While I didn't want to change game play dramatically – this could occur in later expansions – I did want to shake things up a bit. What I had observed (and confirmed after publication) is that new players often start out doing military settlement strategies (as these are easily grasped), then gradually discover produce-consume strategies before moving to a more flexible play style centered around produce-consume, but also encompassing military and development paths when indicated.
Thus, the base set is tilted slightly towards produce-consume to encourage players to look beyond the military strategies. The Gathering Storm redresses this"
I don't like the answer of buying an expansion to fix it.
I agree completely. You shouldn't need to buy an expansion.
Instead, improve your play. Learn how:
* to execute a development strategy,
* to shift from a development strategy to late-game big military,
* to execute a trade strategy,
* to not settle into someone setting up a p/c engine,
* to build a better p/c engine, with superior card flow,
* to build a better p/c engine, with a larger "crank",
* to take better advantage of your opponents' phase calls.
The point is that you shouldn't feel "helpless" in the face of a P/C engine; instead, you should see the engine coming a few rounds in advance and have the play skills to deal with it (most of the time, as there is luck involved in any card game and no guarantees).
RFTG existed for a year before any expansion to it was published. If the dominant strategy in the base game was simply "put down a P/C engine, game over", there is no way it would have been so popular...
By improving your skills at the base game, you will become a better RFTG player in any play environment.