Boardgame diplomacy - imho - applies very little to planets, as the planets universe is far more stable than a Twilight Imperium board, and - at least in my group of people that are regulars - we know how far we can trust each other fairly well.
Lately I've been playing shorter duration strategic games-- more game for your time off. I beg to differ on your point though.
The TI affairs I played were epic battles of eight (and once, nine) players. They tended to be sixteen hour marathons and you could definitely see the | relationships > neighbor NAP's | coming to the fore. Diplomacy and giving up resources were a key in keeping certain alliances more binding.
In the nine player game we played with teams. I remember the team I started off with self destructed and we ended up falling on each other with fleet destruction and special cards. It was a lot of fun, though trying on our tempers in the heat of the moment. Again, diplomacy helped me survive in keeping the "coherent team" from finishing me off (mostly it was "Let me survive-- my only goal in this game is to finish off my backstabbing teammate").
To get back to the 'old chums' topic...
Again, I can't speak for your experiences. I only know what you and the other folks wrote on the forums. I can
say you have my sympathy for the situation-- it seemed jacked up and unfair.
Still, I can't help but wonder if you could have contacted their
neighbors and worked something out with their enemies. If someone comes to your doorstep and begins to flank you, what can you do to turn it around, consolidate and bring the attack to them?
That's just me brain farting. I'm not making light of your situation, I'm just talking possibilities. Was it a completely lose lose scenario for you? It reminds me of the Kobayashi Maru Scenario for Starfleet Command...
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