Welcome to the reason why I'm married to my single player games . I have a hard enough time beating a SNES AI at Tetris, me playing multiplayer Civ IV is just a trainwreck waiting to happen. True, but early aggressiveness is the intelligent play for higher level AIs, assuming they keep their AI bonuses. On Noble it'd be much less dire, of course, since you'd get time to learn who's around and how to react, but Deity? If a Deity AI has someone next to them that is defending a capitol city with one, maybe two Warriors, the intelligent play is to steal their worker and rush them. More land for you, less land for one of your rivals. Hell, it might make Marathon completely unplayable, since on Noble/Marathon it's entirely possible to walk up to an AI capitol and just walk in before the AI has a chance to even build a defender. Much less the player, since AIs always first build a defender that's already half-finished. As for intelligently whipping defenders, true to a point, but I feel like it would lead to an exploit. Move in a few HA, wait for the AI to whip their cities down on Spears, than move in with an actual Axepult stack, something like that. The city bombardment issue and defenders stationed inland rather than coastal is definitely true, as well.