My first full game -- I was rome and played on a random map that ended up being an archipelago. I knew some of the reviewers and folks on the board were critical of the AI -- I really didn't anticipate that it would be this bad. I played on King difficulty, and really was just using the game to understand and work the mechanics of city growth, buildings, etc. Up to 1900, I had only fought barbarians, and took one city state (Hanoi). I got the hang of how to attack a city and defeat a city in this one battle. I started expanding like crazy -- and both overheated my empire and got too close to my neighbors......as a result.... Arabia and England simultaneously declared war on me. Being focused on game mechanics, I was completely unprepared. Technologically, they were ahead of me, they had destroyers, I had caravels. I started cranking out Ironclads as fast as I could. I learned very quickly that you pick out a particular naval unit and you throw everything at that naval unit (city attack, ironclads, cannons, etc.) Pick them off one by one. What was shocking to me was how the AI would just allow me to continue to blast their units until they sank, they would not retreat them or try to repair them (other than thru upgrade). Similarly to land units I would bombard -- they just "took it". Where I should have been easily overrun by both of these countries, I was able to slowly gain the upper hand and eventually have them suing for peace. Basically, the AI is beyond horrible at amphibious assaults and defense from amphibious attacks. They are far too conservative when attacking, they don't smartly utilize their naval units and personnel assaults, and they allow units to be whittled away to nothing, when they could literally play either cat and mouse, or rotate them out for fresh units. The AI does remind me of the early days of Civ IV when all you had to do is have a unit in one of your cities, generally an archer or longbowman, and the AI would leave it alone. I guess a couple of good things.... 1. If history is an indicator -- we will see vast improvement in AI thru patches (and hopefully, mods) 2. Technology isn't a game breaker. Granted, going up against destroyers with my caravels and ironclads should have the kiss of death, but with city bombardment and focus, I was able to hold on, and ultimately take the advantage. This bodes well for the game remaining a challenge once you gain a tech lead. 3. The economic war here can be absolutely brutal. I have noticed how unhappiness can run away unchecked if you are not careful. Esp. when you have been trading for luxury resources and they declare war. Ditto on gold from trade routes -- you can go broke quickly with some timely disruption. 4. Putting all of this together, running a small civilization is as viable as running a large one, esp. if you focus on defensive wars. Despite the AI tomfoolery, I am really enjoying the game, and am about to start game 2.