Did you guys break the AI or something about a month or two ago? I can't help but think the AI's game took a massive drop in quality recently and is making some abysmal decisions I don't think I've ever seen before.
Things like founding with 70k or more debt and just imploding, letting critically important claim auctions go for 10k when the AI is struggling with a low level, and grabbing carbon tiles on the opposite side of the map as a level 1 expansive. I was teaching someone to play and the AI put down an absolutely abysmal found next to hers. All of the usable resources were already protected because of its proximity to her found. The AI then grabbed the carbon/aluminum of a perfectly valid carbon location on the opposite side of the map and imploded because of fuel debt.
I liked that the AI was willing to take on more debt for a found at release, but it feels like starting debt was turned up to suicidal levels more recently. I'm sure the AI isn't the best at handling random prices at level 1, but lately it's been grabbing valuable resources with little demand at level 1 with a complete disregard for shipping distance.
It seems like the AI could at least put up a fight at release, but I can't help but notice the AI is doing bizarre things that end the game before it starts now. Is there any chance you broke how the AI values distance recently, and upped its willingness to take on founding debt a bit too much? Am I the only one that noticed this?