+lots It is very dangerous to do balancing around polls. I know it makes me an elitest @sshole, but many players don't have a great grasp of balance or aren't really trying their hardest to win (they're trying to have fun, which for them doesn't necessarily mean taking the best strategy). In general the OPs comments seem right to me. I'll post impressions if I have time to try the latest version. In particular: I wish Rome didn't have a Liburna, it's so odd trying to make them a naval power rather than a land power, and it would feel much more flavorful for them to have a UB (forum, colosseum, thermae, aqueduct (and make the existing aqueduct a sewer), cloaca, etc.). And I hope that there will be a simple way to turn the stories off. I find them tremendously unbalancing. You take a basically balanced game, and then add a bunch of free stuff.