I am playing last night and doing great, excessive map with 15 ai. Coming up on 100 turns I am way ahead of all the contacted ai and the non-contacted in production and research and I am 4/15 overall in military. My two neighbors are both behind me in military and I am more than double them in total power.
I am pragmatic and one of my neighbors is Malevolent and turns hostile. Okay then, we have an arms race. I am turning out medium hulls in 2 shipyards in 3-4 turns (I know that's not great for many of you), resources are no a problem. I am producing all I need for all weapons available now.
Meanwhile, my hostile neighbor's power rating is going through the roof. Building my fleets as fast as I can, this guy shoots up to nearly 300 power and I am creeping up on 200. He declares war and I feel like a sitting duck.
I get an event that gives me enough prag points to pick the 50 turn war stopper but it don't work if you are at war. The I see the talk signal come on the power screen. I am able to bribe the robots into a peace treaty and then I activate the 50 turn war stopper, (I guess it-works, I have never used it).
While getting the peace treaty, I take a good look at what I am up against. The guy has 6o+ warships, mostly tiny and small with max 4 power weapons, no defense, and about 4 transports ready to go. I have about 20 med hull ships with the same weapon power, and no transports
From my last look and previous looks this guy does not appear to have the resources to support what he has built and seems to be continuing to build. He is also cash poor.
I wouldn't concern yourself about the numbers too much. I'm almost always way behind the AI for most of the game until I start being able to crank out large ships (which is usually way into the 200s as far as turns with the way I play). Since Crusade I have only been playing on the largest map size and with ~22 AI. As you noticed, the AI is usually building small and tiny ships and they go for numbers to try and overwhelm your defenses. Once I see what their preferred weapons are I focus my defenses on that for my ships while focusing on one type of weapon (usually missiles but not always) and easily dispatch their ships. I prefer playing with my custom race and they are Pragmatic like you. I always try and play nice but the AI always thins I'm too weak and tried to bully me and then declare war on me. I try to always keep one Pragmatic ideology point in the bank so that if I've got a few AI hostile towards me I can then limit the number of AI I get at war with so that I'm not too overwhelmed in the early stages. I then wipe out their ships and asteroid mines and take their planets. Unfortunately, because I'm playing on Ludicrous map size I have yet to finish a game because patches keep coming out requiring me to start a new on to get all the benefits of the patch, but I have gotten into the 300-400 turn range and have definitely been on my way to victory by that time. If you just focus on the numbers you'll get discouraged if you have a similar play style to me. But trust me, you can do it!!
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