At the moment I can "bullshit" this game if I play multiplayer. This issue is therefore NEW
for this game because the multiplayer option is NEW
If I play multiplayer i will play like this: Spaming lowcost ships - low maintance and production costs - and when the moment is right I upgrade them. That means flying with a "biplanes" in the first stage of the game and - suddenly- my biplanes becoming "DEATHSTARS". The current upgrade mode can be used as a glitch.
Upgrading is going to cost a lot* though (right now it is turned off in the beta), which will minimize that greatly. And, besides, it's only a 'glitch' if both sides can't do it. Paraphrasing one of the things Lead Designer Paul Boyer has often said, he doesn't mind if things are exploitable as long as everyone can exploit things equally.
More to the point, whenever one is upgrading outside of one's ZOC, it will take a minimum of two turns. Usually longer. So while you are upgrading your 'biplanes', I'll send over a pea shooter and destroy your suddenly undefended ships (presuming ships are still defenseless whilst upgrading). And even if they're not, I'm going to presume I can take out your so-called biplane with little difficultly if my ships are even a little bit better.
* I actually think upgrade costs are WAY too out of whack (as inn they are far too expensive), especially compared to GC II, but that's an argument for another thread,