So i've played about a dozen games (and won them all!)
I've put some strategies that some players may not have come across yet, all surrounding TEC :
1. Marza's Missile Barrage is an absolute killer with ships, if you can get 3-4 Dreadnoughts with missile barrage, when you attack a massive enemy AI fleet of any given size, as long as you can encompass them in the circumference of 4 missile barrages and activate them simulaneously, everything, literally, except capital ships will die in less than a minute. Even carriers that have lots of health and heavy cruisers will die. A single missile barrage would wipe out (un-upgraded) frigs like LRMs, disciple vessels and assailants. 2-3 barrages will heavily damage all carriers (red health) 5-6 will usually put enemy caps at the brink of death, let your cap ship escorts mop them up.
This is especially useful if you're attacking a Vasari occupied system that has a starbase and massive fleet occupying it and if they're coming at you like bro, Use the barrages to obliterate the fleet and just concentrate fire on the starbase.
Watch out for enemy repair clouds from Vasari Sikara Carrier since they can negate the damage inflicted and sometimes a "Vicious" AI would try and get away from the range of the missile barrage.
2. Starbase with Trade port upgrades are huge, HUGE investment - when you can, place starbases EVERYWHERE, at every system asteroid belt, plasma clouds, gas giants, even put 4 starbases at a star or even at an allied planet ( you can place a starbase in an allies planet system even though your ally already has a starbase there). Upgrade them to the max with trade ports and you'll have a torrent of credit income. Each starbase with lvl 2 trade port produces 10 Credits per second, i played a 6 player - FFA (AI only) and i did exactly that i pulled in up to 400 Credits per second through starbases and trade ports in comparison with my miniature 40 credits per second through planet taxes. Use the massive credit income to buy Metal and Crystal via Black market and make more starbases, repeat for infinite money.
3. Sometimes, in some maps where you start off, you have very few planets nearby and most of them are just gas planets or Mag/Plasma clouds, since you have limited planets, it's a good idea to put starbase with lvl 2 ship factory behind your main line of defence, starbases produce at an alarming rate with lvl 2 upgrades. saves on logistic slots. Better put the starbase at the edge of a gravity well and set a rally point at one of your assembly points, that way, the ships you produce can jump ASAP as soon as they come out - upgrade trade port to lvl 2 as well.
4. Vicious AIs build really big fleets, really fast..they usually reach max ship population in an hour, depending on size of map, they also like to gather a tonne of ships outside a star system and send a scout every minute at a system they want to invade to determine if they can overpower you. A fully upgraded starbase with 20 Guass platforms and repair bays will hardly guarantee the security of a planet from Vicious AI - they cut through your starbase and all the defences and take your planet. Also, build lots of anti-strikecraft, AI's love carriers.
Okay, time for my noobie questions
1. When enemy attacks and destroys your civilian ships, Refinery/Trade ships, does this disrupt your income? Does each ship produce a certain amount of resources?
2. Are Easy AI's really Easy? i have played a few FFA matches and i find an Easy AI pinning down a more "Harder" AI and taking there planets. On one occasion, an "Easy" sent 10 cap ships (all lvl 4) at my planet, funnily enough, they were all Jarrasul evacuators and demolished my planet.
3. Do AIs offer missions to pirates?
4. Does placing culture centres at your planet boost the allegiance of nearby planets you own and the one it is at?
5. How exactly, threatening is Insurgency? - Wiki says they spawn some ships and randomly attack planet. I've never seen any insurgents.
6. Sometimes my Cielo's and Hoshiko's don't auto-use their abilities.. i have to manually embolden my caps and manually issue repair orders, kinda annoying cause my comp gets a bit-laggy in big fleet battles, hard to micro-manage.
7. Is the "Finest Hour" an buff for the Kol Battleship itself or is it applied to nearby ships too
8. Do Novaliths fire at planets in other star systems?
9. Not a question but - anyone notice how small the Garda is..? it's got more armor than ships 4-5 times its size.