I only started playing again recently (because of ToA), and only played the smaller galaxy sizes since then. I played some large games about a year ago (and lost them due to economic problems). Since I won the last few games I played pretty easily (Crippling, Medium Galaxy, 4 enemies, medium tech rate) I decided to try something different this time. Still Crippling, Immense, 9 enemies, slow tech rate. I'm playing the Iconians. Stats are:
10 Hit Points
Everything went pretty well at the start. Good starting position, right in the middle of the map with lots of stars around me. I ran my economy into the ground after I had colonized about 8 planets, but managed to pull myself back up by quickly researching their two econ buildings, the refinery and that sweet one per planet 50% econ building. Then I kept on colonizing. I didn't find anything higher than PQ 12 though (well, one far off PQ 16 I only have 50% production on due to toxic). It's the middle of the third year now, and I'm in the process of getting all those low PQs in my area of influence and finally starting to get some military. Slow research is slow. Slow me is slow too.
Now to the problems. Those damn Torians. They have 38 planets, I have 26. They have twice my population. They have the strongest military by a very large margin, a huge tech lead on everyone, and they don't like me because they decided to expand in my direction. Actually they expanded in every direction, but well, close borders, my weak military, and that obsure "militaristic" thing are apparently all worse for me than for everyone else next to them. The good news are, at least I'm second best in almost everything. I also got Diplomatic Translators, Nano Recorders and Eyes of the Universe. Only two resources though, moral and research. I'm not overly afraid since the Torians are a pretty peaceful bunch, but the Drath might make them attack me, or they might come to the aid of the Altarians when I decide to wipe them out. Or they might just decide to actually use that military and not be peaceful.
I left diplomatic victory on, so I guess I could try to ally with them, then wipe out everyone else. I'm currently setting up trade with the Torians to improve my relations, and I could pretty easily further my diplomatic advantage. I cant easily get around the weak military and the close borders though. I could get a mutual research treaty if I give them a bunch of techs, and probably econ a little later when my relations are better. Both would be good deals because they have twice my econ and research. And I could attack some other guys while doing all that too. Most have techs I don't have, so it wouldn't be just for the planets. The main problems are close borders and weak military, and I want to go evil. Currently I'm right on the neutral mark because I'm afraid of the Torians.
The other option is attacking them asap. All those juicy techs from conquering planets sure would help. Their military rating is about 15 times higher than mine atm, and they have twice the econ and 30% more production, so it would be a hell of a war. I guess I would pay all their neighbors to attack them a few months before I do so myself. I would get my fleets in position and buy some conquered planets until I'm ready. Problem with that is that my economy right now isn't as solid as I would like. Those Iconian buildings are awesomely maintenance efficient, but still cost so much that my economy is just barely staying positive. Plus there are still about 10 more planets I would like to colonize, and I have a short war against two minor races on my agenda. One is pissing me off because someone paid them to attack me at the start. The other controls three resources. So when I say attacking the Torians asap, asap is still pretty far off in the distance.
What should I do? Attack them and sic everyone else on them, then mop up the remains? Or try to ally and kill everyone else?
I hope someone actually plowed through that wall of text. :/