Here is my feedback after my first 10 games. Well only 8 of those have already ended for me. Both of the 64 players games I joined are still running.
I basically started one of each game types (new player game, standard game, turn based game, dark galaxy, circular galaxy, epic galaxy, epic dark turn based and 64 players game). After a while I started one more standard game and another 64 players game after the first 64 players game was “ruined” for me by a stubborn neighbor who wanted to collect all his ships from his 7 planets to my border for over a week and then attack. I defended but lost too much valuable time.
The end results of all those 8 games that are finished are 5 wins, one 2nd place and one 3rd place. I won the new player game, one of the standard games while the other was 3rd place, won the dark galaxy, circular galaxy and epic galaxy. I was second on the turn based game and only really bad game for my part was the epic dark turn based galaxy where I failed to make one deal early on which I should have made. After that I slowly got overrun by that player.
Let me give the feedback then. Let’s start with the positives.
I kind of like the UI of the game and the wide range of orders you can give your carriers. It’s quite easy to set up effective loops to move your ships where they are needed and if you wish to optimize those loops a lot it is possible with the delays.
I also like how the diplomacy plays a big part of the game. You basically need to have several trading partners to be successful in the games. Also early backstabbing usually is bad for both of you so that does not happen much I would say.
I like how the defender advance works. +1 level to weapons is a good way. I means a lot in the early game meaning that early attacks by early leaders are more challenging. I also like how it means less and less when the game progress so that there actually can be some fighting at some point.
It’s also nice that there are options for different production cycle times. 20 hours cycle in 64 players games means that different techs are more valuable than in 24 hours cycle games. Also if the game has 24 hours cycle and it happens to start in the middle of the night of your time you will lose few hours of new science and industry production every cycle. I do think there should be games with both options. Those that have 24 hours production cycle and those that have shorter or maybe longer.
I like that there are some different starting strategies around how you spend your early credits between economy, industry and science. I have tried few different tactics and there has not been very big differences. Looks like the other variables in the game may affect what is an optimal strategy for each game.
Then some negatives or at least something that I think should be given some thought how to improve.
Afk players early on. Personally I think I won the circular galaxy quite easily because of this. One of my neighbors was afk from the start and it made my early game very easy. I got a lot of his area for free because he was afk and had not even set the first commands to the carriers. I think the AI should take over faster if the player is afk from the start. The time could be longer when the game goes forward but the early game is so crucial in this game that one afk player early can set the pace for the whole game.
AI control. In my opinion this also affects the outcome of the games too much. AI is just too easy to trick and if you get a star in AI area to your control it will stay in your control. I know we don’t want AI players that will run around the galaxy capturing and winning all the games but I think it should fight back in it’s own area. Maybe set up x ly area around AI players starting planet where it fights back and captures planets back?
Experimentation tech. This tech is quite a double edged sword. It can be great early game but it can also suck big time early game. I think I won the epic galaxy game partly because I was very lucky with experimentation early on in that game. I decided that my first two research options in that game would be experimentation and hyperspace range so that I would get access to the no mans land between players where you need range 2 to get. I also started this game with early 3 points in science. In first production I got 72 points from experimentation towards experimentation which finished it to level 2. In the second production I got 144 points towards hyperspace range which finished it to level 2. What this meant was that I got access to those extra planets a lot sooner than my neighbors and I got most of those planets before they had the tech to do so.
Experimentation can also be very bad at the start. In dark galaxy games one of my early experimentation gains went to scanning. In those games you start with expensive scanning that is level 3 on the start. So basically if early experimentation “hits” those it’s basically wasted because you want the other techs and quite a lot of science before you want to research more scanning.
In conclusion experimentation adds a bit too much randomness and luck factor to the early game and I can see how people may want an option to set it up to zero from the start in custom games.
Ok. This post is already too long for anyone to read so I think it’s better to end it here