Civic cards can get a little complicated, and I'm not going to say my choices are ideal, I'm not a min-maxer like many here. I'm just going to say they will get you by on King level just fine. Military: you should run the bonus against barbarians early if you are playing with barbs on, then conscription/levee en masse most of the game. Use Professional army to upgrade your units whenever possible, when done upgrading go back to conscription/levee en masse. If you have multiple spots the +1 amenity for garrisoned unit is nice, and if building walls or encampments consider those cards. Economic: Many good choices here. +1 production per city is very useful early on. If you are a little short on cash consider +2 gold per trade route. If you have several cities on a different continent than your home continent the card that gives +25% gold on cities on other continents is well worth it. Run Meritocracy as soon as you have room for it. I made the mistake of undervalueing this card, but it's very useful, especially if you don't build many theater districts as I do. You don't have to run the builder cards all the time, try to time it so you can pump out a ton of builders in every city (unless they are low production cities that take too long) and run serfdom/public works to pump out a ton of builders than switch to something else. I like to run +100% on science buildings, though I usually have the tech lead at this point, and isn't necessary. But I like to have a good lead on the AI at King level. I usually don't have room for this card until democracy. If going for cultural victory there are 3 cards in particular you can use to help push that faster (though one card is useless if you haven't settled a great musician). There are several other useful economic slots. I don't have time to go through them all. sometimes I run industrial complex adjacency cards, or adjacency cards for commercial/harbors, market economy is very useful once you get it if you are doing external trade routes. There really is no wrong path. Just paths that might be more useful to you at the time. diplomatic: This one is fairly straight forward. Running +1 gold per envoy can turn into a lot of gold around the time this card shows up. by midgame it's well worth it to run this card. You can run +2 influence per turn most of the time, and run +1 envoy for city/states that don't have envoys only when you intend on spending envoys on city-states that are currently at 0 envoys. The spy card can be useful for training spies, but personally I don't use it all that often. Raj can be useful if you manage to get several suzerains. Arsenal of Democracy ain't bad either if people like you and you keep allied status with them. wild card: I often have an economic card in this slot. If running classical republic sometimes I have to have conscription here until I can get enough trade routes going to support my military support costs. Run +2 for great prophet once you've got mysticism and have built a holy site and shrine to help push your prophet out. I wouldn't stress too much whats in these slots. When I first go into democracy I love +2 scientist/engineer/merchant.