In a traditional game like Go or even Golf, a better player will receive a "handicap" in recognition of being the better player. This is not considered "cheating". It merely evens the odds.
So you're saying that chess and football and darts and foosball aren't traditional games because players don't get handicaps?
Having experience in both programming and AI, I can say it's virtually impossible to create a 4X game AI that will beat experienced human players.
Oh my well I guess that settles it...except hey wait a minute, I'VE got experience, too! Oh dear now we've created a paradox. Since you're claiming the absolute, that it's virtually impossible, would you mind pointing us to your published, peer-reviewed paper (or someone else's equivalent) that settles this question? I believe the claim to be false.
The only way to compensate is to give the human player a handicap. (Or conversely, by giving the computer players a bonus.)
You've declared that the computer can't get very good, so your argument is circular.
Of course I would love an adaptable super-genius game AI. But I understand why that will never happen: complexity of the game's rules, small team, limited time and budget, etc.
If anyone thinks they can do better, try it
Much more difficult things than this have been achieved. And I'm sure you're right about the size of the team and the limited budget as major drivers. Hey, wait a minute, just a little ways up above you said because of your experience you could say it was:
impossible to create a 4X game AI that will beat experienced human players.
So...which is it? Impossible? Or a matter of resources? Hyperbole?
But, the question is, does it disappoint you?