I am a long time civ player who was content to mop up on noble until recently. I have being trying to step up my game and have picked up a lot of tips from this site, and can win easily on prince, even monarch on duel, tiny and somewhat on small maps. I used to play tiny or small maps on fast speeds because I like short games but have realized that on harder levels slowing down the speed makes a big difference. I started adding extra civs to the game to make it more interesting (for example playing duel with 3 AIs or tiny with 5 or 6 AIs. I also sometimes raise ocean levels to decrease landmass. This also helps to make the civs closer and easier to conquer early in the game. Diplomacy has been the most lacking area of my gameplay and I have tried to improve this area and stepped up to normal size maps. I increased the numbers of AI to 18 playing at epic speed and had some early success but can't sustain it. 18 civs is complete chaos and no matter how good my start is I get crushed. I need some tips. Speciffically the two areas I am struggling with the most are production (I am always 10-18 in this category no matter what I do) and diplomacy (I seem to trade well and usually have descent tech pairity but "friends" will declare war unpredictably and the AIs love to gang up on you). One Last note, I turn off random events and diplomatic victories.