Thanks Dirk for the hard work on the summaries. In my game, 6 cities is enough to maintain a high research rate to: 1. Get to education early and get Oxford in capital 2. Win Lib race After these 2 achivements my empire will be in great shape to absorb more filler cities and quickly bring them up speed with extra workers and trade routes. About Iron, there is no pressing need for it. HE is unlocked, with 6 good production cities, I fully expect to crush Pacal with Trebs/Mace/phants before 1300AD. Note I will go for his capital first, as soon as I take Mutal, the Iron will belong to me. And then I would upgrade all the trebs to Cannons and we should be able to take over the continent quickly.