...in the sense that when I ran it, I already had Warp II Engines! (But there was a Math tech level 5 that I DID not have.) In addition, I could change the science sliders on the first turn. I tried everything I could think of to get it to work, but no go, so then I had to decide whether to play it anyway or skip it since the next GOTM was coming out.
I played it anyway, though without taking any notes at all, and boy did the game seem DEAD. (I did additionally change the overpopulation line to 0.) As a sidebar, I had set the science sliders to 80% energy and 20% physical on turn 1 and on turn 2 they were reset to the normal 16%-17% ranges. After setting them again in turn 2 they did stick.
I sent the Colony ship west and a scout going north and one south. The south one ran into the Imseais who were already colonizing worlds towards me. So I built two Infantry divisions and then a transport and they were Tranined instead of Recruit by the time they got sent out. The transport went 'naked' and took, um, some world a couple of jumps away with 'Surprise.' (I can't remember its name at all.)
A Light Cruiser was under construction as the transport was moving and by the time I got two more infantry divisions built the transport was out of the reserve and I went and took a second Imsaeis planet a little farther south of the first one. The CL led the way and did have to clear out something--a Super Space Fighter Base? But I took over the second world by Surprise with Infantry Divisions 3 & 4 without a hitch.
Relations were still good and then he asked for a non-aggression pact which I accepted. I settled Leviathan to the NW and the orginal Colony ship found a yellow(?) world two or three jumps to the SW and decided it had to settle. A SysCol got the other good home system planet and that was really the extent of my empire.
I haven't looked up how much Imsaeis are supposed to grow, but my glacially slow rocks grew faster than the two Imsaeis worlds I took over early on! They never seemed to become productive until many, many turns later. Because of the placement of one of those worlds I got contact with the NO early on, and then by, say turn 70, I knew all the other races.
On turn 70 I sent out an Antaran Wave (I assumed we could not go over Wave even in this part) that was composed of speed 2 Lancers and a Frigate or two. Hmmm, now that I think about it, I'm not sure if one of the original Scouts had not been disbanded and got into the mix slowing me down to speed 1--which might explain why on turn 170 I'm still outbound. I've lost one ship.
If I had tried to build more X fleets, maybe I could win this game, but I have been so wiped out that I don't stand a chance. For most of the game the o'meter has been at 6 and none of my spies have had a chance to out, and STILL every turn something bad happens. So research is shot to hell, the leaders are dead, no government seats, etc. etc. I was never enamored of the spy stuff but I REALLY hate it when you have a lot of contacts early--and this will only get worse in the code patch if the human player becomes more of a target...
I lost Leviathan before I could get my little fleet up there to defend it and then the Imsaeis became my Full Allies and settled in my home system and they are the ones defending against the 9-16 ship fleets that the Insects keep sending every turn. My HFOG is up to 2.5 and I don't have enough industrial capacity to overcome it.
About the only thing I learned in this game just happened a while ago...The Imsaeis offered a deal where they would give me three decent techs if I would give them one tech and the 2nd system that I had originally stolen from them. I stalled. The next turn the same deal was on the table, so I counter-offered and asked for another tech and 3 of his systems, picked at random except Tibit(?) which I knew had a Magnate.
He took the deal! Good grief! I'm not sure what was on the world he wanted so badly, but it actually turned out to be a BAD deal for me! I had enough food to feed my two Imsaeis worlds but that was about it--with all the new ones he gave me I am now severely starving. So you never know when you'll get what you ask for!
I've also learned that the DevPlans will be very hard to use with the Rocks when you have a mixed empire. I don't want to set anything to farming so I'd have to do more DEAs by-hand than I want to.
Part of the problem here is that I truly wasn't paying much attention in this game since I knew that it was screwed. It DID seem to me that the Aliens were settling more worlds, faster, than in other games. Was that my imagination or did you notice that too?
Anyway, it DOES look like we've come up with a way to make it so I can't win a game--now to only figure out how to make it a little less hard!
Maybe a faster growth race would give me a chance...
Speaking of which, GOTM calls, but since it's Deity I may not last too long in it. Then I'll come back and try this sort of setup with another race.