I must say,
After about 30 hours devoted to Alpha 5, it's really coming along nicely.
I haven't experienced the Ghost Unit bug yet, and there have been a couple of times that the invasions got pretty heavy. (Man did I open the hornets nest after I went into Thebes, then Attica) Also, the new diplomacy pricing works really well for truces I must say which is awesome for a change. Since diplomacy and truce are such viable options, it really does help limit the invasions down the line in case your wondering about that.
Now that I've further play tested the alliance thing in the Phillip scenario, I must say, I still got mixed feelings about it, and not as pro-alliance as I was before, as you are right Rob that it does make some objectives trivial, but at the same time I really like the fact of having allied troops who are much, much better then mercenaries and more realistic for the time period. So perhaps some kind of compromise can be made before official release as I know some different suggestions have been thrown out there.
Granted, you can't win cheaply against factions like Sparta or Athens, or even the Illryians, since they will never ally with you because of your hostility, but those little factions, are so easy to pick on. A good example, I was able to ally with Corinth and Argos, very easily, thus my territories really expanded with the acquisition of those two factions, which is awesome, but at the same time a bit like "uhh, ok.. that was easy for a change" lol..
Anyhow, continue to keep up the good work, overall there still some minor bugs (UI pricing issues with the alliances, since it can actually be used now), but overall it's showing a lot of potential.