Well, after 64 hours (though that included the tutorial, I didn't check what actual time in game), I finished my first game of AI War. (I bought it when it was on sale during the run-up to the first kickstarter to Ai War 2 (I backed both)).
It was an 80-planet map, with a vanilla 6 and maine enthusiats 5 AI (Golems, Spirecraft, Botnet golems, champion on easy, roaming enclaves, traders, dyson sphere, resistance on 4 as recommend by Supercat's guide, plus astrotrains).
I finsihed with at lest 35 worlds (since I got that achievement) and a progress of 710-ish before hitting th last homeworld. I'd gotten every progress reducer and fought a long bitter battle after ko'ing the first AI homeworld near the superterminal to drop the progress down by about a hundred. I could mabe have gotten lower, but I didn't want to lose the mark V fabricator on the planet and I was starting to lag by the end. So today, I pressed on and finally did it.
Some random thoughts then:
1) The biggest thing I took away was "should have listened to Supercat's guide and not enabled astrotrains." I thought they sounded jolly, so I ignored the advice and put them to 4. That proved to be a mistake. The tractor and widow trains were just hidiously tedious. Especially since the map was more or less divided into quarters, with the AI worlds on the right top and bottom. The warp-line to the top AI's choke point was also one jump away from the long, unbranched several world route to the bottom AI, so despite prioritisng on the stations, they remained a pain in the backside until the very end of the game.
2) The first AI homeworld retaining a warpgate was an unexpected snag. Even having nicked, like three zenith power generators off the AI, plus one I'd build myself I could barely manage to max-turret the four choke-points I'd got...
3) The Botnet Golem is amazing and hilarious. i ended up with three Artillery Golems by the end, and they were capable of dealing with most systems all by themselves.
4) Spider Turrets are also amazing and I don't know what I'd have done without them.
5) Astrotrain annoyance aside, that was plenty difficult enough for me. (I did lose planets several time and once even had to reload because something got through to the home commans, but damned if I know why...)
6) Winning was a bit of a let-down. A flashing green "You win!" and a couple of journal entries - not even end-game screen. Nearly as bad as (my otherwise gold stanard 4X) SotS and its uncerimonious "game over" screen. After some tens of hours, I was sort of expecting something a bit more... Anything. Statistics are always nice (and it must track them for achievements, so...) Something to suggest for AI War 2 maybe?
(Mind you, still better than the end of Mass Effect 3, but that's another whole rant...!)
Overall, it were a giggle, especially for basically the nothing I spent on it (and retroactiveky justifying me backing the kickstarters, which I did before even playin for the first time!) I think I spent two-thirds of the real-time of the game paused (my actual unpaused time was about 23 and a half hours*...) planning and often re-planning.
As/when/if I play again, trans will go off, and the exodia blade will go on, I think, since that sounds interesting (and I wnated my first game to be a "regular" victory).
*I didn't feel like I cared enough to span it out to get the 25 hour achievement...!