So we have played Nations three time now and I decided to get some initial thoughts down on "paper". We have enjoyed every game we have played and neither of has felt completely out of the game but I can see the case for the game leading people down paths due to the strength of a military strategy and the event phase trying to dictate what you should do in the current round. So the game works by placing workers out on your building(s) so they are able to generate resources in the resource phase, but they each worker costs resources to be placed and usually you will need to have food for the famine at the end of the round as well and gold to buy new buildings that get better each age. So you are trying to balance a lot things while trying to earn victory point through earning the most books in an age, wars and other sources, while keeping the short term goals of the events in mind.
While military strength is a large factor in the game so far we have found it to be controllable. First if the player doesn't buy the war as his first action, by all means buy the war before them. I like to have at least one military card active since raiding cards card give you a little bit of swing room in what you need to do in a turn to avoid being short on food for the upcoming famine or getting to play out that extra worker for a victory point late. Another stop gap is if there are Golden Age cards showing I will pick Greece if it is available. This often lets me push a military competition early and use the ability for resources or negating the loss of a war cheaply by reducing the cost of gaining a VP through the Golden Age cards. Now I tend not avoid the military if I can and focus on just building the most efficient resource engine I can and just win on being able to produce more things than my opponent and use stability to negate the wars I will lose, China isn't a bad choice for this strategy.
The game is tight and the Events do tend to steer the turn but I tend to like the swingy feel to a mass shift of world outlook that each half of an age brings and feel that it is kind of thematic in its own way. In short it probably isn't going to replace Through the Age for most people but I found it much easier to get to the table and that goes a long way in my book.