First game -- as Cree. Standard settings, but did add 2 extra AI and 4 extra CS to start. Random map which ended up being a panagea map. Emperor difficulty. I mostly play on Emperor and up, and regularly won vanilla on Diety and immortal. No mods. At first, was able to expand easily and had room for more expansion. Got a first golden age, and quickly. Was thinking that this was going to be a cakewalk. I'm in the center south of the landmass, with Egypt to the north, Russia to the East and Mapuche to the west. Settled near all three, and all three did the "you settle too close". Oooh, I'm scared.... About 5 turns into my first golden age, the Mapuche declared war on me. Wasn't fully prepared, and was surprised at how effective they were in open combat and even city siege. Effectively fought them to a draw, and eventually got to peace. I forgot that they get a bonus against civs in a golden age -- and it kept me at bay in terms of counter attack. But was not paying attention to era score, and my golden age then dawned a dark age. A few turns into the dark age, Khmer took Valetta and an emergency was declared. I joined the emergency (and was the only one). They were too far away, and I wasn't going to pay attention to it. Then my best non-capital city (bordering Mapuche, and a few city states to the north), started to lose loyalty. Shuffle a few governors around, and policy cards and this will be handled. No problem, right..... Russia declares war on my eastern border. Egypt declares war on my northern border and troops pour across. My strong city is now showing rapidly falling loyalty, and 2 turns later, Mapuche declares war. Without going into detail, here are the results (started the war with 5 Cree cities). 1 Cree city revolted and ended up joining Mapuche 1 Cree city (with walls) captured by Mapuche in a generally effective campaign (not perfect, but much better than what I saw in vanilla) 1 Cree city (with walls) captured by Egypt in a moderately effective campaign (they knocked down the walls effectively, but it took a long time to capture the city as they kept fighting units outside the city I was throwing in to counterattack - -- I would have taken the city first, then counterattacked) 1 Cree city (without walls) fully protected at the moment due to distance and geography 1 Cree City (capital -- originally without walls, but now with walls and Victor) that could have been taken (before I put up walls) by the Russians if they were laser focused on the city. However, as I saved last night, walls are down and Mapuche, Russians and Egypt are all in range. Granted -- I needed to pay a bit more attention -- but I will say that the AI is improved. Perfect, no....and if ruthless, could have knocked me out completely by now....but improved. In Renaissance era right now, so cannot comment on naval and air use. But ground troops are better. A couple of places for potential improvement: 1. When the AI has a city on the ropes, they need to finish it off. 2. In my capital, one of the CS that was aligned to Russia was very aggressive in attacking, even with wounded units. One of the reasons that I think the major power AIs aren't as ruthless is that they are wanting to save units that are partially wounded. Not sure if the AI is absolutist in terms of repairing wounded units -- but sometimes sacrificing a few units to capture a city is worth it vs. sieging and not being able to take due to units resting. I will say that the new mechanics are interesting....loyalty in particular is a good counterbalance. And feels very natural to me.