It seems like the standard method for winning in civ4 is to win a war at some point. That gives you a huge advantage in land/cities, and then you can easily out-tech any AI, even with the huge bonuses they get on higher difficulties (some of which increase over time). But what if you can't, or don't want to, play that way? Is there a way to out-tech an AI with the same number, or even fewer cities? I'm talking peaceful strategies mind you, so no nukes or marines. I want to win the space race fair and square. There are two problems, as I see it. 1: The AI bonuses increase over time. They have 'iAIPerEraModifier' which decreases their tech costs more for each era, especially at Deity. Deity AI gets a 30% discount on tech costs, 20% inflation, and much lower unit maintenance costs. You'll need more and more to keep up with what they get for free. 2: There just aren't as many ways to gain an advantage in the late game. In the first half of the game there are lots of ways to out-smart the AI: city placement, worker micro, choosing buildings, wonders, tech routes, great people, tech trading. It's a complicated game! But by the end, all your cities are placed, all your tiles are improved, all the buildings are done (especially for a deity AI), the wonders are less important, there are diminishing returns on great people, and they probably won't trade with you anymore (at least not anything helpful in winning the space race). The late game in Civ4, even with BTS, is just kinda straightforward. So what can you do? City placement still matters. A city with no food or production is still going to be limited, even for a deity AI. But it's not like you can chance the placement of the cities you already have. Change civics. But there's not much room for creativity here. Late game, with a limited number of well developed cities, you almost certainly want Free Speech, Emancipation, Free Market, plus either Free Religion or Pacifism and Representation or Universal Suffrage. The strong teching AIs tend toward those same civics too. It's also harder to switch civics, unless you're spiritual or have Cristo Redentor. Spy Stuff. But you'll probably have to run the espionage slider to get enough points, and the AI can generate espionage points more than you, so I'm not sure it's worth it in the late game. I guess you can endlessly change their civics, but that's pretty cheesy and unreliable. Tech Path. You can gain some advantage by skipping the military techs if you know you're going for space. So you skip artillery, advanced flight, laser, etc. But there's only a limited benefit from that. Wonders. Most wonders have either expired, or just don't matter in the late game. There's the Statue of Liberty, but that's not so important when your cities are all really large. The Kremlin is good for warfare, but you can't rush-buy spaceship parts, so it's limited and also expires. The Cristo Redentor might be good if you really need to switch civics, but once you're in late game civics you probably want to just stay there. The internet only works if there are TWO AIs more advanced than you, and in that case they'd probably build it first. Rock and Roll/Broadway/Hollywood don't seem that powerful, just some extra resources for trading. Corporations! This seems like the big one, since they scale up with more resources. And they can be really powerful, much more than religion. But still, they're a bit limited: The HQ gold bonus doesn't increase Food bonuses will make your cities unhappy and unhealthy To get more resources, you probably have to pay for them The AIs only have so many resources to trade away If you spread them corps to extract money, they'll stop trading you their resources 'Competing Corporations' limit their effectiveness. In practice, only Sid's Sushi and Mining Inc seem really good. So I'm at a loss. Is there any way to peacefully defeat an AI in the late game, going for space? Or am I just supposed to go to war at some point?