#7. Ship Upgrades: Do you upgrades your ships? I don' upgrade my ships because it's a waste of money. I don't know if the AI upgrades their ships, but they shouldn't. If you do upgrade your ships, you are probably turning constructors into colony ships or reloading double constructors. The AI can't do this, so it will always lose to somebody who does do this.
#6 Diplomacy: Do you use Diplomacy? I don't use Diplomacy, because Tech Trading makes the game too easy. If you want to be friends with everyone, it's very doable. Diplomacy is the easy button.
#5 Starbases: Do you build Economic Starbases? I always build 5 starbases around my capital and load it up with wonders. After that, having starbases around other planets is optional, because at that point I've already won. The AI does not make good use of starbases, so it will always lose.
#4 Strategic Resources: Do you use prototype weapons? I don't, I just put Doom Rays on everything.Do you build the special planetary improvements? I don't, they aren't worth the effort or the tiles needed to build them. The Durantium Refinery is almost worth it, but the others are all trash. Do you even build Mining Starbases? I don't and the AI does, which is why I keep winning.
#3 Planetary Projects: Research Project, Economic Subsidies, Cultural Festival, Birthing Subsidies, Military Subsidies, Morale Allowance; Which ones do you use? Research Project and Economic Subsidies are just bad and should never be used. The others are extremely situational, and I still don't use them. I assume that the AI does use them, and that is another reason why I never lose.
#2 Governors: Do you use the global production wheel? The sweet spot to avoid Coarsion penalties is 45% Manufacturing, 45$ Research, 10% Wealth. Do you use the planetary wheel? If I only ever used it on my Capital, that would be more than enough to win every game. Do you manage your planetary improvements effectively? As of 1.5, you need to build farms earlier, but governors will not do that. The governors weren't very good to begin with, but now they're just awful. The AI could definitely use an update.
#1 Unique Tech Trees: I think everyone is aware of how strong Thalan Hives are. As of 1.5, the increased Growth makes Food much more useful. The Drengin Work Camps are strictly better than Factories and the Slave Pit is incredibly powerful. The Iconians also get a lot of Food. Let's not forget about the poor Terrans who have no unique techs at all. Essentially, there's no balance. Picking the right tech tree gives you an advantage over your opponent. How could I ever possibly lose to the Terrans?