Okay, this forum is pretty trashed with debate over things being exploits or not, shoddy gameplay, etc. I've not helped buck that trend because honestly a lot of poor design decisions and flagrant UI neglect in this game put me off. Still, this is the STRATEGY AND TIPS subforum. I called this forum my #1 homepage for over a year and a half and for a while had one of the highest post counts/day. Part of its draw is that its ability to better the gameplay of readers/contributors was so powerful and immersive. I want that back, but first we need some actual strategy and tips. Here I'll try to start some more positive discussion and hopefully improve people's game at the same time: 1. What is the fastest way to get to 1000 beakers/turn? 2. What is the fastest way to get to 1000 beakers/turn peacefully (no conquest/puppets)? 3. On your difficulty, what is the minimum beakers/turn you'd recommend for different victory conditions? Maybe we can open up some older, more fun wounds (like trading post vs spec sort of like cottages vs farms). Maybe we can dig up some DIFFERENCES depending on difficulty (I'll posit that sales of luxury resources is much stronger on deity than king). I ask this for a few reasons. One, I rarely get more than 500-800 bpt, which even post-patch will trounce emperor and compete on immortal if you play well in other facets. Two, because I want to see how people are setting up their cities in their empire. Example: granary was THE strongest econ building in IV. I doubt that's still true now. But, what is? Is there a clear favorite (esp now that library got WALLOPED by the nerf stick)? If so, what is it? What build order do you prioritize in a new city? How does it vary by city specialization? Do you specialize cities for certain outputs (gold, hammers, science)? How many cities would you need to get 1000 bpt, and how much slower, if at all, is that from the optimal count? What is your general empire setup, scouting-read strategy, and thought process when going into a game? What goals are you trying to achieve, and when are you attempting to achieve them? Some suggestions for this thread: 1. Please state the difficulty you usually play (this gives a big perspective on where strategies are viable, how they differ by level, etc) and your answers to the questions to the best of your ability. Do not judge people on their difficulty; only consider the limitation of tactics against AI bonuses, or when they are lacking. I hesitated to put this suggestion up, but at the same time difficulty has a DIRECT impact on viable (and possibly even the optimal) approach to this game, and not including it probably clouds the perspective people will give. Some old forum advice; when trying to move up a level, look to advice from people who made the jump recently, or advice at or maybe 1 level above the one you want to play. 2. For the purposes of this thread, nothing is an exploit or unfair to do. If you want me to rip your exploit arguments to shreds, we can take it up on another thread. This thread is about approaches to winning, not handcuffs. 3. Although civ specific advice is welcome, I'm looking for a general picture of playing well that doesn't rely heavily on uniques. If you do include civ-specific strategies, try to incorporate how/how much of an advantage the uniques provide and some guesses to the viability of the stock options. 4. Give the reasoning for the things you do in-game. This should help the people giving advise reason it out, as well as people reading it. Other than that, have at it. I'll be weighing in with questions/discussion here as well.