The recent resurrection of an Earth18 thread made me try a few starts with Mansa Musa, since it was said that they have a terrible start position, which they do. A few plays through, I changed the way I start. I moved my typical location of Timbuktu to (3,-2), missing RRolo's suggestion from a long time ago of a power position at (2,-2) that captures all 8 Flood Plains and 2 Elephants and 1 Gems. The start position I picked captures 1 Cow in exchange. (The start position I used to take was 1W, which is where the second city now is, which is a rather bad location, because it only captures 5 Flood Plains and an Oasis.) Barbarians are a problem and we do not have resources. We do have a special unit. Hammers seem to be taking priority over Commerce. Settings as follows: Emperor Difficulty Epic Turn Length Huts are on per Earth18 Scenario (I popped 2 of them for 161gp) Raging Hordes of Barbarian Madness Aggressive AI Choose Religion Events ON Play up to Iron Working Spoiler : Tech path I went with was: Spoiler : Hunting Agriculture Animal Husbandry Archery Pottery Bronze Working Mysticism Iron Working Hindsight says I could have pushed Iron Working ahead of Mysticism and saved about 6 turns. The plan forward would be Fishing-Sailing for trade and network options. Then writing. The Granary might not have been worth it. I might have got more stuff done without it. It does not look like I am using a good chop cycle. I will recalculate the production in Timbuktu. With the Barbarians, I do not remember when Archers, Spears and Axes appear. At least the Skirmishers still stand a chance against all of them. There is Iron in Morocco. I do not know if I need to settle a bad city site to capture the Iron and start building Melee units. There are also resources in southern Africa, but it will take a while to get there. The Elephants to the southwest will capture a Crab. Right now, this is a low priority spot. I believe I placed a Skirmisher in a spot that eliminates the Barbarians in the Southwest. The idea would be to expand into the jungle and choose a location for a Financial Bureaucracy Capital. My thoughts are kind of random right now, because it's late at night and I'm rushing my thoughts on the game. The good: Still alive The rest: to be discussed My current objective is to get to the same position (Iron Working) in a stronger position, so I would like to explore some starts.