This thread will be your basic accounting of a Civ IV play through. It came out of a conversation in passing on the OT forum where a different game was being discussed. I described some of the dynamics of that game as "expansion requires fighting for every inch, and you have to be able to hold what you take." In response, the barbarian dynamics of a Civ game were mentioned in a 'I hoped for something like that' vein. I said "fifty civs on a fairly small map, the neighbors are the barbarians." It isn't like I had ever actually tried that. I have played with high numbers of civs, but on huge maps. That's sort of like 'regular civ but bigger.' Since I had never tried it but had suggested it, and I do have the requisite 50 civ mod, I figured I should try it out to see if it produced the expected feel. I immediately got crushed, but it did produce the expected experience. It's just that I was the barbarians, and the neighboring Ottomans were the fighting for every inch expanding civilization. So I tried again, and this is the result so far. As you can see, it is 1000BC. Among the fourteen known civilizations I am doing pretty well, being one of two that have three cities to my name. There are forty civs total, on a standard size fractal map. I didn't turn barbarians off, but there probably aren't any since it is unlikely they have anywhere to spawn. The current situation can be mostly figured out from the screenshot, but I'll add a few details that can't be. The big war is off to the east, where Asoka's India (top of the leaderboard) is fighting Romans...IIRC Julius Ceasar. There was some jumping in on Asoka's side, mostly by distant and irrelevant civs that I guess wanted to butter him up. My immediate neighbor up the coast there is Victoria's England, and she is one of the jump ins. The English troops on my northern border are Churchill's English, not Victoria's. That's something you have to get used to in huge numbers of civs games. I'll answer any other questions about the current situation as best I can. How we got here is probably less easy to see from the map, so here's a little detail on that. I founded Athens in place and promptly built a fishing boat to feed off the clams. I researched archery, because my first try taught me that a stack of warriors is an invitation to any neighbor with metal to just blow you out before you even get started. By the time I finished the boat I was building archers who could defend my hilltop capital adequately. Calendars are too far in the future so the next research path was mining-BW. That revealed my copper source and with what I hoped was enough archers and a descent population in Athens I moved on to a worker, then a settler. When I settled Sparta the hill to the south and the plains to the west were Ethiopian territory. My first phalanx stole a worker from Boudica's Celts to the north, who had no copper so I decided they were barbarians that could be dispatched. Not long after I finished researching IW and revealed the iron that I don't think they know about yet. I was looking at a spot for my second settler three north and two west of Sparta on the Incan border, but found out that the Celts had settled their second city in a spot that prevented it. You can see the ruins just north of Corinth. I managed to burn that down and took a slightly further city site as my reward. Originally Corinth only controlled two additional tiles, on the NW-SE diagonal, but has flipped a couple from the Incas and a couple from the Celts. I don't think I can ever make peace with the Celts, because I not only want that iron but I think it is imperative to keep them from ever developing it. They have a stack of archers in their capital that at present I cannot punch through though, so the war is mostly a stalemate. I acquired two workers, promoted a couple of my phalanxes, and made space for Corinth so I'm calling it a win, but it is a thorn in the side I cannot really move on from. I also expect there will be a war, fairly soon, on my southern border. The Ethiopians are going to be pressed to the wall when their copper mine flips into Sparta's sphere of influence. They have a pretty big stack of axes and spears, but I will have the advantage of being able to replace my losses while they can't replace theirs. How holding Sparta coexists with keeping the Celts down I'm not really sure. The Incans have no metal. The English under Victoria have gone to war on the far side of the continent. I don't think either of them are any immediate threat. I'm not sure exactly where Victoria's army is, and have contemplated taking over her capital while they are away. They draw copper from their second city, off the map to the north. So, that's where we stand, and how we got here. I'm in uncharted waters here, since I've never played under these conditions other than my one previous very short effort, so I'm open to suggestions. I'd also encourage giving this a shot. It definitely plays like an entirely different game.