I usually play the peaceful expansion type of game, where I try to make friends, etc. I had started some of these games because of a comment Sirian made the other day when he compared MOO3 to Civ3 in saying that the "early conquest" option was the only viable way to go and it broke the game.
I plan to play the "game 1" game to conclusion of senate victory since I am the sole Senate member. Since I don't need "friends" I may or may not make any alliances in either version of the game but will get a NAP and any and all other treaties I can from the other races. Game 2 I probably won't continue because I couldn't quite seem to manage to beat up on the Silicoids enough to get their homeworld. :P
I didn't mention that in Game 1 I made peace with the Grendarl almost immediately after taking that third planet because they managed to send 2 fleets to the conquered planets I had just taken and my fleet had already left to go squash some Ithkul.
I'll keep updating here to let you know the status of the game(s) for comparison sake.