Just as I did with Darloks, I am going to play 5 games with Bulrathi (the 2nd worse stock race, IMHO) at the Impossible level with a pre-warp start in a typical 8 player huge galaxy. I won all 5 of my Darlok games and hope to be as fortunate here. As in that thread, I'll give lots of details for game 1 and especially the early game play, so others can try my starting methods if they wish. Game 1 I've rolled a great start exactly in the upper right corner and have 3 planets in my system to colonize, two of which are UR! In spite of all 3 being radiated or barren, this is an epic start. The two UR planets will be production powerhouses in the mid game when fighting will likely start, once I can get rad shields and terraform them. I'll be able to reach 3 more systems once I have the tech to make a scout. OK I'll gamble and do something I very rarely do with a slow poor production race like this and sell the Star Base for 200 BC and to save 2 BC/t maintenance so I can spend it to expand and develop quicker. There's also a nebula nearby and a black hole and I really don't expect to be attacked quickly and hopefully can play 100+ turns meeting no one else. So I sold the SB at the start and started researching Elec Comp (the pre-req to Research Labs) and at turn 4 I had a 20% chance to finish the tech so I moved one worker to production of a SB to stock pile production. On turn 7 I had the comp tech and 9 pp banked and switched the worker back to the lab to research the lab tech. A couple near worthless leaders soon showed up and were ignored. Once I the game said that I'd researched enough of the tech to have 6 turns remaining I retasked a peon back to production with the plan of having about 30 pp banked when the lab tech finished. I had very bad luck finishing the tech, and ended up buying my lab on turn 27 paying 42 BC for 21 pp. Along the way on turn 20 some good fortune occurred when V'larr and his +10 BC/t megawealth showed up. The extra income would prove to be extremely useful and he was hired instantly. I then researched Reinforced Hulls along the way to Autofactory and bought my factory on turn 47 exactly half built paying 60 BC for 30 pp and moved all non-farmers to production to start my 3 colony bases while letting my lab stand alone generating 5 RP/t towards the basic tech that includes freighters. On turn 52 I was able to buy my 1st CB exactly half built and then colonized the highest pop cap (pop 4) UR planet in my home system and set the lone worker to work on a factory and then lab. Even though every turn the game says that my new colony is starving (no freighters), a planet cannot lose its only unit of population so no worries. On turn 58 I bought both my 2nd CB just a bit more than half built and my factory on the 1st colony half built. The freighter tech finished, and I interrupted production of my 3rd and final CB to buy a freighter fleet paying 28 for 14 pp so now my new colonies could get food and start growing slowly. Since they were small UR planets if I moved a 2nd worker to them the pollution losses seemed costly so I just kept all workers on my HW working on that 3rd CB. On turn 62 my lab on the 1st colony finished and I decided to build housing with the one worker being able to create a newborn every 5 turns. Now I have 10 RP/t just from my labs working towards the basic chem tech so I can make ships and a couple of scouts. My factory on the 2nd colony was finished on turn 65 and I soon colonized the last planet in my system and put all but one worker (bank nearly pollution free pp building something expensive) back into science. On turn 70 the chem tech is finished and saved pp builds a scout on the next two turns. I made two scouts since I quickly wanted to inspect the 3 systems I can get two, in hopes of finding a good farming planet so I can get Biospheres rather than Hydrofarms. On turn 76 Khunagg shows up and is immediately hired (he spends his new money on dentistry) and put to work in Ursa. This is a good leader for now as his 20% farming bonus will help feed me and 20% production will be very useful as well. Alas my scouts find nothing with acceptable farming so I must finish HydroFarms rather the Biospheres lest I end up using everyone to farm on my HW. On turn 85 the last of my farms is built. All but my last colony has completed barracks for moral and is working towards a SB with one worker while researching with the others. I have an empire population of 18 and am generating 34 RP/t and +5 BC/t (thanks for the megawealth dude). I've spent most of my cash saved from selling the SB and have 98 BC in the bank. My CS will be done in 18 turns (Slow but I can likely buy it sooner) and Soil Enrichment (again to improve my food situation) in no more than 13 turns. On turn 90 I have 20 pop and am getting 44 RP/t. Next turn Chug shows up begging for a job but I have to raise taxes big time for a few turns to hire him. I want him ASAP for his 10 RP/t and for terraforming so I can increase the pop on my barren UR planet and have it become a great shipyard. On turn 100 I have 21 pop and 50 RP/t and having just completed Soil Enrichment, I've freed up two more peons to work on my CS. Terraforming is starting on my UR barren world which quickly becomes tundra due to banked pp but tundra doesn't increase pop so now a slow process to generate 500 pp to become a swamp planet (which at least I can farm well if needed). My CS is finished on turn 107 (raised taxes to hire Chug slowed production for a while) and since the Hircus system is near the corner and will allow me to scout two more systems I send my CS to my left. Hircus is soon colonized and I send Chug there. His farming bonus won't help but his environmental bonus will and I transfer over two more workers. Hmmmm... I meet the Trilarians too close to me and hold my breath in hopes that they aren't repulsive. Well...their pacifistic leader immediately agrees to stop spying (so I don't need agents yet) and we get a research treaty. Soon we are amiable and get a NAP but he won't make a trade treaty (perhaps can't afford the cash outlay initially?). I scout Anraq and make an outpost their to extend my range to a planet near the Tris and to keep them out of the Anraq system for now. Onward to turn 129 and the Supercomp tech is finished and I'll build them almost instantly everywhere from saved PP. I have 25 pop and 75 RP/t which will explode once the supercomps are done. I moved the worker helping to build the SB's to tech as I don't need SB in the Ursa system yet and my factory will slowly build it anyhow. I'm doing OK for such a lousy race and the Tri's only have 50% more pop then I while tech is about equal. I have two frigates and the Tri's have two destroyers. I must make sure to not fall too far behind in the fleet comparison so I don't look like a victim to them. I plan one more CS for the desert planet below me (Tond) and now must consider my path thru more advanced chem techs for ships/pollution control/range and eventual war. I'll be able to scout one more system once I colonize that system below me and hopefully it has a monster guarding a UR gaia. Often at this point in the game, strong AI's have 3 or 4 times the pop and tech of my human controlled lousy races, but with my supercomps I'll soon be ahead of the Tri's in tech. On turn 134 the Tri's finally agreed to a trade treaty and would hopefully remain best friends for the entire game. I colonized Tond along the right edge on turn 140 and soon found the Joshua system, with 3 planets, one of which was good sized and terran and rich and a must have at this point. But first I have to defeat the hydra guarding it. On check on turn 145 as I was progressing thru the Chem techs in the standard manner for me: Deut cells; Merc missiles; Atmos Renewer; Zort Armor; showed me with 29 pop and generating 185 RP/t and 14 BC/t. But still the Tri's were slightly ahead of me in tech. However, my situation was lots better than one can have at this time when using a stock race with no econ advantages. After a couple of dozen turns I was able to send 8 FF's (frigates) with MIRV Nukes to kill the hydra and colonize Joshua. I'd suffered some from CP issues as only a couple of my SB's were complete by that time. Well...enemy sighted...the Sakkra are just below Joshua along the middle and lower part of the right edge but not as far as the corner. They've got some decent defenses so I'll need serious warships and it takes me til turn 226 to get 2 MIRV Merc BB's (my beloved Merc 18's) and most of my remaining FF's into action. I was really suffering from CP issues and happy not to need a dozen transports at once to take over Lizard planets thanx to my tough Bear ground troops. My FF's proved to be a decent distraction and by retreating a couple to the back corners of the combat grid I could fire both missile salvos and retreat my BB's before Lizard missile and fighter could do too much damage, but soon I had no more FF's. The Sakkra main fleet ran from my attack and then counter attacked as I was finishing off the Sssla system. They recaptured one system and when attacking the next system were destroyed by a couple of EMG FF's. As I was conquering them, I met the Gnols near the bottom center edge of the galaxy and the Darloks in the right bottom corner. Gnols were friends soon, Darloks not and also forced me to add a couple more agents. On turn 246 the Sakkras were eliminated and I could tell that I had a won game but it would take quite a while. I'd hired a couple more good leaders along the way and was making and positioning a few more EMG ships to join my two Merc 18's in an assault on Orion. The Guardian was destroyed on turn 251 but the basket of techs wasn't so good, so I traded two of them to the Gnols and Tri's mostly for econo stuff. After making a couple of outposts, it was trivial using The Avenger to put the Darloks out of my misery. I'd colonized Orion and decided to use Sakkra colonists there for better growth and a larger pop cap. By now I was clearly the dominant race. I met Klackons, Humans, and Elerians all along the left edge in that order from the top down. Elerians wouldn't deal with me so they were the next victims, put up no resistance at all as The Avenger and several more BB's with death rays shredded them. In the mean time, I'd captured 4 Antaran ships and only 1 blew up! I think I had all the Antaran techs then and traded stuff like Black Hole Generator and Quantum Detonator away. I got the +125 computer from scrapping one of them and now could remove battle scanners from my ships. LOL on turn 303 as the ant-brained Klackon leader demands a tribute treaty and breaks our tech treaty to DOW me when I refuse, of course. As I am finishing him off on turn 312 the GC vote comes up and I am just 1 vote shy of my win. Anyhow, time for a new victim and on turn 316 I demand a tech from the humans and he gives it to me. I do the same on turn 317 and he DOW's me of course and is removed from the galaxy on turn 320. Now there's just 3 of us and I presume at this point it could be a 20+ turn wait for my win in the GC. I was expanding further with artifical planets, advanced city planning and cloning centers (stolen by ground troops). I figured the quickest win was to gear up for an assault on Antares. But first, I couldn't resist capturing the many Gnol ships that have been directed towards previous human systems as they'd DOW'd them during my blitz. I allied with the Tri's to better assure that they'd not stab me, and while making more ships captured a half a dozen+ Gnol ships to add to me fleet. I made some EMG ships to try to kill what ever defensive ships the Antarans would have guarding their Star Fortress. Off to Antares on turn 330 with 30 ships and they have the usual Harbinger (doom star I think) guarded by two cruisers. Hmmm..didn't bring enough EMG missiles along, but while I am losing ships my X-armor, reflection field and damper field combo is making my ships hard to kill. I lost about half that fleet but finished off the Anties. All in all an easy win, where I wasn't really threatened. Score Bears 1 AI's 0.