Early attacks on the AI are really strong. This is not unusual for a strategy game by any means, as anyone who 6 pools can attest.
However, the following stratagems are too effective and have too little risk.
1) Create a combat-monster sovereign (15 str, pre-equipped, warlord or assassin). Walk over to the nearest enemy. Kill him. Repeat.
2) Create a charisma-monster sovereign. 15 Cha, Royalty or Bard. Pick Green Thumb.
-Build a Hut immediately. In the meantime, search for heroes.
-Hire every hero you meet. With high CHA, this should be easy.
-Upon leveling your first city, pick random guardian
-Proceed to annihilate the nearest civs with your hero/wolf/spider pack.
These strategies are doubly effective if you picked a faction with Tools of War, or add the trait that generates 1 Tech Research for your Sov. Arming your combat monster sov or hero pack with oak spears is really, really deadly.
Honestly, I'm not sure whether this is a balance issue, an AI issue, or both. I think a human player would be hard pressed to stop this strategy without creating a monster sov or hero army of his own. It demonstrates the severe weakness of dex-based or int-based sovs. Those attributes need to do more.
Here's what I think:
- Attacking cities should require SIEGE tech. Walls should physically block units from attacking other units. They should have high-hp that is only reasonably broken by siege weapons or super-buffed units in the lategame
-Outposts don't get walls. Your first city, starts as a level 2 city (15 pop)
-Dexterity should increase combat and move speed for a slight amount (Maybe +1 for 3, or something like that)
-Intelligence should do SOMETHING. Here are some suggestions
Increase Tax Rate in Stationed Cities
Provide a bonus to Non-Hero units during combat
Decrease the cost of spells
Increase the effectiveness of EVERY spell, somehow.
-Finally, all sovereigns should start with a level 1 spell at the beginning of the game. This makes it so intelligent sovereigns aren't completely destroyed by bandits or something.