I just started up a new game of GC2 after not playing for a few months at least. I started the game in a Gigantic galaxy against three opponents (Drengin, Arcean, and Yor) on the Impossible difficulty. I started the game in a very bad position, I expanded to the right and I found the Arceans right there, I expanded to the left and the Drengin were there to meet me. I expanded up, and there were the Yor. We were all spawned within the bottom left corner of the map, and I was stuck between them. These are usually the best games, because there is action early and often.
Anyway, I wasn't able to grab many planets in the beginning, because the three races snatched up the ones in range rather quickly. After the initial planet grab, I only had maybe 12-15 planets; compaired to ~30 for the Drengin, ~60-70 for the Arceans, and about the same ~60-70 for the Yor. Since they were all on the Impossible rating, they advanced much quicker than me, and I needed to move fast if I was going to survive. I picked the Drengin to pick on, since they were stuck in the corner, and I had the best chance of finishing that war quickly. I bought enough weapons technology from the Yor to build up some ships to challenge the Drengin, and started building attack fleets. I stationed a fleet by their capital, their manufacturing capital, and around 4-5 other strategically important planets just outside their sensor range. I must have been careless with my placement of the ships, because they gave me a warning to back off. I wasn't completely ready for the assault yet, but I should be able to cripple them enough with my initial strike that the mop-up wouldn't be too difficult. I decided to strike then, before they could mount too much of a defense. I was too late though! The capital and manufacturing capital both had a new battleship that mopped the floor with my fleets. I did manage to take a few of their lightly defended peripheral worlds, but they managed to keep nearly all of their core worlds. Luckily I managed to steal a more powerful weapon during my invasions, so I would be able to match their strongest ships with equally powerful ships of my own, but now the war was going to be a long drawn out battle. I was still confident that I would prevail in the end, but then the Drengin did something that totally screwed up my plans; they paid the Arceans to declare war on me! The Arceans were my friends before this, and this really messed me over as all of my traderoutes were destroyed, and I was starting to hemorage cash. I managed to get my finances in order by increasing Taxes and lowering production, but my invasions were costing me a fortune against the Drengin, because their soldiering capability nearly equaled mine, so I needed to use the extra options to have any chance during my invasions. Plus, the Arceans were just powerful enough to start destroying my defending ships on my peripheral worlds. They invaded a few times, although each attempt was thwarted because their soldiering skill was very low. At this point I was stretched very thin, and the Drengin had taken back all but 3 of the worlds I had taken from them. I made the decision to just reinforce the two most important Drengin worlds with enough force that they could stand toe to toe with the Drengin attack fleets, and concentrate on attacking the Arceans. I sent a fleet directly to their capital world first, and then built a second fleet to start systematically taking the worlds in-between. While my fleet was traveling to Arcea, my second fleet was having a pretty easy time taking out their peripheral worlds. My main fleet arrived, and I took Arcea and Hammer II without too many losses. At this point, the Arceans directed the majority of their forces to take Arcea back, so my other fleet met less resistance in its mission to take the peripheral worlds. By the time my second fleet made it to the core Arcean planets, the Arceans had managed to destroy most of my defending fleet around Arcea, and they had already taken back Hammer II. My second fleet was worn down pretty well, so I joined it with the first to defend Arcea. By this time I was working on putting together a few more fleets to finish my assault on the Arcean core worlds, but then the Drengin came to me and offered peace. I was not winning the war against them, but we had been at a stalemate for probably close to a year, so they wanted to stop. I accepted, because it would help me concentrate on the Arceans, who had drawn my ire. Immediately after the Drengin sued for peace, the Arceans did as well. I decided to take the peace, because it would help me rebuild , and I had already managed to expand my empire to a decent size. I now had about 30 planets, the Drengin still owned around 30 planets, and the Arceans were down to about 50-60 planets. The Yor used this war to really increase their influence, and they took about 2/3 of the resources that I lost during the war, as well as all of the unclaimed planets left in the galaxy. They probably had close to 100 planets, and a little less than half of the galaxy.
At this point I was set up well enough, so I went to work on rebuilding as many resource starbases as I could keep, and sent out as many freighters as I could to get my economy in better shape. Once that was acceptable I started to build up a new attacking force to finish off the Arceans. This time I had enough time to build up a proper attacking force. I placed powerful fleets around the rest of their original core worlds, and their new core worlds, and I decimated them well enough in one turn that I only had mop up duty after that. They surrendered within 2 months.
Now it was time to set my eyes back on the Drengin. I had built up some very powerful ships fighting the Arceans, and had single battleships that had over 150 attack, 150 defense, and 35 movement points. I used some of my left over ships from my Arcean assault, and built new ones for my new invasion, and attacked. The Drengin surrendered on the third turn after I started the war. I completely routed them.
Now I have the Yor left. They are a good adversary, and have a nearly equivalent military, and economy. This should be a good and fun war. I am very impressed with the new AI improvements, and I have had a lot of fun this game. This is the first game where I thought I might actually lose. I managed to get through it, but it was fun nonetheless!