What's the point in Minor Civilizations, really, now you have Mercenaries that can actually work for you?
Since Galactic Civilizations II, they've only existed so you can get a few bucks out of them and then when you're tired of that, to invade and kill to get their ONE CLASS 16 PLANET because that's all they ever did. Sit in their home world. Okay, in GalCiv 2 you could chat, but what did that actually mean ie accomplish?
It's like Trinidad & Tobago in the United Nations: Good to have them there just on the basis that it's nice to have as many people on board as possible, but what do they actually do? When was the last time any member of the Security Council gave a flying continental about any speech their UN Ambassador made/Proposition he suggested etc?
If Minor Civilizations are going to go anywhere in Galactic Civilizations, they need to be set up so they have something that a Major Civilization needs and only that race has that thing. Then Minor Civilizations will be an interesting part of the game. Until then it's:
1: See planet with un-Major Logo on it.
2: Trade with Minor for a few coins.
3: Decide it's time to take their homeworld.
4: Invade and kill Minor Civilization.
If Stardock are going to stick with that process, for me it's a waste and you may as well have no Minor Civilizations and just add a bunch more Class 16 Planets to each map size.
If it were up to me, I'd keep Minor Civilizations and give them a resource/an ability/a trait/a tech that makes them a Civilization that, depending on your race and abilities/gameplay style etc is useful to you so you trade with them and protect them from any other Major Civilizations so they don't have access to what you and that Minor are trading, which is unique to that Minor. Obviously, this mechanic has limitations in terms of the number of possible Minors and the number of techs/traits/resources/abilities Stardock want the game to have (ie you may end up with 5 Minors in the game, where there's 40-50 in total, all having Sneaky as a Trait and being able to offer you temporary use of their Spy Citizen for example) but I don't see that as a reason to not have this kind of mechanic in the game.