Wow ! What a map ! The rule of thumb is to avoid the spoiler thread until you have played to 1 AD. That is often considered a halfway point. You may want to wait until 1000AD on this one. I have already played past 1000 AD - which I NEVER do - and I have not conquered, or even explored, half the map yet. Yet, as far as I know, my game is going about as well as possible. I'll probably post a log later. The main decisions were these: * I used the size one trick twice. This required 6 turns wandering westwards to find an iron special, and the two other settlers wandered even longer. But you've gotta go west anyway, so I think the time was well spent. * I split my [early] civ into separate East and West clusters. The West Civ was founded by the long-wandering settlers and their offspring. Its main goal was to reach the first sea by the time I got mapmaking, and to prepare flotillas ASAP. Secondly, to deal with any AIs on the way, and eventually to make roads for armies and vans. The East Civ ICS'd until it could focus on making vans, for WoWs, and eventually for overseas trade. This plan worked out OK, but the West Civ suffered terrible corruption and waste, especially before Monarchy in 1050 BC. * I bypassed the Mongols and Spanish, with as little fighting as possible, always focusing on a Westward push. I eventually destroyed the Mongols in 800 AD to clear the road system and lower my defense costs. I am keeping 2 Spanish cities as pets, with Persia starting to follow the same pattern. * Eventually, I realized this is going to be a long long game ... at least 80 turns longer than any known "early conquest" game, maybe even extending into the modern age. So, I switched to Republic in 540 AD, and am planning a big-trade game to get modern techs ASAP. Just in case crusaders are obsolete before I reach Rome. The good news is the Persians and Vikings seem to have their science permanently set to zero. The Persians offered little resistance [but it did take 20 to 30 turns to get past dozens of Settlers and warriors wandering thru the mountains]. But the Romans are just the opposite, and they are still slightly ahead of me in science. The other bad news is that trade potential seems mediocre; no great STC sites, almost no Hides supply, no possibilities for long ship chains. I am building long roads instead, but it is slow. It is the Grand Canyon, after all, so the roads need many bridges and/or deep cuts thru mts. Can anyone solve this econ puzzle ? If you want to compare games in detail, I can post a log and / or stats. In addition to the usual growth stats, it might be interesting to compare the dates we get to the other CIVs. I am REALLY enjoying this GOTM. I think I'll conquer before 2020 AD, but have some real doubts for the first time in years. I feel a bit sorry for any newbies that might wander into this one though !