So I'm pretty new to playing immortal and the weakest part of my game is diplo. I was in this game that was going well and then things went bad. I'm including the initial save in case anyone wants to play it - it was a strong start and a lot of options for how to play (don't read the rest if this post if you don't want spoilers!): The start: Spoiler : It was tight quarters with Joao on one side and Hammurabi on the other. I found elephants and decided to just settle 4 cities and then go cataphant on someone. So in 75 BC I had a stack ready (also included the save from right before the DOW): Spoiler : It's seems a little late, but neither of my neighbors have longbows so there's a window of opportunity. My questions here are: 1.) Who should be my target? 2.) What can I do on the diplo front to avoid a dogpile/backstab? 3.) Should I be double/triple whipping cities to launch the attack sooner? Hammy seemed like a poor target - boxed in, crappy land, not teching well so he'd be easy to steamroll later. Joao seems like a great target - no many troops, juicy land, and some great cities: Spoiler : I went for Joao and things went well. By 250 AD things were going well - I had taken 3 cities and he wasn't offering much resistance. Spoiler : At this point he wouldn't capitulate, but I could easily take another city or two to cap him. Then I could have turned on Hammy with cataphants (he still didn't have LBs). With a large chunk of good land and a vassal or two, this game probably would have been easy. Unforunately, the turn after 250 AD Joao peace vassals to Churchill and the following turn Pacal gets bribed into the war. (Maybe all TMIT's whining about passals is justified ). So is there anything I could have done to avoid this? I'd appreciate any comments and suggestions. Saves attached - initial, right before starting the war, and the turn before Joao peace vassals.