I'm playing on the second to largest map size.
I'm the Korx, playing fully on evil empire mode. I'm doing OK. My economy is kinda shaky (I think I have too many planets, and not enough taxpayers), and my military is ok (got some really strong ships, but not too many of them), and my research is really strong.
My custom races are:
The seekers: A civ I played as in a previous game. They're neutral, leaning good. These guys have been pretty friendly to me, but are kinda weak. Been trying to get them to go to war with the drath or the ponies for a while, but they know they can't survive that...
The Tekk: Another Civ I played as before. Race of robots that are totally neutral. They...Ahh...Kinda dislike me for some reason. Problem is, I have a lot of trade with them, so I don't want them to turn on me...
The koopa kingdom: I thought I'd chuck Bowser in as an enemy civ for this game. He's been pretty disappointing. He's got 2 planets, has no real military, and is boxed in by the Yor. I'm just waiting for the Yor to just get sick of them and clear them out.
The kingdom of Celestia (ponies): For the laughs, I thought I'd make the ever popular ponies from MLP as a race, and made them all the way good, and all the way pacifist. ............SOMEHOW they have been VERY worthy opponents. They have declared war on me, they've been doing all kinds of backroom deals with the freakin drath, and are dominating the united planets with their insane influence. I hate these guys.
My non custom opponents are:
the Arceans: They're surprisingly weak, but friendly to me. I ended up allying with them just to ensure that my trade routes with them wouldn't be put at risk.
The Yor: Ahh, my true allies. After the drath and ponies declared war on all the evil in the galaxy, we've been working well together. The bulk of my trade is with them.
The altarians: 0_o These guys were good, and siding with the ponies and drath to attack me ("We must come to the aid of those who think like us!"). Then a mega event turned them evil. I made peace with them and turned them on their former buddies. Then, another mega event turned them good again. Now we're neutral towards each other, although the Yor are thankfully keeping them too busy to attack us.
The Drath: I HATE THESE GUYS SO MUCH! I'm sure they've been behind EVERY large conflict that has broken out. They keep raiding my territory, bribing other races to attack me, and have so many planets that invading them all is inefficient. And they refuse to broker for peace despite my fair military presence in their main sector.
Where I am now, the ponies and drath are allied against me and the yor (My arcean allies are useless, they are too far from the action and aren't even helping with their minuscule fleet), and while I have some REALLY good large class ships with good attack and 6 Parsec-per-turn engines, the big problem is the number of planets my opponents hold. The ponies don't worry me too much, since their planets are way too far to do anything serious to me. It's the drath that I can't stand. They have so many planets (many of them useless to me, they're like...level 6) that invading them all would only destroy my faltering economy (I'm only holding on through my insane amount of trade routes), and kill what little approval I have from my people. So, I've been putting almost ALL of my production into research, in order to get terror stars. And despite my really high research capacity it's taking too long, and the drath keep poking into my damn sector, needling away at starbases and stuff, AND I think they're trying to turn the Tekk against me. I swear, once I get me some terror stars, the drath sector will go BOOM!
And the Tekk are being troublesome as well. I get the feeling that if the drath wanted, they could easily bribe them to switch sides. This would not only piss off the Yor, who are right next to them, but it would also destroy my trade routes with them, slitting my economy's throat. I'm tempted to just give them a bunch of the planets I have that aren't doing anything for me in order to save my econ, and make them less angry with me.