New or old, new input into a topic should always be encouraged, unless it's completely unrelated.
In my most recent campaign, for my first foray into the alien dimension, I found that with my itty-bitty armada of Explorers, the hardest part was getting them in and then moving them to a safe place in the alien dimension where they could rest and recharge their shields, as the aliens tend to swarm about all over the place -- especially near the gates. Unless you have a huge swarm of explorers (more than 4) or expendable decoys (probes), this is often very hard to perform without losing some of the ships (and you need each and every one of their medium disrupter beams! ). It wasn't so bad in later visits. It was just the initial strike that was really difficult to perform. One or two supporting retaliators really would have helped then. So the moral of this story is: If you're going to use explorers -- don't use them as your first attack wave unless you have lots of them, some decoys, or a few more powerful supporting ships (which you should send into the gates first, by the way)
I just noticed how few alien ships you actually need to capture to get the advanced ships. From what I've seen so far, you just have to capture the type-3 (dim. probe and biotrans), type-5 (explorer, I think this was that awfully hard fast-attack ship.), type-6 (retaliator) and .. um, the Battleship (annihilator). All these ships carry a pretty hefty range of useful toys and weapons for your ships (shields and all the disrupter beams). One other ship you might want is the alien bomber (that green ship that just eats your hoverbikes for breakfast), if you want to capture a live micronoid aggregate, but you also get one chance to capture one in the first alien building.
NKF - finally built a gaming PC in 2020 (though not any of that RGB nonsense). Can now play games up to '89!