I played the French with 12 civs on a large map at Monarch level. Success still depends on good land and the ability to get a quick start territory wise. I resigned to see what the ending looked like and on the reply I got to see how all the other civs were building cities as fast as they could while I still only had a couple. Goody huts are about the same density as before unless they put more of them near expansionistic civs _ I'd like to hear how much "better" the stuff is. I got some advances and money, and only got barbarians once. It's a little wierd early on, I found myself not sure what to do since I wasn't big enough to build settlers, I couldn't build any improvements to speak of, and all I had were warriors. Oh, another thing is that cities other than your capital do not produce culture without any improvements so count on the temple being on the early list of things. Also, send your settlers out with a warrior or better so that barbarians don't get them _ that hardly ever happened to me in Civ2 and it already happened to me once.