So, I went back and started playing again. This time, playing as Oda on Chieftan, on a standard size map. Not an earth map, just a randomly generated one. The game was still boring, but by playing a combat-heavy game, I could see where things got interesting if you were busy killin' stuff. At least initially. It's still pretty easy to steamroll the AI, but I'll get to that in a bit. At any rate, I compared this experience with having also recently started up a Civ 4 Vanilla (patched) game, and INSTANTLY gotten into it. I think I've figured out a few reasons why Civ5 is boring as compared to Civ4. The single biggest reason why any playthru of Civ5 is going to be more boring than Civ4, I think, is a slower rate of "reward." When playing long-term games like Civ, you aren't always dealing knockout blows to the AI, or even fighting successful single battles. The game, however, "rewards" you by letting you accomplish this or that. You discover a new tech, complete a tile improvement, build a unit, build a building, move a unit into position, etc. All these little things act as rewards. They're incentives to keep playing and clicking "next turn" and the primary reason why, like lab rats, we keep clicking next turn over and over and over again. Put simply, it is the "rewards" of accomplishing a task in Civ that conditions you to say "one...more...turn...." Civ5, however, draws the time between each reward out in the extreme, at least by comparison with Civ 4. Put simply, EVERYTHING takes longer to do. Buildings -- even basic ones -- take 20 turns to complete. Units take 20 turns to complete throughout the game. Tile improvements take at LEAST three turns to complete even in the modern age. Population growth takes ages. Even the simple task of moving an army into position can take a long time, due to the lack of roads (itself due to the cost of maintaining roads). What's more, the tasks undertaken often yield comparatively lower practical results. Yes, you can build Notre Dame, but...for +1 culture and +5 happiness (or whatever minimal benefit it offers)...why would you? You'd do better to build a cheap Circus. Or bribe a city-state. Now, it's true that all this does speed up towards the late game (industrial/modern era), but even then, many elements of the game still take forever to complete. Even combat -- unless there's a serious disparity of force -- takes at least 2 attacks to kill any given unit. Compare this to Civ4 which can start slow, but reach a point where you're cranking out bombers every 2 turns or so, completing roads on the SAME turn, researching techs quickly, etc., etc. You can move armies near-instantly with railroads, build new buildings rapidly, etc. The game is, quite simply, a hell of a lot faster. As a result, you get more frequent "rewards." You accomplish more and accomplish it faster in Civ4 than in Civ5. Moreover, by dragging out the time between rewards in Civ5, the designers allowed the game to lose steam. You have to MAKE yourself click "next turn" much of the time, instead of making yourself NOT click "next turn" as in previous games. The addictive factor is considerably lower. Can this be modded? Sure, but it won't necessarily solve all the problems under the hood. Still, I'd have to say that it strikes me as particularly odd that the designers would've gone this route if the aim was to bring in more "casual players." Casual players, I'd think, are the people who'd MOST benefit from the rapid reward approach of Civ 4. It'd keep them playing longer by getting them hooked early. Maybe the theory was that allowing too much to happen too soon could "overload" the casual player, but I think that takes a rather dim and indeed insulting view of such a player.