I've been having more and more fun recently setting up situations where some of the civs often thought of as "weak" or "inferior" can shine. Wanted to put the word out, maybe stir some like-minded players, and hopefully get an exchange of other interesting early game mechanisms people are aware of. (And I stress "early game", as in first 100 - 200 turns or so. Also, often I'll slow the game down by 50% to enjoy the early UUs, etc.) Two civs that I think don't get enough credit as fun civs to play are Norway and Egypt. The knock on Norway tends to be their UUs aren't very useful. While I do find the Berserker too 'niche', the Longship with the speed of construction and the ability to pillage tiles that are next to the coast from the sea is really something. As is being able to go out to sea earlier than other civs (except Maori). For Egypt I cannot find much praise for their Maryanu Archer UU; however their ability to not have floodplains flooding cause any damage is pretty cool, coupled with bonuses to building districts and wonders next to rivers (with or without floodplains). The placement of sphinxes is a fun exercise also. What helps Norway and Longships strategy obviously is a map with lots of islands, lots of coastline. Also maybe hand-pick some opponents who do not aspire to oceanic conquests. But it isn't only that Longships can pillage from the sea AND get culture, science or faith bonuses to pillaging; any military unit can pillage and recieve the bonuses. Finally, when it is time to upgrade Longships to Caravels, you still can pillage tiles from the sea. I'm finding that, especially with the policy for 50% bonus to pillaging rewards, Norway can have great success in keeping up in the Tech and Culture advancement simply by pillaging their surrounding civs. With Egypt, my strategy is decidedly more peaceful. What I like to do here is come up with a map that has more desert (Hot), less vegetation (Dry) and fewer hills (Old). Then try and get a start position with a network of rivers with floodplains that will allow 3 or 4 cities to thrive. Oh! And don't forget to turn disasters up to 3 or 4 since you'll be wanting your rivers to flood again and again and drive up the food and production in these tiles. It is extremely satisfying to watch vast swaths of farmland feeding off each other's adjacency bonuses, being regularly fertilized and improved, and here and there drop your districts, your wonders, and of course, your sphinxes.