I'm trying to resist drawing parallels with Elemental because, well, Elemental was a fustercluck of the highest magnitude; GC3 is a far better product. That said, GC3 is suffering from what appears to be short-sighted maths, i.e., short sighted as in no-one seems to have put much thought into what happens when you just keep on stacking that same 'thing' to the nth degree. For the first 70-100 turns GC3 is okay but the game then rapidly slides into an exercise in exploiting (cf. stacking) the b'Jesus out of your chosen 'thing'. It's a common problem for 4X games, they do tend to lose cohesion in the late game, but GC3 seems to lose it in the mid-late game, i.e., much sooner than I'd hoped it would.
I'm sure it will improve over time but to start this far 'behind' is a little disappointing if only from the standpoint of most of this stuff being entirely predictable ...and mentioned ...many times before now.