Basically it's a combo of two strategies that can be used independently but also mix quite well together. It has won me an Apollo game in 156 turns on standard speed via Emancipation victory. Basic idea is to get starting affinity/tech/production boosts via mass explorers and then transition into cheesing techs via covert ops ASAP. Sponsor: ARC. Other sponsor can do this if they are able to sign the agreement with ARC. You want to stack ops reduction modifiers until you have 4 turn steal science (you can't stack more). With ARC this means lvl 2 character trait, lvl 1 subtle and +25% covert ops speed from artifacts (if you did not get it, level the traits more, but with the number of artifacts you get you normally should). Colonists: Pioneers - You need to spam explorers early on. Ship - Electromagnetic sensor for expedition sites obviously. Cargo - Cryotome for +1 virtue. Virtue path: 1. Prosperity: food -> free worker -> extra expeditions 2. Knowledge: science -> +30 science from expeditions (not much, but helps rush computing) Then whatever, I usually go tier 1 industry for synergy bonus and then t2 industry + knowledge for t2 synergy which gives an extra agent. Then finish up t3. Teching: Pioneering -> Engineering or Ecology depending on available energy and land/ocean cities -> Computing. Build Spy Agency ASAP. Initial BO: Explorer -> Old Earth Relic -> 4-5 extra Exprolers -> Colonist. Plan which explorers will go to specific expedition sites and how much modules do they have. Get +1 more from 2 supremacy ASAP and +1 from laboratory upgrade if possible. Put all free affinity levelups you've managed to get into supremacy. It's not uncommon to get like 5 extra levels from expeditions alone. NEVER attack aliens until you've grabbed most/all of expeditions, as your explorers will die pretty fast when attacked. The aliens seem to ignore you if you don't touch them. Once you've cleared the expedition sites you can pillage the remaining nests for more artifacts. 6 cities work pretty well for me, but you can grab more if you feel like it. Try to get 5/5/5 in affinities once you start running into health issues. If you have an annoying neighbour you can grab his cities as well, as expeditions usually give you a big advantage in affinity levels. I prefer fielding patrol boat/cruiser army from aquatic cities as it's cheap and only requires you to 7/7 or 11 in affinity(ies) to max out. AI normally doesn't stand a chance vs upgraded cruisers. Just don't do this near the end when you build the gate as you don't want health penalties so that you get max production. Personality traits: Subtle (normally need only 1 level) and domestic TR bonus from politics, rest doesn't matter. For agreements try to grab anything that boosts energy, production or culture, you don't need science. Science buildings are low priority too (but are still nice to have). Hutama's stuff for extra TRs is very good too. Essential stuff: Once you have spies, you can start stealing science right away with ARC. Level 3 spy gives you +25% of your current tech cost, so 8 spies can give you like 2 free techs every 4 turns (well, more like 1.5 as they don't always succeed), and you don't really depend on the tech cost. How to maximize spy count: 3 (base) + 1 (t2 synergy) + 1 (perk in knowledge) + 1 (holosuite) + 1 (cel cradle) + 1 (command center) + 1-2 (quests, normally at least 1) = 9-10 agents. You obviously want to grab communications and artificial intelligence pretty fast for the buildings above, and you also need both for emancipation. You need 1 high production city to build the gate, you can go with either aquatic or land one. Land one will probably be stronger, but takes more time to get there. Ocean -> try to build near titanium with many coast tiles, get water refinery and +2 production on coastal tiles wonder. Later on it's not difficult to grab +1 production from farms, so even basic coastal farm tiles will give 5 production. Titanium tiles give up to 13 with alloy foundry. Land -> Get magrail connection and spam manufactories (with industry perk upgrade). Manufactories take a lot of time to build though, you might want to get drone sphere and +50% worker speed artifact combo in this case. Wonder for no unhealth for improvements can work quite well too here, if you have spare time to grab it. Artifact combos to look out for: +20% chance to find artifacts - very good if found early +25% covert ops speed - obviously Virtues acquired twice as fast - OP. and very good for this strategy to get extra agents from virtues faster +50% internal TR yields - for production -30% tech cost - this is super OP normally, but here it's not as good actually as most of your science is stolen as % of tech costs. It's still pretty good though +50% worker speed - for manufactories if you want to spam them Try to save your progenitor artifacts, as normally they are needed for the strongest stuff. This strategy allows you to maximize their gain as you'll be grabbing the majority (if not all) of the progenitor ruins, as the AI is pretty bad at exploring. Once you have the prerequisites for emancipation, you also want to get either the Angel or the Golem tech, as these are the best candidates to go through the gate (Xenotitans wold be better, but you're unlikely to have enough harmony). Golems would only work for the land gate though, as currently committing embarked units is bugged and gives little power. Angels are ok for a gate on a coastal tile. You need 10 of either one. Make sure you have enough spare firaxite/floatstone to support 2 at a time. Once you have that, switch your spies to steal energy and get -20% energy unit buyout cost industry trait. Agents will be stealing smth like 400+ energy by turn 130, so this along with your normal income should enable you to buy 1 Angel or Golem per turn. If you have some OP energy agreements like extra % interest or +1 energy per tile you likely won't even need that. You need 10 turns to win by committing 1 Angel or Golem per turn once the gate is finished.