I searched but didn't see any threads about BNW liberty more recent than pre-patch. I know it's a well-worn discussion also being visited in the Biggest problem thread. Going wide early is ridiculously penalized. Now not just in happiness and culture, but science and gold. This on top of the fact that it requires significantly more effort on the part of the player to plot their settling and click on all those extra build and unit commands. Whereas going tall with four cities is a low-investment high-reward route to industrial tech dominance which makes taking over the map a breeze. Everyone know this. There's nothing wrong with early-game-turtling-late-game expansion, but it's boring to be forced into the same process over and over. I played Spain on Immortal with a lucky (two 500g wonder-finds) start and tried to leverage that (plus Isabella's free extra happiness from wonders) into a wide empire and stalled out in the Industrial era. I had half my cities still struggling to finish classical-era buildings and losing important tiles to newly-settled AI neighbors. It was a humiliating disaster. I concluded: -The game doesn't let you settle cities between turn 100 - 200. If you want to, too bad. That's stupid vanity and you need to play like a deity tradition player, sorry. Never mind that Spain's unique unit is designed for Renaissance expansion. If you actually use a conquistador to settle, all you do is cause headaches. Because: -New-city turnaround time (when you get back all you have to invest in it) does not improve until Industrial/Modern era. It's about 100 turns before a settled city will start to look good, even with 4 hammers from Liberty and Exploration. This turnaround time is the same on turn 50 as it is in turn 150. It does not improve. A city settled on turn 150 probably wouldn't build an Opera House on its own until 250. Getting Hermitage on turn 250 is unacceptable. So the mid-game expansionist is in for around $800-1100 of rush-buying on that city just for Hermitage. Gold which they then cannot use for their older cities or for any new settled cities. The new city will not make that gold back ever. The turnaround time just expanded into infinity. The turtling player meanwhile needs no rush buying mid-game and has an easy cushion by industrial to pop three factories and an ideology. -Yes you can use trade routes to improve new city turn around speed, but those same trade routes could go to support specialists in your capital instead. So shorter turnaround is higher cost. Which means less resources for your other founded cities. It's the same snowball as rush-buying. -After Industrial you can get nearly-instant turnaround with negligible cost (via Order or now painless high-bankroll rush-buying). Again, where does this leave the Spain or any other historically-mirrored Renaissance expansion rush? Certainly the player feels the pressure to grab key spots in that era. But the game makes it universally preferable to tech fast for ideology first and then grab those spots via conquest instead of just, god forbid, going out and settling them. -- I think Liberty is a good policy tree, but its intrinsic rewards for a wide empire are laughably out-gunned by the current penalties. Instead Liberty tends to function best with the same turtle/expand timing as Tradition, but is obviously a less powerful choice for that strategy. The fix needs to buff Liberty by scale or tone down the penalties for mid-game expansion. My recent disaster leaves me with these 3 suggestions: -2 free internal trade route slots. A mid-game expander needs to be able to feed new cities without being lapped by a turtler's super-charged capital. Tall empires getting the same number of trade routes (plus preference for TR wonders) is a huge swindle for wide empires. -Building percentage bonus scales higher for every instance of a building in empire. Not with Rome's stupid in-the-capital restriction (the "my capital is too busy finally building National Monument to build a market right now" problem). Base hammer bonus scales +1 with era after adoption. A city founded in Renaissance should have 5-turn build times for a market, not 20. Everyone knows buildings are stupid-expensive anyway. -No more cost scaling for National Wonders. That's such an obvious snowball. If my empire is wide then my capital is shorter. So now I have to spend more hammers on National Library but have less hammers-per-turn to do so, and no wonder-bonus, and because of smaller yields I am benefiting less. 16 turns for National Library on 10-population city is insane. Now I'm those extra 10 or so turns delayed on new buildings for my capital, which delays those bonuses which makes everything else the capital ever does take longer. Tall empires already get more bonus via higher capital yields, they don't need cheaper cost to build. Edit: Please don't reply with an evaluation of how liberty performs that does not mention going wide vs going tall. This post is about not being able to expand past initial cities in any other than the one same rote game timing.