It is not my intention to presume I can tell anyone how to play this game, however I do feel inclined to comment on something that's been buggin me for quite some time. I understand different people communicate in different ways. I'm writing this in hope I'll manage to persuade some to try and think and share thoughts differently. Every civ game is different. First, there's the map. Except we share a specific map or scenario, every game will be different. Difficulty level, leaders, terrain, all have a huge effect on how the game will turn out, regardless of your skill level. I think it's pretty safe to presume CIV games will never be 'balanced'. It was never the intention. In fact, you can edit the XML to your hearts desire. The most amazing CIV stories come from people that took what they have, and managed to create something new, something different: be it a new idea, new method, new formula, new build order, new circumstance. I'm not saying phrases like 'is X good now?', 'X tier', 'meta', 'nerf' that stem from a certain (very stressful) mindset cannot be applied to CIV, but if you are stuck in that loop, you're missing out on everything this game has to offer. What it offers is vastly different from competitive games like the World of Warcraft PVP scene etc. Enjoy it!