My first few games were so easy it hurt my intelligence. Locked teams and normal AI's. I crushed them without difficult, so in an attempt to make it harder, I went up to Hard Aggressors with open teams.
I gotta say thats like jumping from one stupidity to another. My first game like that ended with 4 AI's ganging up on me, forcing me to surrender. Second I was like "Okay, I'll just grap these planets fast, that way I have X larger income, and only 2 attackable planets (out of about 6)" but as it turns out, one AI 1 made it to the last planet I wanted before me. We fought it out, but I was forced to retreate. I become solid friends with my northern nabo, who used my one exposed planet as a travel through. So I was thinking "alright, my northern ally has my back, I'll fight it out with AI 1", so I went on to attack him, 2-4 times, everytime getting closer to break him. Mind you that all the time I got requests from all the other AI's to attack my ally, which spelled war in my mind between him and them.
Now suddenly I get jumped by AI 2 on my northern exposed planet, but comfident my ally and my planetary defense can hold them off, I contiue my fighting AI 1. As my planetary defenses up north are crumpling, I take a closer look, and sure enough, my ally is allied to him aswell, so he won't help me. I find this really odd as that guy had asked me repeatively to attack my ally. Never the less I go north, bust him out of there, no biggy. This goes back and further, with more and more AI's joining in on me, till at least I get overwhelmed. I lose both my planets to fleets I couldn't have matched even 4 hours later. Making my final stand on the astroide one phase lane from my homeworld, I have 3 Capital ships, lvl 10, 9 and 9. I had 4 oh this "make big sphese so we can all share the incoming damage", 15 of those cruisers that hurt like hell, about 15 Drone Cruisers, and a good size army of those Javelin equevilents.
As my antimatter runs out and my other planets (the ones that was cut off by the loss of the north planet) fall (resulting in alot of research advances being cut), my capital ships are finally alone, falling slowing, one after the other.
My question is, what could i have done? am I doing something wrong? I used all my cash on weapon and defense research and fleet blostering (ofc I had trade post and that). I just feel there is something I'm missing.