@Niw: With a little diplomacy, last round I found NPC's to be most valuable. You have the easiest setup to acquire extra points through trade, an opportunity the rest of us don't have. They also can serve as kind of a buffer if you maintain a friendly relationship.
In fairness, I had them on the map before you picked the spot and I had labels up before the game started. If you'd like to move, you can. Now from looking at my diplomacy chart (way improved over the one last time; and different for each NPR-type), they aren't likely to go to war with you for anything, but they don't like being talked to. They're more open to trade since it brings stuff in, but you'd need to succeed in talking to them first. Odds are good that with Diplo 3+ you'd be safe from being attacked. It'll take a high level or a lucky roll (10 on a D10) to get them to let you do anything though.
About the diplomacy tables - would you guys rather me keep them to myself or give you the details of what it takes to interact with different NPR's?
The jist of each one is this:
Friendly - Only attacks if attacked first
Moderate - Might attack if offended, but probably won't unless attacked
Isolationist - On a bad day attacks first, but usually isn't persistent. Just wants to be left alone.
Expansionist - Slightly less likely to attack than isolationist, more likely to be persistent. Very willing to go to war to expand territory.
Pirate - Not as likely as expansionist to go to war, but will attack at the drop of a hat. Aims to capture prizes.
Side note - not sure it's in the rules or not, but you need FS available in systems where you have no planets to colonize them. Unlike last time, to continue building up you won't need FS in system; even for building empty planets.
Let's say I have planet A colonized and I want to colonize planet B for 2 PI. I understand you said we don't need FS present. Will colonizing Planet B with 2 PI require just 2 CP, or 1 AP to get there and 2 CP to build it?
Two options here:
A) Colonizing a new
planet in a system you already have planets/FS in could require 1 AP + however many CP you want to put into it (the AP counts as 1 point). Colonizing a new planet in a system you do not have FS/planets in could also cost 1 AP, so long as your fleets can reach it in 1 turn.
B) Colonizing a new
planet in a system you already have planets/FS in could require however many CP (or AP) you want to put into it. AP are needed for moving fleets into position for new planets in empty systems.
CP are basically free actions used to do things that are very easy for me to keep track of.