I just started a game on Monarch with Pacal to see what I could make of him. I'm currently building Cuirassiers and warring with Charlie and Mansa and we'll see how the game plays out. I unfortunately didn't find a use for the Holkan but that's because I didn't try to use them. In hindsight, I could have used them with three close neighbours to stunt them. I really should have done that as I ended up getting more boxed in and they were teching quite well. I don't think the early religion route is a good one with Pacal. It's far too easy to get beaten to them and I see the Mysticism starting tech as moving me closer to the Oracle. There are more necessary food and military techs that need to be addressed before going down that route. The expansive trait and the ballcourt make for a whipping fiesta though. I had food heavy cities on grasslands that were able to knock out the necessary buildings and create an army quickly, which was useful for the warring I was doing to keep Hannibal and Napoleon happy. With Pacal as an AI, he seems pretty easy. He demands a lot but is not overly aggressive in my experience. He will tech away quickly though so that makes him either a good friend to have or a rival to eliminate quickly.