Originally Posted by kerzain
Some Suggestions (well, maybe not suggestions so much as stuff I'd like to see):[*]At the moment I don't see a reason to ever share contact info between races. At best maybe there's some trading behind the scenes that benefits them both, but at worst it penalizes me for helping one guy that another guy might suddenly have taken a disliking to for no good reason. But if they don't ever know about eachother I seem a lot freer to just do as I please without their opinions of eachother affecting their opinion of me.[/list]
All good points, but I just want to focus on this. It's absolutely true that it's better not to share contact info between races. Because races don't base their relations on real interactions, but rather on random rolls, they could be on the other side of the galaxy and still go to war. Which is realistic in some sense (they are talking to each other after all), but also unrealistic in the sense that they're not competing for the same planets.
It's kinda funny because the contact mechanic works pretty well on its own -- races only come in to contact when they meet each other physically, at which point they can come into conflict (so doing it randomly works). It's when you get involved by selling contact info that the system appears artificial, since you're bypassing the natural evolution of contact info.
Also, with the current plague of protectorates/vassals/federations/etc, any 2 races will quickly become protectorates of each other or get some other relationship (again, without regard to having any strategic reason to do so because they're not really in contact with each other), thus making your life more complicated.