(Guide) How To Expand Borders In Stellaris For Your Empire?

What’s the point of intergalactic travel if you stop exploring and expanding? Stellaris is the stellar 4X grand strategy game of our times. One of the key gameplay elements in it is territory expansion or border expansion. 


All strategies in Stellaris essentially stem from increasing your empire’s influence. It is, after all, a race for galactic control. Naturally, the larger the territory (or space) that you control, the closer you are to accomplishing that ultimate goal.

The way Stellaris is set up, the expanse of your borders defines the region in which you can establish your colonies. Now let us say a certain planet looks like an attractive place for you to set up a colony. But you do not have the resources or fleet to capture it right away. This is where expanding your borders comes in handy.

You could grow your borders and include the planet within them. This way, it is in some sense “safer” than before for you to establish that colony whenever you have the resources for it. 


That is because the mechanism of expanding borders has changed a lot as new updates of Stellaris have come out. 

In fact, earlier you did not have to manually expand borders at all. Stellaris expanded your borders automatically to let you focus fully on managing your armies and making diplomatic alliances.

Also, expert gamers always come out with a few hacks for all game tasks that you won’t find in the game information or documentation. Toward the end, we have included a few such tips to help you expand your borders in Stellaris.

Also read: How to Get Rid of a Planet in Stellaris


The straightforward way of expanding your borders in Stellaris is to build starbase outposts in the system that you intend to expand into. You need to build a construction ship, survey the desired system, and then set up an outpost to bring it within your borders.

The further out from your empire’s borders the system is, the more influence cost you need to pay to expand into it. 

Building smart outposts can be great for strategically placing borders around your empire. By building several chokepoints around you, you can restrict the entry points into your empire to just 2 or 3 systems.

This way, you would be safe from enemies expanding into your area. They would have to do so only through a treaty with you or by declaring war on your empire.

However, as with all strategies, rushing to make outposts also has a trade-off. If you leave out too many systems within your borders, you might lose influence as a penalty. Weigh the benefits of sealing your borders with too many chokepoints against losing crucial influence.


Stellaris would not be much fun if all we did was expand into virgin spaces and seal up our borders through choke points. 

The essence of a 4X game is competitive combat, and Stellaris is no different. 

You can go to war with a rival empire, and if you defeat them, you can encompass their systems in your territory. Which of their systems you can merge into your empire depends on that empire’s War Philosophy policies. Some of their systems might be protected under the terms of these policies from being annexed into your territory.

However, if the War Philosophy of the rival empire is that of “Unrestricted Warfare”, you can claim any of their systems as spoils of your conquest. In fact, if you don’t want to be mired up in keeping track of which systems you have annexed through warfare, you should always go for all-out warfare with other empires. 

Also read: The Best Weapons in Stellaris – Your Ideal Arsenal Assortment


 As mentioned in the beginning, expert gamers always have a few tricks up their sleeve for all game tasks. Likewise, there are a couple of indirect ways to expand your borders in Stellaris. These hacks, though, do not always work. Also, you need to make a cost-benefit analysis of these before including them in your strategy.

One clever way is through setting up the feudal perk and vassals. If you consume the vassal later on in the game, that system will be annexed into your territory. This could be a good tactic for expansion. However, the flip side is that your enemies could grow their territories faster through building outposts in the time you take to churn out vassals.

Another way is through certain upgrades that can help expand your territory. This is another viable tactic to get some more territory under your wings.

Note that these two roundabout ways of expanding your territory won’t get the job done all by themselves. However, they can be good complementary strategies to your two primary ways of expanding borders by setting up outposts and winning wars. 


Stellaris is a grand strategy game, and its essence lies in gamers coming up with new tactics and strategies.

There are no “correct” ways to get a task done in such fast-paced, dynamic strategy games. Gamers need to quickly assess the particular game situation and think of the best strategy on their feet. 

There might be some merit to initially expanding peacefully. Warfare can be costly. Even worse, if you lose a conflict, you might have to give up some of your hard-earned territories to the conquering empire.

At other times, gaining territory through warfare may actually be a better approach. For example, if you want to save valuable influence, then annexing territory through conquest is better. It costs around three times more influence to expand by setting up outposts than to expand by conquering another empire’s territory.

Stellaris is one of the bestselling 4X grand strategy games. The producers are coming up with new rules, tasks, and changes all the time to keep the gamers on their toes. As we have seen, territory expansion in Stellaris itself has come a long way since the game first came out. You should be ready to expect more changes in the future. Whatever the specifics of the process, keep experimenting and coming up with new tricks as you go about your quest to become Masters of the Universe!

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