Ok, so I'm slowly but surely bumping up the difficulty as I play, but I'm still a bit shaky on a few concepts that I'm sure will hurt me later on down the road.
Let's start with the cultural aspects. My most recent win started as an attempt at a cultural domination. On the cultural side, I lost badly. Even with party palaces and such, I was losing sectors every year. About the only thing I got right culture wise was being able to flip a minor that started in the middle of my territory. I lost a late coming minor planet to a major that hurt pretty badly, but even before then it wasn't going in the right direction. Any pointers out there for the culture push?
I was making more money than I could spend in this particular game, so the different social proejcts really didn't make a difference in regards to maintenance. What's the approach in the higher difficulties regarding social projects? I'd like to think you'd have some planets that concentrate in certain areas, but I haven't been forced to do this quite yet.