I've thought a bit about it and I'm ending up with this ranking of the races. Do note that it's assuming expensive research and a 15x15 galaxy with a pre-warp start.
3: Ikkuro, Haakonish, Zenox, Ackdarians, Kiadian
4: Human, Wekkarus
5: Dhauyt, Naxxilian, Securan, Ugnari, Teekan, Boskara, Sluken
Quameni and Gizureans are obvious. All that needs to be said about them has already been said in this topic.
Third tier is a fairly big group. The Ikkuro and the Haakonish both have maintenance reductions and they both start with some mean colony governors that provide quite the boost to early growth. The net effect is pretty immense. The Zenox have a maintenance reduction, technocracy for early 50% research buff, and a starting scientist, which is pretty neat and gives them a good position in the tech race. The Kiadians are about as techy, with a native 20% research bonus (+45% with demo / repub), a starting scientist, and a 5% per colony resource bonus to energy research. If they have a neighbor with a maintenance bonus then watch out galaxy. And last we have the Ackies with a solid maintenance reduction, a ship size buff, a massive build speed buff, and a 10% research bonus. What holds them back a bit is that they don't have growth bonuses and their predefined starting character is a fairly useless admiral.
Fourth tier gives us Human, with good research and espionage but held back by mediocre growth and no predefined badass character. Also fourth tier are the Wekkarus. They have good econ, a starting scientist, and a really nice racial weapon tech, but they're still likely to get out-researched by the Kiadians and Zenoz, and outgrown by the Ikkuro and Ackdarians. And so they're level with Human and behind the others.
Fifth tier is a mediocre group of races with some benefits but nothing that really makes them shine. Dhayut live and die by their racial warp drive, which is very, very good, but aside from that they've got absolutely nothing. Naxxils have arguably the best troops, solid growth, and they start with a rather strong intelligence agent, but they're also icers with no econ or research buff. Securans have amazing growth and happiness, making them early bloomers, but they don't really have lasting bonuses. Ugnari have a solid starting agent and a per colony resource bonus to high tech but also slow growth, and a pretty useless mining bonus. Sixth tier is almost too high. Teekan have tons of money but will need every penny of it to buy ships and invest in crash research. And then there's Sluken and Boskara, two solid warfare races with good growth rates. They're probably near the top of tier 5, with the Boskara well ahead of the Sluken, but at the end of the day they're still mediocre.
At tier six we've got the Ketarov. Maybe I'm being harsh on them, since they do have a really strong intelligence play, which can be used to some effect, but you don't get ahead in the tech race by stealing what other factions already have. And to make things worse, the Ketarov have fairly slow growth, a penalty to their scientist spawn chance, no econ buffs to buy crash research, and a special government that is more than a bit tricky to use constructively.
Tier seven sees the Mortalen. Top of the line troops but no tech bonus, no growth bonus, no happiness bonus, fairly slow growth, and their predefined starting character is of course a general, which isn't going to help them actually land their excellent troops on other planets.
Finally reaching the bottom, we've got the hippie lizards at tier 8 and the boneheaded teddy bears managing to score even lower. The Shandar have near-Securan happiness and much lower growth rate, making them a scaly light-version at best. The good thing is that they don't really have penalties for anything other than ocean and ice planet colonization tech, and their crap troops are only the sixth weakest in the game.
And at long last, we have the Atuuk at tier 9, a rank they deservingly capture by being a light-version of the Shandar. Why are they the worst of the worst? Because aside from good growth and happiness, they have absolutely nothing to boost them. And against them they have a -50% chance to spawn scientists, no econ bonus to pay for crash research, slower construction speed, their predefined starting leader is quite bad, and just to round things off completely, they have the second worst troops in the game.
And that's it. The definitive ranking that totally cannot be disputed by anyone who has played the game for more than a few minutes.
< Message edited by Spidey -- 7/4/2014 8:03:46 PM >