In case you haven't heard yet - currently there is no way to interact diplomatically with minor civilizations due to concerns with being able to exploit diplomatic deals/trades with them - however you can trade with or invade and conquer them.
A couple questions about minor civilizations:
1) Do they still participate in United Federation votes or just major Civilizations ?
2) For those of us that never really exploited minor civilization can the ability to interact with minor civilizations be modded back into the game ?
3) Why do Starbase Markets require AntiMatter (which seems to be most rare standard old resource more so than Elerium) as well as Promethium) - I have yet to see Antimatter on Planets but I have seen a lot of Promethium and some Thulium on planets. Durantium instead of AntiMatter for Starbase Markets seems to make more sense.
4) Percentages for Manufacturing and Research bonuses for improvement buildings and starbase modules seem drastically lower than before Crusade - will these percentages be reviewed for balance reasons in future updates ? Is it possible to change these percentages just by modding the XML files alone ?
Another Design Change in Crusade involves several features in the previous Tech research trees being removed from all races unless they select the appropriate Racial Abilitity
5) Slaver racial trait adds Slaver Pits and Slave Recycling Techs to any Race's Tech Tree (previously included in Drengin and Snathi Tech Trees). Should Slave Pits and their upgrades include any kind of Construction raw bonus (+1 or 2 to Raw Construction - they of course have better (all) construction bonuses than work camp's presumably to eventually replace the raw +2 construction bonus from the space elevator, but with the new food limits (need for a farm to add City building for +8 population but that requires two titles on a planet) it is harder to increase population for its raw construction with less than 10 title planets) like the Space Elevator building that they essentially replace ? Why are there no Starports for Slaver Races ? Slaveling Recycling adds the Slaver Recycler Building - this tech description could use some work and the one for Protein Resequencing needs to be redone. Note that Molecular Fabricators are also added to the Slavers (ZealotsAbility) Tech tree (previously included in Iconian and Snathi Tech Trees). Why is this now considerably later in the tech tree after Planetology - Environmental Science and Colonial Engineering (soil engineering) techs ? Should Iconians also gain this tech ?
6) Starfaring Racial Ability now adds five Hyperion Military techs to the Tech research tree for a race that were previously unlocked for every race. Hyperion Sensor System, Hyperion Life Support, Hyperion Logistics System, Hyperion Shrinker, and Hyperion Shipyard. Hyperion Life Support System appears to have a problem with its tech description.
7) At first glance there appears to be only one "planetary defense building" that requires Elerium which is fine for a critical unique planet you want to defend. However apparently Military Academies now replace the original "planetary defense buildings". When you build Garrisons to conversion one Legion (army) created by Military Academies to become local planetary bound garrisons does this require a planetary tile (looking at XML files appears that it does not but this is not obvious to the player a first) ? Other than Military Academies the only other method to add resistance appears to be from Military Tech Research in lieu of planetary defense or soldering bonuses (and Preparedness Center from Pragmatic ideology choice) ? The base planetary resistance from population is a lot lower than before Crusade (looks to be 0% now about was previous about 25% at neutral planetary defense (Courage) radical trait). 100% population approval adds 25% resistancel currently. I see Epimethus Refinery adds 25% resistance if you happen to have the resource on the planet). in the XML files there are a couple other ways beside resources to add resistances apparently.
Not that invasions ever were difficult to pull off but looks easier now to invade unless you happen to have a garrison on the planet. Obvious this is a new design choice but it would help existing players to explain the new Planetary Defense and Invasion system in a detailed Developer Journal (figuring out changes to mining, resources, and starbases were easier to figure out and Citizens have been introduced in a Dev Journal). Can the base resistance from population by modded only by changing the XML files or is this hard coded including changes from approval ? Will there be a way to add the planetary invasion landing interception percentage other than from the researched 10% bonus from the Military research tree ?
9) So the only way now to receive Tourism Income is to pick up the Diplomatic Racial Trait ? If that is so then is getting two racial trait points from choosing unpopular a semi exploit for non-Diplomatic races ?
10) Note the resourceful trait seems to give very few bonus starting resources (I got two durantium and two hyperspace silicates when I tried it out) unless this changes over time.
11) Non Slaver nor Synthetic Races have listed a Data Center Research Building (one per colony) available under the Colonization tech tree but I have yet to see the ability to buld this building. Was this deleted last minute or is there some kind of typo in the XML files preventing this building from showing up in the planet's build list. In 2.13 the default Colonization Tech enables a colony unique Data Center research building (really just a renamed Research Lab building - still called Research Laboratory in ImprovementsDefs.XML that gives +7.5% Research Bonus). Should this building be moved to XenoExpoltation which currently enables no buildings.
P.S. In case anyone is wondering while there seems to be a number of initial release bugs - ever present typos and design tweaks needing to still be made - Crusade in general is very well done - runs faster (yet to fully see if the ability to handle massive maps and extensive mods is better supported due to running as a 64 bit app now that also better supports multiple CPU cores) and generally better developed expansion of Galactic Civilization III (GC3). And the number of day one bugs for Crusade seems significantly smaller than when version 1.0 of the base game was released. So while there is room for improvement this expansion makes GC3 a much better game to play with the ability to greater customize and tweak gameplay (Customized Fractions and other Mods). Therefore while there are some new directions in gameplay to adapt to that might frustrate old and new players it seems worth the effort to take the time to better enjoy this 4X space based strategy game. Well done Stardock !!!!