I'm 2 years into my first suicidal game and I thought I was doing pretty good. I colonized 51 planets in good shape, researched to go neutral then up the research tech branch to get NLC. On my best planet, a PQ32 I put 26 NLC's, a technology capital and the omega research center. I was able to place 12 fully charged econ bases (+24% bonus each) that covered my tech planet. The total RP bonus is 438%. I also have another 8 planets in that sector covered by the SB's (only a 288% bonus) but obviously without the tech capital and omega research. With my top planet alone I can generate between 3000 to 5000 RP/wk dependent on sliders and focus.
All this is to no avail because the Altarians are cleaning my clock in the research area with close to 15000 RP/wk and climbing. I invested in some espionage so I could see what it was they were doing that was so effective at research. What I found was, for example, a colony with an initial colony, 3 farms (with less than 5.0B pop) and a starport. The initial colony alone was generating 8 MP, 5 SP and 48 RP's. Another colony was generating 128 RP's with a single Invention Matrix not on a bonus tile, a 100% bonus tile gave him 344 RP's. Planet after planet was the same, never more than a single Invention Matrix somtimes on a bonus mosly not. I didn't actually count all his planets, I'm guessing maybe 75 to 100 tops.
The question I have is what possible strategy can counteract this kind of advantage? It's clear people are beating suicidal AI's. Sometimes they even complain about how easy it is. I'm just not seeing it. Any clues? Please?