I bought this via GoG over a year ago, just couldn't play it. Even on easy it was punishingly hard for me, and I don't like being frustrated so I uninstalled. Saw it yesterday on Steam, surprisingly, and read about mods for it that supposedly 'fixed' the AI and balancing issues, so I re-installed and gave it a whirl.
This game is just frustratingly difficult. I spent 70+ turns raising 3 cities and five roving groups of heroes to slowly expand my area, but regardless of how many or what you have there are 2 things that inevitably happen:
1) The enemies will send just enough troops to each of your nodes to re-capture them, then retreat. Even if you put guards up, they have a seemingly endless supply of monsters and will do this for the entire game. That means it comes down to fluxuating income, with the player having to spend every 4 turns re-capping points. This is just stupid.
2) No matter how strong you are, or how expansive your army, the enemy will suddenly out of nowhere pull out of their ♥♥♥ a huge group of super-powered monsters that will wipe your entire civilization out. In my instance, it was 3 Hydras. Their stats were not impressive, there was only 3 of them, but they systematically destroyed every hero group and every city I had control of until I was down to 1/3 of my power. At that point, I just uninstalled.
I love fantasy strategy games like these, ever since booting Masters of Magic via floppy disk all those years ago...but the Age of Wonders series does not seem to scratch that itch that exists just between challenging and fun, and instead forces you to overreach until you are in 'hard and frustrating'.
But again, as I initially stated, I think I may be too casual to enjoy this game.