after 30+ hours of game time, i quite enjoy star ruler 2. The diplomacy, influence, and planet building system is AMAZING, and quite involved. I also had fun making a vast variety of ship designs, but this led me to stumble upon what i fins is a major flaw in the game...
Missiles, more specifically missile support ships.
For support ships missiles are the first last and only weapon you will ever need. They have double the range of rail guns and lasers, superior armor penetration, a high chance of first strike lethality, and although the higher resource cost, you will kill the enemy long before this becomes an issue.
Things ive tested in sandbox:
Missile support ships + carrier vs Rail/Beam support ship + carrier:
Both approach in sunlight: Rail/Beam carrier regularly dies before managing to kill even a single missile boat
Rain/Beam carrier jump in via FTL on top of the missile fleet: Missile fleet takes some losses, but still wins in the end (usually with 25-50% supply left over)
Missile support ships + carrier vs Even mix support ship + carrier:
plays out much the same as above - a few more missile boats die
Missile support ships + carrier vs Rail/Beam support ship + Flying Armor Blocks + carrier:
Although this successfully depleted the carriers ammo supplies due to a mix of high penetration missile damage and the carriers main guns, the Rail/Beam support ship carrier was destroyed.
Reactive armor variant:
did not noticeably effect survival time
Rail/Beam support ships :
equal mix of :
Size 10, single layer armor, 2 beam(16 hex), 3.5 sub light acceleration
Size 10, single layer armor, 1 Rail Gun(34 hex), 3.5 sub light acceleration
Missile support ships :
Size 10, single layer armor, 2 missile(20 hex), 3.5 sub light acceleration
Flying Armor Blocks (25% of fleet when used):
Size 1, All armor, 6 separate crew quarters scattered internally, 3.5 sub light acceleration
to absorb weapon fire
carrier (this is my main battle tested warp carrier):
200 size, 104k supply, 450 support capacity
weapons: 3x 6 damage rail guns, 2x 16 damage rail guns
Armor: single layer reactive external, single layer reactive internal, partitioned