I did not have a chance to play much, it did not hooked me. Apparently a player delegated everything and clicked the next turn button 400 times and won without issuing any command.
I think one advice would be to delegate as much as you can, and do not take a look at what the AI does for you. Think of it as part of the randomness of the game. Like a board game, imagine everything has been abstracted even if you can take a look at the details. Else you'll end up saying that the AI does it bad and you'll have to do it yourself.
Still, as a game designer, I should be playing bad games too to learn from their mistake. At that time, I was not really a designer, so maybe I should give it another try for learning purposes.
Else I tried recently Endless Space which was pretty bad. There was still a few good ideas in this game, but as whole it was horrible.
As for MOM clone, I tried Elemental which was bad, then Warlock which was acceptable and Warlock 2 which was no better, if not slightly worse than warlock 1. Modding capabilities of Warlock 2 did not help either as the game engine (especially spells) was way too limited.
Playing MOO III until you like it is like trying to live in Wisconsin to make the people of Manitowoc seem like an epicenter for freedom and what it means to have civic rights protected at all costs. It will never happen.
Most people say this game has a Macro approach which is the case of most board games. So I am interested to see how they did it, maybe there could be some mechanics inspiration. It will not make the game better, I know the game is bad, but I need to see it from my own eyes (A game designer eye) to learn from it.
I am currently watching a set of video on you tube where the guy is playing the game. I can now see the issue that "spreadsheet" games had. It was the problem of having too many information to manage (which is present in many pc games), the lack of decisions and delegation.
For example, even at the race creation screen, and attribute like creative which was just a special ability you could take in the previous games. Now there were 4 levels of creativity. So it ends up managing microbonus. It also have a feeling of fence sitter: "Do you want to be creative or not - Hmm! I am not sure, let be a little creative just in case"
The other issue is the decisionless system. In a board game, you need to make decisions between choice A, B and C which each has it's pro and cons. Like sid Meier said "good games are made of interesting decisions"(or something like it). But in Moo3, there is no decisions to make. Most of them are slider adjustment. For example in technology, you research all field at the same time in various proportions. Yes you can "choose" the proportions, but it does not have the same impact and drama than choosing tech A rather than tech B.
Finally, as I previous said, adding more complexity because you can delegate task is not a good thing as player will look and criticize what the player do. So they will end up doing it manually anyway. Better to abstract it and hide it from the player. So again, too much details and information required a delegation system to be playable.