Dread Lords, Dark Avatar Edit
The Terrans are pretty straightforward. Your strengths are in Trade and Diplomacy (especially in Dark Avatar, with Super Diplomat), so it pays to play a somewhat pacifist game. If you stay Neutral, you can get Neutral Shipping and Neutrality Learning Centers, two very powerful technologies. Play the evil races against the good races by bribing them into war with each other, make a trade route with each race, gift an old tech to anyone who falls to Wary or lower, and coast to a peaceful victory. Unless the Drengin or Yor conquer everyone in the galaxy (in which case, you may be at risk of being steamrolled), you should be able to win reliably at any level up to Crippling or Masochistic, without any specific strategy.
Twilight of the Arnor Edit
With the changes to the game, your strengths and weaknesses are now magnified. Ships take longer to build, you're one of the few races to receive no intrinsic Soldiering bonus, and your tech tree is a bit on the generic side, with few unique techs or projects. While this is an excellent way to get introduced to Twilight of the Arnor, you don't get any of the amazing race-specific technologies of the other, more-customized tech trees. On the positive side, your Super Ability should allow you to easily trade for these techs. When you play as the Terrans, you should definitely be as much of a tech broker as possible. Trade excessively with everyone, except perhaps the evil races, whom you may wish to starve for useful technology. Keep everyone at war with the evil races, if you can help it, so that nobody will have time to war on you. With an average-sized military (or better), your high diplomacy, and the extra trade routes you pick up from Neutral Shipping (should you choose to remain Neutral), you can rack up lots of positives.
Setting up the Galaxy Edit
Or, "How to stack the deck in your favor". For an easier game, set both Tech Trading and Tech Brokering on. For a more challenging game, set Brokering off. Ideally, since your strength lies in diplomacy, you'll want the peaceful victories on, though there's no reason you can't go ballistic and kill everyone. For the galaxy setup, you may wish to set everything to common or abundant, so as to claim numerous worlds for yourself. On the other hand, if you set everything to rare, your speed bonus will arguably come in even more handy, as you race to those very few habitable worlds. In this case, make sure you scout the galaxy well! Also, remember that the more habitable worlds there are, the more micromanagement you'll need to engage in.
Choosing Your Traits Edit
This is strongly a matter of personal style, but several hints can be given to those who seek advice:
- If you intend on tech trading heavily, perhaps a bonus to your research and/or diplomacy would be a good choice.
- Economics is always a good choice. However, if you have tech trading on, then it's less of an issue.
- Military Production, to get rid of the penalty.
- Luck or creativity, which both can help, occasionally.
- More trade routes or a trade bonus to help with finances.
Early Game Edit
The early game should go rather well for you, given that your ships are among the fastest in the game (tied only with the Altarians) and you can easily sell your techs for a obscene profit whenever you're at risk of bankruptcy. If tech trading is off, try selling starbases or obsolete ships for spare cash. If anybody settles near you, unleash a horde of constructors and fill the sector with influence starbases. It should flip very quickly. This is especially useful against races with low loyalty, such as the Korx, or low population growth, such as the Drath (because influence is based on population).
Mid Game Edit
Play a devious game of trickery and silver-tongued diplomacy. With your amazing diplomatic ability, you're second only to the Drath in terms of bribing everyone into war. While you unfortunately won't profit off of these wars, they will keep everyone busy researching weapons technologies and building warships, while you research influence and diplomatic techs and build starbases all over the galaxy. Be aware that having a weak military will draw negative attention, even from the Good races, so have at least one planet pumping out impressive-looking ships. You don't necessarily need to load up these ships with life support or engines; the AI doesn't take that into account when sizing up your military. You just want to keep the more warlike AIs off your back, until you're in a position to win. If you do decide to go the military route, you're going to have to keep in mind your military production penalty, and keep the manufacturing cost of your ships down to a reasonable number.
Late Game Edit
Well, you should really have a strategy in mind, at this point. If you don't, you can always fall back to an Alliance victory. Trade the Alliance tech to everyone, butter them up with gifts, extra trade routes, and token help when they come asking for relief in their war efforts. Give in to their demands and requests, when they make them. You'll eventually end up with alliances with at least half the surviving races. Declare war on everyone else. With the help of your allies, you should easily subjugate the last few hold-outs. If that's too much effort for you, you can always go for a Tech victory, since you'll probably have access to Neutrality Learning Centers, the absolute best research project in the game. If you went Good or Evil, align yourself with your brethren and instigate war between the two major alignments. Your goal is to destabilize the galaxy. From here, it should be easy enough to secure an Alliance or Conquest victory.
Militarily, your main target should probably be the Korx, who get no bonuses to their Soldiering or population growth. The Korx are also unlikely to have any allies who will intercede on their behalf, unlike the Altarians or Iconians. Unless you have a strong military and Soldiering score, avoid instigating war with the Torians, who are likely to have 12B to 20B people on every planet, plus several allies. You might also consider targeting the Krynn Consulate, especially if they're setting up influence starbases near your land. Don't forget to pick on anyone weaker than you, such as the Drengin or Yor, if they get their asses kicked by the more militaristic-minded races. Of course, since the AI is stupid and will make many tactical blunders, there's no reason why you can't conquer the universe, but your strengths lie elsewhere.