Combat strength bonus for nearby units - no tile production bonus. Probably a bug in that case - it's an odd thing to give the AI as a cheat. Only once Flight is researched, which is a bit late for it to be hugely useful. It's a nice touch thematically though. Going up against Germany is challenging, but I find it too predictable to be fun. Even when I cultivate Bismarck as an ally, he eventually backstabs me, and I don't find swarms particularly fun to face in combat. Do your Immortal games usually end in the Classical era? I've usually cleared more camps than that by then. Playing moderately tall helps to a degree, since you leave a lot of unimproved land to spawn barbarians, and the sooner you kill camps the sooner they respawn in the same place. Of course fighting barbarians early in the game is complemented very well by the Honor tree, which gives you an early culture boost that's complemented by the MP Mosque, which gets you gold-farming sooner than the competition. No, it won't net you a culture victory, but it effectively gives you the French UA (if you want temples anyway) and it will help net one or two extra policies earlier than you would otherwise. But you're ignoring the key part of the UA, which is the way it scales - early on you use it to hit barbarians. Later you use it to get the triple gold from capturing cities. The Mandelaku isn't great - the Conquistador also ignores the city attack penalty but has other abilities to boot - but it does complement this part of the UA. As for getting that extra luxury? Songhai have as much chance of getting that as anyone else that early in the game, in which case the Songhai boost is all additive. And works in multiplayer or when the AIs don't have that much available gold, or if you have a start where you don't meet other civs early enough for the sale to be particularly useful. And you're completely neglecting when you get the barbarian gold boost and the importance of quick gold in the early game - the Songhai ability kicks in very early (and, as above, scales as time goes on). It's very feasible for Songhai to buy an early army and go on the offensive before anyone else; or if you play more peacefully early, to buy settlers or pay an early 500 for CS favour. And yes, I've often played Songhai as they're one of my favourite civs, so this isn't theorycrafting. Granted I haven't yet played them since I started playing Immortal regularly - most of my Songhai games were on Emperor - but all Immortal really adds that's relevant is more barbarians, in my experience.