I agree completely about removal of time victory. There's nothing I hate worse than playing a good game and look up to see "X Turns Left!". That just kills any fun I'm having as I'm never in a hurry when I play Civ, that is for RTS games. The date counter means nothing really, just ignore it. There's no way to explain a city taking 500 years to build a granary no matter how hard you try. To be accurate the starting date needs to be around 15,000 BC anyway, not sure why they've always stayed at 4000 BC.