I think it is. Even for a peaceful game, i need a power rating worthy of invasion to be left alone. This doesnt match well with having a meaningful tech rate, so its either focus on teching and risk being attacked, or build an army and have it sit around uselessly. Going middle of the road on both doesnt seem to work so well either. So the obvious conclusion is build an army and go to war until everyone else is a nonfactor, which is what most people seem to do. Why cant there be a better option? In GalCiv2, i was able to work the diplomacy in a way so i was left alone, even with aggressive neighbors who really wanted me dead (think Monty with 10 times my power rating). The other option was to have so many spies that i could cripple my opponents into uselessness. Why is military expansion the only reliable way to win in this game? Even in Alpha Centauri, you were at least able to use spies to buy opposing armies, but even this option is not present here.