I have a few wins on Emperor but my gameplay is not good enough, particularly when it comes to balancing expanding the empire, keeping up with tech and keeping my military strength in line with rivals. I would love some advice on my game. For this, I'm playing Emperor, continents, normal speed and four AI opponents. Huts and events are off; barbarians and espionage are also off as I don't want to be distracted from concentrating on my empire management. The leader is Pacal of the Mayans, someone I rarely play as so I don't fall into bad habits. I've wanted to make one of these for a while, so let's go... Turn 1 Spoiler Start : The place my people have chosen to end their nomadic ways and lay down roots seems nice. The first thing to notice is that there are floodplains galore - eight! My first thought is that the second city is going to be close by, somewhere to the north, to share some cottages with the capital. If I settle here, we've also five hills with two marbles. Bureaucracy will be powerful here. The pigs are out of the first ring but there's more than enough food in the plains to not worry about that as borders will pop in no time. I send the warrior 1W to see from the hill if anything exciting is happening there. It isn't, so I settle in place. Pacal starts with mysticism and mining. I must admit that I'm a fan of building Stonehenge as I love getting my new cities to pop asap, and now and then it's also proved useful for squeezing out neighbours who settle too close. With all those forests and mines, Stonehenge could be knocked out in no time. I'm sorely tempted to go for BW. It'll take a while to get to AH or Wheel/Pottery so my worker will have nothing to do (and a worker is my first build). Here's a question - is farming the floodplains instead of cottaging them a better idea? I've seen it said on here that you shouldn't cottage floodplains but I don't know why. Anyway, I am cottaging them so no point getting agriculture either. That leaves me with BW, so I go for that and send my warrior to explore while the eggheads get busy. Turn 26 Spoiler Start : While waiting for bronze working, the worker appears and he sets to work mining the marble - it should be a quarry but he's got nothing else to do yet. A second worker starts being built. And we also meet our first opponent - Pericles of Greece. He appears to have come from the south. With BW in place, the worker gets chopping, we make a start on the wheel and delight the citizens by moving into Slavery. On turn 26, the wheel comes in and the settler is a few turns away so let's pause here and decide on the next step. To the north, the options are not as good as I'd hoped. Mountains block a second city from sharing the capital floodplains, although a gold mine is nice to see. I've identified two potential sites, but unfortunately they each share just a single floodplain with the capital. Are these my best choices or is there something better that I've missed?