This all refers to the boardgame version, because I haven't got the computer version yet (but, I WILL, and shortly!)
I refer to this game as "the granddaddy of all campaign boardgames". For one, it's old. But, also because it takes an immense amount of time to play (on a board): 200+ hours. And yet, even though it's a very lengthy game, players are seldom "out of it". It's also a game that is extremely well-balanced. In fact, it plays best with all seven major powers held by seven different players. All seven have a precisely equal chance of winning, because one's power is chosen based on what one is willing to pay (in victory points) to play that power.
Further, while very rare, it is theoretically possible for all seven players to win the game (according to the original rules, anyhow). This is one of the reasons nobody is ever really "dead".
When I played the game, each time I would buy a book on the historical nation covering the era in question (except the first time, when I hadn't thought of it). The time I played Turkey, I tried my hardest to think like Suileman and act as the nation of the period would have acted. I wound up winning the game by a huge margin, and I credit it to "playing historically". Same thing happened when I played Russia and Britain, although the margin of victory was smaller (5 people won in the Britain game). I can't think of any other balanced game that allows one to "play historically" like that and still have a chance of winning. Usually, there are stupid mistakes that the leaders of a nation made, and, if one wants to win the boardgame variant, one has to "change history".
I'm so tickled that this game is available on computers now. I'm going to ask them if they have volume licensing plans. :)
I can't speak to whether the AI is any good or not. But, I would pay nearly any amount of money for the networked version, even if it didn't have an AI, simply as a way to play the game without having to take over one's basement for a year.
At LAST! The greatest campaign board game of all time is finally available for the PC. Can my old heart stand the strain?