Are there any Alpha Centauri players around here? I kind of like the way the diplomacy works there; you're more likely to have favorable relations if you've made social choices that are more like what an opponent or ally has. To make peace or to become friends with the Environmentalist faction (Gaians), for example, you make "green" social engineering choices. To do the same for the Scientist faction (The University), you choose the "knowledge" choice.
I did like in AC the ability to have your "trustworthiness" ranked as a number. If you keep acting like a jerk, well, someone will take over a base far from the front lines that you totally werent paying attention to. a lot of strategy games are like that. galciv has something similar, but they have it set up that even if you have been good bosom buddies the computer will outright betray for something silly like taking over half the galaxy and threatening them all the time.
something that i really liked in galciv2 was visibility of trade lines and the minimazation of the trade ships. basically once a route was established it was always visible as a colored ghost line with a mini trade ship. in soase we have the small ships, but not the actual routes, so it just looks like they are careening around. which i am a-ok with.
anyways.. i think i answered your rhetorical question dirtys, and then. heck yes entrenchment is worth it. best game in a long effing time. .... do i get my free tshirt yet, ironclad?