My Civ IV rehab was going so well. I thought I had put the game away, but I had some time to kill over the holidays. So I decided to experiment with Diplomatic games on Diety. Now the addiction is strong again. I tried 4 different leaders on 5 different map sizes, 3 different game speeds and 3 different maps. (I still am not a fan of Marathon) I will try to explain in this post all the differences and what I've concluded about which works the best for me. I'll go in the order that I played the games, in other words, from most mistakes to least. Standard size Qin, Quick speed, Inland Sea In the past, I had given up on the CS-slingshot on Diety. (That's taking Civil Service free from building the Oracle for the uninitiated.) Lately I've found that I can get it very consistently. I (mistakenly) thought I needed Qin for his Industrial trait. However, I've found that any leader can built it fast enough. Even though Saladin can do it, Financial is probably more important. The "long pole" is teching to CoL by about turn 35 on Quick. I sacrificed some of my tech speed to run an Engineer specialist....all game long. I never did get one for the UN, so had to build/chop it. I was just coming off Gauntlet 7 where you cannot rush buy space parts, so I forgot that I could have rush-bought the UN. This game should have been done at least 4 turns sooner. Since I managed 1310 AD, I moved on to a new map size. Update: I've compared game speeds and Quick looks the the best and should one day finish in 1130AD (123 turns). I've submitted an 1190 AD. I was just 1 turn short. For normal speed to beat that you'd have to finish in 1100AD (171 turns). The timeline clearly favors quick speed. Small size Saladin, Quick speed, Inland Sea I manually generate all my maps. I guess I just enjoy the excitement of hoping the next map will be "the one." This was my worst map start. I only had 1 corn, and 1 gold. I chose not to build the Oracle this time. I don't like that you have to gamble on getting a Great Scientist for the Academy. It also gives me much less of a chance of getting an Engineer. I also doubt Saladin could have gotten the Oracle with only 1 gold. Saladin's spiritual trait should save a lot of years with no anarchy. Several turns at quick speed is a lot of years. I popped the usual GS and then tried to get an Engineer after building a forge. The problem is the Oxford U adds scientist points, so I didn't get one immediately. So I cranked up the birth rate by running scientists along with the 1 engineer to try to make a GE before the UN. With only 20% chance I did get one on the last turn before starting the UN. Whew. Unfortunately for this game I missed getting Liberalism first by 1 turn. Which means I also could not get to Physics first for the free GS. So again, I expect this 1310 AD time to be beaten soon. Next! Update: Research goes faster on smaller maps. Therefore I expect quick speed to possibly pull off a 1070 AD win -- 4 turns sooner than on standard size maps. Tiny size Liz, Normal speed this time, Pangea I waited for a Corn and 2 gold start this time. That, with the Financial trait, should get me to Liberalism first. Since I wasn't getting the "No Anarchy" from Saladin, I bumped up the game speed to normal so civics changes aren't so costly. Tiny is tricky. I ran the max opponents so I'd have good tech trades. However, that makes it crowded and can cause wars. I thought Pangea with low seas would give us all a bit more room. Note my other games use my "pet" map -- Inland Sea (High seas usually). Although I have no evidence, it feels like the AI is slowed down a bit on teching speed when they run out of room on this map. I also like knowing where everyone is and that I will have only 2 civs to share borders with. The Inland Sea has plenty of rivers. You rarely if ever get an ocean start like on Pangea. I don't like ocean starts. Got the GS, then tried for a GE (got a 2nd GS), Then got the GE on the 3rd try. Not too much time wasted on running the Engineer, but still not optimal. I don't like gambling when the game is going so well. Must work on that (foreshadowing) I had fun this game trying to keep my gold. The AI put a city 3 spaces from my capitol, right next to my gold. I went for Philo, which I usually don't get first, so I could have Taoism and boost culture. I did eventually lose the gold, but not until the last 10 turns or so. Normal speed seems to be better since I finished in 1180. Things did go well, but not spectacular. So if Normal is better, what about Epic? Huge Size Victoria, Epic speed, Inland Sea What was I thinking? Trying Epic at the same time as Huge? It wasn't too slow until near the end. So how does Huge play differently? Lots of AI civs means lots of trades. My plan was to get enough cash to buy the UN and eliminate the "Great Engineer gamble" which also slows down tech and growth. Huge also has so many opponents that you have to pick an unfriendly one. I chose Peter. I made the huge mistake of giving him a tech demand. I didn't think that would count as "you traded with our enemies", but I got a -4 from almost everyone for that and it did not go away. Maybe dropped to -3 for a few of them. I had to kiss some major butt to get them to vote for me. I found a good Victoria map. 2 corn, 2 gems and Ivory. Instead of maxing out my capitol around 12-14 population. I got to 19-20. I was a little shy on forests. I missed Liberalism (again) and then missed Physics of course. This is what happens on larger maps at Diety. The AI gets too strong. Must work on this problem. (more foreshadowing) I finished in 275 turns. That should have been only a tiny bit slower than my 1180 game, but the year was 1304. I think Epic is not a good timeline for this victory condition -- which I am thankful for. I'm not going to try Marathon for personal reasons. Its timeline could be better. Someone let me know. Large Size Victoria, Quick, Inland Sea Again lots of civs, so I can easily buy the UN. It costs way less on quick (about 6000 gold instead of like 16000) Now about this Liberalism race... I know! skip it. Now I don't need to worry about getting Philo either! And, since I now have to research Astronomy (cus it's not free anymore), I can probably get Printing Press free. It's a close call because Sci Method is next and it requires P Press. Unfortunately I have to give Astron to get P Press and then I get beaten to Physics. But that G. Scientist only saves you 1 - 2 turns. Only 1 corn and 2 gems this time. I also didn't notice that I had a few too many plains, so my city size stalled out around 15-16. Victoria's +3 health was wasted this game. Only 1310 though with all my fancy new strategy, maybe quick is not the way to go unless you're spiritual. Conclusions I'm gonna stick with my Inland Sea. Normal speed seems to be the best, but quick might be best with a spiritual leader. Victoria was nice for a change, but I think she's out. Qin -- same. EDIT: I played my first non-Victoria game in a while and I miss her. It was just that one map with too many plains that made her Expansive trait useless. On the right map, I think she may beat the others. My latest entries in the 1100's were with Mansa. I've always wanted to play him, but liked him too much as an opponent. I finally got over that and played him. He shines on quick speed because you can play a lot of tricks with civics. Just saving 5 turns of anarchy is a lot on these short games. I'm not sure you can trade for enough cash on Tiny maps to buy the UN. Might even be a problem on Small.