Thanks for the heads up Neilo, will check those links out when I get home from work tonight.
I played my first game yesterday night and I'm absolutely loving the game. Since most RTSs are combat-heavy (or combat only), I decided to try winning through influence, diplomacy and economy.
Started on a small map, beginner difficulty and 5 opponents. Things were a bit rough at first as I was getting used to the game but then I started climbing up the overall power chart until I hit number 1. Used mining bases to good effect as well as an influence star base to help me push influence to other planets close to my capital.
Unfortunately, it seems that the map was a bit cramped for 5 opponents and quickly ran out of room to expand culturally. I switched gears and ramped up research spending to fast tech to the troop transports and took over a nearby minor race's planet. That went by pretty well and I had ample cash to perform the whole information warfare bit. I decided to go for another minor race planet that was also nearby and conquered it 3 turns later (had to wait 1 additional turn because there was a law put in place were you had to give a 1 turn's notice when switching over to war against a race).
This is were things start to go downhill. Immediately after conquering this second planet, 4 out of the 5 other races banded together to declare war on me. I was shocked. I wasn't a threat to them and I was only conquering minor races. Heck, they loved me so much that they were periodically sending me money just because I was such a swell guy. What gives? I had to stop playing on the very same turn they declared war on me since I had to get up early to go to work. I have a heck of a cliff-hanger to return to tonight. 2 out of the 4 that turned against me are right at my door step too. I have the economic advantage and it seems that even with only 8 or so small fighters, I have the highest military rating too. I guess it also helps that I monopolized as many military and economy mining bases as I could early on. Can't wait to keep playing.