We used a total random layout of the tiles to speed up getting started. The Yssaril (Tim S - yellow) was really hamstrung by this, with only a single planet next to his home world. The Mentak (Andrew - red) only had 2 systems next to his home world. Everybody placed their intitial units on their home world. Tim S was the initial Speaker so he started the selection of the Strategy Cards and we were off.
Xxcha (Tim M - purple) realized that Yssaril (Tim S - yellow) was in a tough spot and this was Tim S first game. Tim M immediately offered Tim S the planet on the other side of his home world that had the worm hole in it (Tim S had the other end of the worm hole adjacent to his home world. The only condition was that the Yssaril not attack the Xxcha. Tim M figured this would give Tim S the resources so he could fight Jol-Nar (David - black).
Another alliance that was formed was between Sol (Mike - blue) and Jol-Nar (David - black). Mike had lots of planets to expand to and it allowed David to concentrate his forces on Yssaril (Tim S - yellow). Mentak (Andrew - red) and Xxcha (Tim M - yellow) did not have an alliance or anything against each other. A neutral stance was pretty much the same thing that the Barony of Letnev (James - green) and Sol (Mike - blue) had. The Letnev / Sol neutrality pretty much let Mike expand into the empty planets around him and let James concentrate on his other neighbor Andrew.
So the stage was set Tim M and Mike were going to expand to the empty planets around them. Tim S and David could concentrate on each other and Andrew and James could fight for the few planets between them. This is pretty much how the game played out as far as who was attacking who for the rest of the game.
On turn 1 everybody pretty much tried to expand to an system next to them that had some planets. No real conflict but Mentak (Andrew - red) headed towards Letnev (James - green) and James headed toward Andrew so their fleets were right next to each other. Jol-Nar (David - black) headed toward Yssaril (Tim S - yellow). Yssaril headed towards Xxcha (Tim M - purple) and Tim headed moved into the 2 planet system in the direction of Tim S. Sol (Mike - blue) headed into the system with planets towards Jol-Nar (David) and the asteroid field. Trade negotiations were opened by the Mentak (Andrew) and everybody exchanged agreements.
On turn 2 things became much more interesting. The Mentak (Andrew - red) attacked the system that Letnev (James - green) had just taken. James claimed that he would not have attacked Andrew but I think that it was just the order they took their turns. If James had gone before Andrew he would have attacked him 1st. The result: they pretty much destroyed the fleets that each of them had there.