Though it has already been indicated that the existing shorter game victory condition is to be heavily revised, I wondered if we could consider an additional victory condition based on the new Titan feature.
The Titans are super-powerful starships, but by their very scale they also remind me of the Wonders from Age of Empires. If you haven't played AoE, the first civilisation to construct a Wonder would win, if wonder victories were enabled and the Wonder stood for a sufficient length of time, as counted down on the game screen.
I'm not sure that we could use that concept as it is- Wonders were stationary, while it can be very annoying to have to chase ships from gravwell to gravwell when they are immune to damage some of the time. Also, adding an on-screen timer would be a novelty, but more simply players might want to utilise Titans for their impressive combat potential rather than as elusive monuments.
I've also long wanted to get artifacts more into the game, especially since the development of pacts, as artifacts aren't even as useful as they were previously. So how about the following victory condition for shorter games: a team or faction win if their side has the only Titan or Titans in the game, and their opponents control no artifacts at all?
That seems to me to have the virtues of being easy to understand and producing shorter games, while permitting further combat after the building of a Titan. The objective would be to have the Titan heading off for final battles at any artifact planets owned by enemies. Artifact incidence is high enough to allow it to be almost certain that players could find at least one before the late game, I feel, unless on a map so small that Titans would not likely figure anyway. There would have to be a Titan warning like the superweapon test warning, but I'm fairly sure that is planned anyway.
Any obvious drawbacks?