At this point I have seriously started cranking out banks ( not all have upgraded to stock markets yet), and have really upped my diplomacy and my morale resource as well as trade goods. I made it a point to put 1 farm and 1 entertainment tile on EACH planet to keep morale at a max. As a side note, Earth is always the biggest culprit for dragging down morale, so let me post a picture of what I have on my capital, its probably not what you expect
In case you cant see the structures, I basically built any and all morale structures on Earth, Frictionless Clothing which I built later is on another planet but is galaxy wide anyhow. So Earth has a politcal capital, Zero-G, ultra spice, harmony crystal, secret police, and a counter espionage and a farm tile on a bonus population, with 100 percent morale. BIG help. Havent had to worry about Galactic Resort or upgrading the last tech for morale yet and I dont think I will have to bother unless I just want to experiment and see how high and can get my taxes.
Anyhow, back to the game. At this point I have 15 planets, with 159 total tiles.
96 are banks/stock markets...
17 labs, with 3 research coordination
The rest are still open, or have various trade goods, capitals, or wonders on them.
I am banking, with 100 percent approval, over 1000 BC per turn.
I have started to buy ships from anyone who will sell, but put a premium on any ship from the Korx or the Yor. After just 1 round of buying, the stats are as follows:
My diplomacy rating is at 136%, and I need to start eliminating races I dont like. I get the wars started...easily...
Followed by this:
Basically, you can control the flow of who you want to snag planets by buying the defender's ships and gifting them to the invaders, or just keeping some for yourself. Oftentimes I could trade 1 tech for upwards of 10 to 14 ships, even heavy fighters and frigates, and they are waaaay better and technically cheaper than anything I could have built. At this point, I have started to notice that this approach would be sloooooow for a complete military victory but VERY easy for any of the other 3 victories. My biggest concern, if you really want to call it that, is starting to become spies.
Luckily, the AI, even at painful, doesnt focus on the right structures. Killing my manufacturing capital is sorta pointless, and taking out 1...or even 7 stock markets isnt really doing very much. Anyhow, it still annoys me, so i crank up espionage to get 5 spies in about 8 turns and clean it all up.
Getting back to the strat, basically continue to pay the Yor and Korx to fight the Altarians, which really means everyone else. Buy the Korx ships and give about half of them to the Altarians. Buy the Yor ships and give about half to the Arceans. At the beginning of year 3 you will have this. Notice I capitalized and took out all the Korx planets (with transports I bought from the Altarians), and I dont think exterimating them even made a difference to my other relations.
The Arceans on the other hand, REALLY stepped up military output, but notice I still lead in everything else
SO, I need to watch the Arceans, because now they are on my immediate border, as well having a huge military, funded mostly by me and they have been the most standoff-ish all game. But, I think its safe to say I have this game in hand, its just a matter of finishing it.
As to the "all econ" approach, I do think its fairly efficient, but with severe limitations. Im not sure I could have done this with another race, maybe the Drath, or a custom race with Super-Diplomat. You have to do a lot of micro managing, and observation of everyone else on top of that, which leads to a rather tedious game if you ask me. As an added level of difficulty I want to win this game without actually building any warships, or achieving a tech victory. The all econ approach would be much simpler if I just used the money not only to buy ships but to buy my own that I build and just start taking over colonies. I didnt even research space weapons, but I did research planetary invasion because it wouldnt let me invade a planet without it
That being said, I should point out that if you go "all econ", 96 tiles out of a possible 159 is what I would call "all econ", you rely on trade more than I would have thought. So if you use that money to buy warships and invade, invade, invade, you will have to protect trade routes better, and really watch how many wars you fight all at once.
Thats enough for now, I will probably finish the remainer of the game in the next post or 2.