@sentinemodo: you're free to provide your feedback and I'll provide mine, tyvm.
@sean: good point. still, this was easy/easy and on turn 0 I had a nasty lair with lots of nasty enemies right next door. if those guys wanted they could have come for me and wiped me out come turn 3, with me having no way to survive. and if they DON'T come for me, that's not immersive because... why didn't they wipe me out as soon as they had the chance?
I think the strength of the world still starts too high, give the player a bit of a break early on so you can actually do some scouting. just allow a short span of time for the player to prepare early on, so you can train some militia for the upcoming onslaught. as it stands, having to cower behind walls while you do that is simply not fun. I think the level of challenge should be on the same level as the player's power, i.e. a fair fighting chance instead of immediately feeling like a bug about to get squashed.
if you play raging barbs in civ4 you won't have a big stack of enemies right next to you on turn 0. but you know they'll be coming for you soon in force and you gotta prepare asap. that's an example of a good, hard challenge that still feels fair, i.e. you do have the tools to handle the menace and it's up to you to do the right choices. but starting right next to big stacks of enemies feels overdone imho.
@bpalczewski: I just think "don't move out of the city" is not good design. what is the focus here, a fun gameplay or proving that you're a l33t gamer? the latter is just pointless in a single player game.