I didn't have Civ-esque time to really explore this game like I did its 4 ancestors until a recent medical-related break put me at home for a couple of weeks, so this may have been said again and again in the last couple years, though I don't see it on the first few pages. Is this the least "Sid Meierish" Civilization game that's ever been? Where are the "interesting decisions" as Sid always put it; the difficult choices how to proceed based on context?" I've played 6 or 7 full games now, each of increasing difficulty, starting at Prince, and I'm finding the AI totally incompetent. What should have been clear Space Race losses in Civ1-4 on any difficulty suddenly come out wins, e.g. Darius has the tech before me and the production, but doesn't prioritize the space win and loses even though he hits the required techs 20 turns before me. In previous titles, if you were in a Space Race, the AI meant it, and you were considering full-scale Espionage, Nuclear Weaponry, or Full Military Assault on the capital city as means to counter; in this game, apparently you just prioritize building spaceship parts when your incompetent opponents are still building endless Mech Inf and you win. Playing as Alexander even with a horrible, horrible, plains-and-tundra-ridden start turned into an easy Diplomatic victory on Emp by simply buying all City-States' favor; pretty much during any Golden Age Alex can pick up a new ally per turn, he very slowly loses them, and pretty much anything you do by chance - build any GP, any wonder, etc. turns into a huge gain. My first try with France (on random, but the obvious Cultural choice) turned into a lock for a Cultural victory by 1950. Really? I wasn't even trying; I just suddenly noticed I was only 2 policies away from finishing 5 trees, and there I was, at the end of the game. Prince game, but at parity isn't the game supposed to at least make it mildly interesting? Also, did it stop mattering in Civ5 if you win early vs. late for score? Did the AI civs stop trying to beeline for a win once they had the opportunity?? I just had a game (my 6th total since buying the game) where I had the spaceship parts all built in 1972, but according to my potential final scores going either Space by launching the ship (that no opponent had even started yet and that no longer gave the opportunity to stop by taking the capital; Diplomatic (by buying the favor of all 20 city-states with the 600+ gpt I was making at that point); or building the Utopia Project (for which, despite having 30 or 40 cities, I was easily the front runner), came out all the same. Do we now just milk the game until the final turn and win at the last moment we can? Seems so. Launching a spaceship ~1850 no longer seems to be important; just use that Science lead to dominate more opponents and your score climbs. Further, it seems like the hex map and the one-unit-per-square heavily favors a human player (by being essentially chess-like against a weak combat AI); the lack of the possibility for the stack of doom on offense means the AI sucks at combat and lets the player skimp all game while the AI overbuilds units. The AI seems to suck at basic city optimization (policy trees make certain land improvements, like trading posts, close to useless). The AI seems to suck at stopping you from winning in general (shouldn't every AI on the board be trying to sack your capital when you're close to done with the space ship???) There's a lot of great stuff about the graphical presentation of this game, but is it the general consensus of serious-minded Civ players on this board that this is the least meaningful version of Civ ever?? I have to imagine it is, after all of the serious discussion I participated in during Civ 4. Is there a catch-all mod (I did look a little but found nothing comprehensive) that basically puts the game back in line with the same level of AI vs human interaction I've come to expect of the series in the last 18 years?? Civ I started the series and blew us all away. Civ II improved it majorly in almost every way. Civ III was great, but was in a lot of ways an unfamiliar tangent from what this game had been. Civ IV (esp. w/ Warlords) was honestly the pinnacle of what I felt this title could ever be - proper tools for managing borders, defense, mixed armies, city specialization, trade, diplomatic deals, espionage, everything. Civ V started out with strong expectations for me, but honestly it feels like they dumbed the game down majorly. (Even while making it a hex map, which every strategy gamer since WW2 PnP games (Rommel, etc.) must have been dying for.) I'm kinda reaching out here. If this game is still as much a Sid Meier game as its predecessors, tell me what limitations or conditions this community has decided make it so that vis a vis the AI it's a worthy challenge, because I'm finding it to come down to either wild human exploitation vs. a terrible AI or impossible exploitation by the mechanics of advantage by the AI on the hardest levels; there's no more middle ground like there was in previous Civ titles. Am I way off base here? Disclaimer: Three relatively strong alcoholic beverages were consumed in the writing of this post; if at any time the grammar or spelling suffered, well, it was still comparatively better than Civ 5's AI.