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This article is timeless and should be accurate for any version of the game.

Ironman is an optional gameplay flag, that restricts the player's control over their save file, effectively removing the ability to correct mistakes and change decisions made during the course of play. Ironman mode can be enabled from the settings screen when starting a new campaign.

Achievements can only be obtained in ironman mode.


Ironman has a number of restrictions:

  • The checksum must be the same as one of the official releases. Any mod that changes it (broadly, this means one that affects gameplay) will cause ironman mode to be disabled.
  • Only a single save will be stored; it is thus impossible to load an earlier save if something goes wrong (unfortunately, this includes save game corruption).
  • The game saves automatically whenever almost any decision is taken (such as declaring war).
  • Save files can be stored in the Steam cloud or on a local drive, but are encrypted and cannot be edited.


Ironman brings a number of potential benefits, though it is subjective as to whether these outweigh the restrictions:

  • The player does not have to exercise self-control in order to avoid "savescumming"
  • The player does not have to exercise self-control in order to avoid using the console
  • The player gets the chance to unlock achievements

Save file storage[edit]

There are two options for save locations for Ironman mode at the moment. "Local" Ironman saves are always uncompressed and are stored in:

Documents\Paradox Interactive\Stellaris\
(for Linux) ~/.local/share/Paradox Interactive/Stellaris/save games/

If choosing to save in the "Cloud", the save will be always compressed and uploaded to the Steam servers. A backup is also kept locally on your computer, at:

C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\userdata\<YOUR STEAM ID>\281990\remote\save games

For Mac user is at:

~/Library/Application Support/Steam/userdata/<YOUR STEAM ID>/281990/remote/save games


The "Steam Cloud" option must be enabled for the game in the Steam library (Stellaris/Properties/Updates). This also requires that "Enable Steam Cloud synchronization for applications which support it" is enabled in the Steam settings (Steam/Settings/Cloud).


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