This post in the strategy forum got my attention... Context is fast science victory times. Deity is too easy. But if you added 8 more difficulty levels, the game would still be too easy. There are many problems, but these include: (1) AI bonuses are heavily front loaded, so once you overtake the AI it can’t catch up. Emergencies could have helped with that, by giving the AI a leg up in some situations, but sadly that Mechanic doesn’t do much. The AI therefore can’t threaten you beyond the early game, doesn’t really compete with you otherwise (eg competing for great people), and can’t even threaten getting a victory before you do which would force you to try stopping the AI instead of just focusing on your own victory condition. (2) it is not hard to manage your empire, and indeed its relatively easy to optimise your empire and very strong when you do. Many SV strategies involve playing in a very “unbalanced” way. There are no consequences for having massive Knight Armies (except maybe warmonger points for capturing cities), no consequences for spamming cities and campuses, or for chopping all your resources. I’m not saying you should be punnished for these strategies. But playing in an extreme way doesn’t have any knock on consequences which balance out the advantages of these strategies. This makes these strategies sort of boring (they don’t create any interesting decisions), but all make them powerful because there is no downside. (3) nothing changes, so you’re never pulled off course. I’m not advocating natural disasters or RNG. But just an observation: after the early land grab, your empire basically never faces any challenges beyond timing of swapping certain policy cards and maybe some limited competition for great people (none of whom are actually critical for any victory type). The AIs poor use of naval and air may be part of this problem, as if the AI could use these it would challenge you and because you can’t prebuild some Naval and all Air units, defending sea and air attacks would potentially force you to change plans. But fixing that would only fix part of the problem. Your empire mid and late game is basically permanently subservient to you. I mean, it’s not like if you pick Facist or Commumist governments your people might try to throw off the yoke of oppression, or if you pick democracy your economy might shudder and collapse because of unchecked financial speculation. I don’t think nerfing chopping or magnus, or just having a better AI, is going to fix Civs lack of challenge. The current lack of challenge is actually a more complex problem, which is compounded by FXS’s decision to make all strategies viable and therefore not punish any particular play styles (specifically, not limiting wide play via global happiness etc.). To be clear, I think this “don’t punish any specific play styles” is probably right, and “don’t punish wide” is certainly right. But it limits the scope of the game to actually challenge players. Sorry. I think I’m slightly recycling some thoughts, and almost certainly just moaning (unforgivable). But while I was quite positive about the next expansion, the closer we get to one actually the less positive I am. I was think in the game just needed some better balancing and a bit of expansion in a few areas (if only for flavour), but I’m unsure if FXS really are going to be able to tackle all the various lose threads (there are so many really), and I’m not sure if they do it will really tackle the underlying issues. It’s going to need more than the loyalty system and few extra districts.