After a two-year break, I'm enjoying AI War very much. I figured I'd ease myself back in, start at 4/5 AI (Vanilla/Tank) instead of 7/7. But just as with 7/7, I'm having trouble taking an AI Homeworld. Here's my situation:
It's a 60-world map. I've destroyed all the required CSGs. AIP is 181; I've destroyed 2 or 3 Data Centers but no Co-Processors. (I don't hit AIP II until 260 or so.) I've taken 12 worlds and neutered one more, which is home to a helpful Dyson Sphere. I got Acid Sprayers for my free ship. I've unlocked Fighter III, Bomber III, Frigate III, and I have a couple Advanced Factories churning out Mark IVs. Other tech includes grav turrets, Mk II stasis turrets, Mk 3 crystals, Mk 2 Force Field -- maybe too much defense? I have a few cool golems, my favorite of which is the Hive Golem, but I have that particular Golem defending a besieged world at a crucial intersection (with 4 hostile wormholes). I'm nervous about bringing that thru 2 enemy worlds to the homeworld, because the Golem then needs to get to safety after releasing its waspy payload.
I've also got three fabrication plants, one producing Fighter Mark Vs, another Zenith Electric Bombers V, another Mini-Ram Vs. I've taken roughly every other world in my path to hold down AIP -- but I wonder if I should've indulged myself and taken a couple more worlds for more knowledge. I'm now 3 hops away from the first AI Homeworld, and the two intervening worlds have nothing of interest; I've cleaned them out of ships pretty easily.
But the Homeworld itself is brutal! I have managed to take out (1) an Ion Cannon, and (2) a guard post in two raids, but that's it. (Will they respawn?) My fleet is about 600 ships, mostly Mk III-V; the Homeworld has 300 plus a barracks with another 150, but they're almost all Mk V. My Mk IV and V ships die fast the minute I enter the system. I tried bringing a Spire Shield ship with me, but it didn't last long either. Should I bring along a Mk II forcefield? I thought about a Mobile Builder for turrets, but that won't work without supply, will it? (I don't want to put the Homeworld on alert, so I'm attacking from 3 hops away.)
Should I just keep hammering away, trying to knock down one guard post per suicide attack, lol? Should I take more territory to get more knowledge so that I can build more ships? Should I suspend this assault, work my way close to the 2nd AI, and try that one instead? (Actually, I'm already about 4-5 hops from the 2nd AI too.) Any general advice on how to pop into a very nasty homeworld system without being instakilled?
Any advice would be much appreciated.