Great game but... You'll REALLY need to master it before enjoying.
This is like most of casual gamers be when play Space Empires for the first time (At least me... a hardcore AoE II player first time playing SE)
The true is that this a great game, but you'll need to master it almost completelly it before having a little fun. Even Civilization players will not understand most of the gameplay at first hand. You need to be play micromanagement very well and never forget anything, since a turn, sometimes, can be crucial
The thing that I most enjoyed in SE IV is the Ship/Troop/Fighter design. Instead of clicking a "most cool" ship icon in the production window... you'll have to create your own ship designs (of course there are pre-made designs, but they suck-a-lot, IMO) You can create a Frigate with several propulsion engines and make it become a scout. Or create a frigate with a lot of weapons of all kinds and make it become a battleship. Make a small ship with a cobalt warhead and make it become a "Kamikaze Ram ship" Make a transport be an efective only when moving population, or a space fighter bay, or a mine lawyer. But to have Uranium Cannons in level 5, Torpedoes at full power, or an alien sprout, that fires deadly acid across the space, coming out of your ship... Crystallurgy Shields, an biological - kinda of "alive" - coat surrounding your ship or simply energetic shield, you'll have to reaserch the specified areas. This is the funny in SE, but until you master it, you be like quiting game in the 25th turn. It's a great game you'll enjoy if you the patience to master it. If you like "click and destroy" drive through.