I am not sure if "the AI is just too bad to play the properly" is really that much of a defence. But I get your point. Beelining Academies means you are wide open to attack during the early game, so the tech order would have to be adjusted. It pushes back the win timer by maybe 30-50 turns (depending on how aggressive the other players are), but it still doesn't fix the mid and late game problems. Because once you start rushing those Affinity techs, your military will ramp up rather quickly. So when you are able to build the mindflower, you are also able to field top-tier units to defend it - and you can easily create a standing army during your tech phase by building units instead of converting science. I'd still argue: Even in MP games there are plenty of techs and wonders that will remain untouched. Yes, you might have to branch out a bit more to react to the increased threat from other players, but you would need REALLY significant stalemates to make them worthwhile. In the end that part of the problem you mentioned leads to good old SP vs. MP balance, which is a quite tricky subject. EU4 suffers exactly the same problem, where mechanics that work fine in SP break down in MP games (and vice versa).