So one thing I have noticed while playing many games, and keep forgetting to ask about, is AI fleet targeting priorities.
Often as I am moving my fleets around, I will find my fleets end up in a position that could be vulnerable to attack from AI fleets. However the AI fleets all seem to have specific targets they keep moving towards, completely ignoring potentially easy "targets of opportunity". Like I might have a small fleet moving to be stationed as a light defense force for a starbase, that ends up revealing an enemy fleet in the fog of war, and my fleet doesn't have enough movement left to get out of the enemy fleets strike range. Luckily for me though, the AI doesn't recognize this easy kill that just got dropped in it's lap, and during it's turn just keeps moving it's superior fleet off to whatever objective it was "originally programmed for" instead of wiping out my smaller fleet.
I certainly don't know anything about how difficult it is to program the AI, but this type of scenario is one of the HUGE reasons a player has an "easy" time against the AI. The AI never seems to be able to take advantage of "targets of opportunity" the way a player does. It seems the AI fleets are given a singular purpose, they won't do anything else until they complete that purpose; they don't make any "on the fly" adjustments.
This seems to be a pretty common thing in many games, not just GalCiv IV. If there is some way to "fix" this, it would go a looooong ways toward making the AI more challenging, without having to give it tons of extra resources and similar "cheats".
Happy Bug Squashing !