[GS] Emperor is WAY harder than King

Bleys

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WOW its been a long time since I checked this forum. I was a regular during the Civ IV days, and even ran some community games.

I am up to Emperor on Civ VI, but I seem to only be able to win with a top leader on specific maps. Winning with Science seems impossible without first beating down all your opponents. Domination seems the only viable winning condition, and even winning with other conditions seems to be contingent on first kicking a LOT of ass and crushing the other civs back to the stone age.

On King, I could pick whatever condition I wanted. The AI is still pretty bad at war, especially naval considerations, but Emperor . . . the bonuses they get are so big.

Just looking to discuss tips and tricks to get over these Emp dudes, and re-introduce myself to the community.
 

kaspergm

Deity
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Aug 19, 2012
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I find that up to and including Immortal, the most important thing to catapult me forward is getting a pantheon that allows me good adjacency bonus and then (ab)use the Work Ethic + Scripture + Monumentality combo. If you want to conquer, Crusade belief is also your new best friend.

Also, if you survive up to Man-At-Arms becomes available, you will normally be able to thumb a neighbor that's gotten a rough start. Have 2-4 swordsmen ready for upgrade and support with a battering ram. Again, Crusade belief is your friend.

Oh, and one more thing: Pick your wonders carefully. Pyramids is extremely unlikely, whereas Oracle is surprisingly frequently gettable up to and including Immortal. Oracle synergy with Pingala is sick. Mahabhodi Temple is also very gettable and is a priority if you get a religion.
 
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Bleys

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Dec 24, 2007
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Upstate, NY
I use a combination of religious faith (I always found a religion, and take the Voidsinger Secret Society for those +4 faith Obelisks) and trade routes (Harbor + Lighthouse is almost always my first builds in new cities)

On maps with a lot of coast, I can win domination fairly easily with most top civs, and even a few less powerful ones, by going after the Venetian Arsenal. The AIs never build it, in my experience. I also always get the Mahabhoti Temple, same reason.

I choose the 25% bonus production on districts for cities without a district, and as I said, new cities after the initial 5 or 6 is almost always Walls, then Harbor, and buy an Obelisk.

I abuse Magnus, of course, especially the no population loss when building a settler. In fact, that is often my 2nd pick instead of another Governor. If Im lucky enough to get a Golden Age, I choose "buy civilian units with Faith" and expand like made with the faith Ive saved up (I barely use enough for missionaries to convert my own cities)

I could probably make the jump to Immortal and win with Simon or Hojo or Jaoa on a mostly water map, but Domination is, again, the only viable route.

Anyway, Im always interested in other players ideas and such, so keep em coming. I love this game, here's my proof.

upload_2022-6-18_9-50-35.png
 

SirNovelty

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I'd say the most macro thing to realize going up to Emperor is that Civ 6 rewards chasing your victory very narrowly. There's no sense trying to create a diverse and robust empire that can do anything decently well, limited tiles, district slots, and long production times means that you should decide how you're going to win early on (minimum first 100 turns) and gear all your play towards that. The AI for example, hyper focuses science, so if you're not doing that, you won't beat them barring bankruptcy (less so on Emperor than Deity obviously, but same principle applies).

Do you have a lot of mountains around your start? This makes for great Campuses, plus strong early defense, and since Mountains often mean Hills as well, solid production. You're lucky you might even find some Geothermals. Therefore, this is a probably a good science game. Plot out your early campuses first (somewhere between two and four), and make cities around that. Once you're in a more stable position you can expand beyond your cradle, you probably want to end up with at least 8 cities, although you can easily get away with as few as six on Emperor if they're of good quality.
People have discussed monumentality, but if you're not in a position to get good faith, finding a heavily forested city to put your Governor Plaza +Ancestral Hall with Provision Magnus will do the job nearly as well. It will take some time to set up, don't be afraid to "waste" a few chops getting the hall online, the sooner your start this next wave of expanson the better, even if the last couple cities end up lagging a bit. It helps to improve tiles underneath the forests while you're doing it, but this requires more builder charges.

Spawn next to Desert or Tundra? As others have said, terrain-adjacency + Work Ethic is basically free on Emperor. At that difficulty, you probably still want to HS first district, but you don't have to Prayers or otherwise hyper-cripple your expansion most of the time to get religion, just watch the Great Prophet Meter and Religions screen. Remember that first Religion will probably go to Stonehenge (should never be you, it's possible on Emperor, but awful), and the last WILL go to Arabia if they're in the game, so always try to get at least second-to-last to be safe. This strat can lead to....anything, production's the top yield.

Side note about Tundra: Means many more barbs, alter opener appropriately.

Lots of flatland/low production? These are often the hardest starts, but remember that chopping is your friend. This often means lots of room to expand or an early war. If it's the former, Culture Victory's on the table, you have time and room to sculpt your land. Not something I'd necessarily recommend to new players, it's the most complicated way to win, but it's satisfying to learn. What's good about culture is your early game doesn't matter too much as long as you have the land to scale well late. If you have a close neighbor and low-production, find a defensive spot, prep for war. This is either a great Dom or Science game, if you win the early war, you'll either have a highly promoted kill squad, or a lot of land to Campus up.

Coastal? This usually means war or culture. Coast does give appeal, but it also corners your expansion for a while. Remember the AI doesn't do naval combat, if you have enough boats to kill the city, you can do so with no resistance. You're gonna want boats, because Barbarian galleys are obnoxious, if you have no navy they can destroy a coastal expo before it does anything, and even Archers do very little. Barbarian Quadriremes are a straight up, "do not enter this coastline without Men-at-Arms" sign that you should heed. This can be extremely annoying if it's shielding a camp that spawns other annoying horsehocky, but it is what is. The only way to stop them is 2-3 boats plus a land attack, and even then you're probably taking risks, not to mention a lot of production. You might decide to simply not improve sea resources until late, but traders prefer water routes, so ignoring aquatic barbs really limits you.

Now, I just realized you posted again, so I'm gonna respond to some things there, because advice tailor to the player is always better.

I use a combination of religious faith (I always found a religion, and take the Voidsinger Secret Society for those +4 faith Obelisks) and trade routes (Harbor + Lighthouse is almost always my first builds in new cities)

Voidsingers is generally the best Society (I didn't consider you'd be using the Game Modes actually, which ones if you don't mind sharing) imo, although if you have an early war opportunity, Vampires can be amazing. They're even great at peace because of castles. The specified builds are obviously for coastal cities, and yes Harbor should usually be first District in those, but if they don't have Fresh Water, granary is sooooo important. Being capped to three pop is really bad for production, even four is kind of low with improvements granting some housing, if you get that granary housing+food, it'll speed everything up over the medium term. Not only are granaries super cheap (they can even be directly bought if you can afford it) but Harbor doesn't give anything but a few gold until the Lighthouse is up, which doesn't directly help the city at all. Plus, districts increase in cost as you do research, so Harbor first can be a very long first build. Sure, a coastal city needs its Harbor ASAP, but a city's first build should be made with its weak status in mind, it wants immediate results to start being better, so it can contribute SOMETHING faster. Also, don't neglect the Reyna and Moshka promotions that let you buy districts. They're probably not something you'll get until quite late (often during a third, almost colonial phase of expansion), but they're super strong. Monuments are always good as well, but less necessary to build first past the first wave.

On maps with a lot of coast, I can win domination fairly easily with most top civs, and even a few less powerful ones, by going after the Venetian Arsenal. The AIs never build it, in my experience. I also always get the Mahabhoti Temple, same reason.

So you noticed how bad the AI is with naval, good. Not much advice here, but I'll point out the pattern here with these two wonders: The AI does not city plan, so any Wonder that has somewhat complex requirements tends to get neglected by them. Other examples include the Mausoleum, Colosseum (two amazing wonders to try and grab btw), Colossus, Terracotta Army, Zimbabwe, Ruhr, etc. Really most wonders that have to be put next to a specific district, although there are some Wonders they prioritize anyway, Forbidden City and Alhambra off the top of my head. Also, Panama Canal is always free, but always a meme.

I choose the 25% bonus production on districts for cities without a district, and as I said, new cities after the initial 5 or 6 is almost always Walls, then Harbor, and buy an Obelisk.

Ooooooh, idk about this one chief. That Pantheon is actually pretty bad. If you do the math, 25% isn't actually a lot of total production before the city has its first district, although if you build that district for a lot of turns it can add up I suppose. The thing is, you probably don't want to be building one thing for 30 turns anyway (why Wonders are so situational, that's a lot of time before realizing any return). If you want production, the one that gives production and faith on strategic tends to scale really well throughout the game, as its value increases as you uncover more strategic. The trickle of faith is less valuable with Voidsingers, but still okay. God of the Sea is also really strong if you have the tiles for it, turning great food and good tiles into decent or at least okay production tiles lets cities grow quickly while building decently. The terrain-adjacency plus Work Ethic combo mentioned is amazing, but it's a bit of a slower burn, doesn't become amazing until scripture (policy card that doubles Holy Site adjacency). If you want to do a Science game, Divine Spark is actually really good, it lets you compete for the strong early game Scientists, and helps you propel through the later ones faster, although many are less impactful.

I abuse Magnus, of course, especially the no population loss when building a settler. In fact, that is often my 2nd pick instead of another Governor. If Im lucky enough to get a Golden Age, I choose "buy civilian units with Faith" and expand like made with the faith Ive saved up (I barely use enough for missionaries to convert my own cities)

Good, this is often correct. If you did terrain-Work Ethic, converting can be worth it, but abusing Monumentality is super strong. That said, Medieval Monumentality expansion is still quite strong, especially on Emperor. Even just using it to purchase a bunch of Builders is amazing, improvements are so important. You should be able to afford it, assuming you get Government Plaza up by Political Philosophy, you have three Titles to play with. Four if you then get Ancestral Hall afterwards, but don't feel like it's necessary to delay expansion until then if you have Monumentality.

I could probably make the jump to Immortal and win with Simon or Hojo or Jaoa on a mostly water map, but Domination is, again, the only viable route.

Possibly, the AI can't handle Archipelago well at all, but you have to keep in mind yourself that Barbarians are going to be way more annoying on those maps. Also if you do spawn on an island with an AI on that difficulty....things can get hairy real quick. That said, although it's really boring, I cannot imagine you're incapable of winning a Religious Victory. Maximize faith, pay attention to when Apostles have debaters, and you'll be fine.
 

rgp151

Chieftain
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I don't use secret societies at all, so don't have much advice there.

I'm not a huge fan of religion. I try to be able to succeed without it when possible. In fact, I think that when you are moving up to a higher difficulty its best not to use religion at all since it just adds complexity.

My main advice is to use a civ with a solid and straight forward economy when you move up to Emperor+. For me, those are Khmer, Cree and Spain. There are other good economic civs, like Australia, etc., but they are a bit more complex to maximize. Khmer requires that you use religion, so I'd recommend Cree or Spain as good civs to use when trying to advance your game and get to a higher level, though Spain benefits from religion as well.

The good thing with both of those civs is that their development is pretty easy. Cree is probably the easiest, so I'd recommend them, though Spain can be more powerful. With either, you want to focus on building Commercial Hubs and/or Harbors as your first district in every city. This is key to really be able to advance your game, because this will give you a solid economy that lets you really advance much more easily. When you get those Commercial Hubs and traders going, you'll have plenty of gold that you can use to buy buildings and units when needed, etc.

Shoot for getting 8-10 cities, either by peacefully settling them or conquering a few if you get squeezed in or really need to. Once you get your Trade networks established, then you can build out Industrial Zones and Campuses in every city, start building some Theater Square, etc. Shoot for a few key wonders and nothing more.

Other key things that really help are micromanaging your research, especially early on. Try to shoot for some key Eureka/Inspirations. Decide when are worth it and which are not. Stuff like building a Water Mill in time, or getting three archers are good ones to really shoot for as they don't require that much effort and are useful anyway. Then, especially early, don't waste time hard researching something that you can get a Eureka for. So for example, when getting your early civics, I always go Scout > Slinger > Builder and then do three improvements for Craftsmanship. I will juggle research between Foreign Trade and Craftsmanship to try and leave 40% unresearched if I don't get the Inspirations in time, so I mean stopping research adn switching to a different civic, to wait for the Inspiration to come in, etc. Same with the techs.

Another key can be not holding off too long on Sailing, Celestial Navigation and Ship Building so that you can embark, which allows for further exploration and contact with city-states and trade partners.

Generally I research everything I can easily get Eurekas for, and then I'll beeline Industrialization to get to Factories and Ruhr Valley ASAP. Try to hit some Eurekas along the way. Then beeline for Steel.

I use mostly domestic trade, which you always should with Cree anyway. Understand the Cree bonus and maximize it. Use everything you can to maximize the number of traders, including Colossus and Zimbabwe. Shoot for 15-20 traders. Sort your trade options by Production, and use trade routes that maximize production bonuses. Assign them to cities that need the most production help either new starting cities trying to get going, cities with low prod that need to build an Industrial Zone or Harbor, or big cities that are building Wonders or Space Race projects, etc.

Use the +100% adjacency bonus cards as much as possible for the things you really need. Focus on getting good adjacencies. Don't forget that with IZs you get them from Dams and Aqueducts, so plan for that. Run +100% Industrial Zone, +100% Campus, +100% Commercial Hub like most or all of the time (when playing Cree without Religion, when using Religion, then of course +100% Holy Site.) Make a few key Theater Squares (if going for Science Victory) where you can get good adjacency and don't bother where you can't.

Always be selling off your extra luxuries to the AI and shop around for good deals. If going for Science, then sell off any Great Works you get if you can get good deals for them.

Use Spies like crazy if you are behind or even on par with the AI. Only time Spies don't matter much is if you are well ahead or you are doing Domination. When doing Science or Culture, Spies can help a lot.
 

Nassim

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That's interesting because I would consider the gap is between Emperor and Immortal, I don't struggle too much on Emperor, that's the difficulty I usually play on.

You must be doing something incorrectly though because "I can only win with a top leader on specific maps" is how I sit with Deity, but I still think you can win Deity science victory without having to kill everyone, and that you don't have to war much for a religious or culture victory either (though on that victory condition I sometimes end up in dead end situation) !
The big difference is that in Deity I will have a very hard time for 200 turns instead of a hard time for 100 rounds, and that it is often too crowded to manage a fully peaceful game (I rarely get enough space for 10 decent cities in Deity, in Emperor that happens often enough).

I'll second what people have said before, be OK for being behind the AI for at least 100t, never be too low on army power as neighbors would be tempted to attack (I'm not saying you should have a huge army either) and try to focus on your aimed victory condition (for instance don't build any holy site if you are not planning for a scientific victory and faith is not part of your strategy or of your civ tools, or don't build a huge army if you don't plan on conquests)
 
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never be too low on army power as neighbors would be tempted to attack (I'm not saying you should have a huge army either)

You can trick the AI into being heavily discouraged to attack you, while essentially having "no army".
The way the AI apparently calculates whether or not you are militarily strong, is by looking at your combined military score.
This score is directly derived from summing up the individual combat score values of each unit.
This means that a single Warrior will add 20 to your military score, as that is it's base combat score.
The AI also seems to look at your total military score versus it's total military score, and is only likely to attack if there is a large discrepancy between the two numbers.

The problem with this, and which opens up a window to trick the AI, is to just get sufficient numbers of very cheap units that you don't have to upgrade (unless the AI starts getting a massive military score lead itself, relative to yours).
For example, if you have 15 Warriors (300 military score), the AI will believe that you have a very strong army and that it'd better back off, even if it has vastly superior units itself.
Similarly, if you have a single Modern Armour (95 military score), the AI sees you as exceptionally weak and is likely to attack.
The problem with this approach of course, is that the AI doesnt understand the relative value of that army score.
A single Modern Armour would absolutely steamroll 15 Warriors, but the AI doesn't seem to realize that when deciding whether or not it should declare war.
Thus as long as you keep some cheap warriors around (or other cheap, low tech units for that matter), you often can get away with not upgrading them at all, and essentially just have a standing paper army that the AI is too scared to declare war against.
This is very useful if you want to play greedy on Deity by focusing hard on infrastructure, tech and culture, without investing much or anything into your army, and still be relatively safe.

or don't build a huge army if you don't plan on conquests)

Note that my above pointer only really applies if you do get a fortunate (somewhat rare) start where you can freely expand at least 8 or so cities, peacefully.
More often than not on Deity, you want to embrace looking for any opportunity to subdue your nearest neighbour militarily, as that secures you all the space (and free infrastructure) needed to catapult the game into a win.
 
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Bleys

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Thanks for the input, everyone. Emperor wasnt nearly as hard as I remembered it being, I beat a few pretty badly. Im ready to make the jump to Immortal. Playing Simon Bolivar, Small Continents, Epic speed, Legendary start. I might start a new thread later.
 
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The jump to immortal isnt nearly as hard as the jump from king to emperor, so I think you will be fine after a practice game or two.
Deity is the next hurdle, as the AI goes from 2 to 3 cities.
 

Bleys

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I actually have a very good start on my first "real" attempt. I had another earlier attempt but noticed I had set it for Continents, not Small Continents or Continents and Islands. I despise the Continents map. I was on a landmass with Egypt, had her cut off nicely, left her a hole to bring a settler, and when she did I crushed her like a bug as my first couple Horseman were coming out. From then it was boring since I couldnt meet any other Civ until Cartography, and I really really do NOT like those games.

Now I am on a snakey landmass, and it looks like 3 civs share it, but there are chokepoints for 3, and we each have land to develop. I can grow and catch up a bit and should be able to romp through at least 1 or 2 civs soon.

Going for the pyramids though, lol, cant help it, I am a worker addict, need those charges.

I am on Discord, my account is Jorj X#7783, we have a small channel, 3 people small, they mostly Total War: Warhammer II and III, but having played both for many hours, I KNOW most Civ fans would love TW 2 and most Total War guys would love Civ.

As soon as I figure out where my save is, I will post it with the specs from the Save Game screen.

Thanks again for the warm welcome back. Is there a monthly game other than the HoF? Player led maybe, Lonely Hearts or such? I used to really like those back in the Civ IV days, Im planning to spend some time here, I think Civ VI is the greatest game ever, but Im kinda biased, just broke the 8,000 hours played mark.
 

Bleys

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OK I think I got it. Seems a very good first leap into Immortal.

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Bleys

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Mahi

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King -> AI starts one settlers
Emperor -> AI starts with two settlers
Immortal -> AI starts with two settlers
Deity -> As starts with three settlers

Naturaly, the jump from King to emperor is the biggest change in difficulty. I too, struggled a bit moving up to emperor in the past because your mentality needs to change a bit. However, I didn't notice any significant change in difficulty going from emperor to immortal.
First, you need to accept you will be behind in the early game
Second, you need to accept any AI neighbour will likely rush attack you in the start game unless you have a high military score. Be prepared, make sure archery is available to you if needed but don't get dragged into this pointless war. End it quickly with peace.
Third, decide whether your second city should be a strategic location or a production location. I think this one is still one of my own major traps. I tend to want to cut off enemies AI with my second city in expense of a good production city. I would almost say your second city should always be able to support your empire with high production but it depends on the overall layout and how fast the third settler will be out.
 

Bleys

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First thing I notice is that the Barbs spawn more often and closer. I learned in Civ IV that walls go up FIRST, regardless of your danger from other civs (or lack of it) because without them, the barbs will rip you up at higher levels. Keeping that practice up in Civ VI has always paid off.

My closest rival declared on me, but I was more than ready for it, and wiped him out. It really bugs me that I somehow get negative diplomatic relations with others when I am defending myself, but I am sure that topic has been discussed plenty over the years.

This is definitely an easy map though. I would recommend it to anyone looking to make the jump from Emp to Immortal.
 
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First thing I notice is that the Barbs spawn more often and closer. I learned in Civ IV that walls go up FIRST, regardless of your danger from other civs (or lack of it) because without them, the barbs will rip you up at higher levels. Keeping that practice up in Civ VI has always paid off.

You might want to rethink that, because being this stringent about building walls is arguably a mistake on the higher difficulties.

On the higher difficulties, and especially on Deity (less so on Immortal and Emperor, but still), you need to start optimizing more.
The AI is far ahead of the player, and in order to catch up the player needs to start getting key infrastructure up fast, in order to lay the foundation in science and culture that allows for catching up to (and surpassing) the AI.
Walls on the other hand, have a pretty hefty cost early on and provide no benefits for catching up to the AI.
I'm not advocating that you never build walls because they are of huge importance in the cases that they help fend off an AI push, but other than that they are essentially "dead" and wasted production.
Also, building walls in every city is a pretty big blunder (especially building walls first), because that is almost never necessary.
The one place you need to build walls (if at all) is at key strategic locations in your border area towards the AI, and usually this means 1-2 cities at most.
That is also assuming that you need to build walls in the first place, which is not a given.
The AI might have no intention of invading you, and again, building walls in that case is essentially "dead" production that is wasted.
The best way to make sure that you build walls only during the right circumstances, is to have a scouting unit in between you and the AI that you are worried about.
If you see more than 1 unit travelling in your direction, be wary and consider starting to build those walls (chopping works well).
If the AI also has a lot more military score than you (twice or more), you can be pretty sure that you are soon getting invaded, and thus building walls in that border city is of extreme utility.

As for barbs, building walls against those specifically is almost always a mistake.
The barbs cannot raze your capital, so in the beginning I just ignore them.
If they wanna suicide into my capital that they cannot take, I let them as long as they dont interfere with me settling other areas.
As for settled cities, it's all about having military units around.
Pay attention to your surroundings, and if there is a barbarian camp around you go and clear it before it becomes an issue.
Other than that, as long as you have roads between your cities, 1 fast moving (usually cavalry type) unit can defend several cities by just moving around to where he's needed.
You can of course build walls when you have most of your infrastructure already built in that city, but otherwise I'd argue strongly against doing so because you're putting yourself further behind.
 

Noble Zarkon

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I learned in Civ IV that walls go up FIRST, regardless of your danger from other civs (or lack of it) because without them, the barbs will rip you up at higher levels.
Very surprised to read that, in Civ IV it's fairly easy to fog-bust to ensure Barbs don't spawn - as a result walls are an item that very few people build. This is particularly true at the higher levels where there will be more AI cities and units on the map.
 

reddishrecue

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Very surprised to read that, in Civ IV it's fairly easy to fog-bust to ensure Barbs don't spawn - as a result walls are an item that very few people build. This is particularly true at the higher levels where there will be more AI cities and units on the map.
I used to appreciate the pro trait on leaders because they built up walls so quick. Having stone around also can speed up wall production. Combined with pro I usually built walls and in later eras castles up quick. The +25% espionage was also fun.
 

steveg700

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I find that up to and including Immortal, the most important thing to catapult me forward is getting a pantheon that allows me good adjacency bonus and then (ab)use the Work Ethic + Scripture + Monumentality combo. If you want to conquer, Crusade belief is also your new best friend.

Problem is, the very act on playing on Emperor means a low likelihood of snagging one of those pantheons (forbearing low portioning AI civ's). Oh, it's possible by way of sheer chance (tribal villages, religious city states). Otherwise, only certain civ's have a real shot. Don't even think about Religious Settlements.

Same goes for a lot of that early game... Machu Picchu is gone before I can even get to Engineering
 
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