I know I'm just shy of a year late with a response here but in my defense I only just recently came across this article after it was (re)posted on the /r/4xgaming subreddit.
I can appreciate the author's waxing nostalgic for Civ IV, I too like to revisit the older Civs for their faster gameplay unladen by the cruft the newer games force you to engage in, but despite my occasional nostalgic rendezvous with Civs III and IV, I also find myself missing the newer features that genuinely improve the game (1UPT, hex tiles, etc.).
What I find telling about this article is how the author gives Civ VI short shrift for zooming through the cultural tree (I assume they played Greece or some other cultural power house?) but conveniently omits Civ IV's own shortcuts, like bee-lining literature and the Great Library which lets you slingshot into later eras quickly with major boosts to science thanks to Great Scientists.
At least the author is honest when they admit that the combat is not the reason they play IV, nor is it mine. In fact combat, which is arguably one of the central draws of Civilization since its earliest iteration (Civ was never a good substitute for a city-builder like SimCity), is one of IV's greatest weaknesses. Not only is it in possession of the jankiest RNG since X-Com (a ~90 percent chance to win will result in a loss) but the other combat systems essentially encourage the very "doom blobs" that the author laments; systems like forcing units to face their counter (horse units versus spears) and the necessity to suicide your artillery into these blobs in the hopes of softening them up.
Civ IV is an exercise in spam: spam cities, spam units, spam religion, spam corporations, spam spies. Spam, spam, baked beans and SPAM!
It's too much and in my estimation it's the very reason that Civ V made such a drastic sea change in order to rein in this ever growing bloat.
Yet, time and again I see Civ IV fans (coughfanboyscough) lament the changes away from the abusive power mechanics and the move away from doomstacks as a bad thing, as if their nostalgia is overriding their common sense.
I also highly recommend the author and anyone reading this to go back to Civ VI since Gathering Storm launched (which I believe this article predates). The game has benefited from numerous updates and tweaks that make the pacing and balance far more grounded, speaking as a Prince/King level player. Moreover GS fills out the unit roster, adds game mechanics like global warming and world congress mechanics that brings back a lot of that "roleplaying" that the author enjoys in Civ IV.
But please for the love of Sid leave your nostalgia at the door.