I played the alpha version and although there are some rough spots here and there (such as being unable to change the screen res due to an oversized dialog box) the new population system makes the game infinitely more playable. I always thought that the penalty incurred by the loser of the battle was too small ... now that units have to repopulate from their home city (i.e. much slower than before), big victories become much more meaningful and the whack-a-skirmisher gameplay of the original is now much reduced.
Kudos for the effort! I am a happy happy customer.