In most prior 4x games once you get the upper hand, you just slowly build up your empire and steamroll everybody. Well I'm playing my first actual save with this game after a quick test and this is certainly NOT the case.
During midgame I managed to get much stronger both economically, technologically than my neighbours and I built a big armada and slowly chipped away their territories.
Then I got lazy and content. I messed around with the L-gates, then BAM, the one fallen empire suddelny awoke and just decimated a purifier empire the other side of the galaxy.
At this point I've got the biggest navy compared to my neighbours, who joined a federation where most members have just a few small systems that I didn't conquer.
I should've cleaned everything up, methodically purge every opposition one by one but I didn't. So when the fallen empire awoke I din't have well-defined borders and my navy was all over the place.
Thankfully the empire attacked some fanatic purifyer snails on the other side of the galaxy (idk how or why they went there but whatever)
So I had a few years to raise an even bigger fleet. At this point I was swimming in resources, planets, everything.
Yet what followed was an intense 20 years of gameplay. In the end the empire attacked me as well and I had to conquer, reconquer, run away from his 2 GARGANTUAN fleets while trying to take down the smaller fleets.
Both sides did massive damage on the other.
After every battle I checked the war progress window, waiting for the time I could sue for status quo peace. It was howering around -20. Sometimes I won a fight, sometimes I forgot I didn't move a fleet away from him. It was aggraveting to see that number rise and fall.
I had control over the L-gates, but the fallen empire used other wormholes to get behind me.
In the end both of us got to 100% war exhaustion and got a temporary truce.
At this point my economy was in ruin, I replaced many admin buildings with alloy foundries, so I'm at 2500/1000 empire sprawl, every single planet of mine has like 110+ pops with massive unemployment issues (i was lazy to micromanage mid-game, thinking I won, but now it is really hard to reshuffle everything)
In terms of territories we aren't standing in a bad place, the fallen empire managed to snatch a few systems in the middle of my empire, but I got most of his territories from the snail-people and the fallen empire barely has more systems than what it started with.
It still has an overwhelming tech and superior military but my economy is better (once I fix it).
So I'm gonna use these 10 years to consolidate my power, perhaps do blitzkriegs and take out some of my neighbours, else this empire will.
There are some robots nearby with an okay military and a lot of juicy planets I could colonize and fix my pop issue…
But what irks me is that now he is at top place, I'm second and there is no 3rd empire. I've checked his diplomacy window and that empire is a rival with an unidentified one. I suspect there is another fallen empire somewhere in the edge of the galaxy, there are a few arms unexplored.
I dread the moment that empire decides to wake up as well.
But this is hard. Not just the micromanagment, but handling a war on 5+ fronts with multiple borders, wormholes, gateways, L-gates, managing fleets, repairs, armies while also keeping an eye on my neighbours. So many strategic decisions. I'm stopping the game and go through every planet, fleet, science ship, construction ship by hand and manage their every move because I don't have much time and need to do a lot. Colonize/build a third of the galaxy which is now empty and full of resources, fix my pops, build warships, take out neighbours, reinforce the borders, seek out this another fallen empire, list goes on.
And I've heard there are also end-game crises…
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