In this game, I enjoyed the battles on the way to Saradh - it was just the right length of war to avoid getting dull, and the objective was clear. I feel like I might enjoy wars more if it was a case of forming an army, spending a few turns manoeuvring and raiding to try and draw the enemy army into a battle at a place that's advantageous for you, and then after one or two big battles or a city being captured comes diplomacy and peace terms. I think most people enjoy the combat in these games more than I do, though!
On the other hand, I like the combat in Galactic Civilizations 3 - you prepare by designing your ships, positioning your fleets, and so on, but the actual battles are automated. You can give different ships 'roles' now, which affect what they target and where they deploy, but that's built into the ship design itself. I like this, since it means I don't have to worry about a war taking forever since I have to personally oversee a bunch of battles that I'll probably win and lack tension, but can't trust to the auto-resolve.
Things looked up once I got that quest to clear and convert Saradh. Initially I was annoyed at it being such a big task, but it actually gave me a clear goal that needed a bit of long term thinking and planning. The scouting, diplomacy and building of an army was involving and entertaining, as was the military campaign itself.
In summary, a fairly dull start and finish with some exciting moments in the middle. Boring finishes are quite a common feature of 4X games, if you've achieved a leading position early on, but I normally enjoy the start much more than I did this game - though faction choice and map setup may well have been the cause of that. From the other two games I've played (not many admittedly) I don't believe this AAR was all that representative of how Endless Legend usually plays. That's a bit of a disappointing note to end on for something that took me a while to write up, but that's the trouble with setting out to do an AAR from the start I guess - no guarantee that you'll have an especially fun or memorable game!