Hmmmmm. I'm not sure how a "pastoral civ" would function. Would it be halfway between a city-state and a full civ? Or would a pastoral civ be a normal civ, and then we'd give empires additional bonuses and leaders? I also am somewhat opposed to the goody hut/barbarian dichotomy, because it encourages a binary sort of categorization between "hostile" and "friendly" tribes. I'd rather they just all be settlements that can have barbarian-like and goody hut-like characteristics depending on how you interact with them. As for differentiation, I think it largely exists as a product of wanting to expand Civ's roster. Once they run out of "empires," they need the UUs and UIs to make the smaller, more obscure, and less conventional civs feel unique and deserving of inclusion. Because otherwise it just feels weird to have, say, the Mapuche building cities on par with Rome. By emphasizing that the Mapuche can ride horses and build Chemamull as more "pastoral" improvements, they can give Rome whole districts and monuments to make it feel more imperial by comparison. I actually like a lot of the unique infrastructures; I like less of the unique units and wish they would make more civs with less military options. Plus, without the unique units/infrastructures, a lot of iconic parts of history just wouldn't make it in the game and civs would default to an even more Euro-centric tech tree. The uniques are a way of giving civs personality, so I'm fine with the development resources spent on them. I very much like the idea of giving Settlements some limited tech. Although it would have to be limited to roughly what you have there and not much more, because there must still be mechanical differentiation between settlements and City-States. I don't want the distinction to become so blurry as to invite criticism as to "why can't these be City-States?" The idea of letting Settlements grow into City-States while independent seems also to invite several unnecessary development complications. If Settlements can grow into City-States, why can't City-States grow into Civs? Where do the devs find time to make Civ assets for promoted City-States? Or, to a lesser or possibly greater extent, the assets for promotes Settlements? If Settlements represent tribes, why would we historically misrepresent them as founding city-states when they generally didn't? In most instances, the only way "tribes" ever graduated to "city" status was under some sort of unified rule, which can easily be represented by being annexed by a City-State or Civ. Then it would make sense for them to evolve into cities, and would make it mechanically much easier to manage since City-States and Civs already have the assets and unique mechanics developed to represent fully fledged cities. Leaving Settlements as Settlements better accomplishes the aim of making Settlements more active players in the game as a third tier of "civs" that must be managed. Although everyone likes the idea of Settlements/City-States automatically upgrading at some point, the fact is that every tier that would disappear as every civ becomes a City-State and then a Civ substantially reduces political intrigue on the map. There is less weighing of options when everyone is a peer. I would sooner just add a later-game mechanic that adds culture bonuses to a Civ for not murdering/assimilating every Settlement/City-State they come across and maintaining positive cross-cultural relationships. The equivalent of setting aside native lands. Maybe even implement a Massacre penalty.