Hello, Recently started playing civ4 again after a decade hiatus due to nostalgia. Was never any good, only played at warlord and noble difficulty and even then struggled. I am reading a lot of articles on here, and one surprising thing i learned is that most buildings are useless, and that you should mostly just spam out units from most of your cities or build wealth/failgold instead. So I started experimenting with that in warlord and it worked out really well - but too well. I noticed that soon I had to set science slider close to 0%, even as more cities switched to building wealth/failgold. After doing more reading i realized it was because maintenance costs are a function of both distance and number of cities. this would explain why every time I settled a new city I would actually lose money. and so my research would lag behind, even in warlord or noble difficulty. so how do you deal with this at higher difficulties? are courthouses worth it in some cities with high maintenance cost? should i build forbidden palace asap? should i expand in a ring instead of pushing my borders as far out as possible? like in my current game i had a whole area to the south to myself, so i thought that i would settle that area later, and instead push my borders as far north as possible. but then the maintenance cost of both distance and city number kicked in and killed me. so i stopped expanding north and began filling in the area to the south, but then the AI came in and started settling those areas. when waging war should i just raze cities instead of occupying them? but then the AI will just settle there again right?