Warning - contains spoilers for new players, as probably most AAR do!
Abandoning my first sandbox game after no real opponent was left, I started the second one on difficulty hard and this time decided for the "Return of the Shakturi" start. I chose Securans and the game developed quite nicely, fighting some early defensive wars and one short offensive campaign against Wekkarus&allies, because they took Secura system just moments before I could, and Secura should belong to Securans, right? I hold strong position on the top centre-centre, ancient guardians being to the right.
When I was about tier 4 technology, the refugees came from the left. When I was around 5th tier, they started to take over the Galaxy. Being on the good side, I had to join those guardians, but man, I had nothing that could fight Shakturi fleets. The world destroyers came and destroyed fully developed Secura, my race very own origin! And few more planets before I managed to kill it throwing everything I had on the mission. The guardian fleet was the only real weapon, but it slowly lost ships until it was no more. In desperation I sent agents on impossible missions, and I was surprised how they succeeded in all. Overthrowing Shakturi government twice, killing every single character including leader, so at moments I had no one to assassinate any more. Only sabotaging space ports didn't work that well. Still, in time, the Shakturi destroyed everything, every military ship, every base including all space ports, and took some planets by invasion, though I was recruiting lot of units as that was the only thing left for me. I knew I was defeated, so I decided that I will just (rage) quit - I don't mind a hard fight, but there should be at least some chance! Before quit though, I cranked the speed 4x, ignoring everything, just to watch Shakturi conquest of all.
Then something strange happened. A true miracle. Shakturi just left.
Not the galaxy, but all my space. They didn't even try any more invasions. Perhaps left without targets to attack in space, they just turned attention elsewhere.
So I waited, and waited, and they left me alone, completely. Having nothing to do I abused the diplomacy (so now I know how broken it truly is) to manipulate almost everyone to fight them, broke almost all Shakturi alliances and made everyone fight them. Also took lot of technology from Guardians and others. The galaxy still didn't really have a chance, but having now lot of money from doing nothing (and having no expense but troops) I carefully built truly gigantic spaceport. Shakturi didn't show to destroy it. So I build huge fleet to protect it. They left me alone. Slowly I started rebuilding, protecting close by planets they left me, then those further away. They left me in peace for a long time. When they turned attention to me again, with the new fleets I could defend. Only if odds were 2:1 in my favour, but that was enough.
It took lot more time of grinding to finally counter attack, firstly taking systems from other races, which attacked freedom alliance. And at the end starting to take Shakturi worlds themselves. Finally ancient guardians started to do something productive and were increasing the strength and captured some systems too, though still lagging behind in power.
After time, when I was preparing massive number of troops to perhaps invade Shakturi capital (which was extremely defended in space and on the ground too), strange thing happened. Guardians contacted me saying, the Shakturi are growing in power and are unstoppable, so they are prepared to give me their secret super weapon - captured and repaired world destroyer. Good morning Guardians, this was relevant like 100 years before? Now we are actually on the offensive! But I took it, I didn't forget about destruction of Secura, and decided to pay them in kind. And so the final offensive ended with destroying the cursed world, instead of capturing it, and the justice was done at last.
I will admit this was maybe the most epic war I've seen so far in 4x games. I wish I could say I won it with masterful skill, but in truth it was only because the opponent decided not to finish me off. Which they could do, several times...
There were also some strange moments, especially when one small and weak neighbour, who was next to Guardians and in the middle of freedom alliance (but not member), declared war on one (albeit small and weak) alliance member. I could not understand the reasoning, even by AI standards. We all responded, he was outgunned like 100:1. The war was finished almost before it started and this was one of the few empires, maybe the only one, that was eliminated completely. Spectacular way of performing suicide :-).
< Message edited by McUH -- 7/12/2016 9:33:35 PM >