Nice! Yeah, I've been trying some more too, and I think Large map is the sweet spot that can fit the maximum city-states and still has enough space for your own cities and enough ruins. I also agree that 9 or 10 cities is the best count; the limiting factor is affording money to buy the schools and labs for all of them. Several questions (I can't open the save, needs some DLC I don't have): What was your social policy path? What religious beliefs? What was your tech order after Education - specifically what order did you get the techs for and build aqueducts and observatories? Did you build/buy any settlers/workers, or take them all from ruins? What did you spend money on early? How many and how fast did you get maritime CS allies? Did you buy them?