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Dec 23, 2000
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Hello All!

Back in 2012, when Crusader Kings II was released, i started an AAR with the Hautevilles in Sicily. This ended as a world conquest back in 1350. Since the Normans were too overpowered to be exported to EU IV, then i just let them be.

Here is the link to the original: https://forum.paradoxplaza.com/foru...s-can-anyone-stop-the-norman-invasion.585553/

Then, Stellaris was released. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to bring the bring the Normans into space.
So, there was an AAR about Normans.

Paradox has a nasty way of updating their games and providing great support. So, when the Leviathans story pack hit, i restarted, thinking that Normans and Space Dragons are quite the mix.
And now, with the release of Unity, i'll be doing the second restart.

Here are two previous Normans:

First: https://forum.paradoxplaza.com/foru...anyone-stop-the-norman-space-invasion.926483/
Second: https://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/index.php?threads/new-and-improved-hauteville-empire.976759/

If you want to see how Normans got into space, i encourage to click on either links. prequel is there. I'm not copying it again.

Also, this time i'm skipping the early decades, so you'll be dropped right into action.

Let us hope the third time is the charm!

Hello old readers, welcome new readers. Hope you enjoy reading it as much as I liked writing it.

Table of Contents:
Threadmarks to be found here:

This is showing the major events

Empress Emma I (2200-2250)
The Trap. Just scroll down.


Empress Yolanda I (2250-2309)
The Beginning of the End

Interregnum II

Empress Avelina

Coronation of Avelina IV "Dragonslayer" Hauteville

Permission of interactivity granted by Qorten
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The Trap
The Trap

Rhizome of Green had been had. The realization dawned upon it as a ton of bricks currently in progress of falling upon his head.

He sweared with all the naughty words Ganvius had. And then, he invented some more. After that, he threw his cup of grub across the bridge of GNS Silver Needle III. It hit a one of the navigator’s viewscreens, cracked it and spread the green goo all over the console. The crew looked up in distress, seeing the usually so calm and confident Admiral to lose it. And a sense of forthcoming doom creeped upon them. For they looked at the Admiral and saw only distress.

These filthy aliens, these nasty Normans had taken Nectar of Hope, an undefended colony closest to their border. And then left, leaving the planet with only token forces. Virtually undefended. “These aliens are stupid,” Rhizome of Green concluded and the Serene Protector, Petals of Burgundy agreed with it. The Normans had made the first strategic error and by exploiting it, Ganvius could turn the nasty invaders back.


Filthy aliens over the Ganvius colony

As the Norman fleet entered Desplad system, with all of the armies in tow and with obvious intent on taking the second unprotected colony called Scion, Rhizome left the protective barrier of the spaceport of Ganvius Primus and went to take back the Nectar of Hope. Perhaps there was hope for the Ganvius after all.


The map of the Ganvius Empire

He realized now that this is exactly what the bloody stinking aliens wanted him to do. As his fleet was entering the orbit of Nectar of Hope, the Norman fleet appeared. In Ganva system! In home! Landing almost upon the wormhole station, the Normans blew it out of the sky. Thus, springing the trap and leaving Rhizome and his fleet in Castor system. For this was the last wormhole station the Ganvius had.


Stranding the enemy

Rhizome of Green clutched his feelers. He had walked into the trap the aliens set up and now, he is stranded in Castor system. The stinking aliens had won. Rhizome of Green had been had.

Clearing the Sky

Rhizome of Green ordered his fleet to bomb the Norman armies in Nectar of Hope. It’s not like he had anything else to do. Normans sustained. They knew and Rhizome knew that this was just a show of force, not actual force, for Rhizome did not have any armies with him and the personnel of fleet was not enough to take back even a village, and definitely not the entire planet.

As he was bombing it’s own planet, the communications fro Ganvius Primus became more panicked as the Normans were approaching to their homeworld. Not needing to hide anymore, the Norman fleet of 11 destroyers, 1 frigate and 20 corvettes was approaching with steady speed.

It was September 2232 when the first Norman slugs hit the massive structure orbiting the homeworld. It was strong, it was heavily armoured, it had plenty of weapons. But so did the Normans. Half of their destroyers were equipped with large and medium cannons, designed to penetrate the heavy armor of the spaceport. Small corvettes swarmed the station, while large cannons chew through the protective layers.


Attack on spaceport begins

In the end, the result was as predicted. Normans lost 7 corvettes, but the sky of Ganvius Primus was defenceless. And Ganvious had lost their ship production capability. As a final insult, the Normans destroyed the sole construction ship. Ganvius had no chance to build up their fleet, no chance to get Rhizome out of Castor. Alejandro Vasquez smiled. The Ganvius had been had.


End of the only spaceport of the enemy

Alejandro now had all the time in the world. Instead of hitting the enemy fleet, he set course back to Earth. To repair the existing ships and pick up some new ones.

The End

It was half a year later. In April 2233, when the Hauteville Fleet detached itself from the docks of Earth. Almost up to their former strength, with 18 corvettes, and all the battle damage repaired, the Normans were ready once again. They set course to Castor, to end it once and for all.

Rhizome knew this was it. It and its 27 corvettes, inferior to Norman ones in all aspects except for the shields, were either to win or perish, for they had nowhere to run. It gazed at the scans of the Norman ships. The sheer size of destroyers and the cannons of the corvettes... It knew he was going to fight an uphill battle. But it is not like it had a choice. The enemy had played it and the rest of the Ganvius and now, there was no other choice but to attack and hope to win. So, it gave the order to attack. And just hope that its belief about the inferiority of aliens compared to Ganvius had some root.


The Ganvius ships are quite outdated
It didn’t. GNS Silver Needle III was one of the first ships to be hit by the Normans. It was blown up at the early stages of the battle, when ships were still exchanging fire from a long distance. Rhizome did not survive the explosion. It was good for him too, for he did not see the devastating results.


First shots being exchanged

Desperately, the Ganvius ships were trying to fight. They knew what was at stake- their freedom. Their lives free from the yoke of the disgusting aliens. Their way of life. It did not help. There was less and less of their ships around, hammered by Normans, hit from all sides. As vile as the aliens were made to be, they knew how to fight.


Normans taking the enemy apart
Until there were none. The Ganvius fleet was nothing but a scrap of metal, floating in space, waiting for Norman scientists to scan and explore and to get the shields technology. The enemy had dealt the final blow.


The end of their fleet

Ganvius had lost it all. Their fleet, their spaceport and their ability to travel between starts- all had been taken by the Normans. There was but one thing to do- Serene Protector, Petals of Burgundy, not wishing to see the Norman armies touch their beautiful homeworld, while the Norman fleet devastates it from orbit, surrendered.


The surrender of the Ganvius

The Normans had won their first proper war.

The Spoils of War

Ganvius Primus, in Ganva system, was the homeworld of Ganvius. Huge planet, maximum population of 20 billion people. Natural beauty, if you happen to like the arctic scenery. But it is breathtaking. Mostly white, with frequent Aurora Borealis lighting up the sky, turning the serene scenery into something more coloured. And the skiing possibilities... The only negative part is that the planet is filled with Ganvius, who happen to be quite isolationist xenophobes, so the tourists have quite good chance to be beaten up.


The enemy homeworld, in all their glory

Scion, in Lappland System, is the second colony of the Ganvius. Even bigger then the Ganvius Primus, most of the planet is covered by glaciers that need to go before the planet can be fully exploited.

This is one huge planet

Nectar of Hope, now in Lulea System, is much smaller then the rest of the two. It is already full though. Ganvius are fast breeders. Once the restrictions are removed, this is also a good planet to thrive.


Now, who the hell builds planetary capital on top of perfectly good Betharian resource?

The Ganvius are the fourth non-mechanical species in the Hauteville Empire. There is total 32 billions of them, making them almost as numerous as the Humans (40 billion). As per Hauteville traditions, even the most obnoxious aliens have a right for everything. So, the Ganvius were granted full citizenships, given access to decent standards and requirements to serve in the local militia.


The Ganvius policies

The Ganvius Systems were put into seperate sector, dubbed Norrland. It was governed by Fan Wek.


The Conclusion

After the huge parade in Palermo, showing off both victorious soldiers and sailors, Empress Emma held a great reception in the Hauteville Palace. It was all cheering, happiness and other similar things.
Apart from the private meeting with Alejandro Vasquez, the hero of the war.

“The cost was too high,” Alejandro said. Emma just nodded.

“13 ships...” the Admiral sighed. “This is not good”

“Apart from the cost of lives, these ships are expensive,” Emma agreed. “It was the yearly income of the Hauteville Empire to replace them.”

“We need better ships,” Alejandro continued. “And also, we need more of them.”

“Agreed,” said Emma. “And you shall have both, i promise.”

"Also, we need to improve our mineral output," Emperor Consort Bohemond pointed out.
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This is this now. The third attempt, and this time, i'm throwing you right in the middle of the action.
At least, the Normans are at it again!
The Hauteville Hatrick begins! :D
Third's the charm, eh? Glad to see this back! :)
Well, let's get the Norman Pain Train rolling once again, shall we?
I can't help but feel like we've been here before. :cool: Really though, we're off to another good start.

I must ask, as I'm not certain if it'll come up in the infodump: Have you dealt with the inevitable pirates that accomplish nothing?
Journey to the Heart of the Galaxy

Departure of Persepolis

The sound of clamps releasing echoed through the spaceport. Then, the engines ignited, slowly pushing the humongous ship away from the station. Looking to be about the size of the city, the ship almost dwarfed the station. It should, as well. For it carried enough to start self-sustaining colony in a brand new world and enough colonists to make it happen.


Departure of Persepolis

“Fascinating,” commented Emma, observing the ship’s launch from the private lounge of one of the most fancy restaurants in the spaceport.

“It is indeed a sight,” replied Bohemond, laying on a couch and enjoying a sight of Persepolis covering the sun.

“That too,” said Emma, “But i was rather thinking the location of this lounge. “Best view in the universe”, it advertises. And the view is towards the space, not enjoying the Earth from the orbit.”

She leaned on the window, gazing at the stars beyond and pressing her nose against the thick glass and looking like a piggy-empress.

“Meaning?” asked Bohemond

“That somewhere along the lines, our priorities have shifted. We have became spacebound race, always looking for brand new places to settle.”

“Or the restaurant just couldn’t find a better spot and decided to make the best of it,” Bohemond chuckled.

“Well, what do you prefer?” asked Emma, gazing as Persepolis passed close enough that people could see the empress. “Earth or this?”

Bohemond stood up, joined Emma at the window and waved casually towards settlers, starting on their long journey.

“This,” he admitted. “The Earth is where we are born. Somewhere out there is where we die.”

“Aww, husband, thinking of death already?” Emma smirked. Both were only in their 70-ies and had several decades ahead of them yet.

“Just remembering an old saying,” Bohemond replied. “And modifying it. Small planet to be born in, whole galaxy to die in”

“Looking at the migration rates from Earth, you are correct,” Emma smiled back. “The amount of people leaving towards new worlds is staggering.”


The journey ahead

First Four

Persepolis was just a speck in the sky, it’s orange engine trails barely distinguishable from the rest of the sky. Emma and Bohemond set down and ate lovely dinner under the light of the stars, until Persepolis was not visible to the bare human eye.

It was the fifth time they had done it during the years. Somehow, it had became a tradition of a sort. Watch the launch, have lunch. Then, enjoy the space for few more hours and head back to Earth.

First was back in 2203. Just three years after Normans left solar system behind, the Normans completed their first colony ship and set on a relatively short journey towards Tortuga. Much to the dismay of United Caloctra Alliance, who considered it within their borders. Unfortunately for them, the Normans colonized planet first and established contact later. And as an insult, the first Norman colony was named after legendary hive of debauchery and villainy of much more interesting times.

Nowadays, it’s a bustling colony with over 10 billion people calling it home.


What can i say.. Oops, i did it again!

Second was in 2208. This time, to Sirius system. One of the nearest systems to Earth, but with a weak magnetic field, meaning that the life was a bit more difficult. Despite that, new colony named Tuscany grew and it was a popular destination amongst the people in Earth, soon to be rivaling Earth in terms of population.


Tuscany, the second one. Not the best place to live, but also, not the worst

Third was in 2216. This time, the Normans crossed the Great Emptiness between galactic spirals and set course towards the core. Kyoto, a huge world, located at the edge of the system. The nearby asteroid belt gives Kyoto excess minerals, but for some reason, mining isn’t the most popular pastime in the planet. By now, the Kyoto is no longer a frontier world, but busyplanet, giving quite a bit resources to the Empire.


Mineral-rich, miner-poor Kyoto.

Exploiting the known space kept Normans busy. Even though the Normans had became really effective at building frontier stations and such, covering the entire owned space with stations, developing existing planets and building the fleet kept Norman resources strained. So the fourth colony ship started flight in 2225. Tokyo System, at the edge of second spiral, had had a huge ocean world, with enough landmass to make it viable for colonization. This one is still under development.


Tokyo, an oceanic world still in the early stages of development

Tokyo System is kind of special though. Besides Tokyo, it has yet another habitable planet. Just this planet is already inhabited. The Chimm are a nation in a level comparable to Earth’s renaissance. If things go well, they will be joining the galactic world in a millennia or so. Only to discover that the Normans have been gazing upon them from the sky and abducting their cattle for a long-long time, but that’s galaxy for you. The system also has one addition small savannah world ready for colonization.


Elox, full of people called Chimm


As Persepolis arrived at Wellington System, everyone seemed to liven up. Though there was still long journey ahead, arrival to their final destination made everyone’s spirit rise a bit. Just a few month more and the ship makes planetfall, and they can breathe proper air and feel proper, atmosphere filtered, sun shining down on their bodies. There should be spring in where they land, and the alien flora was about to come to bloom. Beautiful sight, and not at all dangerous to human life, the explorers had promised. The truth remains to be seen.

Lucky ones, responsible for scouting and planning and other preparations work for the main fleet to arrive, took the fast shuttles towards the planet, making sure that planetfall would be as hitchless as possible.

Wellington was not named after one of the generals who were leading the Hauteville final conquest in Earth, Japan. It was named after a location named after the great general- and was named such because as the capital of New Zealand was far from Palermo, so was Wellington from Earth. Earth, located at the edge of the galaxy and Wellington, near the heart. Just three jumps though, thanks to improved wormhole generators.

As with every colonization, the Normans had stretched the borders of their Empire even further. Wellington was no exception. It marked the arrival of Normans in the third spiral, making the Hauteville Empire the Empire with the biggest territory. At least of known other Empires.


The Hauteville Empire it it's full glory

The planet itself. Well, the results can be interesting, for the Wellington’s atmosphere has some substance in it that somehow makes humans more lustful. It meant that the planet’s population would be seriously on the rise. And also, it makes Wellington popular honeymoon destination for Normans and aliens living in the Empire. It is quite certain that in time, the Wellington will become one of the important planets in Norman space.


Wellington itself. This one will populate quickly
Journey to the Heart of the Galaxy
Well, some catching up and the longest journey the Normans have taken thus far. Though, with improved wormholes, the journey is not that bad actually.

Nice trad the Normands laid there, the Ganvius did not see it coming.

Hopefully the third will be the last :p
Wondering why you didn't colonize Alpha Centauri also, the planet is not good enough ?

It is easy to make life difficult for the wormhole AI.
As for Alpha Centauri, it is good. Normal 18-pop world. Just, limited resources and colonizing Alpha Centauri gives me just the planet. Other planets give me nearby systems and their resources and expand the borders and such!

The Hauteville Hatrick begins! :D

Yea, i'll hope i don't end up doing Germany vs Brazil though :D

Third's the charm, eh? Glad to see this back! :)

Glad to see you here as well! :)

Well, let's get the Norman Pain Train rolling once again, shall we?

Oh yes! :D


I can't help but feel like we've been here before. :cool: Really though, we're off to another good start.

I must ask, as I'm not certain if it'll come up in the infodump: Have you dealt with the inevitable pirates that accomplish nothing?

Deja vu? :)
And actually, got the events, pirates didn't spawn :)
Ahh the good ole expansion route. I wonder who is about to be a lump of coal in the Christmas Stocking of progress?
So, any plans to raise the Chimm to the galactic scene? Would be fine vassals, no?
So, what have you gone for in terms of civics, traditions, etc? You might even have an ascension perk by now if you went for that kind of build.
Some fine colony worlds for humanity to expand on. At least this third attempt hasn't had any bad luck marring the campaign.

And actually, got the events, pirates didn't spawn :)
Ha! They must have had the same deja vu feeling and just quit before the inevitable.
The Story of Fon Wek
The Story of Fon Wek

Alien Invasion

Fon Wek was 25 when the Invasion happened. Even though that was 20 years ago, he still remembers it as vividly as it was back then. He wasn’t directly involved. His home nation, small island nation with no strategic or tactical value and just a popular place for tourists, was deemed unworthy by the invaders and was left untouched. Rest of the Virik Mog wasn’t that lucky.

He was having lunch with the colleagues when the sirens started to scream, calling for evacuation. Moments later, he saw thee falling stars, bright enough to be seen during the day. It lasted for a moment, then the comets hit with a flash of light across the bay, where one of the largest nations of Virik Mog had their main military harbour.

Flash came first, huge flash of light. Even in the middle of the day, it was visible. The soundwave followed, breaking windows. By then, the people were in panic, running around, heading towards shelters. Fon Wek, still young and stupid, was a bit afraid as well, but mostly curious. He and his friend took a car to scenic spot, where there was good view across the bay.

It was close enough to see the landing craft landing near the inferno that used to be the naval base. It was no doubt, there was war. The question was- who was attacking? Was Virik Mog yet again going into grand war?


Virik Mog in all her glory

This question was answered in unusual way. The Gorothi were not totally defenceless. The mysterious landing craft were still under heavy anti-aircraft fire. Most of the craft dodged the fire without issue but one mysterious vessel took a hit straight to it’s engine. Smoke trailing from the vessel, its altitude was dropping fast. It was apparent that the pilot was trying to save the craft from fatal connection with a ground and as it approached position where Fon and his friend were. Apparently, the parking ground was deemed appropriate flat place for emergency landing, for before hitting the ground, the pilot turned on emergency jets and then, landed almost perfectly. On top of Fon’s car, crushing it underneath.

Hatches opened on both sides and armed beings rushed out, scanning in all directions. Seeing there were not a soul but two unarmed Gorothi, their leader lowered his weapon and told them in bad Gorothi: “We come in peace”

Followed by gurgling noises from the rest of the beings.

“Take us to your leader,” the being continued. Followed by more gurgling sounds.

Looking at the beings, feeling apparently so elated, despite the sudden and unexpected landing, it dawned to Fon- this was no war. This was an invasion.

And he was right. According to Norman calendar, it was March 2213. 8 Norman armies had gathered in the orbit of Virik Mog, preparing for the first alien invasion. It lasted less then a day. Normans levelled military power from orbit and took key locations before anyone really understood what was going on. 20 hours after the invasion, Gorothi governments surrendered to Normans. Hauteville Empire got their fourth planet.


Alien invasion happening


And the map of the Empire after

As for Fon, he joined the resistance. Just, the Normans didn’t seem to care. It is kind of hard to run an underground printing press, printing leaflets about driving Normans back when the local Norman overseer hints every time they meet that her cousin runs a proper printing press back in planetary capital and she can give you a really good deal on not only printing, but also distributing these leaflets.

Fon realized the futility of his effort once during the nighttime, when he was gluing these leaflets to the walls. He got caught red-handed by the Norman patrol. The Normans looked at the headline: “Drive the blood-thirsty invading Norman scum off!”, just shrugged and the sergeant have Fon his flashlight, commenting that “Hey, it’s dark, you can trip if you’re not careful,” handed Fon back his pack of leaflets and went on their way.

Next week, Fon applied for a job in a Norman government. He was accepted and over the time, his intelligence, good character and hard work made him rise through the ranks, until he was deputy governor under Brent Cullen, the highest Norman in position.

Now, 20 years later, Virik Mog had prospered under the Norman rule. Improved technology and ban of all warfare had caused a population boom. Norman robots were doing most of the hard-lifting mining work, while Gorothi were working mostly on farming and energy production. There were now 13 billion Gorothi around, and life had never been as good. Total liberties. Elections, freedoms. Good conditions. And much less worries about the future. It had been good enough that Gorothi had started celebrating the invasion as national holiday.


It wasn't so bad for the Gorothi. Virik Mog 20 years later.

It was then Brent Cullen invited Fon to his office. Just informing him, bluntly, that he has recommended Fon to be the governor of newly conquered Norrland sector. His qualifications were apparently his hard work and his extended knowledge of integration of native species to the Hauteville Empire. Fon accepted and there he was. Gorothi in charge of bringing Ganvius to become the productive members of the Hauteville society.


Fon Wek as the governor of Norrland

Of Hauteville Empire

The Normans are good bureaucrats. Meaning that they are not good at it at all- they have option that less is more. The administrative apparatus is surprisingly light and as the result, the effective government allows Normans to expand towards the stars without getting caught in red tape. Also, the Normans are very effective in space. They are able to use their fleet to the maximum, guaranteeing a bit better fire rate for the Norman ships.

The Normans are the Normans. They are most of all, warriors. They are also materialistic and egalitarian. They still keep their Medieval feudal system on top of the modern democracy. It is the Empress who decides warfare and foreign policy, but the internal affairs are dealt by parliaments. But when Emma says it is time for war, then it is time for war. Not that Normans mind- their love of warfare is the same as it was centuries ago.


The Hauteville Empire

That despite the fact that at the moment, pacifists are the largest faction in the Norman Empire. Understandable though, for the Normans just finished conquest of Ganvius and gave the xenophobic pacifist bastards full citizenship rights. Surprisingly though, pacifists don’t mind much living in the Empire- as long as their economic needs have been taken care of. It’s the isolationists who don’t like the Empire. Not understanding that you cannot solve anything by closing borders. You have to embrace the galaxy- Norman style. With military ships.


Blergh. Pacifists.


That brings us to diplomacy. There were Ganvius. Next to the Normans, there is yet another plantoid Empire, the United Caloctra Alliance. Their relations with the Normans are bad at best, due to Normans grabbing Tortuga early on. Instead of pacifists, they are proper warriors. And the relative size of the fleets is the only thing that has stopped the Empires at getting at each other's throats.


The nasty trees

Then, there is Vivisandia League of Stars. Yet another plantoid Empire, but much further away. They like their freedom and their warfare the same as the Normans do. The relations with this species are at their best. Normans have officially signed non-aggression pact with them, and are sharing research data, much to the love of the scientific community.


Vivisandia, the friendly trees

Then, there are these two. Tiyual Watchers and their spiritualistic Empire. And Vool Archivists, living in their ringworlds. The most uncomfortable neighbours to have. What else would you call neighbours who have the power to take on Normans- without even noticing? Luckily for Normans, these two are uninterested in the affairs of the galaxy, thinking Normans and the rest are beneath their notice. Normans don’t mind, they love being beneath their notice. They would love to be even twice beneath their notice. Until one day, the Tiyual and the Vool are forced to take notice, for there will be Norman cannons forcing them to take notice. But until that day comes, the Normans are very happy being ignored.


The Tiyal

... and the Vool


The journey beyond Earth had of course shifted the Hauteville Empire, forcing the Normans to change and adapt. The first thing the Normans did was to adopt prosperity. Then, discovery. For simple reasons- three stations for the price of two. This allowed for much more rapid expansion and exploitation of the resources in space, saving Normans tons of minerals early on.

Then, further into research line, increasing chances that Normans discover interesting things in the galaxy, thus giving the construction ships more resources to exploit. Then, again onto research. Currently, the Normans have three exploration ships discovering the galaxy near and far, and their data adds to the research of the Empire, giving Normans much needed technological edge. Finally, Normans have taken first step into adopting the military power that they are.


Norman traditions
And there i was, thinking that i write a few lines about Fon Wek. Instead, i got kind of carried away and you got the first alien invasion Normans ever did. And well, luckily for me, it was the spacefaring sort, not the stone age sort of primitices.
But i'm more or less done with introductions, i think. There is one more thing, but i'll filler it in sometimes.

Any questions?

Ahh the good ole expansion route. I wonder who is about to be a lump of coal in the Christmas Stocking of progress?

I totally suck at not expanding. All these aliens, just waiting to be part of the Hauteville Empire... the temptation is just too great.
And i'll give you hint. They're plants, they're next door, they're the only viable target around!

So, any plans to raise the Chimm to the galactic scene? Would be fine vassals, no?

Perhaps in a century. I'll use them for social points at the moment- they are more useful that way.

So, what have you gone for in terms of civics, traditions, etc? You might even have an ascension perk by now if you went for that kind of build.

As you can see, going very wide, not tall. No ascension perks for the time foreseeable. Though i think that cheaper stations is totally worth it. Saves you tons of minerals, especially early on. And research is useful.

Some fine colony worlds for humanity to expand on. At least this third attempt hasn't had any bad luck marring the campaign.
Ha! They must have had the same deja vu feeling and just quit before the inevitable.

Well, spawning next to TWO Fallen Empires counts as bad luck in my book :p And the Sol system as as poor as they come. But otherwise, yes, quite good locations.
And lucky for me it did. Since i didn't have much else to spend minerals on, i focused on colony ship and got the event when i was weak and when third of my fleet (read: one ship) was still exploring.
Nice write up with the Gorothi. Made me chuckle.
Right next to two Fallen Empires? Well, I know which way you're expanding.