No definitive answer on whether particular nations are programmed to be more aggressive, though I’m still guessing the answer is yes. There’s been some inconclusive discussion on the Discord. Some say Persia and Assyria tend to be more aggressive, and I’ve seen some of that. Some say Rome is. In my own games, Babylonia has been very aggressive. Rome, on the other hand, has been a pussycat in my last couple games.
I just finished the Game of the Week (as Greece, on Magnificent level), with a Loss on Turn 191. I finished with 6 Ambitions, and I had two more in my sights, but I just ran out of time. I spent much of the game with 3 cities, but I did conquer a couple more in the last few decades. Even with 3 cities, I had a strong economy, and I could easily have finished my current Ambition (elders) and a legacy had I had more time. I’ve hidden my AAR in the details below, as I don’t want to spoil the Game of the Week until we have a new GOTW on, er, Monday is it?
AAR: Game of the Week
I grabbed Sparta (to the east) quickly, but then I had to defend against a Babylonian declaration of war (from the east) and a barbarian invasion (from the west). Around turn 30-40 I thought I was done for, as Babylonians besieged Sparta. But I managed to drive them back, while holding on against the barbs, and eventually made an expensive truce with Babylon. Rome, to my south, remained peaceful. Persia was a brooding menace to the northwest; I had to pay them off several times, with luxuries and the like. Eventually I grabbed a third city from the Thracians, I think, to the southwest. I lived with these three cities for most of the game, and I built up my economy and military. I even managed to build three Wonders: the Parthenon, the Acropolis, and Hagia Sophia.
By turn 130 or so I was strong enough that I started plotting to invade Rome. But then Assyria declared war on Babylonia, and Rome joined in with Assyria, so I decided to pile on against Babylonia. I drove to the gates of Babylon, but resistance stiffened as I encountered higher-tech units. As I mentioned earlier, this was the first time I really felt the force of tech disparity in Old World. It would take 6 or 7 of my Axemen and Archers to take down one enemy Polyboros. Babylonia repulsed me and drove me all the way back to the gates of Sparta, and once again I thought I was done for. But I held out, and we had a fun back-and-forth war for the next 70 years.
Finally Babylonia started to crumble, and I seized a couple of their cities, but in the meantime Persia, unmolested, had expanded and built most Wonders. Assyria, too, was piling up points by gobbling eastern Bablyonia. I had six Ambitions and an ailing leader, so I was hoping I’d get a couple easy quick new Ambitions once my Queen died. But it was not to be: Persia won, followed closely by Assyria with 28 points. I ended in third place on points (with 10 or 11, I forget) and 6 Ambitions.
I had a blast. The military campaign was the best 4X war I’ve fought since…Civ 4? I think the forced spacing of cities makes the military side of the game much more fun than Civ 5/6. Plus the AI is much much better here. Not perfect, but a lot better. (It maybe builds too many Ballistas?) It built and upgraded its units, and I was almost always facing superior troops. Really fun. I think I’ll play the next GOTW Monday.