I played the game here and then I purchaed the gold edition on Gamer's Gate before it was available on Steam. The game is fun to play and moddable. However once you hit turn 200 or colonize 20 planets (this is RAM dependent I found out(16gb, at 32gb you can colonize upto 30-50 planets maybe)) the game has a dramatic slow down in game play. At this point you'll mostly be waiting on the Resource or Population Manager, often times 20 mins plus for your turn to come up. At turn 200, I was just getting into the game and having fun. So I checked if there was a fix for this. No fix. Per the developers, the game is not designed to be played for long periods or for you to colonize every planet in sight. I usually won the game after 30-45 minutes of game play, often winning before I ever met another race, having gotten bored with that, I modded the victory conditions for more time. What's the point of having a universe with hundreds of planets, but if you colonize more then 20 planets, the game becomes unplayable with long periods (many minutes waiting on the AI to complete processing your turn) between turns. Eventually you'll get tired of waiting and hit crl+alt+del, kill the game and go play something else.
The other thing is that diplomacy is a joke. The ai will attack you, make peace, agree not to attack you for 20 turns, 5 turns later will attack you again, make peace, make you an ally, attack someone else, you'll attack the enemy of your ally, they'll make peace, you won't even know they made peace, etc. Or you can attack another race, make peace, attack them again, make peace, etc. If a planet has too amny defesnses, buy the planet, the ai will sell any planet they have except their home base. Hey, there's an invasion fleet at your planet, just buy their ships if you have the cash.
If you manage to wipe out a race, they'll become friendly and start asking you for tech, even though they don't have any ships or planets and you've completely wiped them out.
I've never been able to get thru all the techs in the game, just takes to long to research them and playing with the default game without modding, you'll just barely scratch the surface. Once you've researched every tech in a particular catagory, it would have been nice to get a messages about it, but you don't so you have to keep checking and then remember to go thru every planet and delete that type of research facility. I have noticed from conquered planets that the ai does not have the same limitations as you do when it comes to building research facilities. So the top tier reseach facility, you can only build 1 for your empire, where as the ai can build 4 per planet. And on top of that, the ai will always be willing to sell you any tech that you don't have and they've researched.
THere really isn't much difference between the standard game and the gold edition. This game stil lhas all the bugs it did in the original, all they did was add about 2 buildings as far as I can tell.
When I bought the gold version on Steam, I was hoping that the bugs and gameplay had been fixed, but I came to find out nothing has changed. Luckly i got it for around $4 so it's no that big of a loss, definitively not worth $20.
So all in all the game is fun in the beginning, is moddable, but has too many issues to keep you inteserested for any length of time.