I haven't played Civ in a while and I've been pleasantly surprised. I've spent the last couple of days digging online resources to learn what everything does. I may get the strategy guide or something so that I have all the info in front of me. I love the hex system and combat is a lot of fun. Moving units around really takes some though with all the bonuses you get now. The -33% on flat ground is frustrating until you adjust your strategies. It really makes you think about where everything is. It also places a huge premium on horses since upgraded mounted units can be comparable to gunpowder units until you get into the industrial age. As for some of the diplomacy complaints, most of the reactions are pretty obvious and leaders let you know when they're not pleased about something. I find that a moderate sized standing army will cover most diplomacy issues. I also think diplomacy plays more of a critical role in games where people are using the city states to their advantage because attacking certain city states will sometimes trigger a war. My only complaint is that the included poster has a ton ... and I mean a ton of typos on it like some intern edited it.