Well rather than start a story thread again, than abandon it after shortly getting brutally mauled, I've decided to actually play a few different games until I get a good start and start from there (not to mention having a bit more experience ). Interestingly, while this particular game ended up being my luckiest beginning start ever, it started out almost overwhelmingly bad. Settings: -Pangea -Deity -Standard time -HUGE -France So okay the very start isn't too bad. Can't complain with 2 luxuries and hut that gave mining: And starting next to a maritime ain't so bad either. I queue up a mass of settlers, steal a worker from the other, hostile maritime, and start exploding on all the spices. This is a deity game after all, so after getting calendar and masonry I immediately head for horses. Not for offense, but spearmen aren't exactly the best defense. Oh dear, ottomons settling right next to where I want my settler. Well, I'm not about to pass up two sugars and be squemish, so I settle anyways. And now the crap hits the fan. It's 1480 B.C. and Alexander and Suleiman both declare war on me at the same time. My maritime ally has yet to build a workboat for the whales, so I'm also pretty deep in the negative happiness. Luckily, I am able to capture a worker, and lure a spearman to capture it and get killed in the grasslands: So now I'm wondering where alexander's been. It's been quite a few turns without seeing him thank god. Then I find a -hp floating above venice, the CS whom I stole a worker from, and find out he's sieging it with a bunch of guys. I send one of my two horseman up through the southern end, and smash a chariot, and two swordsmen in the grasslands. A heal promotion keeps him alive and well. Thank god they're stupid enough to keep concentrating on hurting venice through this: I quickly retreat my horseman north, to avoid the embaressing situation of losing a city to scouts: So Alexander's forces seem to have been decimated, allowing me to relax and send the horsmen south to the ottomons. Best of all, and this really alone seems to give me the lead I need to have a chance at this game, venice goes from -~30 relations to a whopping +80 after my efforts to keep it alive. Incidentally, I would have done it anyways out of self preservation. But man those furs helped a lot: For now, my citizens get a reprieve, and get ready to threw one massive party: For those curious, or wishing to play a deity game with a head start, here's the save file as an attachment.