Is Arabia overpowered?
New player here. I recently played a game on Prince level versus Arabia, and they took a big leap foreward very early in the game, making it impossible to catch up to them in the end (They were in Renaissance before I even hit Medieval, and I was very early to do so). I played as Arabia the next match, and the same thing happened: Once you get the economy going, it's nearly impossible to defeat this civilization. Do other players feel like this civilization is overpowered compared to the rest of them?
Definitely not. Siam and Babylon are much stronger than Arabia. Arabia's bonus to trade routes is only a modest boost to gold, and especially in a duel game (you were only playing against Arabia, right?) their Bazaar is almost useless. The AI also doesn't know how to use it properly. Camel Archers are nice, but not amazing.
Zephyr is right, as always.
Arabia is situationally good, but is probably mid-teir at best. Their UU is decent, but nothing special and their UA gives a paltry sum of gold and oil is only available at very late stages in the game. Their Bazaar is fantastic, but only in single player games and only in the hands of a human. Ironically, the Bazaars actually help human players more than the AI that builds them.
As a new player, it's important to understand that population and science are linked, so once either you or an AI get ahead, that success tends to snowball and the gap becomes too large to bridge. If somebody starts to get ahead, hit them hard and fast.
Many people claim this is the biggest design mistake in civ 5 (whether it's a mistake or not is really only known by the devs, but it hasn't been addressed, so I assume it was designed this way on purpose).
Any team can get into the same commanding lead.
I think camel archers are a complete load of crap and I'd rather have knights whose promotions stay with them. Bazaar is situational. If you don't have a monopoly over a luxury good, your extra copies aren't going anywhere anyways. The oil and oasis bonuses are negligible in the long run, and the trade route buff is only noticeable if you spam cities. And if you spam cities, you could probably do without the measly gold.
So no, you just need to learn to deal with city-spamming AIs. Declare war. Declare early, declare often, and get someone to pay you for it.
You just made me realize, if Arabia conquers a mercantile citystate, they can Bazaar the unique luxury and trade it out with a complete monopoly! That's gonna be a real neat buff to them. Of course, Netherlands will be able to do the same thing (and more easily), but still...