I managed to put a bit of time into this game the last few evenings. I kind of like not knowing what the heck I am doing, and making a bunch of mistakes, but playing on normal difficulty so I can hopefully recover.
Blowing stuff up is pretty fun.
Edit: It’s interesting to me how differently some things play out than my last game of Stellaris.
So I established a colony at the southern end of my space. Nearby, I discovered a pirate base, but they were too far away to reach with my current technology. Oh well. I had a pretty decent fleet concentrated on my homeworld and another fleet reasonably close by. I sunk a lot of resources into the developing that planet, getting them past the point of slow growth and building up a decent population and mining industry.
Then the pirates attacked. They were faster than I expected, and only needed three turns to reach the colony. My fleet was four turns away. Oops. I had some fixed defenses at the colony (more sunk costs) but they weren’t enough to take out the pirate fleet, which also stronger than I thought due to some of the ships being stealthed. In tactical combat, I managed to snipe their assault transport with my defenses and celebrated. Hah, you won’t be taking my colony today, pirate scum! My fleet is only one turn away!
So they nuked the colony. Oh, everyone is dead now. Most of their fleet flies away before I get there. Oops.
I think about how that scenario would play out the last time I played Stellaris. I would actually be able to reach the pirate base, since there is no range concept. A spaceport at the reasonably developed colony would have been able to fight off some measly pirates in the early going. If it fell, the pirate would probably have limited themselves to blowing up some space mines. If they’d attacked the planet, it wouldn’t have been wiped out. My centrally-located fleet would have been able to get there before too much damage was done.
It’s a nice “you’re not in Kansas anymore” moment. Sometimes the old ways are the best.