I play Civ IV mostly to have fun. Normally I will play monarch or emperor. I have been playing Civ since 91 on DOS so I have a pretty good grip on the mechanics. This being said I rarely take the time to monitor diplomacy, I trade without regard, micro my cities very little, and try to end a std speed game in 2 hours or less and maybe 3-4 for epic. I was getting bored with the way I play. Basically I play continents take my island and then go kill the backwards island or space race if I don't want to build all those units. So I read Neal's 18 civ post and get inspired. I pick the map, grab Germany because I like the country IRL (thought of doing Japan, next time), and choose emperor. Now this is what I find really odd. I was able to take the early tech lead while conquering cities with only militia in them. I have played up to me having Calvary and everyone else is woefully behind and the game is about to be over. I am not bragging here though because I know that on emperor I normally have to play catch up in tech unless I get a great start and build peacefully. I also know that I never get a group of axes out before they have at least axes and definitely archers in their cities. Not only do they have the correct units they have far more than I do. I rarely am able to take an early lead and dominate in the mfg/GNP/Power. I do well in MFG and GNP normally but power I lag at less than half for a lot of the game. So long story short I think the AI on 18 civ world map is not up to handling the map. What is weird though is they don't even have archers and the civs on aren't able to REX well. I understand the ones in Europe having trouble because I killed them but the others? I have long played the most standard options because that is how I grew up playing and it also makes the game most challenging because it is how the AI was optimized. The lack of competition on this map is just weird to me. Emperor normally is a pretty fun challenge but when the game is already won and I still have to build 100's of units to technically win it gets boring for me. I am not saying I am great and I own AI opponents and I am the best. I am just wondering if anyone else feels the AI on the 18 civ world map is not right.