Hey everyone, I started playing Galactic Civilizations II a few weeks ago (Dread Lords, haven't gotten any of the expansions yet), and I was able to finish a couple games on Normal difficulty without any issue, so I decided to try playing on Challenging. I've done 3 or 4 games, and while some have gone better than others, I end up in a hopeless situation every time. I've noticed a few problems I keep running into, so I was hoping people here could help me.
1.I've customized my race to get every possibly research advantage, with a few points in social production so they can build research buildings faster. The problem is that when I look at my empire's budget breakdown, I notice that my bonus research and production is part of my expenses. What good do these do me if I have to spend money on them anyway? Don't I lose any advantage they give me if I have to use less of my industrial base to pay for them?
2. Even with my heavy emphasis on research, it seems that often the AI is getting as much or more. In fact, there's usually at least one race that can get to the point where it's putting out 3-4x as much as I am and stay there for long periods of time. Any likely reasons this would be happening? This seems to happen largely with empires that have better early expansion, but I would think that their increased maintenance costs for colonies and buildings would prevent them from spending too much on science.
3. Not really a problem, but a question. When I choose a government party in the race creation screen (in my case, technologist), so I get the benefit of that government straightaway, or do I have to wait until I have my first senate elections?