I'm not seeing where Hoplites are that great. A fresh out of the chute swordsman is at 35 strength with a +10 bonus vs spearmen. That's 45 vs your 44 strength Hoplite. Add in Oligarchy for another +4 and its 49vs44. No Great general needed, no keeping Hoplites next to each other just need iron and iron working. Then if you consider long term warfare Hoplites also fare poorly. Spearmen get no boost to production from cards, lose badly to melee class, upgrade to pikemen which are out of the way on the tech tree, expensive and at 41 strength still lose to swordsmen and even knights will run right over them. Their next upgrade is a distant AT crew. Meanwhile melee class starts with maintenance free Warriors, upgrade to the powerful swordsmen (they might be slow but with a battering ram or siege tower they can take cities, hold up well against archers and are as strong as horsemen) and then keep current with Musketmen and then Infantry.