Stellaris Sector Guide
The sector system is one of the more controversial elements of the new Paradox game, but it's in there for a good reason -- micromanaging dozens of planets is fiddly, unnecessary, and limits the game to only the hardest core players. Being able to dump new colonies into a sector and let your governors take care of it is a good system, but the AI still needs work, so in the meantime, here's what you need to know to make the most out of your sectors:
Don't forget to feed your sectors
The number one mistake that players make when creating new sectors or managing their existing ones is forgetting to "feed" them or seed them with resources. By the time you are managing large numbers of planets you should have a substantial mineral surplus -- so give some to your sector governors! Making sure that they have an ample mineral supply to build buildings with and make upgrades from will ensure that your sector governors make good decisions and continue to improve your colonies. It's not as important to put energy credits in, but make sure they have some -- without them your sectors can't clear blockers, which will slow development.
Sectors can also act as a "bank" for extra resources, so feel free to max out their contribution. You can always put more resources in, but you can't take stores out.
Fine-tune your settings
You don't have a lot of options when it comes to micromanaging your sectors (this is by design), but knowing when to allow redevelopment and when to respect tile resources is important. If you don't need anything specific out of your sectors, leave them at default -- on the other hand, if you're trying to really maximize their output, you might want to consider allowing redevelopment and not respecting tile resources. Depending on the planet, forcing your sector governors to respect what's on the tile could end up forcing a food glut or an inefficient colony, and redeveloping will allow them to make adjustments on the fly.
You DON'T want to allow redevelopment if you happen to have a planet with unique resources, like the alien toy factory or the unique buildings found on ringworlds -- unfortunately it's often better to just manage these planets yourself if possible, because the sector AI doesn't always follow the rules.
One of the trickier elements of managing your sectors is making sure that they have the resources that they need. Strategic resources are shared across your empire, but your sector only has access to the ones inside its borders -- if you have a colony that relies on Beltharian Stone, you need to make sure there's some in a nearby system (this can be a real bear, so consider keeping your Beltharian Power Plants on core planets to avoid any complications).
It can also be tempting to leave systems with valuable resources out of your sectors, but consider letting them have some mining stations that provide energy and minerals -- it will prevent shortfalls and make things easier for the sector AI.
Slaves and robots and sectors, oh my!
Two things that the sector AI doesn't manage terribly well are robots and slaves, unfortunately. Depending on how lucky you are and how complicated the planet is, you may find your slaves working science and your robots working energy, causing great inefficiency. Fortunately, there are a couple things you can do to minimize the negative impacts of faulty AI.
The main strategy you can follow is to wait to hand off your planets to the sector AI until you've built the right buildings and assigned your slaves and robots where they need to go. Make sure that "Allow Redevelopment" isn't checked, and you should be able to avoid having the wrong workers assigned to the wrong tiles.
Another good strategy is to compartmentalize your sectors -- if you rely heavily on slaves, just focus your sectors on mineral production and leave energy and science to either your core sector or sectors worked by your core population. In the long run this will require less micromanagement and will probably work better.
Follow these tips and you should have your sectors running smoothly in no time! Have a tip of your own? Just want to add your two cents? Let us know in the comments!