Thatís a very interesting game. I enjoyed reading your writeup.
I just finished losing my first impossible level game. It was also an interesting one.
I ended up with a very strong start that gave me about 1/3 of the galaxy. The tech tree ended up really funky in this game. By the time war broke out I had Pulson missiles but NO planetary shields! I lost about 4 colonies before I ended up stealing class V planetary shields but by then it was too late. My colonies could hold their own but I couldnít conquer or make peace fast enough to prevent the next vote from going against me.
It was a fun game though. Next time I will start my espionages earlier when I see a lack of those early shield techs.