Playability: 2. Rather relaxing, slow undisturbed buildup in a very protected area. I was never attacked and I just mined all my enormous resources and advanced through the ages and teched up as I chose.
Balance: 1. Because I can't award a zero. I Ironed and got 50 techs. The enemy CPs barely Tooled and got 4 or 5 techs. They never attacked me. By the time I had finished buffing up and chose to attack them, their resistance was minimal. And this was WITHOUT recruiting the 350 (!) Gaia troops waiting to join my forces. I deliberately left them fidgeting in their little forest hideouts and just used my own troops which I created from scratch starting in Stone Age. One of the players was completely wiped out by the Elephant King ruling the elephant herd in his area.
Map: 2.5. Nicely reworked map (did I just say that?) with some cliff work and a lot of waterfalls, some coming out of nowhere and going nowhere, just being there for some reason.
History etc.: 1.5. OK here's the trick. There is almost nothing here but a hint about picking up the swordsmen. The confusion about winning just by picking them up arises from the victory condition which is (intended to be) achieve Population = 500. Which of course would required picking up the 350 Gaia troops and then somehow getting another 150 troops. I'm not sure about those numbers because I just estimated the number of troops in the masses. But the Global is set to Conquest so what the heck, just wipe them all out to win.
Comments: Hint: If for some reason you decided to actually get all those 350 extra troops, make sure you have all your vital units built first. Otherwise you will instantly go over your pop cap and be unable to create a scout, a priest, a chariot archer, or even a single catapult for the towers. On the other hand, you can just swarm the enemy CPs with masses of troops if you so desire. The CPs Strat and Per were set to, you guessed it, Random/Random. Brain Dead/Brain Dead. I built a Wonder just for wonder insurance but nothing happened. Better safe than sorry.