This was the most enjoyable GOTM I've played in many months. I combined several fairly standard EC plans. I did a little black-clicking at the start and noticed lots of lakes - so, I aimed to make lots of canal cities. This slowed my growth just a little, but it paid off later because my boats could zip around the map very quickly. Also, since we were given pottery, and we started on a large continent, I aimed for seafaring ASAP after monarchy, and built a few explorers to pop huts. I didn't have great luck at first (lots of weeds, etc), but eventually the explorers generated useful outposts, plus a few techs and some small change. The grassy map also helped with growth, so I had 23 cities by 1000BC, and finished with over 80 in the late BC years. I sent lots of vans, mostly hides, to the USA from about 500BC to 200BC, which paid for many rushbuys and bribes. The Japs and Romans were not overseas, and the Mongols/English seemed too hard to reach, so I only traded with the US. 3950 Berlin 3900 Leipzig 3050 monarchy (4 cities) 2400 Seafaring, allows explorers 2100 Luck begins... hut gives advanced tribe, Hannover (10 cities). 1900 Japs defeat the Egyptians! 1700 I finally get Trade. 1450 Hanging Gardens [needed badly at Diety level with 16 cities]. 1000 (approx) MPE; 23 cities. Romans pay 250g tribute, and I get mys/poly. Some bad luck with barbs followed, and I lost a city or two. 850 I started detailed plans for EC. The USA and Romans looked pretty easy to get to. Also, Kyoto was on the coast, easily accessible via canal cities. So I focused on getting units and boats north to the Mongols, mostly via Kyoto. They were pretty welll spread out, so I also built German outposts southwest of them. Second, I planned to reach the English via a sequence of canals to the east [a few units also got to England by going west, but that route wasn't well-supported by barracks cities, etc]. Finally, I needed funds - probably more than I'd get from taxes and tribute. So, I planned a ship chain to the USA, to carry hides vans. Mainly for this reason, I decided to build the LH. 700BC Another round of planning, including rough counts of turns needed to conquer each civ. Again the Mongols and English were critical. I have almost 40 cities. I get steady small tribute from Japs and Romans. 575BC - LH. Also, I bribed a western Mongol city (Tabriz) for an outpost, but had to give them techs, etc, to hold onto it. 500BC - Kyoto falls to crooks on boats, as planned. Vans start arriving in Washington, paying about 200-300g each. 450BC - Rome builds Pyramids, so I make Rome a priority. 400BC - update maps 375BC - Mongols sneak attack 300BC - I take Rome and the Pyrs. Also, the Mongol capitol. 250BC - English build Colossus, but I take it the same turn. 225BC - Japanese destroyed. And the others are cracking too. The USA is still untouched, but the shipchain used for vans is starting to load crusaders.... I finished a few turns later, with 83 cities, 33 boats and 28 crusaders. This is my earliest finish that I can remember at Diety/7/large.