But otherwise, where do things stand?As far as I know, playtest/balancing stage. As Mabus wrote:
"We're at the tweak/polish/play test cycle and enjoying the fruits of our labour. When stuff pops up, we address it."
All settings just like in my last game, but Fast tech speed, no tech trade and Large galaxy with Scattered Stars. Tested G version with my tweak of removing food bonus from Hyperion Matrix. 75 turn - I'm low in most ratings, my tech is ok but I don't have production/military or economy to keep up with strongest civs, so I give up and plan on starting new game. Better yet, someone paid Thalan, my neighbor and strongest civ in galaxy to declare war on me.
I guess Iconians are not for me, or I just don't know a good order of research/building up planets with them. I grabbed 13 worlds, but only thanks to 700 manufacturing tile on my HW. Without it it could be worse. Here's a quick rundown:
Altarian - Being sandwiched between me, Krynn and Korath they will get culture flipped sooner or later. No Industrial or Econ techs, no Invasion, they have only 10 colonies. 834 income, -49 net. Small hulls.
Krynn - no Invasion, Mass Driver but no other weapon tech. Other then that they done a bit of research everywhere, mostly focused on their unique and diplomacy techs. 9 worlds. 594 total income, -83 per turn. Tiny hulls.
Drath - 1199 income, half from War Profit, they make 514 bc/turn. 15 worlds. Healthy mix of techs, they also got Invasion, and again, Beam Theory but no other tech. Tiny hulls.
Arcean - 845 income, -41 bc net, 13 worlds. No Industrial, no econ, no morale, no Invasion, no Space Weapons but Shield defense tech (!). Looks like they went straight for Aquatic Colonization I. Small hulls.
Korath - 428 income, -39 bc net, 7 worlds. No econ, no Invasion, no Spore, Stinger I, Slave Pits, Diabolical Research, Arena of Agony, only Xeno Communication. They got Aul Incinerator so I guess that's where most of their TP went. 2nd MMR, 4th tech. Small hulls.
Yor - 859 income, 151 net, 13 colonies - they started right in the middle of the galaxy. 2nd tech, 4th military. Seekers II, Invasion, Adv Barren, basic Toxic, only Xeno Communications but other than that, they have good research. Small hulls
Terran - 1071 income, 78 net, 24 (!) worlds. No Space Weapons, no morale, basic Barren, Research Centers and Xeno Factory, Banking Center, tiny hulls.
Drengin - 516 income, -9 net, 10 worlds. Slave Pits, 1st tech in econ/morale/farm/pop growth so not bad. No Diabolical Research, no Invasion but finished Ion Cannons. Just started New Propulsion. Small hulls
And finally, the monster itself - Thalan: 1675 income, -89 net, 31 (!) worlds. Industrial Adaptation I, Technology Adaptation II, Banking Center, adv Aquatic, Planetary Invasion, Laser II, Gravitronics, Impulse Drive I, Virtual Republic (only ones to went past Interstellar Governments, so they must like new descriptions ), small hulls. They are 2nd in MMR, 1st in tech. 2 turns till they finish Industrial Adaptation II.
I'll let those screenshots speak for themselves:
EDIT: Only thing going different for them is no Food Bonus on Hyperion Matrix, and they researched into economy techs and built those Banking Centers. So I guess they don't need +economy after all - they do more then fine. But Thalan even in vanilla were OP. and they are from the future, so it "fits". I need to test Terran, Arcean, Drengi, Krynn and Korx - so far they seem under-performing in my games, except for Terrans who colonize like crazy but tend to make stupid research decisions later. Also, I want to double check if the Korath goes straight for Aul again - it's an expensive tech and they could use more morale/econ/government techs instead. Or just make Spore ships.
but in the majority of cases it would be better off also picking up planets that aren't in anyone'ssphere of influence yet.Actually, sometimes it's good if you colonize in someone else's influence as well. Imagine if some other AI colonizes a planet inside AIP7 influence - example, Thalan with their early influence colonize a planet inside Korath sphere. It pushes Korath influence away from itself, maybe containing 1-3 planets in same star system. In that case, Korath will never send colony ships down there, but if they colonize anywhere, no matter who's sphere of influence it is, they have a chance of even flipping Thalan colony culturally in couple dozens of turns.