This first link explains the GalCiv back-story.
The Story of the Mithrilar, Arnor, Dread Lords, Humans, Altarians, and Drath
This second link is to an old post of mine where I discuss the advantages of attacking vs. defending. Since then the bug that would restore your HP to full health has since been resolved. Also the research cost of weapons has been increased in ToA and a new building added which acts like an Orbital Fleet Manager on each planet. The planet with this building is a prime target when I attack an AI player; the orbital fleeting behavior should always be present and not depended on a building a human player with target first. Since this post I have switched to balancing my attack and defense on my ships (making sure to use the right defense for my enemy, this also means controlling which ships they fight, i.e., attacking vs. defending). Only the ship being attacked benefits from its defense so I attack with only one powerful ship rather than a fleet (in the early game I might use fleets of all attack ships). Also, ships in orbit get an attack bonus of I think 20%, so sometimes it pays to defend. Plus, this attack bonus rounds up not down unlike all other bonuses in the game so an attack of of 1 becomes 2! Thus keeping your combat ships in orbit of your planets when not attacking will increase your military rating/score because of the attack bonus.
Attacker Advantages are Exploitable!
Using 100% of Your Production Capacity
If you set your sliders to 100% spending, 30% military (should be called shipyard as it is for building ships, both combat and non-combat), 30% social, and 40% research, then you are only using 60% of your industrial capacity and 40% of your research capacity. These capacities are increased by the various bonuses in the game (bonuses from mining resources, economic starbases, and some techs, etc.); some bonus production we must pay for completely and some only 50%, depending on its source.
In order to use 100% of this capacity the all factories and all labs strategies emerged. With both of these strategies you don't build a mixture of factories and labs but instead build just one type. With the all factories strategy you set researching spending to 0 and split the remaining 100% between military and social. You research by focusing the industrial output of each planet towards research. With the all labs strategy you set researching spending to 100% with the others both set to 0. On each planet you focus your production towards either military or social.
The easiest of these strategies is the all factories as you set focus on all planets to research and can use you sliders to control the split between military and social. All labs is more difficult because at any given point a planet can only be focusing production towards either military or social but never both, so you need to frequently adjust your focus. The most complex strategy I like to call the switch. It involves applying the all labs strategy until you reach some critial point in your research (or your first war) and then replace all your labs with factories so you switch from high research with low industrial output to low research with high industrial output. Another switch strategy involves replacing most of your factories/labs with stock markets and then use your large cash surplus to buy whatever you need (buildings or ships); this could be called the all economy strategy.
In DL and DA 25% of production could be focused and I read in ToA it was reduced to 20% but you still pay for 25% (I have not experimented to confirm this penalty).
This third link is to a post of mine explaining a simpler UI with only 3 sliders vs 4, that would allow the AI and novice players to get 100% output.
Researching with Factories and Building with Labs is Crazy!
This fourth link is to a post of mine explaining in detail how I won a game on level suicide, on a medium map, with several AI players, using the all factories strategy.
The medium map is the hardest map to win on suicide.
On tiny maps you can rush the AI.
On gigantic/immense maps the colonization phase lasts much longer (the AIs don't get aggressive until this phase ends) and the AIs will cripple their economy by expanding too fast (quickly spending the starting game capital on buying colony ships and factories rather than building them). Also these maps have the most galactic resources that can net you a global bonus of up to 39% each! A skilled human player is much better at claiming these than the AI and will pay AIs to go to war so that he/she may claim their resources when their starbases are destroyed by the enemy.
Detailed Suicide Medium Map DA AAR!
This fifth link is to an excellent After Action Report(AAR) by Wyndstar explaining the switch strategy.
Altarian Rebillion AAR
My final link is to my Collection of Game Play Stories, Plus GalCiv II Stories.
If you found any of this useful then please show your appreciation in a reply (threads with many replies attract more readers) and send some good karma my way.
Mascrinthus, the last of the good Mithrilar (explained in my first link to the back-story).