I usually tech for Monarchy, however, the AI seems to prioritize that tech for some reason but getting it early is the key IMHO... For me, the tech path when not researching Monarchy is usually something along the lines of, (or at least remotely close) going down the Writing/Alph/Currency/CoL/CC/Paper and trading along the way path. But, Monarchy disrupts this pattern and makes me usually go down something along the lines of the: Mon/CoL/CC/Paper route. But since AI usually prioritizes researching Monarchy is it worth it getting it early? For me, the benefits of getting Monarchy early is growth, and simply put, I think this is one of the most powerful edges in the game, especially early on… Unless I am a Charismatic leader, I think that the extra happiness is really needed from HR IMHO. However, I am not saying that a religion or some other resort won’t work, but HR for me is the easiest, cheapest, and most effective way of getting that needed happiness without spending a lot of time on infrastructure or religion. My intuition says that a beeline for Monarchy after getting the needed worker techs is very strong and useful. On the other hand, if the AI gets it usually somewhat quickly, (but slower than I would like) should I trade Alphabet or some other equivalent? I just hate giving the AI alphabet, it somehow in my mind makes me think that they will broker techs behind my back and out-tech me. Anyway, there is also the obvious and needed knowledge of the map/leader and other variables before you consider this. But as always, in a general sense what do you think is the better alternative, trading for, or simply researching Monarchy?