a fun easygoing playthrough

Ring Galaxy Mod details:

  • A single line circumventing the galactic core greatly limits your expansion
  • You can change the mod from a single circle on the outer edge to multiple concentric circles 
  • Fallen Empires and some origins don’t work with this mod 
  • You can generate up to 200 systems, making this a smaller sized galaxy


God Mode Mod Galaxy

Video by BelannaerTV

The final option in this guide is for the more technically inclined, the base game of Stellaris comes with almost all of the customization and galaxy shapes you’ll ever need for thousands of hours of gameplay.

However, if you want to tinker under the hood and stretch the game systems to the max, the option is open to you. If you want to learn to start modding, this guide by BelannaerTV is a great place to start. There are also massive amounts of premade mods out there.

Why the Modded Galaxy is great: 

  • If you want a greater range of options or enhanced difficulty, you can modify it to your exact specifications 
  • If your PC is powerful enough, you could have a modded galaxy with 10000 systems, the sky is the literal limit (this could melt your PC if you don’t have the RAM though)

Modded Galaxy details:

  • Following the guide above will allow you to change the shape and size of the galaxy however you like
  • This is not for everyone, if you’re not technically minded then don’t feel this is necessary
  • Many Stellaris players stick to the vanilla experience, but many believe mods can fix or spice up the game tremendously 


That’s the end of our guide to the best galaxy shapes in Stellaris. It’s important to remember you can always tinker with the galaxy settings, eventually, you’ll find what the best settings are for you. The templates listed here are just suggestions, but if you try them out you’ll have fun at least.

Stellaris is a massively complex game, and it can almost be overwhelming for the majority of new players. However, if you’re interested in learning about all things Stellaris then check out some of our other guides. 


You may also be interested in:

[Top 15] Best Stellaris Mods For a New Playthrough

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Stellaris Best Federation Type - Which to Choose

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From the deep forests of Fangorn to the furtherst reaches of the Delta quadrant, Tom's adventures as a roaming Geek will hopefully never end. Proffesional word crafter, unfortunately memeworthy.
Gamer Since: 1999
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Top 3 Favorite Games:Mass Effect 2, The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings, Stellaris

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