So I played a few games and hated how things changed! Then Loved it! It makes more sense the way it is now; food stores, resource stockpiles, etc... but now the pre 2.5 planet strategy does not seem to work. I just went from easy to normal in the pre 2.5 because I just got the hang of things. I play as a benevolent earth human race so I start with earth and mars. I usually make Earth my influence homeworld and mars as my production site. As I move out mars size planets become research 8-12 production and 13 ups influence, food/wealth/population. This seemed to work fine, of course there are exceptions as I go depending on what I find for planets, and it seemed to work well enough to move on to Normal Difficulty.
This tactic doesn't seem to work anymore and I am wondering how I should approach it now; I tried a few things like my small planets as food and bigger planets as a focus but found it took too long to get a small planet going with farms. A larger planet can build farms fast but then the small planets cannot hold enough cities and upgrades to make it worth it unless you have a lot of small planets and a city takes a huge amount of time to build on a small planet.
Can I get some suggestions on planet strategy? Observations and things other players have been doing?