Well... funny u ask that today.... i just finish a Multi Large Random VS 7 Hard AI.
and i was only ''fleeted up'' to 3 tier and all my Supply slots were For caps (minus a 50 pts that i use for Starbases and colo ships as a supply Buffer) when i started to Research as a MAd scientist that wanna take over the world (....w8.... its the goal of the game right?), making sure i dont do ANY research for Frigate/cruiser.
So pretty soon (about 1 / 1&1/2 hour)
All my researchs are pretty much done so my caps are WAY more powerfull that ANY of the AI ones
i got more Armor more hull and more dmg output in 1 vs 1 even with non matching lvl!
Having 16 Caps ( 2 fleet of 8 caps. no Frigate) and only 1/2 of the Fleet upgrade done. Sure .... i got small fleet if u compare to a 2 caps 5 tiere fleet AI... but when u got 8 CS comming in a system. Ur pretty much Screwd.
And 1/2 ur fleet upgrade stilll gives u more than 50% of ur income.... so even if i loose 1 or 2 CS in a MAJOR (ya it must be a BIG opp. fleet). i can rebuild them as quick as I want.... and i know my Newly CS lvl 1 is STILL more powerfull than his lvl 5.
if theres no Starbase in the way (aka Vasari SB) i rush all my CS to planet Bombing range and nuke teh hell out as fast as i can. then i micro all Remaining Fleet to minimize damage..... if the Culture isnt too strong.... i colonize right away and build 2 repair stations so i can Camp here while Planetary d-fence are in the making..... restoring hulll and AM, when its done... i move my Battleball of 8cs to the next system.
i play like that with Advent and Tec cuz they suit that playstyle quite well.... but for vasari, i dont make 2 X8 caps, because of the all mighty Phase stabilizer. i can be whereever whenever i want.... so 16 CS is just the way to go.