Another fictional world to get interesting combinations with, might be that of the Culture (by Iain M. Banks)
Unlike the civilizations depicted in Babylon 5, which are fairly homogenous in the capabilities of their member creatures, the Culture would add a player of great variability into the game.
Its people range from ordinary biological humanoids to autonomous drones with human-like cognitive powers but physical abilities far beyond a garden variety droid... and from there onward to composite creatures formed by a swarm of micro- or nanomachines (rare and usually created for combative roles), and ship minds with capabilities somewhat similar of First Ones (including a preference for dwelling in hyperspace, since in the Culture universe, that enables them to achieve greater computing speed).
How the Culture would interact with an outright hostile power could be predictable (and the rest would be a matter comparing physical advantages)... but how the Culture would interact with another civilization which likes infiltration and subversion (like the Shadows) would be interesting, especially if the other nosy civilization would be too secretive for being influenced the same way, and too homogenous in the capabilities of its members to find a weaker spot.
Pressure from Shadows would create a difficult question for the Culture - namely how to protect its less capable inhabitants from being manipulated. The response of the Culture might well be presenting the Shadows with proof of their strategy being suboptimal, leading to great pointless waste and needless homogenization of the Culture in addition to galactic war... and upon that proof, with promises of material support added for good measure, to request any Shadow who cares to sabotage the work of their fellow Shadows, and thus prevent pointless escalation.
In short, the Culture just about might... have a reforming influence on Shadows.
As for ships, there is one front where Culture ships win before any conflict occurs. That front is naming. You just can't beat a ship... which named itself "Ultimate Ship the Second", "I Blame My Parents" or "Poke it With a Stick".