So, my initial impressions to this game were very good. I played one game to victory. After that, I had about four or five very unsatisfying experiences where I ended up restarting the game. What I've determined from my (granted) very short time so far--at least when compared to how much time many of you have played--is that one of the biggest weaknesses of this game, as it stands, is the early-game. Put simply, it's just not that much fun and far too luck-based.
Again, this is all just my opinion, and I don't wish to turn this into a flaming war. I just feel as if the game is incredible when you get that really nicely generated map, you establish some cities, and from then on it's an enjoyable 4X ride.
... but then sometimes you get just a cluster-F**k of high-level monsters EVERYWHERE, few places to settle, and the monsters are so many and so numerous, that I forget I'm playing a 4X game and not Final Fantasy Tactics. I usually don't like to "cheese" and load saves, but when I lose my pioneers and both my heroes die on turn 6 to some pack of mystical god-wolves, I am that load-game button--then I feel guilty and start a new game, because I hate having to resort to that.
If I were to give this game a score, it would be either be between an 8 or 9, or a 3 or 5, depending solely on the map generated. I know many of you are forums veterans, and so I'm merely offering my perspective as "fresh" blood, not yet tainted by all the arguments already having taken place here. Without having been involved in many of the debates, I'll state that I believe the game should work on making sure every play through is just as fun as the last. Namely, not so many monsters cluttering every available tile. I get many of you say that this is part of the game's "lore," but at the end of the day, let's be honest--who here is playing this for the story? Don't we all really imagine our own? I know I do when playing 4X games.