From: Federal Way, WA
Another feature that may interest you is that you can play against either the computer or a human opponent. While there is a lot of complaining about the Artificial Intelligence (AI) that drives the computer, and it's certainly not perfect, you'll find that it is far better than anything else you'll find in a game of this complexity. Compared to this game, programming Big Blue was a first-year homework assignment!
You'll find players on both sides of the argument, whether to play against the computer or against a human (Play By Email, PBEM). I play mostly against the AI, myself, simply because I can't devote enough time to the game to keep most human opponents happy. I do like PBEM, though, when I can find a tolerant, patient enemy commander. At least with AE there are several scripts for the AI, so you don't know ahead of time exactly what it's going to try to do to you.