When I started the AI thread I was mainly complimenting how far the AI has come, but it seems that several people also noted how "grindy" the game has become lately. The AI has come so far tactically, that I wonder if it is time to pull back some of the old handicaps entirely....or shifting the bonuses away from unit production to something else. So hence the discussion. A Fundamental Question - Would people rather have fewer units, but the units have "cheats"? So lets assume for the sake of argument that we lowered the AI's unit production and supply handicaps. The AI is definitely better but its not equal to a good human, and it still needs help to compete on the battlefield. An option would be to give the units various bonuses...aka "cheats" Now cheats come in a variety of flavors, some more palatable than others. For example: Category 1: AIs get a bonus that a human "can" get, they just get it innately. Example: All AI units gain the fountain of youth healing promotion (+5 extra HP healed per round). So this is a bonus that exists in game, its not "out of nowhere"...the human could get this bonus, but at the same time it is still a "cheat" that AIs would have it early and all of them would have it. Category 2: A bonus that the human can't get, but has minor alterations, mainly making the AI units tougher. Example: All AI units gain +10% more flanking bonus. A bonus the human can't get but it doesn't fundamentally change gameplay, other than you are dealing with slightly stronger units. Example 2: AI gains +10 more hp when they pillage. Category 3: A bonus that the human can't get, and it changes gameplay. Example: All AI ranged units have indirect fire. This would mean the AI could truly do certain things the human could not, like shoot behind trees. Personally, Category 1 is fine by me, Cat 2 it would depend on the bonus, but Cat 3 I would balk at. So I would be very interested to hear thoughts on this one, especially from warmonger players. I have an innate bias in that I don't like long war, so to me dealing with less units would be awesome...but would warmonger players enjoy killing fewer but "harder" units, and if so, to what degree would you be comfortable letting the AI cheat to become harder.