I've been watching some streams of various games, mostly Filthy's games, and one thing that stood out to me is that the AI looks a lot worse than in V, mainly because there were a lot of design changes that crippled the AI. First of all, barbarians run rampant across the map, and cities no longer have initial ranged city strikes. Even Filthy lost a few units to these barbarians, and in his greek game, was constantly under siege by barbarians from all directions. I think its very possible the AI did create units, settlers, and builders that game, but had them killed or captured by barbarians before they could improve tiles. We all know how much the AI struggles with raging barbarians in V, this makes it a lot harder for them to develop any sort of army. As for city ranged strikes, this sometimes made it difficult to take cities in V, even if you had a troop advantage. The lack of city strikes in the early game magnifies any small difference in military strength, and allows you to take cities with only a couple of troops if, say, the AI loses a lot of soldiers because of tactical mistakes or barbarians. It becomes a lot easier to run around and kill things with less fear of city strike retaliation, and also makes ranged units exceptionally effective at wearing down a city and gaining experience with little consequence. Even after cities got walls, they seemed to be weaker than in V from what I've seen. I imagine districts and city specialization also makes it tougher for the AI to come across with a coherent plan (the AI can't just build everything anymore either), though I haven't seen as much evidence of that. Still, combining barbarians being literally everywhere and the lack of an early game city strike makes the AI way more likely to fall behind early and set themselves up for super easy capturing. I don't think the V AI could handle it any better than VI's AI does.