Zone of Control (ZoC) ≠ Political Boundary/Border (PB)
I know this frustrates a number of players, myself included. The AI colonizes and builds starbases within your ZoC. Now I know Brad has said that this is working as intended, and even threw us a crappy UP resolution as a 'compromise', however I think his reasoning is flawed and I'd like to be refuted.
The closest parallel I can think of is the Star Trek universe, though I'm sure there are many examples. Can you imagine the Romulans or the Klingons building ANY kind of starbase within the Federation's borders, or vice versa? Colonies actually have a few TNG and DS9 eps that give an example of just how tense border negotiations can be, including the right to colonize X planets. Either side's diplomats would go apoplectic that something like this would happen without consent and this could and likely would lead to war without strict overview from both Major Powers.
Now, Brad has stated that ZoC is not a PB and should not be treated as such. However, he's also stated that most people conflate the ZoC with a PB and expect it to act as such. And then we complain loudly that the AI is taking our stuff! The main problem to me seems to be that there is no actual PB similar to the Star Trek universe. My question for Brad would be, why set yourself up for the grief?
I understand his reasoning. Your ZoC is a representation of your cultural influence through the galaxy. Similar to how, at least from our perspective, many other cultures adopt or fight against Western or Americanized values (I'm Canadian btw). This is why it's ok to colonize within another's ZoC, there are no PBs and if your culture can stand up to the dominant culture of the area, go for it! But most players won't get that, and will think it's just not right even if they are told why it is the way it is.
One option would be to have a PB that displays separate from your ZoC, something to the effect of 1/5-1/4th of your ZoC would seem reasonable to me. This would have to be viewable on the map and minimap of course, and should not allow passage of other empire's ships without Open Borders or War. The only time the AI or even the player should be allowed to colonize or build starbases within the PB of another power is during times of war. If peace happens, any colonies or starbases that end up within the wrong side's PB get abandoned or destroyed by either side as they withdraw from combat, and this could be adjusted by the diplomacy screen.
Another option would be just to give us the option to treat ZoC as PB on setup. Let the player decide.
What do you think?
P.S.- The UP resolution which stops colonizing within opposing ZoCs is far too short. A 20 turn resolution for something like this is basically useless.