I started my first random small game on 1v1 with a CPU. I was playing TEC. After around two hours, my expansion was stopped by a pirate base in the way. Because of this, I warded off countless raids for hours while the other faction colonised every other planets and asteriods. After a while I've researched enough techs to build an effective fleet. I sent my main fleet of around 30-ish ships to the pirate base, with a level 10 capital ship (the Kol class) and a last minute tack-on of a level 1 capital ship (the Dugov or some thing like that).
The slaughter lasted about a minute after my exit from phase jump. I put my fleet on hold so their turrets wouldn't reach. I sent a scout beforehand so it wasn't surprising to see so many ships. What I didn't expect was their firepower. I had lots of light frigates while their fleet consisted of 5 light frigates and the remaining dozens are all cruisers. In the end, after all light frigates are destroyed I had to leave my cruisers behind to lure their fleet away while putting my capitol ships on retreat. Fortunately the capitol ships survived.
The pirate's retaliation came just then, sending a dozen cruisers and a handful of light and seige frigates to my staging planet. My Kol Battleship took on about 8 cruisers, with the Dugov refilling its shield and helping out a bit (still level 2). I had a small reserve of 5 light frigates which took care of the pirate seige and light frigates. By the end of it, the Kol had no shields and two thirds of hull points left. That was a relief. I learned a bit from the first big fleet battle... Fast forwarding time after I have researched some more, I built around 12 Kodiak Cruisers and 30 light frigates with the now level 3 or 4 Dugov. Time for revenge.
Exitting from the phase jump at their base, I held my fleet at the border of the gravity well until their fleet came out of range of their turret. At that point I switched the range of engagement to local. I find that this range is much more effective than hold when activated at the right moment. After one huge arse battle (so far), after I've shot down the last of their cruisers, my rival faction sprung an unforeseen ambush on the planet I just left with my fleet, complete with a message "You can't save Chione now!". Fortunately I lost only around 10 ligh frigates in the pirate battle so I phase jumped my whole army that is left back to meet them.
Upon arrival my whole fleet homed in on their capital ship. The Kol blasted one or two frigates away before joining the rest of the fleet. With their capital ship's shield approaching zero after around 30 seconds, they retreated their entire army (yays). I was pretty surprised with the ambush sprung by the AI right after my fleet has gone through a major battle. No wonder I caught a glimpse of an enemy scout ship during that battle. Right afterwards, I had to finish what I started so I proceeded to bomb the **** out of the pirate base. Lo and behold, my intel warned me of an impending pirate raid. Moments later a raid-sized fleet phased in. Then promptly phased out when I send my fleet after them. LOL.
After bombing their base to oblivion, I colonised it (for the sake of colonising). I thought I eradicated the pirates for good. Nope, I got another warning of another raid. This time they didn't flee so I crushed them. My warm fuzzy feeling evaporated. The pirates are still there! I bombed their base to hell and took over but they still pop out of nowhere. I saved and quit. What the heck?