Yeah, plus terraforming will only get you so far re: new spots for spaceports, and orbital habitats can't built spaceports and don't boost the navy cap. So everyone's kinda stuck gunning for techs and traditions. Everyone playing with smaller caps probably also means fewer cruisers and battleships in the field (or nothing but
, maybe, later on) or more corvettes and destroyers.
Something else I've noticed on this tiny-ass map is that with fewer overall active empires, defensive alliances feel a bit more complicated. My northwestern neighbor loves me and we have a pact, but my northeastern neighbor is hostile towards me... but they also share a pact with the NW dudes, so no war can happen there without dragging in a friend on the wrong side. We're stuck glaring at each other across our (incredibly cramped) borders. That system they took on my southwestern extremity will never be mine.