I just played a game with my friend on the Huge (Multi) map against six Unfair computer opponents. Let me tell you, it was brutal. We started in the same system, luckily. It was hell to secure just that for ourselves. I was TEC loyalists, he was Vas rebels. And once we purged the comps from our home system, we moved into the 'left' galaxy and found that two CPUs were duking it out there. We took over the planets immediately adjacent to the star and it was my job as the TEC to fortify the area while my friend moved in huge amounts of troops.
The arrangement was magical. The Vas rebels can establish Phase Nodes at each planet that let you travel anywhere in the star system, so long as the recipient planet also has a Phase Node. I was able to manufacture ships all across my empire and warp them directly to the star where my friend had a starbase with the Phase Node upgrade. Since the TEC loyalists are specialized for defense, I unloaded TWO starbases in each system as we conquered, essentially making it impervious to anything but a determined counter attack. It took us three days to finally capture the second star system and by then we were ready to invade the final star system. Two days later, we took that as well. We're both taking a break for a while but OH MY GOD that was fun.
If we have a Hamachi or other direct tunnel service, I would love to play with you guys via LAN.
Midgame is pretty frantic depending on your location. I was sandwiched between two AI and had to constantly make choices: build ships, or research? I usually chose ships to hold the fort while my friend researched the really heavy hitting ships and soon he sent in a huge fleet to relieve me. It's pretty amazing.
If any of you haven't bought this game yet, do so. It's selling comparably cheaper than a lot of big titles. Last I checked, Steam had it for $40.