Republic slingshot: Researching (Alphabet), Writing, Code of Laws, then Philosophy, and for your free tech if you get there first: Republic, which can give you a very early advantage if you switch early. I'm set on settling in place; worker to the western bonus grassland, I'll mine and road it, then to road the Ivory, and then mine the rest of the bonus grasslands. Two curraghs will set out, going opposite directions to meet new civs. Probably will do a Curragh -> Curragh -> Settler start, or maybe a granary if I can trade for that. The Philosophy -> Republic gambit shouldn't be too hard on Monarch, so I'm going to give it a shot. I'm looking forward to a peaceful AA, and then once we enter the MA, head straight for Invention, upgrade some Archers, fill some Galleys (hopefully we won't have to wait for Caravels) with Bezerks and go fight.