It can be managed, but diplomacy cost resources and particularly orders. I was getting close to a double victory (about my 6th ambition) and It addition to all the other penalties for closeness, wrong religion. I was -300 which pretty much is automatic war, and really hard to get a truce. I think I’m playing at harder level than you and that matters also.
It is clearly situational and despite fighting two wars, it ultimately didn’t matter and I did get my double victory, but I had to work a bit harder to defend against a war. I couldn’t just hit next turn.
You are correct lots of people hated the gang up on the winner. So giving the players what the want is good idea.
The problem, that I’m trying to solve, and listening to Soren, I think he is in a similar space, is how do we make the end game more interesting for players?
The basic problem with giving AI a big head start is that game is basically over in the first dozen turns.
I spent a long day beating my head against the AI at Magnificent level. Turn 1 assign my leader (for extra speed) to my slinger/warrior. turn 2 attack a barb city, turn 3 AI grabs the city. Race my leader over to another barb city, turn 5-6 another nation takes it. Settle my free city site on turn 8, build a second settler. If I’m lucky maybe grab a barb city. I end up with 2 or 3 cities and no place to expand.
To me, that’s more frustrating than fun. After a dozen restarts, I finally got 4 cities, with a minor tribe in my rear that I could grab another 3 cities. At which point, I turtled used my huge treasury to buy all the resources to build all the wonders as soon as my cities hit legendary status and won that way. Also not fun. Cause it literally took more than a dozen starts before i got lucky.
To borrow a certain math description. Strollen’s parabola is less steep and much longer than most 4x games provide. In an ideal world, yes the AI would be smarter, and play the game better and Brad Pitt would play me in SNL.
I still haven’t had a competitive game pass turn 100, but I think Play to Win will help me get there.