CAUTION: CONTAINS SPOILERS
I have on several occasions had much higher military ratings than the Shakturi but in the end they still won. They simply outmaneuvered me and gradually destroyed all my mining stations, invaded my colonies and just danced around my tough but slow ships running away from every direct encounter. I would try to take down their worlds but they seemed to breed faster than my bombard weapons could kill them, making it pointless. Further, as soon as I would pull fleets away for defense they would have everything rebuilt. It also seemed like even if I managed to kill off all their starports and ships they would just be given ships from nowhere.
In the end I got my first victory against them by savescumming about a dozen times to get the world destroyers the mechanoids gave me in the perfect position to destroy all their worlds before they could conquer more. I didn't feel that bad doing it because world destroyers treat their super lasers like a common weapon, wasting it on some petty ship instead of using it on the planet I sent them after. After that exercise in frustration I would set aside a fleet with nothing but bombard weapons and blitz the "peaceful" refugees as soon as they popped up. Even that can be risky if your far away or preoccupied with other races because they build up blindingly fast, often getting planetary shields before you can reach them. My advice is to put aside all other wars, have your bombard fleet ready and waiting, and send everything you have at them in one huge surprise assault as soon as they show up. Just keep in mind that if you don't destroy the planet or wipe them out they WILL find a way to weasel out of near death and quickly turn things around.
Or just rebuild one of the derelict planet destroyers and keep it on standby. Move it directly next to their homeworld, pause, tell it to destroy the world, and it actually will instead of wasting its beam on some recon craft. Don't declare war of course, or send it directly after the planet before its right next to it, or else it will waste its super laser defending itself from gnats.
They definitely are tough and I don't know if its possible to beat them without having knowledge of them and how they show up ahead of time. I would like to see an option that makes them not show up until one race is left or something, as sort of an end game challenge, which was how I initially imagined them. As it stands as soon as you trigger all those beacons they will show up, regardless of how far along you are, in many instances making you choose between a futile struggle or restarting.
< Message edited by mensrea -- 7/29/2014 11:46:28 PM >