Well, I've finally gotten "into" AC enough that my questions are outstripping the circles I frequent and my Google-fu. Apropos, I've registered here. Here's hoping I don't accidentally start any flamewars.
So, without further ado:
1) Playing as the Pirates under Svensgaard, it seems to me that restriction lifting would be more of a priority than IndAuto, since Frontier/Planned/Wealth will kill his research dead and he hits nut and energy restrictions the moment he starts terraforming at all. Can someone either confirm this, or explain to me why it's not so?
2) Which faction has the fastest ICS start? To me Marr looks like it - he has +1 Growth, free recycling tanks, energy grid from turn 1, and starts with CentEco and Biogenetics, not to mention the free colony pod - but I don't see much about him in guides, and the "fastest transcendence" records (which are seriously mind-boggling) seem to all use ICS Zakharov. What am I missing here?
3) Again with Svensgaard (I like!), what ratio of mining platforms to tidal harnesses do you people find works best? Or do you rely on boreholes for minerals?
EDIT: 4) How do you use colony pods to increase the size of a city? Is it just normal "disband" or is there something special you have to do? I tried it once or twice and it didn't seem to work.
(And yes, I know I'm a lazy bastard and should hammer these out for myself, but I'm a slow player. If I have to, I will, but I figured I should "probe" as many answers as I could before I hit the research. )