I only play insane maps ... although I must admit that I pratically never finish a game because at some point especially the star base management gets too repetitive and boring ...
Still I like the vastness of the galaxy, what is emphasized when having tight clusters.
In 1.9 I have one more management problem: shipyards and ships. I'm only at mid-size hulls, but until then the ships appear too cheap so that all my shipyards spam war ships every 1-3 turns and constructors in 1-2 turns and I have to do something with all those ships.
A solution would be to give players a game setting for the factor that determines how a larger hull gets more expensive than a smaller one (so if the factor is 2 a small hull would cost twice than a tiny hull, a mid-size hull would cost twice than a small hull and so on). But since large ships must be worth their expenses that should not lead to players building only smaller ships because they then get more fire power than when building one large ship of the same price. So with the cost also the space to fit components into could scale. Large ships should be able to destroy a fleet of smaller ships of the same technology level, price and weapon focus (meaning a beam/shield deadnaught should be able to win a fight against a fleet of beam/shield frigates of the same price and technology level).
To give the player a reason why he or she should build expensive large ships one could e. g. also make fleets modules that give a whole fleet more range or speed so large that they only fit in the largest hull types.
And one last time-consuming issue that I think I stated already in the past: since automated explorers don't give you a message when they find something interesting (a colonizable planet, a resource, an anomaly, a relic, a ship of a faction you are at war with, or: make it a setting which messages the player wants to see ) I have to move all explorers myself, because otherwise on insane maps the chance to miss something important is too big. And since 1.9 (or before?) automated explorers seem to not use up all their movement points, at least if I watch them But that is not sure, I would have to verify that. Because ship movement is so very choppy I can't see which route they take, they pratically teleport to their end position, so that may also be a delusion.