Thanks Peaster - this post has a bunch of random thoughts Sorry abor misattributing your EC guide - I was actually remembering solo's Early Landing guide - as I recall, that is where we reached agreement in afterplay that Marco's is worth more than was thought, perhaps a much as HG depending on timing. Your EL guide introduced the idea of sending out a task force to the most distant civ ASAP. I don't remember your focus on growth being stated as succinctly as now - I do remember Slow Thinker's game where he built a monster BC civ with Pyramids (heresy at that time!) and put half the theory back to square one! Everybody was afraid to mention it! You perhaps had the same idea independently - but now you certainly have integrated and expanded that insight. For a while we thought that maximizing SSC size in the BC years was a good plan, but you are proving that to be second best strategy. I think the consensus now is that leaner civs are riskier but get the green star when they work out. I am sorry you can't open Chofritz's save - as I recall, his 1000BC to 1AD play was spectacular and seemed to me at the time to maximize growth in a similar way to yours. I seem to dimly recall that he was not quite as masterful in the first 2000 years. But I may be mistaken, not for the first time... I remember that for a long time Smash would build Colossus by hand in his second city, so things have definitely changed. --- I am interested in roads - when do you connect your cities? I feel that it is a powerful CivII principle to never build roads before 2000 BC without a specific calculable payout. Is a better marker for beginning roadbuilding Trade? Or its precursor? --- So your early game question is: How valuable is Monarchy in 2850BC instead of 2050 BC? How many cities at 200BC make up for only getting Monarchy a few turns earlier? It's hard to organize how to ask the question in a testable way. Perhaps going backwards from the next status point (Marco's) - some of my green star tries (mostly unsuccessful) got to Marco's too soon - I was not in a position to exploit the information. I found the optimum Marco's time to be about 1100BC for EC. With that in mind, perhaps early monarchy is not so special - it only increases the chance that one will spend beakers to learn a tech the AI will research anyway. So as long as the civ is in shape to get Marco's at 1100BC, maximizing cities is the optimum priority.