I have been playing a lot of Civilization V (or CiV as the internet prefers to call it) and for a lark I wandered around the internet looking for reviews of the game. I have found a few small issues with the game mostly in the tooltip department but still feel like the overall experience is excellent. However, I wanted to find out if others saw the same things I did. The reviews I found suggest that the reviewers have a very tenuous grip on the realities of computing and programming and expect things that make absolutely no sense. One guy in particular complained that he was managing his empire, just chilling out, and a huge force showed up on his border and smashed him and this was not fun. Well gee, a game that you can lose by playing badly? Who would have thunk it? Try scouting, or diplomacy, or building your own damn army you tool! Since when is "I am bad at this game and lost" a negative point about a game? The reviews tended to focus on how good the overall game experience feels and how slick the new combat system is but came down hard on the AI, complaining that it did all kinds of terrible things and made the game not fun. The part I found most amusing was that their complaints seemed to primarily revolve around the idea that the AI wasn't doing what they wanted it to do.
See, here is the thing: When you are in a game with an enemy AI and it declares war on you, you have *no idea* why that happened. Maybe it got paid off by another AI to attack, maybe your army was small, maybe its behaviour was simply programmed to be extremely aggressive, or maybe it noticed that you were in a winning position and figured the best/only way to prevent that was to attack. The only thing the player knows is that the AI attacked and because that is usually bad for the player the player goes on the internet and complains that the AI is stupid. Some people complained about 'irrational' behaviour like making a big attack and then when it fails, offering the player a huge bribe to secure a peace treaty. Aside from the possibility of never attacking, this sounds like the best possible strategy to me. Sometimes you attack and lose and are in a bad position and offering peace with no bribe is going to get you laughed at - when I am ticked off at an AI I will only accept a peace offer if it comes with a ton of stuff attached. The other option is to just stand there and eat the counterattack and probably die, so bribery sounds pretty good!
People also seem to have completely bizarre ideas of how powerful an AI can be in this sort of game. Some people seemed to think that we could just code up AIs so skilled that they would never need a handicap and could provide even the best possible human players a stiff challenge. Hint: Even though a computer can beat the world chess champion, chess is *much* simpler than CiV and we are running this on mediocre home computers and expect the computer's turn to take 1-3 seconds. Even if we could code up an AI that would actually be as good as a expert human, which we cannot, it couldn't possibly run in reasonable time on the machines it needs to run on. The fact is that just because an AI didn't do what you wanted or what you think it should from your very uninformed perspective doesn't mean it sucks, and making one as good as everyone seems to think it should be is completely impossible.