Registered: November 2002 Location: Pacific NW
In my experience the main problem AR has is not the fragile starbases. It's getting their mining program operational. Generally you just aren't going to have enough minerals to fight back if you come under attack.
Registered: May 2003 Location: Bristol
Ar dont build mines or factories.
So your build queue is just terraform.
So AR is simpler as you dont have to change worlds from the default queue (Fac, Mine, Terr) due to circumstances (-1 yellow, low germ etc). You do need to cancel terraform in the deep reds (and some worlds early on when you want the research for energy).
You also dont NEED to ship minerals around to germ poor worlds as much to begin with.
So per planet I would say on balance less micro.
For overall pop - you do more balancing due to the advantage of spreading AT the start. Later you need less balancing due to being able to keep at low pop % due to bigger starbases.
On balance - slightly more pop micro.
Then you have your mining fleets - you need to build them (some micro) you need to check where they work best (micro varies depending on how fussed you are about max mine efficency) and you need to move them to your homeworld when everywhere else is below 30.
You also if you are lucky late game need to transfer a steady stream of minerals out to your planets from your homeworld (some micro - can automate a lot of it).
Well thats your answer - like all things in Stars it depends
Fortunately being AR the other players will tend to make sure you have a small empire which can significantly reduce your micro.
"Can burn the land and boil the sea. You cant take the Stars from me"