I keep seeing people talk about how wonderful Aristocracy is, but it never seems to work out for me. The way I play, I go God King/Pacifism/Apprenticeship/Agrarianism for much of the early game, switching over to religion once I've popped a few great prophets for early religions. After some early conquests, and a significant gain in cities, I switch to City States and sit there for the rest of the game. Military State and Consumption will make appearances from time to time. I've tried switching to Aristocracy from time to time, but I always end up making less money (due to the horrific upkeep of my numerous cities) and lose specialists as more workers are required to work the farms to keep starvation at bay. Even when I'm playing a financial leader, City States gives me the best economy. Perhaps this is due to my play style. I almost always play for conquest, creating truly massive empires in the process. City states, with percentile bonuses to both types of city upkeep, is hard to beat in that scenario. Am I just missing Aristocracy's niche? While I'm on the topic of civics, what is republic good for? Three city's with +3 happy? Great, I've got sixty cities. What does it offer those? Culture? There are plenty of better sources for culture then that. Great People? By the time republic is available, great people take so long to produce that the percent bonus isn't that bad. Still, getting a great person in 75 turns instead of 100 is not going to have empire wide ramifications that justify the extra cost. About all I've seen it do is designate my next target as the AI's seem to value it and thusly annoy me with the unhappiness. Unhappiness as a weapon is good, but yet again not worth the cost. Once again, am I just missing its niche?