I agree with this. It is not fun to gimp yourself on purpose. It has its novelty, but eventually the inclination is to simply use the tools you have available. It's more fun to play the game more, not less.
I don't know...
Once I have found a solid strategy and won with it, I may take it for a perfect test run... once. I do not see why I would play with a quest loop once I've beaten Insane with it. By the way, it is not even a chore, it's a blast. Once.
Once I beat ridiculous with a fortified, dodging dazzler, I have not played Krax based races.
I do not play Trogs anymore, I get more enjoyment of trying to kill the Juggernauts I've designed. It's damn near impossible, unless you know what's coming. Well, I do.
Nowadays, I mostly try to add to my guide, or make easing into Fallen Enchantress easier for non-Beta-testers.
When I play for fun, it's Stormworld, on Expert, for the sheer fun of discovery. One of the fun things about Stormworld is that the race pretty much sets the difficulty (for example, the Angels are much, much, MUCH stronger than the Elves)
I can see the desire to balance the game by reducing the power of some synergies (Quest loop, I'm looking at you!)
But to balance the game by helping you when you're playing poorly?! That's insulting. Hindering you when you're winning? That's stupid, the hindering should be an option that you can turn on, and independent on how you're doing. (You can bet I would use it)
In your playthroughs, how often have you cast the epic spells (birth of summer, curgen's volcano, etc)? How often have you recruited dragons with that storm dragon tech? Or created companies of units? From what I've seen, you don't get to those techs before winning (or losing).
Well, I've taken every play-through to victory before turn 150, or left it in a very favorable position when a new version has come out. Why would I use a nuke that I do not need, or play with a dragon that the AI does not know how to handle? I've had a dragon by the way, from the dragon eyes quest. Once I used it, and I once I left it in my single city.
As for companies of units, I have done it, but once again, why research something that you do not need? Winning effectively requires foregoing what you do not immediately need. You do not research economics if you have not built a single tax office, and every outpost of yours is on a road. You research it when you (1) need it and (2) are ready to use it.