My (generalized) approach for play (any Civ) at Emperor. Ill go up or down one level, depending on the Civ, map, and starting conditions; I can generally get far enough ahead by turn 150 (regular speed) to eventually win. (It does take me longer, but I usually can get a domination victory (I tend to live by the sword, but will take another victory condition if Domination is hopeless) by turn 400-450. I try to use a mid-level civ; (no special perks, (Sythian X2 horses, multiple small German cities (VERY many cities) with 2 districts, maps with massive resources, ect. It is a "vanilla" approach, that seems for the most part to succeed. How lame is this? I always try to get a decent pantheon, (Harvest is great if available, especially if I have a lot of jungle terrain...or the Culture for Pastures, or, Divine spark pantheons. 2 faith/quarry or 2 faith/mine is nice too.) even if I have to use the God-King card to get 1 gold + 1 faith (although I prefer Relics, Religious City States, etc). If I have a good shot at it, I'll aggressively go for a Religion (Onanism). I am partial to the Extra Housing founder belief, and like a religious building (extra food or production), and, add to that the 2 gold for each city converted or 1 gold/5 followers. Rarely do I get a 4th tenant. However, I usually can get 3). It's not very spiritual, but once I have that, other than converting pagan cities, I just let things be, and enjoy the perks. Eureka's are a must; I usually build a slinger, builder or settler, slinger, then (depending on the situation, I try for another slinger, settler, builder, and HolySite (or other district, if not going for religion). If a goody hut does not yield a scout, I usually buy one, and tend to do as much exploration as possible (continents map, usually). I try to get at least 5 cities up an running, with maximum production a couple of chariots, upgrade to archers, and a speciality unit or 2 ... then I go for domination. (I may attack 1 or 2 cities before this, if they are easy picking. I try to conquer nearby Civs/CS's, in small bits (Persia is great for this). Once a neighbor has lost a city or two, I'll send my ravaging hoard elsewhere. Oddly enough, it seems to be possible to be friends with many other civs while misbehaving in this fashion. There have been a couple cases where everyone becomes extremely antisocial...that can ends badly. However, short, sharp wars, and unmerciful sucking up to the unscathed remains usually avoids having the whole world declare on me. Another conquest related thing: I don't seem to make as many military units as many poster appear to do...4 or 5 archers backed by 2 or 3 of chariots seems to be enough to take a smaller city. (I tend to attack the runts of the litter...no walls, usually something that just begs to be annexed). City states fill the bill nicely, too. It appears to help greatly if one does not telegraph the coming attack...I try to converge at the last minute, and avoid denouncing others. No point in observing the sticky points of international cooperation. So far, this is all pre-feudalism, with Cheifdom giving way to Oligarchy. Oddly enough, I don't favor Monarchy, and will try to go from Merchant Republic to Theoracy, using Monarchy as a fallback from Theocracy. Lots of times, I just stick w/Oligarchy and Merchant Republic. Policies: This is probably really out there, but the policies I use most are: Military - -1 gold/unit for 1/2 cost for upgrades. Civil: +1 production/city, 30% off Builders (and 5 charges/builder) along with the Housing booster and (when cramming settlers, the bonus on building them. I may slip a few military policies in when I'm preparing to attack (or during a big push), and find I rarely use the purple cards, as I am too busy using the wildcard slot for construction, growth, and conquest. I will use the trade options to stack up gold, but seem to favor the (Gold) Civic policies. Builders: I think I go a bit off the deep end here...I can not seem to get enough of them...I want to squeeze all the production/construction I can out of these overworked guys, and chop, chop, chop. God help them if I get "Goddess of the Harvest!" Wonders: I don't sweat them...usually if I build any, they are "overlooked" and I'll grab one later in the game. It appears simpler to conquer desired wonder-containing cities...that way you don't spend tons of production on it (like the Pyramids), just to see the AI build it a turn or 2 before your scheduled completion. Religious Spam: Uggh! This is crass, but if it looks like an AI is going after me on this front, I will declare war on him (joint war is always nice), and, on the opening salvo, wipe out all the religious units I can. Not nice. Since I try to get my conversions with missionaries (early religion/missionary drive). If someone has a stronger faith, I usually try the military conquest option...I have only sent my clerics into theological combat 3 times since I bought the game. (No problem w/the concept, but Knight vs Clerick is simple, perhaps the updated religious features will change my take on it. Gold: Perhaps it is not as valuble as production, but I still like it...I try to amass as much as possible, even to the point of using some external trade routes...money may not but happiness, but it help w/unit upgrades and quickie construction. CS: While they are usually easy to conquer (at least early in the game), I still try to Suzerain as much as I can..quests are a good thing! Some of the perks are really nice...I have found myself liberating a conquered CS to get the extra, if it's good enough. Diplomacy: Even though I play a Domination-orinted strategy, I try to stay friendly with as many civ's a posssible. A bit scitzophrenic, but it seems to be achievable, at least through turn 250-300. This means I rarely eliminate other civs (before turn 250-300). Oddly enough, a Civ reduced to 1 or 2 cities may not be friendly, but the seem to be more passive, unless they all team up...giving back a city (disadvantageously located) appears to be very helpful (as a last resort). Perhaps they are only waiting for the right moment to strike, but it seems a usable tactic. Finis (finally): I know this is very generalized, and probably won't work at Diety, but I have used this approach (even) on Immortal (with reasonable success). During the course of play, while not totally careless, I have by no means played close to optimally...my opinion is that the AI is so poor at combat that I can practically count on it making more dumb mistakes than I do. Once I hit turn 100-150, there is little the AI can do (other than have everyone declare on me). If it looks like I'm out to win the Adolf Hitler popularity contest, I can usually finagle myway out of it by finding a civ or 2 that want something I'm willing to let go at a bargain price, or start a joint war..... Feedback?