is there a reason you refuse to make sectors? system control limit is never a problem for me. The only planet I control is my homeplanet, the rest I leave up to sector control.
I have a feeling you started a easy game without much AI opponents (certainly less then default) , if you play the game for 6 hrs without seeing any AI (the more the merrier) , you’re not doing it right, also turn on ironman.
as far being boring, I find the game hardly boring. early game there is discovery to do, my science ship is pretty much all the time busy exploring systems. In the beginning currency is hard to get by so you have to juggle making electricity stations a priority. In the meanwhile you have pretty good chance you get attacked by the first pirates, those can be dealt with, there are also alien ships wich have considerable more firepower, you have to avoid those until you have a enough technology to withstand their attacks. In the meantime you should have found you first colony candidate, time to save up those ore for your first mineship. And oh be sure to notice you get a -8 on your currency when that ship is active, specially in the beginning you want that colony process to be quick and fast. Then you have a whole bunch of chained missions wich should be available, do those, they give you ships, tech bonusses, ect. research each anomaly.
now you could have found your first AI opponent, if you’re out of luck its a sleeping empire with an technology way above yours, avoid those. if thats the case stay clear, they can start a war by just placing a wrong colony near their borders. If you encountered a normal opponent, its time to communicate, if they have comparable ethics it should be no prob to get defensive pacts going, they will be your friends. If not, at least try to not get into a war. A early rush is very difficult in this game since they buffed the stations.
now this is al early game, mid-end game its all about working together, and those against to conquer. start wars to break down enemy opponent’s empire to small factions, subjugate those.
Most of the time there is so much happening I have to play it on slow speed.
expand more! if you’re boxed in, look wich empire to conquer, and if they are all friends, look at their borders and make them start wars with you.