Sounds like you were ahead of me in tech all the way. So, my game doesn't prove that expansion helps. I guess it would have helped you by finding the Mongols early on. But it's a gamble... you might find them over the next hill, or at the far end of the map in 1500AD. I am a little surprised your SSC gave you such large bonuses for undemanded goods over small distances. And didn't its supplies get blocked? (though I suppose solo has explained all this in his ELG) Also, what's wrong with a 120g delivery ? The van costs about 120g to rush-buy, so you are getting 120 free beakers. My perspective is that with 40-50 vans in motion, none are very precious. Maybe with a smaller empire you have to get more from each van?