Managed to get in several games of late. Definitely see how strong the follow mechanic is when I can't seem to roll what I want but my opponent does.
Me: managed to upgrade twice for 2 VP and capture 4 planets (3, 5, 5, 7) for a score of 22
AI: only upgraded once (1 VP), and captured 1 planet (2 VP) for a total of 3 VP.
Me: Upgraded a whopping 5 times this game for 8 VP, and only grabbed 2 planets at 7 VP apiece. Total score of 22 VP.
AI: managed to upgrade 3 times (5. p) and secure 2 planets (1,1) for a total of 7 points.
This game was harder than the first as I had to race against multiple planets he was trying to score on. His upgrading occurred quickly and he activated his powers frequently to my annoyance.
Me: I upgraded the full 5 times (8 VP) and secured 3 planets (2, 7, 7) for a total of 24 points.
AI: upgraded 3 times (6 VP) and was unable to grab any planets for a total of 6 points.
I was worried about losing this game, not due to points but for his quick upgrades. He didn't hit a single launch until the final round of the game. I managed to do several smooth follows by stock piling culture to use when he rolled a lot of diplomacy. I also used my planets to grab additional culture at the cost of energy. A good game where I fully used a lot of the planet abilities for once.
I'm loving this game and want to see my way through the other difficulties soon.