Ok, here are the results of my first full game:
So while I won, I was being outproduced and out teched by the Ithkul who were also knocking on my door step all game.
I played on a large map, 2 arm spiral. I started off on the west side of the spiral just south of one of the arms. The only races I met all game were the Ithkul (Blue), Ithkul (Green), Meklar (Tan), and Rocks (not on map).
From the map, I had colonies up into the arm that were eventually blocked by a Guardian. (the rocks had everything past the Guardian colonized). The lane SW of Enoch was also blocked by a Guardian.. The Ithkul #1 had colonies to the N, NE, E of Pictor. Ithkul #2 had colonies E/SE of Pi Auriga, and the Meklars had colonized to the South. Mu Cancri was my home planet.
To hold back the Ithkul flood, I had to do hold two systems: Pictor and Pi Auriga. Pi Auriga had connections to both Ithkul colonies, while Pictor held the inroad for Ithkul #1 completely. Eventually, Ithkul #1 ran through Pictor and into Signath, but they werent ever able to take any of the Signath colonies. Each of the three colonies had a fighter, LR weapon, and missle base. When the Ithkul would attack, they would have to take on all three planets at once. Thats 9 platforms for defense. The Ithkul got shredded on a regular basis. Occassionally they would send a force to Mu Cancri, but more on that later. The force at Pi Auriga had to be reinforced after each attack, but it wasnt attacked all that often.
Stupid things I did this game:
Created a legion of system ships thinking they were starships at Mu Cancri. Wont make that mistake again.
Areas I need work on:
Balancing task force composition. Picket/escort ships etc.
Estimating ground forces needed for a ground attack. I always either had WAY too much or WAY too little when attacking ground installs
Balancing DEAs correctly I spent the first half the game low or with neg food. I cant believe the difference it made to my migration once food was positive. Colonies that were only arriving with 50 a turn were now arriving with 1500 a turn. I couldnt find a world above barren fertility if my life depended on it but minerals? Not a problem.
Unrest/Piracy: I couldnt seem to keep piracy away from a few of my systems with system ships alone. I needed to park a task force outside of Coreorgon just to keep piracy away. That seems like a waste of a TF.
I really found taking planets TOUGH! Actually, that worked in both directions. It was nearly impossible for the enemy to take one of my planets, and I had a hell of a time trying to take one of theirs. I guess more firepower is needed.
Youll note that a good majority of my colonies are co-colonized with my allies the Mecklar. We co-existed on nearly every planet from my home planet (Mu Cancri) and south. If we ever went to war, things would have gotten extremely ugly.
Like previously stated elsewhere, the comp player does seem to be tentative on pressing an advantage. There were definite times when I thought the Ithkul #1 should have used an opportunity and ripped through my systems even harder than they did.
The only thing you can do about enemy outposts is to send colony/outpost ships to the same area. You cant invade or bombard (that really needs to be patched) but you can outgain the enemy population to take a planet. Or you can wait for the enemy to reach a 1 pop and then invade.
Anyway, I think thats about it for now. Enough of my rambling.