There will always be expert players who complain about the AI in just about any strategy game. Most players don't say anything for fear of being flamed as wimps. But here is my experience in my last game: I chose Islands, small world, at normal difficulty. Another faction was within 8 or 9 hexes. Feeling cocky I declared war on him. Big mistake! I was virtually buried by rats summoned almost every turn along with hoardes of lizard spearmen and archers. What really tore it was that he was casting really nasty AOE spells on my capitol city so that I had large negatives for gold, mana, and food. This made it impossible for me to create any new units. After holding out for 20 turns, I had no units left and no way to create any more. Shortly thereafter, I spotted 2 packs of werewolves coming to eat my garden. Game over! I was very impressed with this.