What made it fun for me was not realising that every story-type mission resets the urgency timer - I thought it was only the gold - made it really tense, much less tense now that I found this out. I've yet to complete it but when I do again I'll do cruiser clash only on hard. The capture points make defeating massive stupid fleets easy.
I am loving it, though I do miss the diversity of mission types somewhat.
Completely agree with @Beernchips that you only really need to focus on a few systems to develop - who cares about agri worlds, penal colonys, worlds with prometium extractors when you can just focus on forge, shipyard and civilisation worlds.
I am on turn 120 and going at it more like total war grand campaign now I know the urgency gets reset after every narrative mission.
It's worse than that as well as its costing you construction points
It's one of the silly oversights in game, don't know why they didn't just copy total war.
Almost annoying as not being able to save upgrades to a multiplayer custom Fleet but have to keep picking them, when you know my torp fleet is going to want faster speed torps each game
I agree with everything you posted. For BFGA 3 I would like to see an Age of Kings lobby system in multiplayer.
I really don't know why this automatchmaking becomes part of multiplayer games when lobbies give the community more control over settings and balancing teams and allow's people to chat and you know... create communities.
Might be a really stupid oversight by me but might be helpful to new players:-
It's not only the completion of the mainline quests in gold that resets the urgency meter but also the side quests.
So I've been focusing solely on the gold quests when in reality I should have done some of the side quests as gets Spire in parts of the galaxy where he can take income producing worlds - such as mordax prime.
Only realised this yesterday after turn 96 on hard - suffice it to say the games got much easier!