Thanks for your feedback @Dreamteam67, and sorry for
a) late reply, and b) failing to prevent early blitz as intended ;)
Do you think it would have been sufficient to reduce the starting money,
respectively to provide a leader without megawealth?
I think the money/leader situation is ok in your setup, but yes, a non-Megawealth leader would make starting finances much more dicey. Also, I think you could have made it quite a bit harder by one simple rule: All three starting warships must survive till the end of the game.
With both those changes, an early Blitz might be financially impossible.
Another tip is not to use the Psilons as your custom race. Because when you do, the AI Psilons never are picked as one of the other 7 races during map creation. One of the main advantages of the AI races is that they cheat by freely trading/demanding tech from each other. So having the AI Psilons essentially giving free creative tech to all its neighbors (such as to the AI Sakkara or Klackons) is one of the main nightmares as a player. Instead, choose one of the weaker races, such as the Gnolems or the Alkari to customize. That way the strongest AI opponents can be randomly chosen from during map creation.
One thing you should think about is why the custom race you provided is such a good early blitzer: Fighter Bays, good beam weapon, good drives, a target within range. Your race starts with 3 of the 4! And Fighter Bays only takes 5 turns to research!
1. Being transdimensional gives it fast movement bonus both on the strategic map and in battle. Being fast as early as possible is key for a Blitz.
2. It starts with Fusion Drive. Coupled with Transdimensional, it is like starting out with Ion drives. It is a huge boost to both strategic movement and movement in battle. Not only are your fighters faster, but your missiles are too (ie. your ships can stay further back in combat to fire and escape being damaged, plus outrun slower enemy ships/missiles)
3. It starts with Mass Driver. That is a 50% damage output boost over Lasers (6 vs 4), and is a tech upgrade that works on fighters too. Massdriver ALWAYS supercedes Fusion Beams when used on fighters, so you can see this makes the choice to go for Fusion Rifle a no-brainer. Which in turn already makes up for having Low-G combat disadvantage.
4. The androids give Rigel almost the same economic/research capacity as an early 8-pop planet. So even though Rigel's pop has very slow growth, it still is a pretty good base to build a fleet and launch a Blitz from.
5. It starts with strong research provided by the leader. It can basically research each of the "150" cost techs in 8 turns, and the "250s" in 12. That's FAST. If you want to slow a blitz WAY down, then slow down research.
6. Megawealth bestows a pretty good financial windfall each turn, thus allowing speed-building by purchasing production. For key purchases (like buying a cruiser early) this helps enable the blitz.
7. Meklon is right at the other end of a wormhole from your starting planet. Coupled with the other factors, Meklon is blitz-bait.
Also, try playing vs the ICE mod if you haven't already. It rearranges the tech tree and upgrades AI ships and races. Most of the classic blitz strategies no longer work.
I've had a lot of fun playing your challenge. But the challenge imo is not to beat the AI in less than 300 turns, but rather to beat it in less than 100. So far, the best I can do is victory by conquest in 114 turns (on classic settings using 1.50.8). That's pretty fast, but my guess is it's possible to do better, and I'd like to hear how it is done!