I actually have fun in the second half too. One time I was definately was going to lose, but kept trying to persuade my opponent to attack my most fortified area. When he finally did the battle we extremely epic. Second half isn't always that bad.
I hear you. It can be fun doing a last stand. I suppose it is the duty of the victor to provide this fight, but it is a pretty boring stage of the game. Defense is static..you aren't going anywhere, but it requires a fair amount of time to kill you. It is pretty much a grind where the outcome is not in doubt.
I constantly see where somebody has 2-3 worlds left and hides his fleet behind 30 slots of tactical defenses at his HW. It can take about 15 minutes of fleet build-up to hit a defended world, and another 15 minutes of fighting it and melting the remaining planets. The game becomes an utterly predictable slog. I accept this...and just hope it isn't about to get worse.
At the end of the first half the game is "decided". Ideally, the losing players just quit or surrender and everyone can start up a new game and enjoy a new first half.
Sometime this happens, many times it does not. If there was some chance that I could be pleasantly surprised by someone who had gone on defense and used it to turn the game around for them, that would be great, but it rarely seems to work like that.
Now, if someone knows they are losing, but an ally is doing well, then it makes sense to dig in. Through some perverse logic of the universe, when one guy is doing well but his ally is getting hit hard, they often quit rather than try and hold out for help to arrive. I guess that is the problem....some people throw in the towel really quickly before the game is decided and others refuse to quit long after...and do to the pace of the game and the nature of static defenses, it takes a while to slowly push them off the map.
I'm just hoping we can have more of the exciting first stage and that new defensive options don't make the second stage drag out even longer where the game becomes a predictable grind.