From: Vermont, USA
I find more and more the treatment of taking over planets is fairly disappointing. I find it's too easy for planets to switch hands. I think one or two small tweaks though could fix it.
Well, although it works it is fairly basic, this is an area with room for future improvement.
First, the defender should always get a large boost. And I mean large. While I realize this is sci-fi and you can throw out any ratio you want but old conventional wisdom says you need at least three times as many attackers as defenders if they are dug-in. With that in mind, I would propose one tweak would be to vastly increase the strength of defending units. A subtweak would be that you could use bombardment to dig-out the defenders (think a bit how TOAW does it).
The defender does get a boost, as far as I know. It's not on the order of 3:1, but if you have fairly even strength units and you try to take a world with the same number of attackers, you will fail. Logically, being invaded from space is a bit different from modern day warfare in that the invaders can really pick and choose where they fight. We could increase the defensive boost, I also think the troop automation needs to make the "standard" garrison larger.
Another issue is near the instantaneous nature of it. I feel like I am fighting WW2 in a day. I don't need or want any tactical battles or anything like that but if we are talking vast planetary battles, I'd think it should take a lot longer. Unless there is overwhelming attacking force (say 6x if you want me to throw out a ratio), the battles should take long enough to allow either the attacker and/or defender to reinforce the battle. And as new troops get thrown in, this will either change it in favor of one side or another or just drag the battle out longer.
What speed are you generally playing on and what kind of battles are these? I've seen big invasions where the attacker did not have a huge advantage over the defender take a long time on 1x speed (especially with the defender recruiting new troops). I've had time to send in a second reinforcing invasion wave when the first was faltering, etc. But landing eight units on a planet garrisoned by one or two is always over very quickly (as it should be).
If you did the first tweak, then I wouldn't be as bothered with the need for the second or even vice versa. PS don't focus on the ratios, just the concepts but something needs to be done to make it a bit more interesting. Right now taking planets just feels like checkers.
As noted above, this part of the game is admittedly fairly basic and there is room here for a lot more to be done in future expansions. We can certainly tweak the balance a bit more now though.