Gameplay Tips for Necroids Species
In my experience, “advanced neighbors” tends to give me the opposite of what I want, in that it puts the AI in a weaker starting position relative to me than a stronger one. I’m not playing on the latest patch, so if it’s changed in the past few months, y’know.
But in general, the “bad guys” on advanced starts get ripped apart by their internal problems either before I meet them or just after. For whatever reason, they’re much more stable and challenging if I let them conquer the neighboring pre-FTLs and drop their dangerously weird colonies at their own pace.
For a long time, I preferred playing with advanced starts because I thought it was increasing the challenge. But getting my current play-through initialized, I realized Advanced Starts was shredding my starting empires before I could encounter them. Handicapping yourself is a better approach, imho.
As for the starting neighbor strength… I’ve found early defensive alliances are critical to getting through the early period. Which means often having to sign up with someone because they’re close, not because they’re compatible.
Once you’ve found the stable place where your superior management starts closing the initial gap and then reversing it, there tends to be a round of diplomatic musical chairs where empires drop their friends from necessity in favor of their friends from sympathy.