I am relatively new at Rebellion, although I played Sins long ago. I was excited about the capital planet victory condition and I decided to try it out. I made a 5-player random map with 4 hard AIs as opponents. To set myself a goal I figured I would try for a capital planet victory against all of them. I also like the idea of a capital planet victory because I find the planet-by-planet nutcracking to be tedious at times.
The First AI was in my star system and he massively outbuilt me because I don't know what I am doing yet. So I made a mad push for his capital with my largest fleet, fleeing straight through enemy worlds instead of fighting through them. Every time I passed through a star system his swarms of strike craft would whittle my fleet down until when I finally arrived at his capital I had only a nub. But it was enough. As his reinforcements came in I bombarded his home world and I just managed to do it. Hooray! What drama! This is just the kind of feeling that a game should have!
But then I had no fleet and to my surprise all of his planets are still there and his fleets are still hostile. So even though I "won" I had to clear out all of his planets anyway because I need the real estate for expansion. That sucks, I thought. I guess this is a legitimate gameplay decision but it doesn't make much sense to me. It doesn't feel like I won!
Next, I started losing my worlds to the "defeated" AI's culture, one by one. I guess the AI built a million broadcast stations and it took a while for their culture to catch up to me. So they had no capital, but I had no fleet and their culture started to take me out. Again, I suppose this could be a legitimate gameplay decision and not a bug but it "feels" buggy to me. I felt like shouting, "I just defeated you! WTF are you doing?"
So that was very aggravating. I decided that for my second AI take-down I would make nice with the AI first. I'd see if I could position my fleet at their homeworld, then plan on breaking our peace treaty and attacking it. First I used scouts and envoys to discover which world was the capital (it was on another star). I was surprised that the Rebellion AI doesn't seem to attach any particular significance to its homeworld. It didn't mind when I moved all my ships there, and it didn't send any reinforcements or complain. Not really a bug but certainly not an optimal AI-behavior!
Then I broke my treaty (AI still does not reinforce) and after the cooldown I start bombing (still does not reinforce -- it doesn't even move its flagship until I attack it directly). Again, this doesn't seem ideal. Finally, I manage to obliterate the capital. Surprise, surprise, this time the AI doesn't even lose. (No cracked glass on the negotiation screen.) The AI capital planet just becomes empty. Did it move somewhere else? I thought they couldn't move? WTF?
I bought Rebellion excited about the advertised victory conditions and so I sat down to play with them. Overall, this was a frustrating game!
Are the new victory conditions not supposed to be played with the AI? The AI doesn't seem particularly aware of the capital planet victory condition. And I don't know what the heck happened with the capital move.