So I played a 1v7 twin-ring circular small 8-tick turn galaxy … this was MUCH more difficult than my previous game due to better resource allocation by the AI’s (less Economy), what seemed to be more aggressive tech sharing among the AI’s, plus Jay’s change such that if regard is -1, sending a tech gets you only back to zero, but you don’t get a “free” tech in the process - these small changes had a BIG effect!
After 36 cycles (!), I finally got above 50% of the stars so no longer any doubt I can prevail if I kept going - I setup win by 66% so my stats don’t get incremented.
My approach was to (mostly) stay on weapons and focus on going around one direction of the circle. At some point, the AI on the other side went -1 on me, so I would just “pay them off” with $$$ (didn’t want to send Weapons) each cycle to maintain a neutral regard … while I focused on kicking the sh*t out of his robot pals!
Once I had three cores, I decided to turn my attention to my (former) robot buddy and launched an attack on him … even though he had 3X the number of ships and my weapons advantage was only 11-9 … and the AI’s led in every other tech. It took a while - he actually captured a core and made some strong moves (wasn’t sure I could pull it out) … but he sometimes sent large fleets backwards for no reason I could fathom. By then, Warp Gates were in play, which the AI doesn’t seem to use, so this provides a huge advantage to me in terms of bringing ships into battle.
Some other observations/suggestions:
I was +1 with an AI when I launched a long range attack … and my regard went to -1 … so good that the AI sees an attack coming … but I was still able to send a level of tech to get back to zero … and then when I sent another level, it sent me tech back. The AI should NOT send tech back if I’m attacking!!!
Once an AI was weakened, it did not appear to get tech as often … even though they appeared to have plenty of cash to buy it. My guess is the AI doesn’t like to trade with someone else who doesn’t have tech … but when a fellow robot is getting crushed, it may make sense to relax this a bit, especially for weapons.
When I switched my focus from one side of the circle to the other, I left a few stars of a beaten AI as a “buffer” between me and the next super-strong AI. While he had plenty of Scan/Range to attack me (and overwhelming advantage in ships), he never ventured out. Once again, the AI just fiddled while Rome burned …
All of the above even applied when I had over 50% of the stars - i.e. I was the clear leader in the game and there is no reason for any AI to be friendly with me … or even exchange tech with me! I.e. once a player starts climbing up on the leaderboard, I’d recommend a weighting function be applied as mentioned above. xjhdexter said what I was trying to say in a better way - the AI can provide a balancing effect on the game by targeting the leaders and helping the little guys … just like players often do.