So, I played what might have been the most ridiculous game in a long time. Decided to try out the Iconians (random note, love their tech tree, will likely use it for a custom race at some point), so I played a custom game with them. Immense map, uncommon stars, common habitable planets, tight clusters, etc. Had five AIs with me, who turned out to be the Drath, the Altarians, the Arceans, the Drengin, and the Yor. Game is progressing well, I quickly figure out how to stabilize my economy with the Iconians, and decide to settle for a smaller chunk of the galaxy than I normally would, to give my economy time to build, and to focus on my research. Things progress as you might imagine: The Yor and the Drengin irritate, while the rest of us establish trade relations and diplomatic connections, with the exception of the Drath, who dislike me because we ended up colonizing one another's space pretty heavily. They got the Altarians and some minor races to declare war on me, giving me the opportunity to conquer the minor races without a loss of diplomatic relations, and I made peace with the Altarians eventually (they were a good ways away from me, and no real threat anyways, had they gotten the Arceans to invade me, that would have been more problematic). I end up going to war with the Drath, and conquer their territory after a long, drawn out war (this war started by year two, and their worlds are a pain to invade with that damn soldiering bonus, and I didn't want to reduce the planet quality). Towards the end of the war, I get a message saying that the Yor found a Precursor Ranger. Fantastic, just what we all needed. Things progress fairly easily, with me not having to deal with the Yor since the sizable Drengin Empire was between us. My relations with the Arceans climbed, quickly becoming friendly, while relations with the Altarians fluctuated back and forth, jumping between wary and neutral for random reasons. Pirates show up, but most people have a good enough military power they are a minor inconvenience (I lost a few ships, and a space station, but was able to push them back out of my space shortly after). A couple of years later, a bloody coup happens within the Altarian government, and now they are evil, and quickly go to war with myself and the Arceans (rather, the Altarians declare war on me, and the Arceans help me out). With them now being evil, the Drengin and the Yor get dragged in thanks to the Super Organizer nonsense, and the galaxy descends into a chaotic war. I turtle down, and thanks to my superior tech manage to hold off the incoming waves of fighters and transports, and do rather well. This war drags on, though I once again manage to negotiate peace with the Altarians, leaving myself largely handling the Drengin and the Yor on one front, and the Arceans handling the Altarians and some fringe Drengin on the other.
This war drags on, and I eventually go on the offensive and take about a dozen Drengin worlds, and am feeling rather well about myself. Then, I get a message saying the Yor have found a Precursor artifact, and now are becoming progressively stronger. Realizing they need to be stopped ASAP, I start producing top of the line ships, and mass producing transports, hatching out a desperate plan. Since my ships were superior to the Drengin on a one-on-one basis, and could recover health like nobody's business thanks to the Iconian tech, I decided I would cut a path through the Drengin space, head into Yor territory, and take their core worlds, and from there conquer the rest of their space, hopefully putting a stop to them once and for all (and then would be able to take on the Drengin from two sides instead of one). It started beautifully. My Frigates and Cruisers cut a bloody swath through Drengin space, blasting all that challenged them, escorting the precious transport fleets on to our ancient homeworld to stop the Yor. It would have worked to, if not for one thing: I forgot about that damn Ranger. Shortly into Yor space, I get hit by it, along with a few Yor fleets (I would like to take this time to point out I have tech trading off, and had not seen alot of Yor ships. I underestimated their attack power, and sometime since I last fought their ships a couple of years prior, they had switched from energy weapons to missile weapons, making my shields nearly useless. My fleets were decimated, my gamble failed, and my military power took a huge drop. Worse, the Drengin seized the opportunity and swept in alongside the Yor, attacking my borders and taking worlds. I basically begged for peace with the Drengin, surrendering many of my formerly Drengin worlds in the process, and tried to stem the tide of Yor attacks against my empire. As a buffer, I traded several low-key border worlds to the Arceans in exchange for an alliance, letting them take the brunt of the impact, and giving me time to recover, as the Yor refused to talk peace.
I focused on upping my weapon abilities and defenses (was skating by on high hit points and regeneration before), and building my military back up to previous levels since I had expended alot of them in my gamble. A bit of relief came in the form of another mega event, the "War has expanded" one, with the Drengin and the Altarians turning on the Yor. This took pressure off of me, and allowed me to built back up without constant harassment as the Yor now had hostile Drengin between me and them. Things were not going well for the Arceans, however, who ended up surrendering after the Altarians made a hard push into their space, and they left their few worlds to me (they had a rough start in the colony rush, and the Altarians simply out produced and out teched them). I quickly set to work building, and converted most of the former Arceans space into a large production district. The next good bit was just a series of pushing back and forth with the Yor that made it to me (they had some worlds off to the side that allowed them to cut around and through Drengin space, and another (though smaller) attempt to get rid of the Yor by heading through Drengin space peacefully for the Yor homeworld. However, I quickly found the Yor had continued to improve, and their ships were ridiculously powerful, and I failed to take any planets as they held every advantage. I limped home, and continued to research and build as fast as possible.
The Drengin only lasted another year, and the Yor ended up conquering them, with the Drengin surrendering their last few worlds to the Altarians, leaving just me and this other evil race fighting the now Super Yor (The irony of it coming down to Iconians vs Yor for the fate of the galaxy was not lost on me). Utilizing my high-end ships and military bases, I could hold them off, replenishing losses as they came, but I could not advance into Yor territory, and they simply continued to grow stronger. Worse, they signed a peace treaty with the Altarians, leaving me hanging. I was a bit irked, until I checked and realized the war had consumed most of the Altarian's ships, and they were on their last leg. I began to formulate a plan, while risking some extra ships and transports by taking the remaining Altarian worlds in a short-lived war, leaving down to me and the homicidal robots.
By now, I am sure you are wondering where Terror Stars come into it. Well, that was my grand plan. I pushed forward, used military starbases to secure a new front line, built about half a dozen terror stars, and began a slow process of just pushing forward, building new bases as I went, constantly pumping out warships and constructors. Took me several days real time, but I ended up using this Terror Star wave to push the Yor back, and wiped them out down to their last world (had to lure that freaking Ranger away at one point, that was fun). It was one of my more tedious wins in the end, but I actually ended up using the Terror Stars for something.